Welcome to Metal Gear Solid 5 - Metallic Archaea, the 29th main story mission of the game, following on from Code Talker.
- Eliminated the Skulls
- Extracted Code Talker
- Completed the mission without being grabbed by a puppet soldier
- Extracted the Skulls
After the previous mission's explosive cliffhanger, you're probably gagging to get right back out there. Call up your mission list and select 29-Metallic Archaea to move directly to the Sortie Prep screen. As you'll be up against fierce resistance this time around, pack some heavy munitions such as the GROM-11 rocket launcher. Next, choose Quiet as your buddy, set the Drop Time to 0600 and commence the operation.
During this mission - essentially the second half of the previous objective - you'll be tasked with fighting off the Skulls' assault in order to protect Code Talker.
Metallic Archaea: Find a safe place to fight
After your far-from-delicate landing, you'll emerge right in the heart of Nova Braga Airport. Thick mists fills the air and a horde of Skulls troops shamble toward you. Leave Code Talker where he is for now (the enemy will follow your movements and leave him well alone) and head left, travelling around to the rear of the chopper.
From here, sprint south-east, directly toward the main airport entrance - it's the one with a large watchtower on the right-hand side. Pass through the open gate then turn around so that you're facing back toward the airfield. You'll find yourself on the very edge of the mission zone here (as your iDroid will repeatedly warn you), but there's method to the madness.
Firstly, the Skulls won't follow you out of the airport gate, meaning that you'll only have to worry about attacks from a single direction. Secondly, the two large walls on either side of the entrance make excellent cover as your opponents' launch their most powerful strikes. These are the attacks that cause crystals to burst from the earth before exploding in deadly shards.
Defeat the Skulls
Immediately unleash your rocket launcher at the nearest target and keep going until he's down. Note that you'll first need to destroy your opponent's shield before you can do any physical damage. Be aware, too, that the Skulls are able to recharge their shields intermittently. As such, you'll need to work quickly and concentrate your fire on a single enemy.
Unsurprisingly, you'll get through an enormous amount of ammo during the confrontation, so immediately call in a supply drop once you're outside the airport gate. After that, get into the habit of calling in new supply drops as soon as the previous one has arrived.
Generally speaking, the battle should be pretty straightforward from this location. Be warned, however, that the Skulls' homing attacks can still reach you if you're visible through the gate. Similarly, the wall won't stop you from getting hurt if you're standing too close when a crystal explodes on the other side.
Need help with The Phantom Pain? Our Metal Gear Solid 5 guide and walkthrough explains how to complete every main story mission, and explains their many optional objectives. We also have lists of Blueprint locations, Tape locations, Key Item locations, how to unlock S Ranks and a Metal Gear Solid 5 Achievement and Trophy list.
Extract Code Talker
Once all four Skulls are down, the mist will lift and the targets will leave the area. Return to your chopper, extracting any unconscious soldiers on the way. Next, hoist Code Talker onto your shoulders and carry him to the nearby Landing Zone to complete the mission.
After the cutscene, you'll receive the Vocal Cord Parasites  and Metallic Archaea  cassette tapes, plus the Key Item [Skulls Machete] and Code Talker, Skulls and Bear emblem parts as your reward. What's more, you're now able to manufacture the Parasite Suit - granting you Skull-like abilities - but first you'll need to gather parasite samples by, yes, extracting Skulls.
- The next part of our walkthrough explains how to complete Skull Face.
- For the rest of our Metal Gear Solid 5 walkthrough, head back to the index page of this article.