* AntiClimaxBoss:
** The End and The Fear can fought very easily by just equipping thermal goggles and looking around. In addition, throwing rotten food at The Fear makes the fight against him ridiculously easy to win non-lethally.
** A common complaint leveled at the Shagohod, due to the sheer excitement generated both by Sokolov's championing of the weapon's power and the high-energy chase scene that happens before the player gets to face it head on. It's possible to immobilize it by shooting out the augers (which the player's support team will tell them to do if they happen to call them during the fight), which makes it very easy to simply snipe Volgin. [[JustifiedTrope Of course, the Shagohod has already been damaged from the explosion on the bridge.]]
--> [[MostAnnoyingSound "I can't move! What have you done? Gah, the treads!"]]
** The ability to instantly reload your weapons by un- and re-equipping them was removed in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'' primarily because of how much of a role it played in making the Shagohod a complete joke. However, it's still present in the 3DS version of ''[=MGS3=]'', nullifying the point.
* AuthorsSavingThrow: The game seems almost like an apology for the controversial aspects of its predecessor, ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'': You play as Solid Snake's [identical] father for the entire story, Raiden and his expy are lampooned repeatedly in the game and supplemental materials, and the story is very tightly-constructed and straightforward, with little in the way of lengthy, superfluous plot tangents or metafictional {{Mind Screw}}s.
* {{Anvilicious}}: Any conflict that bases itself around the idea of an eternal, absolute enemy is utterly pointless.
* [[AwesomeBosses/VideoGames Awesome Bosses]]: Though the members of the Cobra Unit don't add much to the story, the actual boss fights more than make up for it. The boss fights with The End, The Sorrow, and The Boss are considered to be some of the best in the series. The latter in particular [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped really emphasizes the]] CentralTheme [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped of the game]], and puts the finishing touches on the close mother/son relationship between The Boss and Snake, making it [[TearJerker one of the most emotional boss fights ever created]].
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: [[AwesomeMusic/MetalGear See here.]]
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: The Fury dies. Then he turns into a huge flaming skull which chases Snake around and explodes.
* CargoShip: Snake and his [[CoolGun custom 1911]] and the cardboard box.
* CompleteMonster: {{Colonel|Badass}} Yevgeny Borisovitch [[BigBad Volgin]] is a {{Sadist}} who, within minutes of appearing, fires a Davy Crockett nuke at his countrymen just to give it "a test drive," knowing full well that he won't be blamed for it, even when one of his subordinates is clinging to his arm, begging him not to. It's made very clear from his interactions with Tatyana/EVA that [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil he's a rapist]] and a sexual sadist as well, and that everyone is aware of what he does but are too powerless to really stop him. Then come one of the most vicious ColdBloodedTorture scenes in video games. It's clear he didn't care if the torture victim lives or dies before getting the proper information, as long as he gets his kicks. Then we also have the fact that Volgin, long before the events of the game, had participated in the Katyn Forest Massacre as a NKVD member, where he managed to kill over 20,000 Polish officers with his bare hands, and not only that, but he also removed their blindfolds ''before'' beating them to a pulp. He also killed several people in both the Hungarian Revolution and the East Germany Uprising, which he not only had absolutely no regrets, but even boasted about killing 100,000 anti-communist activists.
* EarWorm: "I'm stiiiiillll in a dreeaaammm, Snake Eater..."
* EvenBetterSequel: ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' showed a lot of potential that was only fully realized in this game. Add in a simpler, but still complex, and powerful character-driven story, and even those who didn't like ''[=MGS2=]'', were won over by ''Metal Gear Solid 3''.
* FandomBerserkButton: When Creator/{{Konami}} announced on June 1, 2016 that a pachislot adaptation of ''Metal Gear Solid 3'' was in development. So much so that the official trailers for the game have a ''lot'' more dislikes than likes. Not helping matters is that many fans have noted that the graphics and cutscenes featured in the trailers are gorgeous.
* FoeYay[=/=]HoYay: Ocelot and Snake, though it's [[StalkerWithACrush a little one sided]].
