Screaming Mantis was the leader and psychological warfare specialist of the Beauty and the Beast Unit. She, along with the other members, suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, alongside emotional instability as well as experiencing uncontrollable emotional fits. In her case, she frequently had uncontrollable urges to scream.
Screaming Mantis was born in a war torn village in South America. When she was just a child, her village was attacked and eventually burned to the ground. Hunted by enemy death squads, she was separated from her family. She took haven inside the basement of a building, which she would soon discover was actually a makeshift torture chamber. However, given the constant military presence outside in the village, she wasn't able to leave the corpse-littered room, and to make things worse, she was eventually locked into the basement. The constant screams of tortured villagers haunted her every day and night. After weeks locked in the cellar, keeping herself hydrated by drinking the dirty water that had pooled up on the floor, she began to hallucinate. She saw a single black praying mantis, who would teach her how to block her ears from the screams. She learned from the mantis that to survive, she would have to eat the corpses that littered the floor, however, she only ate the male corpses, much like the female mantis devours her mates. The starvation and dehydration had done irreparable damage to her mind. She survived for several weeks and somehow got back to the surface.
Later, forces led by Liquid Ocelot somehow acquired the woman. They subjected her to gene therapy and drug induced nanotherapy, building up her psyche for their ultimate plan. Eventually, Mantis's psyche was torn out of her own mind, and was replaced with what remained of Psycho Mantis, the psychological warfare specialist of the FOXHOUND unit that Solid Snake fought in 2005.
Liquid placed Screaming Mantis in charge of the Beauty and the Beast Unit, using his brainwashing techniques to further drive the unit's goal to utterly destroy Solid Snake. Although she was their leader, Mantis was the only member who hadn't killed anyone prior to adopting her "Beast" persona. In 2014, Mantis and the rest of the unit fought against rebel soldiers in the Middle East. On one occasion observed by Solid Snake, Mantis utilized her ability to control a person's nanomachines, allowing her to lift a rebel soldier off the ground and fire his assault rifle at his own comrades, killing them. She then violently contorted his body, breaking his limbs and spine. Then, suddenly, with a wave of her arm, the Beauty and the Beast Unit withdrew, leaving Snake in awe at their power and ferocity. Snake also seemed to think that she was Psycho Mantis when first witnessing her.During the final assault of Outer Haven, Snake finally came face to face with the Beauty and the Beast's leader. After disposing of a large unit of FROGS inside Outer Haven's command center, Screaming Mantis appeared before Snake, using her Psycho Mantis doll to take control of Meryl Silverburgh and point her Desert Eagle at Snake. She also remarked that it had been "a long time" since they encountered each other, resulting in Snake asking if she was Psycho Mantis, before Screaming Mantis corrected Solid Snake and addressed Psycho Mantis as being "another me." Snake was able to quickly subdue Meryl by suppressing her nanomachines, while Mantis took control of the FROGS scattered around the room using her Psycho Mantis and Sorrow dolls.
Snake was able to see through Mantis's techniques, and also injected himself with a nanomachine suppressor. After knocking her dolls free of their strings, Snake was able to snatch them up and use them against her. Despite her bond with Psycho Mantis and her strong mental force, she was unable to suppress her nanomachines, and Snake ironically used the Psycho Mantis doll to destroy her.
Defeated, Mantis's power suit flew forcefully away from her body, with her arm blades narrowly missing Snake's head and sticking into the core of the command center. Screaming Beauty fell from the shell, landing on the ground with a hard thud. She instantly began panicking, screaming at the voices in her head, telling them to leave her alone. She begged at her inner demons to have mercy before collapsing once again, then moving in on Snake, telling him to release her from her torment. After she was defeated, she elegantly assumed the fetal position.
Psycho Mantis's rebirth
Suddenly, Screaming Mantis's armor reformed itself and began floating before Snake. Above the armor materialized the disembodied spirit of Psycho Mantis. Unable to believe his eyes, Snake stepped back in shock, back to the Outer Haven command core. Psycho Mantis, eager to prove himself once again as the world's greatest psychic and telekineticist, attempted to impress Snake with his abilities, but this time, nine years later, he failed miserably. Psycho Mantis's body began spasming uncontrollably and the armored pieces of Screaming Mantis fired off in multiple directions as the spirit of the once great psychokineticist disappeared, defeated for good. Snake then heard a mysterious voice in his head: "The spirit of the warrior [would] always be with you." Looking up to the upper balcony of Outer Haven, Snake spotted a ghostly man in a black raincoat, smiling down on him.
