Characters / Metal Gear
aka: Metal Gear 1987

This page lists characters who first appeared in the original Metal Gear.

For other characters in the franchise, see the Metal Gear character index at Characters.Metal Gear.

Characters that debuted in Metal Gear:

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    Solid Snake ("!")
"Kept you waiting, huh?"
Click here  to see Snake in MGS1
Click here  to see Snake in MGS4

AKA: Old Snake, Iroquois Pliskin, David

Voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka (JP), David Hayter (EN)

"I only felt truly alive when I was staring Death in the face. I don't know, maybe it's written into my genes."

The star of the show for much of the Metal Gear series, Solid Snake is an infiltration specialist whose exploits usually revolve around destroying the titular Metal Gears, nuclear-armed Humongous Mecha whose very existence shifts the balance of power in the world dramatically. Through this, he becomes entangled in a massive web of control and deceit centered around The Patriots, a shadowy Ancient Conspiracy group that has been engaged in clandestine wars for decades.

The jump to 3-D gaming drastically expanded Snake's character, with the revelation that he was shaken up pretty badly during the MSX era, and that he's actually a laboratory-grown clone of his recurring enemy, Big Boss. He becomes a hermit in the interim, but is forcibly pulled out of retirement when Metal Gear rears its ugly head yet again. The Alaska incident has the benefit of pairing Snake with his future partner, Otacon; Together, the duo combine their brains and brawn to delay the proliferation of Metal Gear, whether it be by lobbying the U.N., or simply blowing up every prototype in sight.

Eventually, Snake's flawed clone DNA catches up with him, and he prematurely ages into an old man. The character was officially and canonically retired in MGS4, with recent games focusing on the past adventures of Big Boss and one focusing on the later adventures of Raiden — though Hideo Kojima muses about bringing Snake back someday.