* FunnyAneurysmMoment:
** In one of the videos for Secret Theater, Para-Medic and Snake argue over whether Snake should kill and eat The Boss's horse, with The Boss becoming incensed enough to run off in a cartoonish fashion and presumably send some GRU soldiers to kill them in retribution. This funny video becomes a lot less funny when ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker Peace Walker]]'' has Big Boss being forced to shoot The Boss's horse to put it out of its misery after it ended up severely injured from attempting to scale and falling off the mountainous Nicaraguan/Costa Rican border in pursuit of Peace Walker.
** EVA states that the only time she gets off of her bike is when she falls in love or falls over dead. Come ''Metal Gear Solid 4''...
** A mixture of this and HarsherInHindsight, depending on how you view the mask's appearance: Because Big Boss lost the use of his right eye, and thus has to wear an eyepatch afterwards, any attempts at having him wear the Raikov Mask will show the mask constantly having its right "eye" permanently closed. Let's just say that Raiden will end up having a similar experience to both Big Boss and Solidus Snake where he ends up having his left eye removed thanks to a fight with Sam and using a bandana as a makeshift eyepatch in ''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance''.
** Sigint's nightmare may seem crass and funny at first until you notice that said walking turd monster is a huge tank with legs launching missiles at everything. What else is a walking tank on two legs that can launch missiles at everything? [[spoiler:Metal Gear. Sigint, who later in his life becomes the DARPA Chief, would go on to assist in the development of Metal Gear REX, ironically letting his nightmare come true.]]
* GameBreaker:
** The game gives you a silenced handgun [[DiscOneNuke almost right off the bat]]. The tranquilizer gun is significantly harder to use this time around, due to no LaserSight and the ridiculous size of its silencer, but the [=M1911A1=] is practically a buffed SOCOM, since the gun now takes up less of the screen, making it easier to use in first-person. Again, ridiculous accuracy, making it capable of across-the-map headshots, common ammo, and on top of that its CQC compatible. Abusing it means you should never be in Alert mode. Almost seems to be lampshaded with Snake's infamous DescriptionPorn when EVA first gives it to him, and who goes on to give a three minute lecture to Sigint about how great a gun it is.
** The {{shotgun|sAreJustBetter}} in a straight fight. A single shell can and will [[BlownAcrossTheRoom knock over several mooks]] and it can even take The Boss off her feet. [[StopHavingFunGuys Many multiplayer servers actually banned it for this reason]].
** The Photo Camo feature in the [[UsefulNotes/Nintendo3DS 3DS]] [[UpdatedRerelease version]], which generates in-game camouflages from photos taken with the 3DS' cameras, can make camouflages that make the Camo Index 100%, normally only available with the [[NewGamePlus Stealth Camouflage item]] or the Moss Camo (obtained by holding up [[ThatOneBoss The End]], and you get a 100% camo rating only in the area where you fight him, which has no enemies, and which you leave immediately after the battle). And it's available ''[[DiskOneNuke at the very start of the game]]''.
* GoodBadBugs:
** If you heal your crossbow wounds during the fight with The Fear but neglect to remove the bolts themselves, eventually your health will regenerate to full anyway. By that point, you will no longer be able to remove the bolts, and you spend the rest of the game running around as a human pincushion.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPoI-un5y40 The Infinite Puke Glitch.]]
* HilariousInHindsight:
** In the Japanese version, Naked Snake is voiced by Creator/AkioOhtsuka, who also provided the voice of Solid and Solidus Snake, while Zero is voiced by Creator/BanjoGinga, who previously voiced Solid Snake's nemesis, Liquid Snake. [[spoiler:While Snake and Zero were friends, their relationship began to resembled that of Solid and Liquid's to say the least, as we find out in ''Metal Gear Solid 4''.]]
** The Boss and Ocelot don't get along very much, which is hilarious because [[spoiler: she is his mother, though neither of them are aware of this. It gets even more hilarious when you realize that both deeply admire and respect Naked Snake]].
** Naked Snake having nightmares relating to vampires gets hysterical after Creator/HideoKojima, the series creator, ends up involved in the creation of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow''.
** The radio conversation with Para-Medic where she speculates that attack dogs might be replaced with robotic duplicates becomes even more hysterical with the advent of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BigDog BigDog]] a year later.
** The pre-fight images for Boss Rush in ''Subsistence'' gets even funnier once Solid Snake is included in ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl'', which possesses a similar pre-fight screen.
