One Man’s Epic Quest To Retrieve Take On Me In MGSV

I haven’t got anything like as many cassette tapes as I’d like in The Phantom Pain [official site]. A combination of a determination to be non-lethal, to knock out or capture everyone and my inherent ineptitude means most base raids go South pretty quickly, and I end up in a desperate sprint to a checkpoint in order that I don’t lose all my progress. No time to clear out all the buildings: just run, run until that magical yellow save circle appears in the top right of my screen, and I know my prisoners are safe and my diamonds are in hand. I’ve left tapes behind that way, and it breaks my heart. Rebel Yell and Love Will Tear Us Apart are definite casualties, the latter of which I can barely cope with the loss of. If it turns out I’ve abandoned Bowie’s Cat People somewhere, I’ll almost certainly lose my mind.

When I heard the distant strains of Take On Me while trying to rescue a prisoner from a particularly well-guarded base, I knew my priorities had to change. Physician heal thyself. The trouble is, I didn’t hear those strains until everything had already gone to hell.

I’d tried this particular Side Op – ‘Unlucky Dog’, for reference – several times, with varying degrees of catastrophe. The place was so heavily-guarded, and if I was spotted the sniper in a far-off tower would pin me down almost immediately. The prisoner was behind a locked door inside a cabin, with two guards standing in the room outside.

Getting into that room required crossing a huge open plaza, with ramparts all around. With their height advantage, the patrolling guards up there caught me every time. I’d eventually discovered a duct outside the base, which led to a hatch just in front of the cabin door, but this bore the twin risks of breaking my back when I jumped down off a cliff to reach it (the long way round was agonisingly long, especially given I’d already screwed up this mission five times by that point) and having a couple of guys stood right next to it.

One of these guys I dragged into the vent, interrogated and subdued, but I didn’t manage to hide the body before his mate spotted us. And told all his other mates. Again, I was determined to be non-lethal, and so was dependent on my Riot Machinegun, which fired rubber bullets, in such emergencies.

I was lucky enough to score three rapid headshots, knocking out the immediate guards quickly enough that I could at least free the prisoner, take him outside and balloon him off to safety, but all the world arrived at the door by the time that was done, and that damnable sniper had a constant bead on me. I had to get out, and a surely fatal sprint was my only option, unless I was prepared to compromise my own values and take up a lethal weapon. My morale dropped through the floor. It was all over, again.

Then I heard it. Buh-buh-bum-bum, ba-ba-ba. Aha! A-Ha. No. No, I can’t leave now. I crouch-ran through a series of cabins, screaming when I encountered two locked doors, this swarm of red arrows converging on my location, bullets spraying through every window. It was so hard to hear exactly where the sweet Scandinavian pop was emanating from over the hail of gunfire, but soon enough I spotted the telltale red glow of a cassette deck with a tape in it.

I had it. I had The Song. Now, I just had to get out. Everyone knew where I was. The only way out was straight into their line of sight.

I knew this might well be the end for me and A-Ha. I would surely die, and after I died I would be heartbroken. Another priceless pop song, lost, abandoned, a casualty of my cackhandedness and impatience. Only one thing to do: play the song. Let it soundtrack its own doom. I would, I knew, be too distraught to come back to MGSV for some time after this.

As it turned out, the opposite happened. Those oh-so-familiar sounds, the ones I’ve danced to at a dozen weddings, a hundred student night outs, were the impetus I needed. It gave me back my confidence, it turned this misadventure into a celebration. I even got to take a friend home.

Listen out for the well-timed wail. Watch out for the helmet. Happy with this.

That was the guy I’d knocked out before hell broke lose. All I had to was retrace my steps, and I was out. A short sprint up the hillside and… checkpoint.

Take On Me, I’ll take you home. Couldn’t be happier.

Then I received a message. A sniper, near this area. Quiet. Uh-oh.


  1. jsbenjamin says:

    That was the base where I learned that smoke grenades were actually kinda useful (e.g., blocking the line-of-sight of that sniper who just never looks away!).