Whilst Snake is indisputably The Hero of the Metal Gear universe, due to the story's non-linear approach he is only the player character for roughly half of the games in the series. The other two protagonists in the franchise are his father Big Boss and protege Raiden.
  • '80s Hair: God, that mullet...
    • Slightly less mullety in the second game, more just generally longish and held back by the bandanna. It's most obviously such while disguised as Pliskin and not wearing said bandanna. But he is totally rocking the old man mullet in MGS4.
  • Action Dad: Snake counts as this once foster daughter Sunny comes into his life.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: How he beats Big Boss in Metal Gear 2.
  • Afraid of Needles: Drebin asked if he was this before injecting him with a syringe to update his nanos in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In this case, his fear, or rather, hesitance, was perfectly justified, as the previous time he got an injection before a mission, it turned out the person injected him with an unwanted gift (FOXDIE). He should have followed that gut instinct.
  • Alliterative Codename: Solid Snake.
  • Anti-Antichrist: He was originally created, along with his brothers, to enforce the Patriots' will (albeit unknowingly), but he eventually managed to destroy them and save the planet from their control.
  • Anti-Hero: A cynical man who nevertheless does the right thing, though some have suggested that he isn't really all that good.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: He doubts whether or not his actions will make a difference in the long run and knows how brutal and senseless life can be, but still devotes himself to the cause of creating a more just, peaceful world by stopping the proliferation of superweapons, especially Metal Gears.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite living in a world where Humongous Mechas, Psychic Powers, and cyborg ninjas are commonplace, Snake refuses to believe that Vamp is truly immortal. Unlike most examples of this trope, he turns out to be right.
  • Ate His Gun: Subverted. See Driven to Suicide below.
  • Badass Baritone: Especially in Japanese. In English, it's more of a growl.
  • Badass Bookworm: While not on the level of say, Otacon's mastery of engineering or Liquid explaining Asymmetry theory, Snake is proficient in just about anything that has bearing on military science. He also understands more about biology than Liquid does, as he demonstrates knowledge of apoptosis and genetics in his private conversation with Naomi.
  • Badass Grandpa: In MGS4 due to Clone Degeneration.
  • Badass Mustache: In MGS4.
  • Badass Normal: Is able to take on a world of cyborgs, psychics, and supernaturally empowered warriors and win.
    • Some argue this distinction, as he was a clone of Big Boss. However, there are indications that the geneticists considered him a flawed copy (most tellingly, Solidus and Big Boss were more physically robust, and Snake's training seems to have been less intense than Solidus' or Liquid's), so the trope is averted in spirit. Remember too that he is the clone of a regular man, Big Boss was by all accounts a normal human with no modifications whatsoever. Despite being a clone of a legendary soldier that soldier was still a badass normal.
    • Incredibly one-sided battles he's managed to win with only on-site-procured weapons include: a Hind-D helicopter, one piloted by a guy who used it to take down two F-16s, a tank with only grenades, a giant crazy-lady-piloted robot wolf, and at least two giant war-robots on separate occasions.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: His trademark accessory is the bandana he constantly wears.
  • Bad Liar: While not as bad of a liar as, say, Roy Campbell or even his father Big Boss, it is clear that he isn't all that good at lying, as evidenced with his first appearance in the Plant chapter of MGS2: he states that he got to the Big Shell via a fast-rope descent from a Navy Chopper, yet that exact moment one of the sea lice from earlier falls off of him. Likewise, he disguises himself as a Navy SEAL, yet he gets portions of his uniform wrong (headsets are only used for commanders, who are kept off the battlefield at all costs), and he quotes the wrong military mottos (he says "Semper Fi" and "Who Dares, Wins", which are the Marines and the British Special Air Service mottos, respectively). Also overlaps into Paper-Thin Disguise.
    • Then, when MGS4 comes around, he tells Meryl that the UN sent him to the Middle East to do threat assessment on the local PMCs and see how they're affecting their refugee protection efforts. Meryl, having heard rumors of an assassin targeting Liquid Ocelot (which is what Snake was really there for), is not fooled.
  • Bag of Spilling: Lampshaded in Sons of Liberty, when his stealth camo shorts out in the opening cutscene. Drat.
    • Subverted, however, during the second guard invasion aboard Arsenal Gear. Snake tosses out infinite ammo to the player, having brought along his ∞ bandanna.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Played with, as the in-universe explanation as to why he never used CQC before MGS4 is because of Big Boss' betrayal; in his words, it didn't feel right using the fighting style of "a man who betrayed his unit." He uses it now because Big Boss' Cold War-era exploits were declassified after the Big Shell Incident, meaning most soldiers on the battlefields of 4 know CQC, and Snake's first response to someone using it on him is to respond in kind.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: He does not like it when someone calls him a hero.
  • Being Good Sucks: And he is well-aware of this. Unlike Big Boss, he pulls through everything life threw at him, but his perseverance kept him from going down the same path as his father. While others want to save the world, he does it his way. Even if it means "living like a pariah".
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Raiden. In Revengeance, he recalls that Snake was the best combat veteran he'd ever seen, a man who absolutely did not know how to quit or fail. Notably, Snake hands his sidearm and cigarettes to Raiden when they first meet in the Big Shell, realizing the poor newbie was sent in without any gear, just like Snake was all those miserable times.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rather than Raiden who defeats Solidus, in the interactive graphic novel, Snake is the one who defeats him. Solidus rants that he is Big Boss' greatest son while Snake is a mistake. Snake, who doesn't even care, took him out in one stroke.
  • Big "NO!": Gives out one as Raiden is squashed by Outer Haven.
  • Blood Knight: Heavily implied in Metal Gear Solid by Liquid Snake, Psycho Mantis, and Meryl Silverburgh (and she's one of the good guys, to boot) to enjoy killing and battle, and in Psycho Mantis's case, is arguably worse than Liquid Snake.
    • This is one of the central conflicts of his character. When he fails in living a peaceful lifestyle (similar to his father), Snake decides to put his Blood Knight tendencies to use for good.
  • Busman's Holiday: Runs to the ends of the earth just to never see another Metal Gear again... unaware that the Army is building a new one on his doorstep. D'oh.
  • Broken Ace: Especially in MGS1.
  • Broken Pedestal: Snake, still bitter over Big Boss' numerous betrayals, is one of the last people to recognize his achievements. Despite that, Snake is hinted to still harbor some respect for his old CO, as he becomes livid when he sees Solidus impersonating Big Boss, as well as the fact that he visits and even salutes Big Boss' grave in MGS4.
  • Byronic Hero
    Solid Snake: I'm just a man who's good at what he does, killing. There's no winning or losing for a mercenary. I've never fought for anyone but myself, I've got no purpose in life, no ultimate goal. It's only when I'm cheating death on the battlefield, the only time I feel truly alive.
  • Cain and Abel: With Liquid and Solidus.
  • Can't Stay Normal: After the events of the first Metal Gear Solid, he attempted to settle down and live a normal life with Meryl, but eventually gave up and returned to the battlefield.
  • Character Development: Goes from being a jaded, cynical jerk who could care less about anything but completing the mission to live another day to a jaded cynical jerk who does what he does because it's the right thing to do and no one else will do it.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Not quite as much as Big Boss, perhaps, but the cutscenes in the Metal Gear Solid remake showed him pulling some ridiculous maneuvers. In Metal Gear Solid 4, Snake is still very strong despite his biological age because his sneaking suit augments his strength.
  • Child Soldier: Arguably one, as he was raised within the military.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Snake exhibits this trait to several beautiful women, especially to Meryl, whom he notes has a cute butt, and to Mei Ling, too.
  • Clones Are People, Too: He's his own person, and is explicitly described as Big Boss' son.
  • Cloning Blues: The Sons of Big Boss are all plagued with flawed DNA, a safety measure to prevent their genetic material from being copied by America's rivals.
  • Clone Degeneration: The reason for his Rapid Aging in MGS4.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Well known for his unorthodox tactics, like using grenades on a tank. Furthermore, he has no qualms against killing dogs to protect himself.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: His Eastern Europe disguise in Act 3 of MGS4 consists of this along with a FaceCamo of his younger self.
  • Cool Old Guy: To some extent...
  • Covert Pervert: Hinted at in Codec conversations with Raiden in the second Solid game.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Part of the reason he starts using CQC again in MGS4. He explains that the PMCs are all using "cookie cutter imitations" that they read about, and when they attempt to use it on him, he reflexively responds with the original techniques he learned directly from Big Boss.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Liquid referred to himself and Snake as "the brother of light" and "the brother of dark" — while who is who in unspecified, Snake is a grizzled, bitter looking man usually wearing dark clothing (contrasting his brother's light-skinned bare chest).
    • Big Mama specifically refers to him as a "shadow, which no light can shine on."
    • Then again, considering Mantis' statement about Snake deduced from what is strongly implied to be mind and past reading, Snake himself might have been Dark Is Evil. "Have been" is the key phrase.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments, such as during his confrontation with Vulcan Raven, where he quips that Raven must have "excelled at the Muktuk Eating contest" in the Eskimo-Indian Olympics.
    • A lot of his dialogue in the comic adaptation is given this kind of spin - it has the effect of adding more humour to what is otherwise a very serious adaptation, in exchange for making him a little bit more of a Jerk Ass.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In MGS2, and only MGS2.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Part of his Metal Gear Solid character arc.
  • Determinator: Oh god yes. He crawls out of a microwave hallway with his fingertips!
    • It's the only reason Old Snake is still alive from start to finish.
    • It's implied by Big Boss in the fourth game's ending that this is what enabled to Snake not to end up like him despite all the betrayals and manipulations he endured.
  • Dead Guy Junior: He shares his first name with Major Zero, Big Boss' CO and close friend until their later falling out over the goals of the Patriots.
  • Death Seeker: At times. See Gallows Humor below.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the most basic Archetype in Hollywood: the badass Action Hero who blows bad guys to hell and gets the girl. Rather than being a hardcore larger than life hero, Snake ends up becoming a traumatized mess of a man in response to the hell he's put through throughout his adventures. And, while several women do show some interest in him, the closest he comes to being in any sort of long-term relationship is with Otacon.
  • Dirty Old Man: Considering what's happening to him by Metal Gear Solid 4, he comes pretty close to the trope by his appearance and reading Playboys to increase his psyche gauge (not to mention giving implied regret of retiring too soon when he hears that Mei Ling apparently got a promotion after catching an eye with an admiral that was implied to be of this trope), even if he is technically middle-aged.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Two in MGS4:
    • After the REX vs. RAY showdown on Shadow Moses, he ends up dislocating his shoulder, rendering him unable to aim his gun properly as Liquid makes his getaway on Outer Haven.
    • While crawling through Outer Haven's microwave corridor, his Solid Eye and OctoCamo Sneaking Suit are completely fried.
  • Driven to Suicide: In MGS4, Solid Snake intends to kill himself at a graveyard in order to prevent himself from infecting the world with FOXDIE. It was subverted, though, as he ultimately couldn't go through with it, plus it turned out killing himself proved to be completely unnecessary anyway.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Snake mentions after revealing his identity to Raiden that before Shadow Moses, he took to heavily drinking while living in isolation at Alaska.
  • Evil Counterpart: Psycho Mantis, during his dying speech, proclaims that Solid Snake is this to Liquid Snake, stating that he was as bad as Liquid after declaring that he saw true evil, which was Snake, before correcting himself and states that he's actually worse than Liquid. By the end of the game, people will be far more likely to conclude that the opposite is true.
    • YMMV, but Liquid was seeking to use REX and Shadow Moses to revive Outer Haven and eventually take down the Patriots' control of the world. While he was only doing that to surpass his father, he still had a somewhat noble goal. He also wanted Big Boss's corpse so that he could repair the flaw in his soldier's genetic modifications before it killed them. Solid was there, unknowingly, under the orders and control of the Patriots to stop Liquid and resecure their domination and control of the world. He also, sort of, willingly went along with the mission because he missed being in battle. As Liquid said, he enjoyed all the killing. In this way, Liquid really was the good guy and Solid was the bad guy.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Snake really hates it when people call him "Old Snake". In fact, just hearing the moniker takes a quarter of his psyche out.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The Solid Eye System.
  • Expy: Snake began as an amalgam of eighties action heroes, most notably Snake Plissken of Escape from New York. Hideo Kojima is a self-proclaimed fan of that film.
    • Other influences include Michael Biehn from The Terminator, Sylvester Stallone in Rambo (the bandanna), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Snake's physique) and Christopher Walken (Snake's face in MGS1 is modeled on Walken's in his youth). As a consequence, Snake's adventures have a distinct 80's Hollywood flavor to them, especially the music. The MGS1 soundtrack, while darker and more modern, still has a lingering synth element to it.
    • Old Snake is Lee Van Cleef, particularly in going from Perma-Stubble to a Porn Stache.
  • Face Death with Dignity: His attitude towards his eventual demise in MGS4.
  • Failure Hero: One of the greatest examples in all of fiction. His actions throughout the series effectively keep The Patriots in a position of power, meaning that every game ends with the Greater-Scope Villain winning. Then Snake and his adoptive family destroy them forever in Metal Gear Solid 4.
  • Faking the Dead: Snake is lured into an explosive-rigged oil tanker in Sons of Liberty. Luckily Otacon is standing by with a boat. Rather than wait for the Patriots to take another shot at them, the duo go into hiding and are presumed dead. They later turn up on the Big Shell while masquerading as SEAL operatives.
  • Feeling Their Age: Due to accelerated aging, Snake feels this way for the entirety of Metal Gear Solid 4. For example, when he crouches and walks for too long, his back suffers, which didn't used to happen in previous installments. It also helps to mention that his hair is gray in this game just to add to the fact.