** Mixed in with WhatCouldHaveBeen: At one point, the developers considered making phase 2 of the Shagohod be a fusion between it and a WIG aircraft, with it then transforming and launching the gun, and assuming that Volgin joyriding it was still present, it would have likely resulted in Snake and Volgin fighting it out on the WIG. Apparently, Volgin had taken some notes from [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger Johann Schmidt]], and these notes would eventually be reviewed by [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil5 Albert Wesker]].
** Raiden being mistaken for Raikov by Volgin when the former ends up inadvertently trapping himself in a jail cell in a failed attempt to kill Naked Snake in the Secret Theatre film "Metal Gear Raiden: Snake Eraser" becomes a bit more amusing when ''Portable Ops'' reveals that Raikov ''does'' end up in a jail cell, although at a completely different place, and was intended to be in there. Also, at the end of the clip, Raiden and Rosemary speculated that he'll be the star of ''Metal Gear Solid 5''. [[VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance He isn't that far off the mark, actually]]. He actually ''does'' appear in a bonus mission in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVGroundZeroes'', and, like the video, travels back in time. To help Big Boss, though, not kill him.
** The ''Snake Eraser'' video is hilarious when you consider that Creator/QuintonFlynn now voices [[Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog a certain hedgehog who also]] [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006 traveled back]] [[VideoGame/SonicRivals in time]].[[note]]Although Flynn didn't voice Raiden in ''Snake Eraser'', nor did he voice Silver in ''Sonic '06'' or ''Rivals''; it's still pretty funny.[[/note]]
** The UpdatedRerelease added a trophy for interrogating soldiers called [[Series/TwentyFour "Tell Me Where the Bomb Is"]]. Now consider [[Creator/KieferSutherland who]] Big Boss' voice actor is in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidV''...
** One of the segments of the ''Snake vs. Monkey'' minigame is called "Dawn of the Apes". [[Film/DawnOfThePlanetOfTheApes Nearly a decade later...]]
* ItWasHisSled: Naked Snake is Big Boss. In an interesting variation, knowing this twist beforehand isn't detrimental to the experience, as it makes the game's role as a prequel more explicit.
* MagnificentBastard: Ocelot, obviously.
* MemeticBadass:
** The Ladder.
** The shotgun. Not even The Boss can stand up to its mighty blast.
* MemeticMutation:
** "You've created a time paradox! You can't go changing the future like that!" Thanks to the UpdatedRerelease, we also have [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim "Problem Solved, Series Over"]].
** Dubbing the Snake Eater theme song over sequences of game characters climbing really long ladders.
** Young Ocelot spawned a few as well, such as "You're pretty good" and the cowboy hand gesture.
** "MROW!"
** Continuing the trend, a major antagonist uses the legendary phrase "it's not over yet!"
** "I'M COVERED IN BEES!"
** Particularly long ladders in games tend to get a [=YouTube=] result putting the theme of the game over it, in reference to [[OverlyLongGag the very long ladder]] where the theme song plays in the game.
* MoralEventHorizon: Volgin crosses this right after he's introduced, [[spoiler: launching a ''portable nuclear warhead'' at a rival research facility just to "give it a test drive."]] The whole time, Ocelot is clinging to his arm, ''begging him not to.'' When one of the greatest {{Magnificent Bastard}}s in history disapproves of you betraying your countrymen like that, you know you've crossed the line big time.
* MostAnnoyingSound:
** If you blow up an area's food storage depot with TNT, enemies will ''never'' shut up about how hungry they are until you move on to another area.
** The Hind helicopter flying around the mountain areas is ''extremely'' loud, only worsened by its jarring contrast to the low-key jungle noises that has served as the aural backdrop for the game for most of the time leading up to it. Combine it with an alert status, heralded by an equally loud siren, and you'd best turn the volume down for your ears' sake.
** The repetitive boss battle dialogue: The Pain and his "TOMMY GUN!"; The Fear constantly shouting his name; and worst of all, Volgin both calling his attacks ''and'' complaining every time you disable the Shagohod's treads.
*** Hell, Volgin's voice in general.
* {{Narm}}: [[Narm/MetalGear See here.]]
* NarmCharm: In the ending, [[spoiler: after Snake shoots The Boss, her scar proceeds to ''turn into an actual snake'' and crawl away. Even more inexplicably, the white grass lilies covering the area all turn red.]]