    • dahools says:

      Yeah I like to do stealth but that was the mission I got S rank on for popping smoke and emptying 7.62 into anything that moved. Then waltzing out with the prisoners afterwards. Tried so many times to do it stealthily but someone always spotted me.
      Never had a problem with snipers tho. Always took all them out from the rocks up behind the complex. Clearing the roof tops is easy, its the guys below that never walk out of the sight of another that were doing my head in.

      • ANeM says:

        Groups of enemies are actually pretty easy to handle with a fast succession of tranquilizer body shots. Body shots start a timer before knocking them out, and it is the same regardless of where you hit them. So while it can be difficult to successfully knock out 5 guys with a string of headshots (the other 4 will immediately start running towards the first guy to go down) body shots generally don’t trigger much of a reaction, and can be shot off in quick succession quite rapidly. When one does finally fall asleep, it is too late for any of the others to react before going down themselves.

      • Enso says:

        Something else I learnt from this base is that people will investigate your knock if they are on the other side of a wall. If they are already marked (or you take the drug that marks enemies) and you know they’re there, just knock and they will run all the way out the base and investigate. You can use that to clear out a decent amount of people.

        • DelrueOfDetroit says:

          I like to use C4 to cause distractions. Place a bomb on the power box or a radar dish on the other side of the base and detonate it when you get cornered or need a stationary guard to move out of your path.

    • Baron Bacon V says:

      Actually, when I first stumbled onto the base, a sandstorm swept in just in time for me to climb the outside wall, land in front of the Take on Me room, and dive into the window, retrieving the tape, and proceed to run like hell outta there, just as the storm ended, without a trace of my existence in the base, besides, of course a missing 80’s classic.
      MGSV is so good.

    • horsemedic says:

      They’re more than kind of useful, and possibly a bit OP. They don’t just block line of site, but instantly paralyze and blind any enemies caught in them. I’ve yet to find a better non-lethal way to neutralize a tight cluster of baddies.

      • dahools says:

        Stun grenades are not too bad use 2 or 3 if the enemies are of higher level. I find then very good for the heavy armored men side Ops. Throw 2 in the mixer, fulton the bodies and out again in about 20 seconds.

      • Snidesworth says:

        That’s what I thought too, and used them constantly. Shortly after that the enemy started distributing gas masks. Not sure if there’s a counter to stun grenades, though I’d be willing to bet heavy troopers and their visors could shrug them off.

  2. Barberetti says:

    Yeah, if I stumbled onto a base where the bad guys were torturing prisoners by blasting Take On Me at them, I’d probably try to bust the poor sods out as well.

    Good job.

  3. Easy says:

    Oh Alec I was in the exact same situation except I ran like a rabbit as it had been my fifth attempt at rescuing him and I just could not risk messing it up again… so close, yet so far away. I AM going back though – I want that tape.

  4. Synesthesia says:

    I’m also loving every single second of this game. And i’m a damn heretic, but i started putting my own music for the heli. It’s bloody fantastic.

    At the moment I’m using this: link to for most missions, but there’s no way I’m not doing a hot, hot landing, clad in a battle dress and blasting a LMG to Motorlicker soon.

  5. Jim Reaper says:

    I too was having a real problem cracking this particular nut of a facility, until I discovered that the bad guys can hear your prosthetic arm “clicky‒thing” through walls. I emptied most of the base just luring guys outside one at a time. D‒Dog is also a great help tagging guards you can’t see ie. Any inside the building. Just be aware that they can also hear you whistling for him through walls too!

  6. unit 3000-21 says:

    Is there a tape with Prefab Sprout on it in this game? If so I’m going to move it to the top of my Must Play list.

  7. Mr Coot says:

    Wonderful. Makes me want to play. And listen to 80s pop.

  8. OmNomNom says:

    Kinda enjoyed this but its really losing its momentum now and I’m only half way through i figure. Every mission really feels the same and combat just doesnt really change. (Try to be stealthy, or aim for head. Use a lot of balloons)

    Why do they always make these open world-esque games so easy. Imo there should always be the unbeatable fortress of a mission that you spend your time failing and retrying or building up your strength to conquer.