  • Female Gaze: Even as an old man, he has a truly fantastic ass, something that's emphasised by certain camera angles and outfit choices throughout MGS2 and MGS4.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Mentioned a few times in his appearances. The first time was in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake when encountering Big Boss at Zanzibar Land, where he states that he took the mission to get rid of the nightmares relating to Outer Heaven that he experienced since his mission to Outer Heaven. In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, it’s strongly implied that Snake was suffering from nightmares from Shadow Moses (contacting Pliskin while Snake is asleep will have him mumbling something before abruptly screaming Liquid's name, presumably this part was during their fight on REX). Finally, in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, not only does Snake have a nightmare regarding his entry into Shadow Moses, the player even plays the nightmare in Act 4.
  • Foil: To Big Boss. Both experience horrible events, both are subjected to betrayal and treason, and both are made to suffer. But while Big Boss embraces his hatred and vengeance, Snake defies it. Big Boss kills to get his vengeance, while Snake kills for the greater good.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Gray Fox. In the first Metal Gear Solid, he outright tells Naomi that even if he and Fox were technically on opposite sides during the Zanzibar Land incident, he still viewed him as his friend.
  • Gallows Humor: His reaction to discovering just what Outer Haven's microwave hallway will do to someone is:
    "You'd have to have a death wish to go in there. Sounds like the perfect job for me."
  • Genius Bruiser: He is shown to know some history pretty well, and was stated to have an IQ of 180 and fluent in at least six languages (including English and French). He's also good at infiltration and combat.
  • Godzilla Threshold: It's part of the In-Universe justification for him using CQC in 4. He always knew how, but he refused to use it because of Big Boss betraying everyone after the events of the first Metal Gear. That said, with everyone using CQC to some extent as of 4, his more authentic variation of such becomes his own personal Godzilla.
  • Good Counterpart: To Big Boss. (Almost) identical DNA, similar lives, skills, trials and tribulations, but Snake didn't allow his trauma to make him pull a Face–Heel Turn. Lampshaded by Big Boss himself in their final meeting, who commends him for this.
  • Good Is Not Nice: When Snake asks you a question, it's best to answer truthfully.
    • Otacon of all people was on the receiving end of this during their first encounter; when Otacon parrots the party line about REX strictly being a missile-defense system, Snake unexpectedly snaps and throttles him in a rage.
    • He is shown to be willing to save the world from itself, although that doesn't stop him from sometimes acting like a jerk towards his friends, and at one point manipulate a person into getting himself captured in a really complex method of Trojan Prisoner. Otacon reassures the victim that it was kindly meant.
  • Good Old Ways: Snake has a low opinion of virtually every 21st-century soldier he encounters. He regards the flashy, inexperienced Genome Soldiers as all hat and no cattle; the next-generation VR soldiers as clowns; the twitchy rookie Meryl as a total liability. Several times in MGS4, he expresses disdain for the SOP nanomachines and unmanned weapons.
  • Guest Fighter: In DreamMix TV World Fighters and Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
  • Guttural Growler: In the English dub, especially in MGS4. However, one could argue that his voice isn't like that just for the sake of it: he is both old and a lifelong smoker. Apparently, the drastic upgrade in Snake's growling from Metal Gear Solid 2 to Metal Gear Solid 4 was David Hayter's idea; he thought that Snake's voice would completely fall apart as he prematurely aged. His voice for Naked Snake/Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is almost as growly, but still young-sounding, while his older Big Boss voice for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is as harsh as Old Snake's but doesn't sound as sickly.
    • He hits on girls half his age! He hits on his support staff! He broods over whether to ask Otacon's permission to date his baby sister! The man has a healthy libido, let's leave it at that.
    • He's less of a ladies' man than his behavior would suggest, as his war experiences have severely harmed his ability to open up to other people. Meryl was more than a woman, she was a combat buddy; and even she dumped him.
  • Hates Small Talk: Another surefire way to piss him off is digging into his personal life.
    • He comments in MGS1 that he and Grey Fox — supposedly his closest friend in the world — never talked about anything personal. Just endless conversations about rations and rifle clips, apparently. "Sort of an unwritten rule."
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Variation in Metal Gear Solid 4. Because of his rapidly aging body, the FOXDIE virus that Naomi Hunter injected into him during the Shadow Moses Incident was slowly mutating to the point that, by the time three months passed, FOXDIE would kill indiscriminately within three months before killing Snake in another three months, all after he spent his life eliminating Metal Gears, he would essentially become a bioweapon, something Naomi even lampshades. It was barely subverted, however, when Big Boss reveals that the new FOXDIE Drebin injected him with uprooted the old, meaning he was no longer a biological threat to the world.
  • The Hero: Solid Snake isn't the only Player Character in the series, but his contributions are the most significant, successfully undoing almost all the damage done by Fallen Hero Big Boss and Greater Scope Villains The Patriots.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: ... though he'll tell you otherwise.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: He's been branded a criminal since the Shadow Moses incident, and was framed as an ecoterrorist by the Patriots during the Manhattan incident. Of course, he doesn't really mind this.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: As a retiree, Snake coped with his demons by becoming a dogsled racer, raising fifty huskies in his cabin. He was even preparing to compete in the Iditarod when Campbell yanked him back into action. Snake is fond of wolves, as well (though the feeling isn't mutual).
    • Despite this, Snake admittedly has no qualms against killing attack dogs to protect himself, much to Otacon's horror.
    • Turns out this was one of the qualities he's inherited from his dad, Big Boss.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Says more than once that he's no hero, just another killer.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Otacon. Neither has much luck with the ladies, they travel the world together, raise Sunny as joint foster parents, and bicker like an old married couple. He used to be this with Gray Fox, too.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Strongly implied to be such by Vulcan Raven:
    Vulcan Raven: You are a snake which was not created by Nature. You and the Boss... you are from another world... a world that I do not wish to know.
    • Given the existence of the supernatural, the concept of destiny, and Snake's heritage that is both memetic and genetic, Vulcan Raven may have been onto something there. Whatever the case, Snake is superior to a world full of ghosts, monsters, psychics, giant robots, and killer AIs. Whether this is merely the case of his tried-and-true badassery or also of an inexplicable innate nature can be debated.
  • Hunk: Hands down, the undisputed champion of this trope when it comes to this series. Handsome as hell, muscular as hell, manly as hell. And age'll be damned—he's still a certified hunk even after he sports gray hairs. This man's truly one of a kind.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Snake's a good agent, but chafes at being kept in the dark about his mission. He naturally keeps Raiden in the dark about absolutely everything in MGS2.
  • Iconic Item: His bandanna. Also his cigarettes. Snake somehow manages to smuggle his cigs into every mission, despite being forbidden to bring anything along.
    Snake: Sorry to disappoint you, but I did manage to smuggle out my smokes.
    Naomi: (exasperated) How did you do that?
    Snake: In my stomach. Thanks to that shot you gave me which suppressed my stomach acids.
  • Identical Grandson: Played With. He is an identical clone of Big Boss, but was gestated, birthed, and grew up just like any other "normal" person. He is also consistently referred to as Big Boss' son, not his clone.
  • I Read It for the Articles: It is strongly implied that Solid Snake has other reasons for possessing dirty magazines besides using them as bait to distract enemies. In Metal Gear Solid 2, he refers to the magazines as having "educational value" when trying to convince Raiden that having them isn't that bad, and if the player reads the magazines in the model viewer in Metal Gear Solid 4, his Psyche Gauge goes up. Because of his aging problem in the latter game, it also in a way overlaps into Dirty Old Man.
  • I Work Alone: He's also not a fan of rookie soldiers. FOXHOUND trained him to procure weapon on-site and leave no trace; they didn't prepare him for some trigger-happy fool blundering into his line of fire.
  • Idiot Hair: A forelock is always sticking out of place on Snake's forehead, though Snake himself is far from stupid.
  • Informed Flaw: We only have Mantis' word that the seemingly heroic Snake is more evil than Liquid.
    • Mantis' rather harsh judgment of Snake is probably a holdover from when Snake was a Deep-Immersion Gaming Audience Surrogate in the original Metal Gear games; a bunch of potshots were aimed at Snake because of the average video-game player's sadistic tendencies when playing games, presumably so that the conversations about war would seem more relevant if the player was the focus. Because of this, the games never bothered actually portraying these tendencies on Snake's part, so that when he grew into an actual character he didn't quite live up to those Blood Knight credentials.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Subverted. While Big Boss does watch Snake attempt to shoot himself, Snake stops himself from doing so, after which Big Boss reveals himself and congratulates him for not going through with it.
  • In the Blood: Solid Snake is a designer baby made with the DNA of "the greatest soldier ever."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even after his Character Development in Metal Gear Solid, he's still as abrasive and bitter as ever. However, he's now willing to fight for other people as opposed to just himself. By the time Metal Gear Solid 4 rolls around, he's noticably more bitter, but he's barely rude to anyone.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Quite possibly the best example in gaming.
  • Legacy Character: Despite the fact that he's one of three Big Boss clones, he's the only who is commonly referred to as "Snake" by everyone, whereas his brothers are known primarily as "Liquid" and "Solidus". Granted, the fact that he was the original protagonist in the MSX2 games, while Liquid and Solidus were introduced much later.
  • Laser-Guided Tykebomb: to EVA, Ocelot and Big Boss, it's all thanks to FOXDIE.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Applies to MGS1, and only increases with each game. This is a guy who took out two Metal Gears with a fistful of grenades.
    • With President Sears' fall from grace and the publication of Nastaha's tell-all book, Snake's fame reached its zenith. This was the last straw for the Patriots, who opt to remove Snake rather than allow him to continue discrediting them. Even then, soldiers like Raiden refuse to buy Snake as a terrorist, and even suspect he faked his death. (This later turns out to be the case.)
  • Lightning Bruiser: Compared to Big Boss (who emphasized joint locks, throws, and overwhelming force) and Ocelot (who preferred brute strength), Solid Snake favors direct attacks and precise and powerful jabs and kicks to stagger and knock out enemies as fast as possible. While this lacks the finesse and versatility of CQC, Solid Snake's style shines in one-on-one combat. This also applies to his appearance in the Smash Bros. universe.
  • Like Father, Like Son: He is remarkably blasé about entering the most fortified and advanced strongholds in human history armed with nothing but a pack of cigarettes. Snake Eater shows he inherited this attitude from his father.
  • Living Legend
  • Macgyvering: He did "kill" the world's greatest soldier with a Zippo lighter.
    • He coaches Raiden to shoot pipes and fire extinguishers in MGS2, quoting "necessity is the mother of invention" numerous times. This is undoubtedly a main tenet of FOXHOUND.
  • Made of Iron: You could write a novel's length of things he has endured, including dozens of gunshots, having half his face horribly burned and crawling through a tunnel filled with lethal microwaves
  • Martial Arts Headband: His trademark.
  • Meaningful Name: His real name, David, is a Hebrew name that derives from the Old Testament Hebrew ruler, King David, who managed to slay the giant Goliath with nothing more than a slingshot and a dagger prior to becoming the king of Israel. Solid Snake, in a similar fashion, has managed to overcome seemingly impossible odds despite being the Les Enfant Terribles clone that contained supposedly inferior genes.
    • That and he takes on giant war robots with nothing but a rocket launcher (and sometimes less) on a regular basis.
  • The Mentor: Acts as one to both Meryl and Raiden.
  • Messianic Archetype
  • Military Brat: A rare literal example, as not only is he "related" to someone in the Military (Big Boss, he's a clone of him), but according to the novelization for Metal Gear Solid as well as implied in the source material and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, he was raised within the military from a very early age.
  • Morality Pet: When Snake starts drifting too far to the dark side, it's usually Hal who pulls him out of it and reminds him that there's still good in the world.
  • Mr. Fanservice: That ass is legendary. Emphasis on making his catsuit restrictive in all the right places so that the gazing would be well received while playing the game as Snake. He also gets some costumes and scenes that show off his nice physique throughout the games.
  • Must Have Nicotine: While he was always a heavy smoker, in MGS4, he's almost constantly wanting to smoke and griping when he can't do so.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Let's see, his actions in Outer Heaven resulted in NATO blowing up the Outer Heaven Resistance members despite their being their allies, his defeating Gray Fox and Big Boss not only got Naomi very angry at him (enough to inject a bioweapon in him to target him specifically, among other things), but it also led to the Patriots controlling humanity by the 21st century, and heck, even after defeating both the Patriots and Outer Haven in 2014 while dying, if Rising is anything to go by, things may have actually ended up worse than before.
    • Almost everyone who is aware of their existence is glad that the Patriots are gone, especially when one considers that they planned to use nanomachines to implement the System across all of humanity.
  • No Badass to His Valet: To Hal and Sunny. Neither hesitate to call Snake out on his bad habits, and Sunny is perfectly willing to snatch cigarettes right out of his mouth.
  • Not Me This Time: After Shadow Moses, Naomi Hunter is broken out of prison, and the authorities automatically assume that Snake helped her escape and add it to his rap sheet.
  • Nothing Personal: Even though they were on opposing sides during Zanzibar Land, Snake and Gray Fox still considered each other to be best friends no matter what, with Snake even phrasing this trope by name while telling Naomi as such.
  • #1 Dime: Snake refuses to go on a mission without his smokes. During the events of the Outer Heaven Uprising, he smoked a brand of cigarettes known as Lucky Strikesnote ; since then, he considers them a sort of "good luck charm."
  • Odd Friendship: Snake doesn't have a whole lot of friends for rather obvious reasons, but laconic, tough as nails, no nonsense soldier Snake and nerdy Otaku, Omnidisciplinary Scientist, and all around Nice Guy Hal 'Otacon' Emmerich have a startlingly genuine friendship, having bonded over their shared ideals. Snake also has, to a lesser extent, several strong relationships with figures from his past... but as far as friends go it's really just Otacon.
  • Omniglot: He's noted in both Super Smash Bros. Brawl and MGS4 to be fluent in six languages, though the only ones we know of for sure are English and French.
  • One Last Smoke: He quits smoking after sharing one last smoke with Big Boss in the ending of MGS4.