Because of her traumatic past, Screaming Mantis frequently had an uncontrollable urge to scream. She also has a tendency to laugh insanely during battle, although obviously not to the same extent as Laughing Octopus. In addition, because she was partially fused with nanomachines containing portions of Psycho Mantis' psyche, which also included Mantis' memories, she also interacted with Solid Snake as if she had encountered him before.
As their leader, Screaming Mantis was the most powerful of the Beauty and the Beast Corps. Using Psycho Mantis's mind control, she was able to keep the other members of the Unit under control, as well as regulate their bodies and abilities. She possessed a level of telekinesis similar to Psycho Mantis, being able to hover, cause her blades to fly where she wanted, and rapidly transport in combination with melee attacks. Her primary arsenal of powers came from the dolls held by her synthetic arms, modeled after Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow. The Psycho Mantis doll shot out blasts of fiery energy that allowed her to manipulate the living, while The Sorrow doll shot out blasts of blue energy that allowed her to manipulate the dead. According to Otacon, the manner in which she controlled the dead soldiers was similar to how a frog's corpse could still react to electricity.
However, both require the target to have nanomachines. The dolls allowed for an unprecedented degree of control over the victim, as demonstrated in the Middle East when Screaming Mantis was able to cause a soldier's head and arms to contort backwards and break after levitating him into the air. When taking over a person's body and movements, nearly invisible puppet strings would appear on the victim and vanish when Mantis released them, as if they were cut off. Aboard Outer Haven, Johnny Sasaki was able to shoot these strings as if they were tangible and free Meryl from Mantis' control. She was also unable to control him with the Psycho Mantis doll, as it was later revealed that he had no nanomachines due to a pre-existing fear of injections. Likewise, her abilities to control people would be nullified if the target in question was capable of suppressing their nanomachines, as evidenced by Solid Snake being immune to Screaming Mantis's attacks due to his injecting himself with a nanomachine suppressor prior to the battle. In addition, she, alongside the other members of the unit, also was capable of setting foes on fire by touch.
Behind the scenes
Screaming Mantis appears as a boss character in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Her beauty form is modeled after actress Scarlett Chorvat.
Allusions to previous characters
The Beauty and the Beast Unit is a tribute to the bosses of previous games in the Metal Gear series: the names of each member is derived from those of FOXHOUND in Metal Gear Solid; their weapons from those of Dead Cell in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty; and their emotions from those of the Cobra Unit in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. In the case of Screaming Mantis, her name is taken from Psycho Mantis, the blade weapons from Vamp and a mixture of emotions from The Fear and The Pain. Optional Codec calls will have Roy Campbell, Rosemary, and Snake alluding to various strategies to beating Psycho Mantis, namely the switching controller ports and attacking a stone bust made in Mantis's likeness, although both strategies end up shot down for various reasons (namely, the fact that the PS3 hardware makes it impossible to switch controllers, something that's even referenced in a Codec call with Otacon if the player did this, and the noticeable absence of a stone bust of any sort, let alone one covered with bindings on the face to attack in the room, respectively).
Screaming Mantis's fighting style and use of scythe-like weapons mirrors that of Death, a recurring boss in Konami's Castlevania series. Additionally, her use of marionette puppets as a battle tactic mirrors that of Marionette Owl of Black Chamber in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel.
The dolls used by Screaming Mantis represent two characters from past Metal Gear Solid games, with the Mantis Doll representing Psycho Mantis, and the Sorrow Doll representing The Sorrow. Their powers also represent those characters, with the Mantis Doll controlling the living and the Sorrow Doll controlling the dead (although the original Sorrow just evoked the spirits of the dead). The dolls and their abilities can be used by the player after obtaining them from Mantis.
Like her namesake, Mantis breaks the fourth wall during her battle with the player character, such as her use of the command "Blackout," whereby the game is interrupted with a black screen displaying green text in the upper right corner (the text being "HIDEO2" this time around, instead of simpy "HIDEO"). In some cases, a male voice will call out "Reset," and the game will appear to restart, first displaying the Konami logo (with the text replaced with "Kojima") and then the Kojima Productions logo (with the fox image reversed, and text replaced with "Kojima Protection"). This "reset" technique resembles that of the "Zone of the Enders" Boss Inhert. These events are temporary, after which the player can continue the fight as if nothing happened.