    • OmNomNom says:

      Im at big robot bit with 100% completion so far. Does it get better or should i stop now?

      • Harlander says:

        You just need to get worse at games. (“Git bad”, as some might put it). I’m a monumental klutz, so I find the easier stealth games nicely challenging.

  9. 2000_man says:

    Had the same kinda moment where I needed to get The Final Countdown. I can now imagine I’m the Gob Bluth of the spy world every time the heli shows up.

  10. Porkins says:

    Two Words: Custom Music

    • UncleLou says:

      Yeah. My helicopter arrives to the sound of John Coltrane blowing his horn.

  11. naam says:

    I was so lucky I chose to approach this base from the hills to the north – there was only one guard there to lure, interrogate and subdue, before quickly slipping into the vents. Made my way to the prisoner undetected by popping to sleep another two guards inside the building. But I still had to get out, prisoner on my shoulders, and the base, now in broad daylight, was still swarming with guards.

    Then I heard the brakes of a jeep peeping right outside the door. I peeked, saw the passenger just walk away, and the driver seemingly hypnotized by something on the dashboard. He unceremoniously dropped to the floor, my third tranq dart in his neck, and I simply drove my resque off in the delivered vehicle.

    Sure, -then- they noticed me.

  12. Mungrul says:

    Alec, are you playing with pad or M&KB?
    It’s just… well, you don’t HAVE to slam every door open.
    With a pad, gently pushing through doors means enemies won’t hear them opening.
    Just sayin’

    Myself, I had great fun in that mission as mine too went to shit. I made extensive use of decoys and smoke though, which taught me a new respect for those particular toys.
    That and using hapless guards as human shields and bopping their buddies with rubber slugs from my SMG :)

  13. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Is this actually a stealthy tie-in to Kieron Gillen’s (late of this parish) latest issue of Phonogram?
    Probably not no.

  14. Al Bobo says:

    My experience with that mission was a bit different. I galloped 10 meters away from the front side of that building, on the opposite side of Take On Me -room, lured the sniper tower guard down with empty mag and, after interrogating the poor fellow, climbed up stairs that were conveniently placed near the front corner of the building. Then I tagged as many enemies as I could, dropped down in the room below and proceeded to tranq everyone I met.
    I learned that after hearing a strange noise 3 times in row, guards will become very suspicious. I also learned, that you can actually open doors slowly, if you hold down walk -button while opening the door. I lured 4 guards near cell room, one by one, before I understood what was going on… Then I proceeded to ballsily walk out the back door with my freed prisoner on my shoulder. A guard saw me, but I was out of his field of vision before he confirmed what he saw.
    I also went back to get that song. It was the easiest part. Just some crawling needed.
    It took 10 tries before it wen’t smoothly enough for me to accept the result.

  15. ColonelClaw says:

    “and I end up in a desperate sprint to a checkpoint in order that I don’t lose all my progress”

    Ha! It took me a few missions to figure out this little gem, but now I have I abuse it more than I perhaps should. On the unlikely occasion that a mission within an enemy base is actually going to plan, I tend to find myself running away like a little girl until I hit the auto-save area (usually only a few hundred meters). That way when I inevitably bodge it up I don’t have to do the whole thing again.

    Classic real-world military strategy i.m.o.

  16. April March says:

    Bah. There’s only space in my heart for one videogame rendition of Take On Me, and MGSV ain’t stealing its place.

  17. skabb15 says:

    You arent very bright.

  18. minawwwko says:

    For me, there was so much blood in this mission. I killed men for the sake of a-ha on demand. If that’s wrong I don’t think I want to be right.

  19. drygear says:

    I blundered my way through that like a nonlethal version of the hitman scene from Mulholland Drive. I was outside the wall and tranqued the guy on top, grabbed him and was spotted on my way back down by another guy who came to investigate. I took him out and that got someone else to come investigate. Then when I started fultoning them the guards inside the building heard and came out.