  • One-Man Army: Snake is more than capable of taking an army down all by himself, as he demonstrates on multiple occasions.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: In MGS1, Snake is called back into action after his old unit, FOXHOUND, goes rogue and seizes a nuclear warhead disposal facility. Snake is selected for the mission due to his knowledge of FOXHOUND's inner workings, though Snake denies having any insight into those newfangled Genome Soldiers or weirdo shamans. It also helps that Snake shares the same face as the unit's leader, Liquid Snake.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: He's only referred to by his real name of David thrice in the entire series. Once in the ending of the original Metal Gear Solid when telling Meryl and/or Otacon it, once in MGS4, when Big Mama calls him as such, and in the Truth Records in MGS5.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Sort of. It became somewhat clear that Solid Snake, after the Shadow Moses Incident, was willing to commit actions that would at the very least get people both foreign and domestic hateful of him enough to issue a bounty on his head, and then the Patriots were ticked off enough at him to try to orchestrate the sinking of a tanker in part to frame Solid Snake.
  • Parental Substitute: To Sunny Emmerich, the biological daughter of Olga Gurlukovich. After her mother's death, Otacon and Snake take over the role of being Sunny's parents, with the former acting as her legal guardian and adoptive father.
  • Perma-Stubble: Which develops into a full mustache by the time of MGS4.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Snake lost the ability to laugh sometime between MGS1 and Sons of Liberty.
  • Player Character: In Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2note , and Metal Gear Solid 4, as well as various non-canon sequels and spinoffs (Snake's Revenge, Ghost Babel and the original Acid). That's not even counting his "Snake vs. Monkey" minigame appearance (although they technically cheated on that one by using the Naked Snake model).
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: He's at least seen Jurassic Parknote , 2001: A Space Odysseynote , Escape from New Yorknote  and A New Hopenote . Ironic, considering Big Boss, his genetic father, wasn't into pop culture. Like, at all. His conversations with Para-Medic were her asking him if he had seen X movie, and him saying no.
  • Popularity Power: Like Big Boss, Snake's notoriety in-universe is a nod to his actual fanbase. In fact, even the games are canonical; Raiden has beaten VR versions of Outer Heaven, Zanzibarland, Shadow Moses, the Tanker, and even Galuade.
  • Properly Paranoid: In MGS2's tanker chapter, Snake expresses vocal concern about his mission onboard the tanker, citing that it might be a trap, and also expressing genuine worry that the guards weren't undergoing enough SOP. He's right on both fronts, as the former was revealed to be true as a smear campaign against Philanthropy instigated by the Patriots, and the latter had the Gurlukovich Mercenaries (and later, Ocelot) killing the Marines with ease.
  • Psycho for Hire: See Blood Knight above, most specifically Liquid Snake's line about Solid Snake enjoying all the killing when on REX.
  • Rated M for Manly
  • Real Men Wear Pink: If Metal Gear 2 is any indication, Snake's a figure skating enthusiast.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: To at least some extent when Snake reconciles with his father.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Snake's actions in service of the CIA have assembled a phone book-thick dossier of war crimes which, if the U.S. government so chooses, could piledrive him into federal prison until he's a "very old man." Essentially, Campbell can revoke his retirement anytime he pleases, which he does. Twice.
    • Original ides for the ending to MGS 4 actually referenced this fact, originally concluding with Snake and Otacon turning themselves in to the authorities and being executed for their various crimes against the state; staff at Konami rebelled against the idea, however.
  • Retired Badass: He's dragged out of retirement in Metal Gear 2 and Metal Gear Solid.
  • Scars Are Forever: Near the end of Act 3 of MGS4, Snake gets the entire left side of his face badly burned while saving Big Mama from being burnt along with "Big Boss's" body. The burn scars remain for the rest of the game.
  • Separated at Birth: With Liquid Snake. They were born in Carlsbad, New Mexico but Snake spent his childhood in Oregon while Liquid was moved to England shortly after their birth. They had similar upbringings though, both being raised in isolation and receiving extensive education and military training.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: His PTSD is so severe, he retires from FOXHOUND and retreats into the snowy mountains of Alaska. In MGS2, we see his flashbacks of Outer Heaven have been replaced by nightmares of Liquid Snake taunting him.
  • Shirtless Scene: He gets two: the first in the original Metal Gear Solid when he's captured by Liquid and Ocelot, and the second in MGS4 when Naomi has him undergo an extensive medical exam. The latter counts as Fan Disservice due in part to his Rapid Aging, and the mere sight of what is happening to him is enough to both horrify Naomi and move her to tears.
  • Shrouded in Myth: It seems like everyone who meets Snake for the first time has some sort of memetic badass picture of him.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Until he finally quits in the fourth game.
    • Ironically, he actually tells Raiden not to smoke as it would "stunt his growth" in a Codec conversation. Even with trying to cover his identity (he was disguised as Pliskin, after all, to keep his "death" faked), the fact that he actually carried cigarettes around (he was the one who gave Raiden the cigarettes in the first place) would borderline Hypocritical Humor. (Truth in Television as smokers are frequently the most adamant bunch when telling non-smokers NOT to start smoking)
      • In MGS4, with all he goes through, by the time of the final act, he's coughing up his lungs and sucking on a breathing machine, and he's still asking for a cigarette. Definitely not cool. (Also Truth in Television, as anyone will know who's known an inveterate smoker ill with terminal lung cancer. "What harm can it do me now?" seems to be the line of thought; indeed, aside from the potential for explosion in careless handling of open flame around bottled oxygen, it's hard to come up with an answer.)
  • Spanner in the Works: The reappearance of Snake does not make the Patriots happy, as the Big Shell scenario was intended for Raiden only.
  • Stomach of Holding: As mentioned above, he managed to smuggle his cigarettes in with him to Shadow Moses in his stomach, due to a shot that suppressed his stomach acids.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Snake has a tendency to break out a new skill when it's most needed (Hey, if Snake Plisskin could become an expert surfboarder in an instant...). He learned to rock climb and hang-glide just in time for Metal Gear 2. MGS1 reveals him to be a master of scuba diving (though he previously swam through a swamp to reach Outer Heaven, it didn't involve sub-zero water or a torpedo) and rappelling — two abilities he puts to use in the game. In MGS2, he even boasts to Stillman that he's an expert in bomb disposal.
    • He was trained in CQC by Big Boss, but (conveniently) never used it until after Snake Eater was released in stores, claiming he preferred not to copy the moves of his sworn enemy. Big Boss' fame in Metal Gear's world is proportionate to his popularity among gamers; hence, the enemy soldiers all use CQC because Big Boss' adventures are enjoying a revival, so Snake sensibly decides to fight fire with fire.
  • Super Soldier: Was a clone of Big Boss, and via the Super Baby Method he was one of two surviving fetuses in a method of abortions of the fetal growth.
    • He may also be a subversion of the trope. Metal Gear Solid repeatedly claims that one of Big Boss's clones was inferior to the original, to the other twin, and to Solidus. If this is true, then there's a strong chance that Solid Snake is the inferior clone.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: It's common for Snake to relate with his enemies during their post-Boss Battle dying speech. The best example is after his fight with Sniper Wolf: when Wolf declares herself to be nothing more than a dog for shaming her people and going along with Liquid's plan, Snake comforts her and assures her otherwise. It's ultimately subverted by the time of MGS4, where he's just too tired to care and explicitly tells Drebin not to expect him to feel sorry for the B&B Corps. Hilariously subverted in Metal Gear 2, a dying Running Man asks how Snake was able to defeat him with his speed. Snake in return asks "Maybe you weren't fast enough?" as he dies.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky
  • Talking Weapon: He returns in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance as a talking wooden katana DLC weapon that is apparently infused with his soul called the "Snake Soul" Wooden Sword.
  • Technical Pacifist: He's considered the greatest warrior on Earth, but he's committed to preventing violence whenever he can and explicitly tells Raiden in MGS2 that, regardless of what he does it for, killing people is never right.
  • Too Much Information: In MGS4, there's Snake's Codec call to Otacon while hiding in a trash can/dumpster. When Otacon asks Snake how he knows how it is where the household dumps their waste, Snake explains in full, such as it smelling bad from last night's leftovers from dinner, as well as bugs crawling around his face, apparently roaches, a lot of them, as well as something crawling up his leg, leaving Otacon completely grossed out by the end. When questioned by Otacon whether he even feels sick from this, Snake responds that if it keeps him out of sight, he'll go so far as to hide in a toilet.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Twice. The events of Outer Heaven and Zanzibarland did him in the first time (Big Boss' betrayal, and several deaths of former allies and field contacts such as Gustava). He took the worst of it in Metal Gear Solid 4. It took Big Boss himself to help him realize he should spend the rest of his life peacefully.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Had to undergo this in the original Metal Gear in order to locate the prison cell that Gray Fox was imprisoned inside.
    • He does a variation in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Namely, he gets Raiden captured, faking betrayal and allowing him to be brought before the Sons of Liberty in order to lessen security onboard Arsenal Gear. However, neither he nor his accomplice, Mr. X/Olga Gurlukovich, let Raiden in on the plan beforehand, presumably to ensure that Raiden's reaction was genuine, causing Raiden to be quite irritated at Snake afterwards.
  • Typhoid Mary: He carries the FOXDIE virus, engineered to kill the members of FOXHOUND as well as those involved in creating Metal Gear REX (i.e., the ArmsTech President Kenneth Baker). By the time of MGS4, it's stated that the FOXDIE Naomi injected him with was mutating and within at least three months would indiscriminately kill people left, right, and center, effectively turning Snake into a Person of Mass Destruction. Fortunately, a second strain of FOXDIE injected into him by Drebin cancels the first out, effectively stopping the outbreak before it starts.
  • Underwear of Power: Snake's sneaking-suit may count.
  • The Unfavorite: Solid and Liquid were grown via the Super Baby Method, with six of their siblings being aborted to promote growth in the remaining two. Even hedging their bets, the Patriots ended up with only one satisfactory clone: Liquid. A third clone was later created, known as Solidus Snake, suggesting the Patriots really had no use for Solid as an insurance policy anymore, and he received sub-standard training as an adult. Regardless of his unspectacular genes, Snake surpassed Big Boss, his other sons, and even Venom Snake, proving once and for all that DNA does not determine one's fate.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Running back and forth to heat and cool the key card in what he thought was the REX deactivation routine. Being the vector of the FOXDIE virus may also count in another way.
  • Villain Protagonist: YMMV, but in MGS 1, he was unknowingly under the orders of the Patriots and sent to stop FOXHOUND's rebellion. On the surface he seems like the hero, going in to stop a nuclear catastrophe, but really the only reason he was sent in was because the rebellion was a threat to the Patriot's control. He also undertook the mission as he missed being on the battlefield, and as Liquid stated, he enjoyed all the killing. These revelations, of both the Patriots and his own self, made him undergo a Heel–Face Turn and by MGS 2 he was actively opposing Patriot operations as part of his own organization.
  • Warrior Poet: He can be rather philosophical when the occasion calls for it.
  • We Do the Impossible: A legend in the black ops community, "The man who makes the impossible possible" because he can do things that [are considered by other characters to be impossible.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, his fate is never conclusively addressed; during an optional Codec call, Raiden refers to Snake in the present tense, whereas Kevin refers to him in the past tense, effectively leaving his fate open for Kojima to decide what to do with him.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Snake recognizes he is a soldier and a killer, and believes for most of his life he's fated to die on a battlefield. Despite being betrayed and abandoned many times, he climbs out of his despair, and decides to struggle on by fighting Metal Gears all over the world, because no one else will.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Hilariously, this is Snake's attitude towards Sunny's cooking skills. She has a bad habit of burning or undercooking eggs, and Snake looks physically ill whenever she specially prepares a plateful for him.
  • Willfully Weak: In the MGS universe, there are two somewhat distinct systems of fighting, Close Quarters Battle note  and Close Quarters Combat note , with CQC being a more advanced and efficient art. Because CQC was Big Boss's signature, Snake refuses to use it and relies mostly on CQB until MGS4. This does however give him one advantage—since CQC relies on manipulating a target (preferably with a hand-gun and knife) where CQB revolves around threat suppression, practicing CQB makes Snake a deadlier opponent in a straight fight. The Final Boss of Metal Gear Solid 4 reflects this preference, as the game mechanics shift to a more combat focused style using moves from the first two Solid games rather than the "grab" system of CQC from the latter two.
  • Would Hit a Girl: If they're the enemy. Before his first boss fight with Sniper Wolf, he told Naomi he didn't want to see any woman die in front of him, which may stem from seeing Gustava Heffner die in front of him in Metal Gear 2. When the B&B Corps. are defeated non-lethally, he takes the time to check their pulses before moving on to resume his current mission.
  • You Didn't Ask: He keeps a lot of info from Raiden, perhaps as a form of revenge for having to talk entirely in questions during the other games. One of the funnier gags in MGS2 is Raiden's growing incredulity at Snake not sharing what he knows.
  • Younger Than He Looks: An extremely tragic example of this: Because of his genes being tampered with during his creation, he starts looking like he is in his 80s in Metal Gear Solid 4 even when he is actually closer to being 42 years of age, and it is implied that he'll die by 43 at the latest.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Possibly inverted: As of Metal Gear Solid 4, he is the only one of the Les Enfants Terribles children who not only survived, but can live in peace for the rest of their lives, and he's the eldest of the children (or at the very least the middle child).
  • Your Days Are Numbered: In MGS4. Due to his Clone Degeneration-induced Rapid Aging, Snake has, at absolute best, only one year left to life.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: It is implied when Snake reveals his true identity in Metal Gear Solid 2 that the organization that he founded, Philanthropy, committed actions that were comparable to terrorism during their raids on Metal Gear facilities. Unfortunately, this made it easy for the Patriots to frame him for the Tanker debacle.
  • Zen Survivor
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: Pretty much what Snake lives for: he does what he needs to do to save the world, even if it makes people hate him for it. Campbell mentions this during a codec conversation in MGS4:
    "We can't all be as strong as you, Snake. Some of us can't bear living like pariahs."