* NightmareFuel:
** Snake's [[spoiler:failure of Virtuous Mission, culminating in a massive nuclear detonation, [[IncrediblyLamePun the political fallout]] and ratcheting military tensions, and Snake being hospitalized with life-threatening wounds for a week after the mission]].
** The rather infamous cutscene where Volgin [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown beats Snake to a pulp]] shortly after being captured.
** The torture sequence qualifies. According to the Director's Commentary, they even had to remove a potential questionaire game in the torture sequence specifically because the torture itself was far too disturbing as it was, and adding it in would have increased it.
** The boss fight with The Sorrow, which is implied to take place as part of a near-death experience for Snake. You are tormented by the souls of everyone you've killed in the game thus far and they all appear in a very graphic fashion.
* OneSceneWonder: Granin, Raikov, Johnny, and all the Cobras (except The Boss and The Sorrow) since they don't get much screentime outside their boss battles.
* PlayerPunch: The death of [[spoiler:The Boss]] is generally considered one of the biggest, if not ''the'' biggest, player punch in the entire series. Only made worse by the fact that the player has to pull the trigger.
* PolishedPort: The'' HD Edition'' runs at 60fps (twice the original UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 framerate), and in 720p HD. The only problem is that the controls are changed on Xbox 360, due to the controller not having analog buttons. Also of note is that it makes The End ''much'' easier to see, though whether this is good or bad depends on whether or not you enjoyed the fight.
* RecycledScript:
** The basic plot premise of the game, and a love interest who abandons Snake in Alaska, is a rehash of ''VideoGame/MetalGear2SolidSnake''.
** The love interest turning out to be a spy but still loved the main character was already in ''Metal Gear Solid 2''.
* SacredCow: You do ''not'' speak negatively about this game among ''Metal Gear'' fans. Even speaking negatively about it among non-fans is generally considered [[{{Troll}} trolling]] by its very nature. In fact, one of the big reasons for the outrage over Konami's ''Metal Gear'' pachinko machine was that it wasn't just any ''Metal Gear'' pachinko machine, but a ''Snake Eater'' pachinko machine.
* ScrappyMechanic:
** It can get a little irritating having to pause the game and flick through the various menus every time Snake is injured, particularly with bosses like Volgin who injure you almost every time they hit you. Ditto for the camouflage system, which ''is'' a pretty cool idea, it's just time-consuming to constantly readjust your uniform. This is probably why the camouflage system in ''Metal Gear Solid 4'' was changed to an automatic system and why health restoration went back to the old "eat ration, gain back life" mechanic. Supposedly {{justified|Trope}} by the game taking place during the freakin' ''Cold War'', so advanced methods of camouflage and healing (the latter due to nanomachines) hadn't been invented yet.
** The bag is very annoying. Snake can only a carry a limited amount of object to change freely. Whenever you need something else you need pause the menu.
** The CQC. Try not killing a soldier accidentally during an interrogation.
** When standing back up, Snake will get on his knees. In order to stand up, the player must press X ''again''. Many a time, simply trying to walk too soon will result in Snake going back into the prone position again.
* {{Squick}}:
** Knocking out EVA near the end of the game will cause her to moan in her sleep. Each of the three moans is "Mmm...Oh, (someone), that feels so good." The first is Snake, the second is [[HoYay The Boss]], and the third is, um, "[[CrackPairing Fido]]."[[labelnote:Explanation]]In context, the dream about The Boss is in reference of when The Boss carried EVA's bags, while Fido is a reference of EVA dreaming about the day when she finally got her dog housebroken. This is only revealed in a couple of optional radio conversations in Bolshaya Past South.[[/labelnote]]
** If you read EVA's medical history, you will learn that she has [[spoiler:[[YouDoNotWantToKnow Proctitis]]]].[[note]]For those who are wondering, it's an [[spoiler: inflammation of the rectum]].[[/note]]
** [[FanDisservice Raikov's underwear.]] In case anyone ''really'' doesn't know, he's wearing a thong.
** The way that The End bulges out his eyeballs. He does that trick in all but one cutscene he is in.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: "There is no such thing as an enemy in absolute terms." The entire game is built around that message, and reminds you of it every chance it gets. Its relevance to The Boss' life is what gives it such a huge emotional weight.