Owing to her connection with Psycho Mantis, the musical theme which accompanies her introduction and boss battle in Act 5, Old Sun, is a remix of "Mantis' Hymn." Another remix of "Mantis' Hymn" is heard when using the Mantis Doll to defeat her in the "Beast" portion of the battle.
Screaming Mantis is the only member of the BB Corps who is not shown directly leading the PMC bearing her name, Praying Mantis, although she is present during their area of operations in Act 1, Solid Sun. However, her connection to the group as field commander is nonetheless implied by her wearing a Praying Mantis standard issue combat vest in her beast form.
Appropriately, as leader of the Beauty and Beast Unit, Screaming Mantis displays all of the white energy that rained down on the other members during their defeats. As she changes from her beast form to her beauty form, she is showered with white flower petals as she hears laughing (like Laughing Octopus), white snow as she hears crying and howling (like Crying Wolf), and finally, white feathers rain down on her while hearing bird caws when she leaped up (like Raging Raven).
A costume available to download for LittleBigPlanet allows the Sackboys to dress up as Screaming Mantis.
Screaming Mantis later appeared in the Versus Battle feature on the series' official website.
Can Channel The Sorrow & Psycho Mantis
Stealth Hurt by Screaming Outbursts
Forced to cannibalize corpses to survive as a child, she is genetically modified and implanted with nanomachines and the mind of Psycho Mantis
METAL GEAR SOLID: THE LEGACY COLLECTION"
- ―Screaming Mantis's bio on Versus Battle
- Screaming Mantis manipulates Meryl just as Psycho Mantis does in Metal Gear Solid, by forcing her to shoot Old Snake directly. The player can knock Meryl out, similar to Metal Gear Solid, or inject her with the Syringe, temporarily disabling her nanomachines, in order to fight Screaming Mantis more easily.
- As with the rest of the Beauty and the Beast Unit, her FaceCamo can be unlocked if the player defeats her "Beauty" Form using non-lethal means.
- If the player kills Screaming Mantis via lethal means, an extra few seconds are added where she is covered with a blue flame similar to the FROGS when they are killed.
- Unlike the other BB Corps members, her doll can be collected in the corridor which the player enters the area through during the "Beauty" stage regardless of how they dealt with her "Beast" form, due to the nature in which the player must fight her "Beast" form.
- Occasionally when Snake (and reportedly other characters injected by nanomachines) dies, strings can be seen on his arms and legs similar to when Screaming Mantis takes control of someone. The exact meaning of this is heavily debated. The most likely reason for this is because Snake himself is controlled by the player not unlike how Mantis controls others.However, it is shown that Mantis has some influence over Snake's body as he is unable to aim or shoot at her when the strings are attached.
- Shooting off The Sorrow doll will allow the player to shake dead bodies to get items from that body.
- If the player changes their controller to controller port 2, they will get a call from Otacon about how that won't work to defeat her.
- Aside from this, calling Roy Campbell after the aforementioned attempt will also have them referencing the other method of defeating Psycho Mantis by shooting off the bandages covering busts made in Psycho Mantis's likeness, with Snake shooting down Campbell's suggestion by pointing out there are no busts present for him to attack.
Notes and references
- ^ Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Kojima Productions (2008).
Although not seen directly commanding Praying Mantis forces in Act 1, her affiliation with the PMC is implied by her combat vest bearing its logo on the front.
- ^ When Snake is watching the Beauty and the Beast Unit lay waste to the Middle Eastern militiamen, after seeing Screaming Mantis, he says "Is that...", along with Psycho Mantis being melded with Screaming Mantis.
- ^ Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Kojima Productions (2008).
??? [Screaming Mantis]: It has been a long time, Snake. // [The figure reveals itself to be Screaming Mantis - the puppeteer of the Beauty and the Beast unit. It can be seen to be holding a doll of psychic masters, Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow.] // Solid Snake: You... Psycho Mantis...? // [Snake looks up at Screaming Mantis and sees a ghostly image of Psycho Mantis behind it. Flashbacks of Psycho Mantis from Shadow Moses appear.] // Screaming Mantis: No, that was another me. Can you hear the screams? They cry for battle! Let me hear you scream! Howl! Roar! From the very depths of your soul!
- ^ Otacon in an optional Codec conversation during the fight with one of the Beauties will comment that their touch can "burn" Snake. This is also demonstrated if the Beauty ends up touching Snake while crawling, resulting in the latter catching on fire.