    Big Boss
"This is good, isn't it?"
Click here  to see Naked Snake in MGS3
Click here  to see Snake in MGS:PW
Click here  to see Big Boss in MGSV

AKA: Jack, John Doe, Naked Snake, Vic Boss, The Legendary Soldier, The Legendary Mercenary, Saladin, Ishmael

Naked Snake voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka (JP), David Hayter (EN)
Snake voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka (JP), Kiefer Sutherland (EN)
Big Boss voiced by: Chikao Ohtsuka (JP), Richard Doyle (EN)

"If the times demand it, we'll be revolutionaries, criminals, terrorists. And yes, we may all be headed straight to hell. But what better place for us than this? It is our only home. Our heaven and our hell. This is Outer Heaven."

In 1964, a man named John, an agent of the Black Ops unit FOX, saves the world from nuclear Armageddon. Along the way, he's forced to slay his teacher and adoptive mother, codenamed "The Boss". For his actions, he is christened "Big Boss" by the President of the United States and inherits his teacher's title of "The Greatest Warrior of The Twentieth Century".

He later goes on to found the private military companies Militaires Sans Frontieres and Diamond Dogs, as well as the U.S. Army black ops group FOXHOUND. In the first Metal Gear game Big Boss secretly leads the uprising at Outer Heaven and sends FOXHOUND rookie Solid Snake to investigate it, not expecting that he will actually survive. In Metal Gear 2 Big Boss takes control of Zanzibar Land and kidnaps a scientist who developed an alternative fuel source. Solid Snake is sent in to rescue the scientist, and ultimately kills Big Boss with a makeshift flamethrower.