* TakeThatScrappy: Not only is the Raiden expy portrayed as an absolutely terrible human being, the mission ''demands'' he be at very least beaten up and hidden in a locker in only his embarrassing underwear. ''Subsistence''[='=]s "Secret Theater" deals this to the real Raiden as well.
* ThatOneLevel: Fighting Volgin? Piece of cake. Fighting both forms of the Shagohod? No problem. [[RuleOfThree Escorting a wounded EVA through the woods?]] [[ThisIsGonnaSuck Hair-pulling excruciating]]. She loses stamina fast and constantly has to eat to keep it up. Knocking her out or tranquilizing her doesn't help either because she moans in her sleep, alerting enemy soldiers who might be nearby. Good luck keeping your sanity (and your food) with this one.
* UncannyValley:
** The Cobra unit minus The Boss.
** Granin has a very detailed face that's stuck in one expression, in contrast to the game's otherwise excellent facial animations.
* WhatAnIdiot: Volgin. The guy reveals secret information when he is supposed be interrogating Naked Snake... Twice! The worst thing is that in the second one he knew that the base was going to explode and he just stays there with the enemy.
* WinBackTheCrowd: ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' had very much divided the fanbase as to its virtues, with many disliking the postmodernist plot and large amounts of backtracking (as well as Raiden). ''3'' has a much more straightfoward plot, minimal backtracking, you play as Solid Snake's father, and was duly greeted with cries that all was forgiven.
* TheWoobie: Quite a few characters, actually:
** Naked Snake reluctantly participates in a mission that he knows full well will result in his mentor's death since it was either that or be falsely branded an accomplice to his mentor's supposed treason and then executed, and his woobieness increases after he learns that The Boss never even committed treason at all, that it was a Fake Defection gone wrong.
** The Boss also qualifies, as she had a lot of things taken away from her, including her father[[note]]Was killed by the Philosophers due to his revealing information about them that they didn't want revealed, and it's even worse as it's implied that he was the last of the founders to die.[[/note]], her son[[note]]She couldn't even so much as hold him due to the Philosophers abducting him shortly after birth.[[/note]], any chances of her having another child[[note]]Irradiation from Nevada nuclear testing that she took part of rendered her infertile.[[/note]], her lover[[note]]She was ordered to go to Tselinoyarsk to battle The Sorrow, an order that is heavily implied to be carried out with reluctance on her part.[[/note]], and eventually even her own life[[note]]Thanks to either an exceptionally bad method of planning, or as later games hint, a deliberate attempt to screw her over, her Fake Defection to retrieve the Philosophers' Legacy went horribly wrong due to Volgin deciding to use the Davy Crockett to destroy the Sokolov Design Bureau and nearly cause a Nuclear War.[[/note]] and legacy[[note]]she will be remembered as one of the most vile war criminals and traitors in recorded history, and while they both had the best of intentions, her last will is misinterpreted and twisted beyond recognition by Snake and Zero.[[/note]].
** Raikov, retroactively, seemed to be of a JerkassWoobie: His later appearance in ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPortableOps Portable Ops]]'' did not highlight his abusive nature outside the reference to his past abuse when recruiting him, and he was also shown to hide in a bathroom when his men are confronting an enemy in ''Snake Eater''. These facts as well as some evidence from ''Portable Ops'' seemed to imply that his abuse of the soldiers isn't simply due to sadism for sadism's sake, but because he thinks that's how he should gain Volgin's favor.
** Sokolov. All the man wanted to do was make rockets for space exploration. Then he gets roped into developing weapons for the Soviets. He escapes over the Berlin Wall in an operation that saw him traveling 600 miles to be reunited with his wife and daughter, at the end of which he was so exhausted he had to go to the hospital. He leaves the hospital only to find he's going ''back'' to end the Cuban Missile Crisis and is dragged off ''begging'' for help. When the ''next'' rescue attempt ends in him getting abducted ''again'', he finds himself working for Volgin on a weapon of mass destruction. [[spoiler: The events of the game see him being humiliated by Ocelot, manipulated by EVA and shot [[KneeCapping in the knees]], tortured and (it's heavily implied) murdered by Volgin. He shows up alive in ''Portable Ops'', but the canon status of that entry is disputed.]]
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''Snake! You can't do that! The future will be changed! You'll create a time paradox!''