Psycho Mantis is a member of FOXHOUND that possesses powerful psychic abilities and an antagonist in Metal Gear Solid and the secondary antagonist in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Psycho Mantis was born in a small village in Russia, prior to the fall of the Soviet Union. His mother died giving birth to him, resulting in him being hated by his father. Psycho Mantis discovered how his father felt after accidentally reading his mind and began to worry that his father would kill him. Eventually, his subconscious became dominant, resulting in the boy using his telekinetic powers to burn down the village. No one survived and the experience left Psycho Mantis burned and scarred, especially on his facial area.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Psycho Mantis appears as in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It's also revealed to be the one controlling The Man on Fire.
Post Phantom Pain
After the events of 1984, Mantis became a part of the KGB, acting as part of it's psychic intelligence division. When the Soviet Union fell, Psycho Mantis went to the US, joining the FBI, where he would delve into the minds of suspected serial killers to get the truth. But during one such interrogation, Psycho Mantis delved too far into one killer’s mind, which deeply affected him, causing him to take on the killer’s psychotic personality. After leaving the FBI, Psycho Mantis worked freelance and offered his services to the highest bidder. But as he read mind after mind, Psycho Mantis became utterly disgusted with humanity, stating everyone focused on sex. Eventually he joined FOXHOUND, becoming the group’s psychic expert and psychological warfare specialist.
Encounter with Solid SnakeIn 2005, Psycho Mantis and the other members of FOXHOUND grew tired of their role as minions of the government. They took over Shadow Moses Island with Psycho Mantis using his powers to brainwash any soldier who didn’t join them willingly. He later attempted to read Donald Anderson and Kenneth Baker’s minds, but they had surgical implants in their brains that made it impossible for him to do so. After Revolver Ocelot killed Anderson in a torture session, Psycho Mantis came up with a plan. They would trick Solid Snake into obtaining the PAL key from Baker and have him activate Metal Gear REX, believing he was actually deactivating it. They had Decoy Octopus disguise himself as Anderson to convince Snake to do so. Psycho Mantis later took control of the mind of a rookie soldier that Snake met in the holding cells, making him shoot at Snake. Soon after, Psycho Mantis appeared to Snake in hallucination caused by psychometric interference from what he’d been doing. As Snake and Meryl Lindbergh continued through the island, Psycho Mantis took over Meryl’s mind, trying to make her shoot Snake. He was able to knock her out, prompting Psycho Mantis to show himself and finally took on Snake personally. However, Snake overcame the psychic’s mind powers and Psycho Mantis woke Meryl up, trying to make her shoot herself in the head. But Snake stopped and struck him a final blow. As he lay on the verge of death, Snake took off Psycho Mantis’ mask so as to hear his last words. He told Snake about his past experiences, comparing them to Snake’s and said he’d seen that humans could only make each other suffer. Psycho Mantis went on to say that he didn’t really agree with Liquid Snake's uprising, he just wanted to kill as many people as possible, but Psycho Mantis said that wasn’t so bad compared to Snake and stated that he was even worse than Liquid, saying Snake was true evil. The psychic also told him that when he’d read Meryl’s mind, he’d see Snake meant a lot to her though he didn’t know if they had a future together. As he came closer and closer to death, Psycho Mantis asked Snake to put his mask back on. It kept him from hearing people’s thoughts and in his final moments, he wanted to be on his own. With his telekinesis, Psycho Mantis opened a secret passage that lead to Metal Gear REX’s maintenance base. Just before he died, he said this was the first time he’d used his abilities to help someone and it actually felt a little nice. After dying, Psycho Mantis’ brainwashing of the Genome Solders started wearing off and they started losing morale.
Later ConflictsAs Liquid Ocelot began building his forces, remnants of Psycho Mantis’ psychic power were harnessed with nanomachines. It played a vital role in creating the Beauty and the Beast Unit, particularly Screaming Mantis. Psycho Mantis’ psyche was integrated into her using the nanomachines and hypnosis, letting her use her constant state of fear in battle, but her own psyche was almost completely ripped out. Using Screaming Mantis as a medium, Psycho Mantis’ powers were used to control the other Beauty and the Beast Corps so they could be effective in battle. So in essence, Psycho Mantis was the leader of the Beauty and Beast Unit. In 2014, Snake infiltrated the Outer Haven, where he faced off against Screaming Mantis, the last Beauty and the Beast Unit member. After taking her down, her suit reformed and began floating in the air as Psycho Mantis’ spirit appeared. He demonstrated his psychic powers to Snake once again when the Sorrow showed up, sending the psychic’s ghost back to the grave.
Powers and Abilities
Psycho Mantis is an extremely powerful psychic, declaring himself the most powerful telepath and psychokinetic in the world. He is able to take control of people’s minds to manipulate them like puppets and has demonstrated the ability to generate hallucinations. But Psycho Mantis cannot help hearing other people’s thoughts unless he wears a gas mask.
- Psycho Mantis is well known for breaking the fourth wall with his powers. When he “reads the player’s mind” in the first game he appeared in, he reads their memory card and comments on the games they’ve played. Next Psycho Mantis says he’ll demonstrate his telekinetic powers and asks the player to put their controller on the floor, then causes it to vibrate. Then as the boss battle begins, Psycho Mantis uses his powers to make the screen go black at first so the player thinks they accidentally changed the channel. During the fight, the player can’t hit Psycho Mantis because he can apparently read their mind, so he can avoid all their attacks and to beat him, they have to put their controller in the second port. As a joke in Metal Gear Solid 4, Psycho Mantis tries to pull the same tricks he did in the first game he appeared in. However he can’t read the memory card since the Playstation 3 doesn’t have one. Psycho Mantis also can’t move the controller due to the SIXAXIS controller lacking a rumble feature, though it does work on a Dualshock 3 controller.
- The fight with Screaming Mantis is meant to play on the player’s memories of fighting Psycho Mantis and the music is even a recreation of “Mantis’ Hymn” from Metal Gear Solid. Switching the controller to port 2 just leaves Snake unmovable and Otacon tells him that trick won’t work this time. Roy Campbell suggests that Snake try swapping ports or destroying the mask on the bust of Psycho Mantis’ face, but Rosemary and Snake argue that neither of those strategies are applicable.
- Throughout Metal Gear Solid 4, when Screaming Mantis is on screen, Snake can see the ghost of Psycho Mantis behind her.
- Psycho Mantis is also mentioned in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Roy Campbell can feed Snake data on Ness if he uses his Codec taunt. During the talk, Snake will recall his encounters with Psycho Mantis, to the point of even asking if Ness can also read minds. Campbell assures him that Ness is "a good kid" and would not use telepathic powers to scan Snake's mind against his will, whether he had such powers or not.
- One of the two dolls that Screaming Mantis uses to channels her powers is a doll of Psycho Mantis, while the other looks the Sorrow.