While he was originally little more than the Big Bad of the first two Metal Gear games, Big Boss later received a great deal of Character Development, becoming the tragic protagonist of the prequel games. For tropes pertaining to his appearances in The Phantom Pain as Venom Snake,err, Ishmael, sorry, go here.
  • '80s Hair: Has a mullet twenty years early and sports it throughout The '70s.
  • The Ace: Considered this throughout MGS3, and his legend exploits this. He's good enough that losing an eye only leads to one instance of trouble with depth perception. Then he gets broken.
  • Adorkable: In Snake Eater, it turns out that he's a huge dork for cardboard boxes, has a penchant for weird food, and has a phobia of Vampires. Unfortunately, this changes drastically over time, though he does retain some of his endearing traits afterwards.
    • One of the said endearing traits includes believing in Santa Claus. Yes, the battle hardened soldier that turned his back on his country and founded his own army without borders...believes in Santa Claus.
  • A Father to His Men: Most of his subordinates thought the world of him. He even helped extract some, like Gray Fox and his sister, or Sniper Wolf, from warzones into relative safety in America or Outer Heaven.
  • Affably Evil: He may have been willing to cross any line to give soldiers a place in the world, but he was an otherwise likable guy: kind to his subordinates, respectful of his enemies, and full of many adorkable character quirks.
  • Alliterative Name: His codename is Big Boss.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Shows shades of this in Snake Eater and Peace Walker. Despite his charisma, he's not very sociable and tends to not handle emotions well, has a tendency for repeating other people's phrases, has unusually dedicated obsessions with guns and cardboard boxes, is surprisingly naive and trusting towards people who end up deceiving him in some major way (Miller, Paz, Huey), and has some rather unusual beliefs (such as being afraid of vampires and believing in Santa Claus well into his 30s). His sons also exhibit a few of these traits.
  • And I Must Scream: After his battle with Snake at Zanzibar, he's left a charred, barely alive, limbless thing, kept in a cryogenic coma by the Patriots and still semi-aware. He was in that state for 15 years until the destruction of the Patriot AIs finally let him wake up.
  • Anti-Hero: During his younger days, he was trying to make the world a better place, even if it meant fighting and killing on the battlefield to do so. And even after becoming extremely disillusioned at the end of Snake Eater, he nonetheless keeps trying to do the right thing.
  • Anti-Villain: After realizing in the 1970s that he rejects the Boss's philosophy of self-sacrifice for nations that care nothing for you, he becomes willing to kill, torture and brainwash even non-combatants to make his dream of a nation where soldiers will always be needed a reality. Eventually, he even threatens the world with a nuclear weapon. However, even at his most villainous, he still showed compassion to his former enemies and cared deeply for his men.
  • Archnemesis Dad: He's the nemesis of one of his own sons, Solid Snake, in Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. Liquid is immensely jealous, having wanted to kill Big Boss for years, and Solidus was likely thinking along similar lines.
  • The Atoner: While he's very much aware of how far he's fallen, takes him decades until the end of Guns of the Patriots before he at long last atones.
  • Back for the Dead: He returns at the end of MGS4, only to die shortly after.
  • Badass Back: Some of his CQC moves allow for these moments.
  • Badass Baritone: David Hayter gives him the same baritone Snake's famous for. Replaced later by Richard Doyle and Kiefer Sutherland.
  • Badass Beard: Though some in the world community would consider it a Beard of Evil.
  • Badass Boast: "You don't have what it takes to kill me."
  • Badass Grandpa: By the end of his life, he's well into his later years.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: For his final appearance in The Guns of the Patriots.
  • Badass Longcoat: In his later years. The khaki trenchcoat is standard attire for FOXHOUND, but it originated with Gene's FOX unit.
  • Badass Normal: Unlike his sons, Big Boss has had no genetic tampering, nor nano-augmentation, nor suit of power armor. Yet he has pulled off feats that rival or even surpass even Solid Snake's accomplishments, time and time again.
  • Bad Liar: During the Peace Walker incident, whenever confronted in regards to why Big Boss is in Costa Rica, he always comes up with a lie about why he's there, a lie that's very easy to pick apart. These include:
    • Claiming that he was a Colombian bird photographer when meeting Amanda and the FSLN. His camera is not even set right, and when he rescues Chico, he actually slips up and calls himself a War Photographer. To cover up his mistake, he says that he takes pictures of "the birds at the battlefield" in a somewhat unsure tone.
    • Claiming that he's an Entymologist, and that he's looking for the Ulysses butterfly. Huey points out that Ulysses butterflies are not present in Costa Rica, and Snakes says he meant the Morphos butterfly, and he's trying to get some for the CITES Washington Treaty. Huey tells him they aren't covered in the treaty.
    • Claiming that he's an Ornithologist and that he was looking for the Quetzal for the CITES Washington Treaty.
  • Bag of Spilling: A rival military outfit, the XOF, takes out Mother Base, along with Big Boss' entire arsenal. Big Boss lands in a nine-year coma after this incident, which strips away his muscle mass.
  • Been There, Shaped History: In MGS3 he, along with Sigint and Major Zero, came up with the American classification for the dreaded Mil Mi-24 (the "Hind"), and he was also the one who came up with the cardboard box trick that Snake and Raiden made frequent use of. With the help of Kazuhira Miller, he also founded the world's first private military companies.
  • Being Good Sucks: Moreso than Solid Snake, and he knows it too. Everything he did was for the sake of his country and The Boss, but no matter what, life found a way to take everything from him. When he finds out the whole world wants him dead, he decides he's had enough and created Outer Heaven.
    • Being Evil Sucks: At the same time, he ultimately realizes how selfish his goal was, and wants to fulfill The Boss' will correctly. When he sees Snake one last time, he commends him for not falling the path he did.
  • Benevolent Boss: There's a reason why his followers have genuine undying loyalty to Big Boss.
  • Big Bad: Of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, wanting to enforce his ideals of Outer Heaven and giving soldiers like him a place in the world through nuclear superiority, using Outer Heaven in South Africa (Metal Gear) and Zanzibarland (Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake) as his bases of operations.
  • Big "NO!": Lets one out during Paz's Heroic Suicide at the end of Ground Zeroes.
  • Blood Knight: One of his primary reasons for creating Outer Heaven, and later, Zanzibar Land, was to give him and his soldiers a place where they can go to war endlessly, due to the fact that he only ever felt truly alive when fighting in a war. He did originally intend and, more importantly, attempted to live his life peacefully after Operation Snake Eater (namely as an instructor or a hunting guide), but he ended up dragged back onto the battlefield.
  • Body Double: How he survived the original game, as revealed in The Phantom Pain.
  • Book Ends: MGS3 ended with Big Boss saluting the Boss at her grave, thus beginning his Start of Darkness, while MGS4 ended with him saluting the Boss once more in his death throes.
    • Chronologically, the whole series begins and ends with him smoking a cigar.
  • Break the Cutie: He was a fairly nice guy who wanted nothing more than to serve his country. Operation Snake Eater changed that, and turned him into a bitter and angry shell of a man. Losing an eye and killing your old mentor (who never even betrayed her country) will do that to you. Granted, he kept some of his quirks as well as a strong sense of morality, but for only so long...
  • Breakout Character: While Big Boss has always been an important character to the series since the very first MSX game, it wasn't until the debut of his younger self (Naked Snake) that he gradually began taking the role of the series' protagonist away from his clone son Solid Snake. Having already starred in four prequels (Snake Eater, Portable Ops, Peace Walker, and Ground Zeroes), the amount of canonical Metal Gear games starring Big Boss matches the amount starring Solid Snake.
  • Broken Ace: In Peace Walker.
  • Broken Pedestal
    • The Boss becomes the former to him after her defection. At the end of Peace Walker, he denounces the Boss as a fraud for laying down her gun and embracing peace, but still tries to enforce his interpretation of her will and honor her memory.
    • The U.S. government becomes one to him and stays a broken one because of what they did to the Boss, though he retains some respect for his country.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The man is a total geek over his guns and cardboard boxes.
    • Also, he apparently has a tendency to misunderstand exactly how some items are considered valuable to most people in other ways besides battle.
    • In Portable Ops, in a conversation with Para-Medic, Para-Medic explains about El Dorado and that even though it technically doesn't exist, there is evidence to suggest that there were similar civilizations that used gold even in the present, and mentioned that they used gold knives. Snake expressed interest in the knives, although not in regards to its value as much as using the knife to distract the enemy so he could CQC them into submission, with Para-Medic exasperatedly explaining that she wasn't meaning that.
    • In Peace Walker, Paz explains to Big Boss about the Stone Spheres in Costa Rica, where it is not known what they were used for, but Big Boss guesses that he could use them for a trap, and that being nearly perfect spheres would make them perfect for rolling down slopes, causing Paz to express shock at what Big Boss is implying.
      • Though all of that is perfectly in character for Big Boss as in Metal Gear 2, he claims that personal wealth doesn't mean anything to him, war is the only thing that has ever satisfied him. He doesn't look at those things in terms of how valuable they would be because money doesn't have any intrinsic value to him; money is nothing more than a means to an end, namely funding his ability to wage war.
    • At several points, he didn't seem to understand much about sexual orientations. Notable examples include when he calls EVA about Raikov, to which, despite EVA's not-so-subtle hints that Raikov was homosexual, Naked Snake seemed completely oblivious and didn't seem to know what EVA was talking about (at one point, he even misconstrues her hints as believing that she formerly dated Raikov yet he broke up with her), expressing confusion to Para-Medic's suggestion that he use the Raikov mask to shake up Volginnote , and he also seemed slightly taken aback and confused when Cecile reveals that Strangelove, her captor, seemed to be a lesbian and have a romantic fascination with the same sex. Pretty much the only one where Snake seemed to have any clue about was heterosexuality, going by his reaction to some of EVA's comments.
  • Byronic Hero: Particularly in his Protagonist Journey to Villain.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the first game, Big Boss is a generic villain with no personality. Come Metal Gear 2, he becomes far more complex and with more complicated motives and philosophies than most villains in modern games, let alone the 8-bit era. The prequel games add on to this, detailing that he was an eccentric dork prior to his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Big Boss' superior soldier genes apparently have some mutant healing factor thrown in for good measure, since he's able to still move around after breaking his legs twenty times as long as he's put splints on them.
  • Child Soldier: Portable Ops implied that Naked Snake had participated in the battlefield while he was still very young. He was also a member of the Green Berets (a special forces group) and a veteran of the Korean War as early in his twenties; however, he is canonically born in 1935, so the only known way he could join a special forces group and be a veteran of the Korean War (assuming the former actually preceded the latter) is if he joined the military at a really young age. Being the Boss' apprentice might have helped as he was 15 when The Boss took him.
    • He later attempts to raise child soldiers in Zanzibar Land.
  • Cigar Chomper: He picked up the habit from The Boss, who was known to smoke them.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Going by the scene where Naked Snake first enters Dolinovodno during the Virtuous Mission, Snake has absolutely no problems with shooting down a hornet’s nest that's directly above a KGB soldier if it meant passing by undetected.
    • This habit annoys Ocelot, who protests if Snake shoots the hornet nest or flings grenades during their fight. "Fight fair!", he whines.
    • Notably, he had no problem brandishing an automatic weapon (the Patriot, perhaps?) against a totally-unarmed and wounded Solid Snake. He still lost.
  • Commander Contrarian: Some of his quotes in the original Metal Gear stand out:
    "Enemy Uniform? What, like a girl's high school uniform?"
    "Cardboard box? Are you moving house or something?"
  • Composite Character: Made of equals parts Che Guevara, John J. Rambo, Snake Plissken and Commander James Bond (young and old Sean Connery).
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Quite aside from the training from hell he received from The Boss, on top of what he went through to become a Green Beret, Big Boss's many painful experiences have made him cynical about his flirtation with horror. He's come to accept that he's destined to live in the heat of battle as long as he lives. When Paz asks Big Boss about his thoughts on peace he says flat out that he doesn't know what peace looks like, and in an odd way the battlefield itself brings him a type of peace that "real peace" could never satisfy. By the time he fights Snake in Zanzibar, his stance has become progressively worse as he claims that it's his fate to die bitterly like a dog on the battlefield. He goes so far as to say that nothing else matters to him; not money, not power, not even lust — only war.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Covered with Scars: Admits to this in Snake Eater, and Volgin acknowledges this in his torture scene.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, he apparently wised up to the two prior captures he endured, and fashioned a fake snake-shaped scar as a means to smuggle in a jigsaw which he can use to cut the lock off in the event that he did end up captured and didn't have an alternate means of escape.
  • Dark Messiah: Witness the unlimited sway he holds over thousands of troops across the globe, and it's clear how dangerous this man can be if pushed too far.
    Big Boss: Kaz... I'm already a demon…
  • Death Seeker:
    • He pretty much begs Dr. Strangelove to torture him to death in Peace Walker.
    • The lyrics to "Heavens Divide" from Peace Walker seem to indicate he wishes for death so he can rejoin The Boss.
    When Heavens Divide
    Time will come, to softly lay me down
    Then I can see her face, that I long to see
    • In Metal Gear Solid, Snake tell Naomi that he wanted to die after telling the latter that Big Boss told him he was his father.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: He takes the deconstruction of the Action Hero even further than his son. While we initially meet Snake as a seasoned soldier, Big Boss's first mission turns him from being a Wide-Eyed Idealist with Patriotic Fervor into a Shell-Shocked Veteran who felt that he became an Unwitting Pawn to the government when the mission's true nature was revealed to him - a petty political affair carried out to kill an innocent soldier (who served as his mentor) and ensure that the United States made off with a fortune. As such, he left the United States to start his own private military company that became involved with increasingly morally-questionable operations, which eventually led to him being branded as a terrorist in spite of the fact that his actions successfully prevented nuclear war. After his base of operations was destroyed for the first time, he became a shell of a man that decided to embrace his role as a war criminal as long as it meant he could create a Heaven for soldiers like himself - which, of course, would come at the cost of making the rest of the world a living Hell for everyone else.
  • Decoy Protagonist: An odd case in V. He is the protagonist of the first part Ground Zeroes but The Reveal is that the Phantom Pain section was in fact not him but his body double Venom Snake. So the twist is essentially that he was a Decoy Protagonist when we were lead to believe he was simply protagonist of the whole thing.
  • Defector from Decadence: Ultimately, a soldier (no matter how legendary) is just a tool, something to be used and then readily replaced. Big Boss lost some respect for his native land after he learned that The Boss was in fact innocent of defection and that the US Government cast her aside because of an unanticipated factor involving Volgin and a nuclear weaponnote . This was a major impetus for Big Boss founding a Spartan-esque 'nation of soldiers.'
    • Eventually, he ended up leaving the Patriots after Zero had Big Boss cloned without his knowledge or his consent.
  • Dented Iron:
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, not counting any injuries the player sustains ingame, he gets a couple of broken bones during the Virtuous Mission and loses an eye during Operation Snake Eater.
    • His injuries rack up further in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake following his encounters with Solid Snake and he winds up as a charred, limbless shell. And he's still alive. He gets better after some surgery though.
  • Despair Event Horizon: He crossed it when he was forced to kill The Boss. In his own words:
    Big Boss: The day I killed the Boss... with my own hands... I... was already dead.
  • Deuteragonist: Of the whole series. He's got the second-most playable appearances (4) after Snake, and still plays a major role behind the scenes in the few games he doesn't appear in.
  • Difficult but Awesome: His CQC in 3 is generally held to be extremely complex. That said, it's also generally held to be the most overpowered version of said CQC.
  • Disappeared Dad: Intentionally remained out of the lives of Snake, Liquid, and Solidus, due to not considering them sons. He did personally mentor Snake when he joined FOXHOUND, and informed him of their relationship before Snake "killed" him, but there is no evidence to suggest that he ever met Liquid or Solidus.
  • Disney Death: Twice.
    • Though with the reveal in The Phantom Pain that there are two Big Bosses after MGSV, this has been Retconned to once. The "Big Boss" who died in the first Metal Gear was actually Venom Snake.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": For at least ten years after the events of Snake Eater, he preferred to go by the codename Naked Snake or just Snake rather than Big Boss. It takes until the end of Peace Walker for him to embrace the title.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: When the Peace Walker weapon, powered by an AI patterned after The Boss's personality and memories, drowns itself rather than risk nuclear war, Big Boss is irritated and declares it as proof that The Boss betrayed him and everything that a soldier should stand for.
  • Driven to Villainy: His own existence is a kind of premature Hell. So why not share it?
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Almost every guy shows some attraction to him.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Solid Snake. Their lives mirror each other, they faced very similar hardships, betrayals, and formed powerful friendships. But Snake was able to overcome his pain, forgive his friends for betraying him due to circumstance beyond their power and not succumb into a Face–Heel Turn, while when Big Boss' allies (Zero, Para-Medic, Signit, Paz, and eventually Kaz) turned on him, he became a villain. Lampshaded by Big Boss himself, who says that if Snake was put into the same situations he was in, Snake wouldn't have made the same mistakes.
  • Experienced Protagonist: By the time of Snake Eater, he's a Green Beret and a veteran of both the Vietnam War and Korean War.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The first question he asks of any wildlife in Snake Eater is how it tastes, assuming he even waits to call Para-Medic before eating it.
  • Eyepatch of Power
  • Eye Scream: He is well-known for having an eyepatch, so players can expect him to lose an eye at some point during Snake Eater. The scene comes when he is being tortured by Volgin, although it ends up being a Double Subversion. Volgin orders The Boss to take out his eyes, and she very nearly does, but is stopped at the last minute by EVA/Tatyana. Ocelot is then threatening EVA with three revolvers, loaded with a single bullet. Snake jumps in to push him out of the way, but ends up on the receiving end of a shot. However, it wasn't even a bullet that cost him his eye - the cornea was burnt out from the muzzle flash.
  • Face–Heel Revolving Door
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Zigzagged. According to MGS4, Zero and the Patriots actually exaggerated most of Big Boss' reputation to cement his status as their icon, though the feats he pulls off during the prequels (particularly in Peace Walker) calls this into question. MGSV plays with it further when you realize that part of his reputation, strictly speaking, didn't come from his own actions, but to Venom Snake doing these exploits on his behalf.
  • Fallen Hero: A formerly good and idealistic man who got sick of seeing how soldiers were used, abused and then thrown away by their ungrateful governments, and eventually threatened to put the world in a state of never-ending warfare to ensure this would stop happening.
  • Famous Last Words: "This is good, isn't it?"
  • Final Boss: Kind of appropriate, considering his codename, but he serves as this in the first two games. Except not, as the Big Boss fought in the first game was Venom Snake.
  • Final First Hug: With Solid Snake.
  • Flashback Nightmare: It's implied in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake that Big Boss himself suffered from nightmares from the battlefield (he reacts to Snake's mention of nightmares with some recognition). In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Big Boss awakes from a nightmare that presumably was flashing back to his capture by the FOX unit and Null. In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the two instances that Big Boss was unconscious, he had dreams relating to his fights against The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
  • Four-Star Badass: Sometime after MGS3.
  • Friend to All Children: Before Snake Eater, the only clue we had to Big Boss' kinder side was his adoption of war orphans from across the globe. He and his surrogate son, Frank Jaeger, formed a 'family' of sorts with one of their charges, a girl who would grow up to assume the identity of Naomi Hunter.
    • In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Snake can converse with Big Boss' children who appear throughout Zanzibar. Ominously, one orphan mentions that their father "doesn't like adults", alluding to Big Boss' hatred of the world's politicians.
  • Freudian Excuse: Oh good lord. It's all over his page, it actually holds a lot of water.
  • The Generalissimo: With the U.S. believing him dead, Big Boss took over the third world backwater of Zanzibar Land sometime in the late nineties. His sprite wears the official beret of Zanzibar's troops, but his fatigues are green rather than tan.
  • Genius Bruiser
  • Go Out with a Smile: At the end of MGS4.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Both before and after his Face–Heel Turn, he smokes cigars.
  • Guttural Growler: Like father, like son.
  • Handicapped Badass: You know his accomplishments in Snake Eater? Well, it was strongly implied that he hadn't even fully recovered from the injuries he sustained during the Virtuous Mission, which included a broken arm, lacerations, and a broken rib, during that time, not to mention losing an eye during the course of said mission and still accomplishing it.
    • He's also apparently able to aim with his missing eye. How? Because he's Big Boss.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: After twenty years of protecting earth from sci-fi warmongers with bottomless bank accounts, Big Boss fancies becoming one himself. Of course, the same could be said for the rest of the FOX unit, too.
  • Heel Realization: Like Venom Snake, Big Boss is aware of how far he's fallen, but nonetheless pushes through as he's come too far. It's not until decades later that he rejects his actions however.
  • He's Just Hiding: In-universe. Not that he had much of a choice, though, given the fact that he was injected with will-subduing nanomachines shortly after being recovered from Zanzibar Land by the Patriots.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: In an optional Codec call with Para-Medic in MGS3, he reveals that he's a fan of dog-sledding.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Snake is called into Zanzibar to rescue Dr. Marv and prevent his formula from being turned against the United States. FOXHOUND is initially unaware of Big Boss' hand in the kidnapping.
  • Honor Before Reason: In Portable Ops, he refused to kill a helpless Null in his culture tank because he couldn't defend himself.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: A common trait of his and possibly his biggest character flaw.
    • He trusted Eva throughout Operation Snake Eater even though she never provided the correct passphrase. While she did assist him in completing it, it turns out she was actually a Chinese double agent who was using him to complete her own mission.
    • He believed the government's story that The Boss defected to the USSR. It took Eva flatly telling him the truth to get him to understand. To his credit, even tho he witnessed the "defection" with his own eyes, he still didn't FULLY believe it and constantly kept pressing The Boss for answers or to admit she didn't really defect.
    • He originally misunderstood The Boss's goals that she wanted to pass on. Instead of seeking a united and peaceful world where soldiers would no longer be needed, or to live happily by leaving the world to its own devices, Big Boss sought to change the world and reshape it to where there was constant war and soldiers would always be valued and have a place. It wasn't until years later, at the end of his life, did he finally understand what she wanted and managed to pass it onto his son.
    • He misjudged Zero after he left the Patriots, figuring that Zero was his worst enemy who wanted him either under control or dead. In reality, Zero never stopped considering Big Boss his closest friend and readily came to save and protect Big Boss's life when he was in danger.
    • He trusted Miller as his partner and co-leader of his PMC, the MSF. It was then revealed that Miller had been in collusion with and receiving funding from Zero. Who Big Boss considered his greatest enemy at the time.
    • He allowed Chico to try to sell a photo of the Chrysalis and pass it off as a UFO photograph because he believed that Chico wouldn't actually be able to. The end result was that Chico successfully sell a Chrysalis photograph to a tabloid magazine in Grenada, to which Sir Eric Gairy, Grenada's prime minister at the time, read it, and believing it as well as various rumors about various cattle mutilations and abductions being reported across the Americas that were suspected to be the result of the CIA Peace Sentinels activities, requested for the UN to set up a research facility to investigate aliens, which also nearly got the Prime Minister targeted by the CIA.
    • He fell for Zadornov's deception as "Professor Gálvez" until he fell right into an ambush by set up by Zadornov.
    • He was fooled by Paz's deception (thinking that she was just a little school girl) and allowed her free roam of the base. Paz went on to modify and hijack Metal Gear ZEKE on Cipher's orders then use it to attack Big Boss.
    • He trusted and recruited Huey Emmerich to his PMC as the head of his research staff. Huey in turn sold the PMC out to Skull Face and helped them with the attack on Motherbase that destroyed the MSF and nearly killed Big Boss.
    • His most notable example is during Operation Intrude N313: He sent his clone, Solid Snake, to infiltrate Outer Heaven, a private military company run by his Body Double - Venom Snake -. He was sure that the rookie agent would be overwhelmed by Outer Heaven's forces quickly. Surprisingly to him, Solid Snake managed to infiltrate Outer Heaven, defeat its elite forces, destroy Metal Gear TX-55, and kill Venom Snake (despite Venom Snake having the full intel on the infiltration and Big Boss misleading Solid Snake the whole time).
  • Human Popsicle: For the duration of the MGS games. His frozen remains serve as a MacGuffin for the Genome Soldiers.
  • Hypocrite: Snake flat-out calls him one before their second and final duel after Big Boss declares the only satisfaction true soldiers need is war itself. At first Big Boss claims he wished to uphold The Boss' will of a peaceful world... but his choices, tactics and philosophy (soldiers and war are a chaotic freedom unto themselves), make Outer Heaven little more than a dark mirror against the Patriots. When he is presented evidence contrary to his viewpoint in that The Boss eventually wanted soldiers to put down their arms and live in peace, Big Boss views this as a personal betrayal. During the decades long Cold War with Zero's AIs, he was content to twist the Boss' legacy for his own revenge, something he later comes to deeply regret.
  • I Have Many Names: Sniper Wolf knows him as "Saladin", a high honor in the middle east. He has also gone by the name Naked Snake, John Doe, and Jack.
  • I Have No Son: In the Truth Records of MGS5, he was repulsed by the Les Enfants Terribles project, but gradually came to respect Solid Snake as a man.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Averted. Old age hasn't diminished his good looks one bit. If anything, he turned into a Silver Fox.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: When he reappears at the Boss's grave after Snake's attempted suicide in MGS4, Snake thinks he's come back to settle the score and reloads, a thought supported by the fact that he's brandishing the Boss's Patriot machine gun. After a brief Mexican Standoff, Big Boss casually drops the gun, disarms Snake, and embraces him in a combination Cooldown Hug/Final First Hug, softly reassuring his last living son that he didn't come all this way to pick a fight.
  • Insistent Terminology: He's known as "Big Boss" after Operation Snake Eater, but the marketing for the series consistently refers to him as "Snake". While this is justified in the earlier installments, where he considers the title a Medal of Dishonor and a source of internal conflict, it becomes increasingly confounding as the series goes on and he embraces the title. This becomes particularly noticeable in Ground Zeroes, where the game introduces him as "Snake", and even refers to him as "a former hero once known by the code name 'Big Boss'", when the reverse is true, and the only times he's referred to as "Snake" is when receiving certain orders and the game over sequence.
  • Kick the Dog: Delivers several at the height of his fall. He callously brainwashed his top soldier for use as a decoy from the Patriots while he built Outer Heaven, threatened and attacked several nations, using stolen nukes and OILIX, which resulted in the death of doctor Kio Marv, gave a cynical breaking speech to Solid Snake, convinced that life has no meaning beyond the battlefield, and finally decided on the unequivocal use of child soldiers in Zanzibar Land, feeling it was "only logical" to feed them back onto the battlefield against his enemies. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: The Boss, to be precise. He never really recovered from it.
  • Knife Nut: Big Boss is very handy with a hunting knife. A firm stab will gut his opponent, or he can dice them up with skillful slashes. For a showy death, Big Boss can use CQC to slit their throats. In Peace Walker, he swaps out the knife for a non-lethal stun rod.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He was pretty idealistic, even if he was just operating under orders, until the end of Operation Snake Eater. After that his view of the world and the world's governments was drastically altered for the worse.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: Big Boss has some overtones of a Messiah. His reappearance in the graveyard of MGS4 marks both his Resurrection and Second Coming as he prevents Snake's suicide and casually switches off Lucifer (Zero).
  • Last Request: Just before he dies in MGS4, he asks Snake to live out what little time he has left to live in peace and not to waste it fighting. Snake promises to do so, deciding to finally quit smoking as the first step.
  • Legacy Character: Serves as Solid Snake's predecessor in the prequels. Even after attaining the title of Big Boss at the end of MGS3, he still prefers to go by Snake, as evident by the fact that it's still his primary name in MPO, PW and MGS V.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: This does not actually happen during Solid Snake, but is rather a retcon introduced in MGS1. Snake only shared this revelation with Campbell, but it's an open secret amongst Liquid's faction.
  • Made of Iron: In the original Metal Gear, the guy took 4 propelled rockets to the chest before collapsing, and somehow survived the nuclear explosion that engulfed Outer Heaven. The truth is, the guy who fought Solid Snake in Outer Heaven, Body Double Venom Snake, didn't survive. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and all of the prequels expand upon this to hilariously absurd levels.
  • Magnetic Hero: Big Boss builds an army from scratch; Cipher blows them all to hell; Big Boss sets about building another, bigger one.
    • Three of Solid Snake's former allies, Grey Fox, Kyle Schneider, and Dr. Madnar, all defected to Big Boss' side in the wake of MG1. Grey Fox stayed with him out of filial and professional loyalty; Kyle was moved by how Big Boss remained behind in Outer Heaven to help the refugees (after NATO callously bombed the ruins). Dr. Madnar joined Big Boss as he felt that he had been shunned by the scientific community for his revolutionary ideas.
  • Man on Fire: Snake immolates him at the end of Metal Gear 2, resulting in a messy death. The Patriots immediately extracted his remains and put them on ice, setting the stage for MGS1.
  • Martial Arts Headband: He wears a bandana for ten years. By the time of Metal Gear Solid V, he's stopped wearing one.
  • Manly Tears: Shedding them is one of the very last things he does.
  • Meaningful Name: "Big Boss" is kind of a giveaway, isn't it? (His Japanese name is "Tai-pan", a clever double meaning; it's shorthand for "big shot" or "boss" in corporate culture, but taipan is also a type of snake.)
  • Medal of Dishonor: Awarded for murdering The Boss to save America's face.
    • Made even more so when it is later made apparent that the reason that The Boss had to die didn't even to do with saving America's face and that a certain member of the American Government wanted her offed from the start, and actually manipulated the events of the ending of the Virtuous Mission just so there could be an excuse to send Naked Snake in to kill The Boss.
  • Mole in Charge: He was leading both FOXHOUND and Outer Heaven during the 1990s. However, given what happened in Peace Walker, it's unknown how he was even able to hide his loyalties or ties to Outer Heaven in the first place, especially after Zero already knew about Big Boss's leadership of Outer Heaven, and attempted to gain control of it before eventually deciding to frame them with a nuclear strike on the US via an agent of Cipher due to Big Boss's refusal.
    • The phrasing of Big Mama's speech about this time period during the events of Metal Gear Solid 4 implies that Big Boss feigned surrender and friendship to Zero while simultaneously maintaining quiet, remote leadership of Outer Heaven. The Phantom Pain makes this a bit more believable when you realize that the "Big Boss" one running Outer Heaven at that point was really Venom Snake—relieving Big Boss of the demand of being in two places at the same time.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • He views the killing of The Boss, his mentor and friend who taught him everything he ever knew as a soldier, and then going on to fight for causes that she never would have believed in as his greatest failure. He goes so far as to claim after that point he was already dead emotionally. At the end of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as he stands above her grave, Big Boss proclaims to his son that if their roles had been reversed, he probably wouldn't have made the same mistakes and that he still has a chance to do things better than he ever had.
    • As of Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain, Paz is all but outright stated to have become this for him as well.
  • No-Sell: Throughout Snake Eater, Eva (a highly trained spy and seductress) keeps coming on to him in increasingly direct ways, and he usually just flat-out ignores her. This turns out to have thematic resonance, as she points out, she was the deceiving "Eve" who tempted the "Snake".
  • Not Quite Dead: As revealed in ''MGS4'', he actually survived his final showdown with Solid Snake at Zanzibar, albeit barely.
  • One Last Smoke: He does this right before he passes away.
  • One-Man Army: Where do you think Solid Snake got it from? Big Boss isn't known as The Legendary Soldier for nothing!
  • Order Versus Chaos: What his conflict with Zero ultimately boils down to. Big Boss's goal is to establish an anarchic perpetual battleground where soldiers are free to serve as mercenaries and do battle without allegiance to any government, ideology, or creed, whereas the latter hopes to unite the world under a One World Order government run by Big Brother AIs.
  • Papa Wolf: Don't ever hurt soldiers under his command. XOF learned this the hard way in Ground Zeroes, with help from Big Boss's assault rifle. Notable is that for almost the entire attack on Mother Base, he was completely calm while fighting, until he sees one of his men get killed in front of him, at which point he yells in anger and almost goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge right there.
  • Parental Substitute: Was this to Sniper Wolf, Gray Fox, and Naomi Hunter. Ironically, Snake viewed him as this before Big Boss revealed that he was actually his father.
  • Polyglot: Metal Gear Solid 3 reveals he's perfectly fluent in Russian and Peace Walker shows that he has at least some basic knowledge of French, Spanish, and Cat
  • Posthumous Character: His impact and legacy are felt long after Solid Snake kills him in Metal Gear 2. Many characters worship the ground he walked on (some more literally than others), and his body is even used as a MacGuffin in Metal Gear Solid. This ends up being subverted, as Metal Gear Solid 4 reveals that he is being kept alive in a barely-cognitive state by the Patriots. Metal Gear Rising, the only game in the series to take place after his actual death, barely mentions him at all.
  • Properly Paranoid: Naked Snake mentions his being exposed to the Bravo Shot atomic blast in 1954. He mentions that while he hasn't shown any symptoms, he suspects that symptoms will pop up sooner or later in his life. This was later confirmed when he was revealed to have been made sterile as a result of the event.
  • The Protagonist: Of MGS3, MPO, MGSPW and MGSV.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: At the beginning of his story, Big Boss is, essentially, as green and naive as Solid Snake was during the original MSX Metal Gear. His exploits in the prequels (Snake Eater, Portable Ops, Peace Walker, and finally The Phantom Pain) all lead to him eventually becoming the Big Bad of the original two Metal Gear games. His speech at the end of Peace Walker particularly cements his role as the future villain:
    Big Boss: We will forsake our countries. We will leave our motherlands behind us and become one with this earth. We have no nation, no philosophy, no ideology. We go where we're needed, fighting not for country, not for government, but for ourselves. We need no reason to fight. We fight because we are needed. We will be the deterrent for those with no other recourse. We are soldiers without borders, our purpose defined by the era we live in. We will sometimes have to sell ourselves and services. If the times demand it, we'll be revolutionaries, criminals, terrorists. And yes, we may all be headed straight to Hell. But what better place for us than this? It is our only home. Our Heaven and Our Hell. This is Outer Heaven.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: At the end of MGS3, he's awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: He likes wearing the "Oyama" face paint and doesn't mind the GA-KO camo, even asking "What's wrong with being cute?" and also molded a piece of C3 into a butterfly, albeit more as a reference to a previous scene.
  • Red Right Hand: Big Boss loses a good deal of his anatomy over the course of his story. If you played any of the previous Metal Gear games, you would know that this was going to happen anyway. In fact, his amputated arm was foreshadowed all the way back in Metal Gear 2, though it was assumed Solid Snake caused that injury.
  • Redemption Equals Death: At the end of Metal Gear Solid 4.
  • Repaired Pedestal: Feels this way towards the Boss after learning of the conspiracy against her. At the very end of Metal Gear Solid 4, considers himself to be "already dead" since he killed her.
  • Retired Badass: Between MGS3 and Portable Ops.
  • Scars Are Forever:
    • He has a facial scar on the left side of his face under his left eye that carries on with him all the way through his old age.
    • Subverted in Peace Walker. It initially seemed like he cut himself a scar in the shape of The Boss's scar, but it is later revealed to be faked, having placed a jigsaw on his person by disguising it as a scar in case he got captured.
  • Shared Family Quirks: He shares his son's affinity for cardboard boxes, as well as smoking, though he prefers cigars over cigarettes. He even wears a Martial Arts Headband for ten years.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: He states that on the day he killed The Boss, he pretty much died inside.
    • Alluded to in Metal Gear 2 when he's quite candid with Snake about the nightmares soldiers suffer from their experiences. Big Boss explains to Snake that those nightmares never go away, those feelings are ingrained into a soldier and will always be a part of them; in the same way the killer instincts that drive soldiers to desire more conflict are equally as ingrained, and there is no way to exorcise these demons, therefore the only sane solution is to embrace them.
  • Smoking Is Cool: He even smokes while he's dying, even lampshading it saying: "This is good, isn't it?"
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: In Portable Ops, Peace Walker and Ground Zeroes, each one of his uniforms still bears a FOX unit logo. Justified in Portable Ops in that his sneaking suit has been stolen from FOX.
    • This is brought up by Snake in MGS4 when Otacon asks why Meryl is still wearing a FOXHOUND patch on her uniform when FOXHOUND no longer exists. Snake's response is that some soldiers like to keep patches, or other mementos like maybe a tattoo, to remind themselves of their old units out of some leftover fondness or loyalty they may have to those memories. This implies that Big Boss has some attachment to his old unit.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Just look at his images, as each game in the prequel game progresses, Big Boss becomes a darker character.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Inversion of the Lacerated Larry type in Peace Walker. He remained silent about the truth behind his killing of The Boss outside of the official story of her betraying the United States when Strangelove tortured him. Unfortunately, his remaining silent on the issue is exactly how Strangelove managed to deduce the truth behind her final mission.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: As Naked Snake, he was an American hero and came back home well-decorated after the events of Operation Snake Eater. The same mission disillusions him to the war machine and tries to create a nation where soldiers can serve free from their home nations.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Big Boss literally has no identity, making him a perfect candidate for FOX. Even "John" is suggested to be yet another alias. MGS4 suggests that the Patriots actually exaggerated a good portion of his reputation to cement his status as their icon.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: He doesn't really believe in peace, even during his Cold Warrior days.
  • Start of Darkness: Got to experience how disposable soldiers are to the world first hand during Operation Snake Eater, and it played a large part in motivating him to create Outer Heaven, a place where soldiers would be honored rather than thrown to the side.
  • Super Strength: Implied in Peace Walker, where Big Boss was capable of lifting up a sealed garage door to gain entry to Peace Walker's hangar twice with his own bare hands, and, at least in gameplay, bench-pressing even Cocoon. Which is roughly the size of a small-town municipal building.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: His initial reaction to the three Snake brothers, his clones; in fact, the discovery that Para-Medic had cloned him under Zero's orders in the first place was ultimately what led him to defect from the Patriots. As revealed in the Truth tapes in The Phantom Pain, he adamantly refuses to acknowledge them as his sons, to the point of refusing to see Eli in Africa. Nonetheless, he respected Solid Snake as a person and fellow soldier, and personally trained him.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Prefers to simply tranquilize or knock out enemies rather than kill them unless killing is the only option.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Used to express a one-track interest regarding eating the many animals he came across during Operation Snake Eater, but Snakes stuck out as a particular favorite to the point where he reacted with confusion when hearing about Snakes being imported as pets, not food.
  • Tragic Hero: Big Boss's dedication to his allies and his desire to avoid war ultimately causes him to lose everyone he cares about while being hunted by governments and militaries from all over the world.
  • Tragic Keepsake: He keeps wearing The Boss's bandanna, which he snatched from her head during the Virtuous Mission, for ten years. After watching the Peace Walker AI weapon drown itself in the ocean, he finds some closure to the event at last and casts it off to the winds.
  • Training from Hell: It's strongly implied that he underwent this when under The Boss's tutelage and when joining FOX. In regards to the former, she tells Volgin (who at the time was electrocuting him with electric shocks that was said by him to be around ten million volts) that it wouldn't break him as she trained him not to, and in the case of the latter, Cunningham stated that his attempts at beating him wouldn't even qualify as torture to Snake due to his former FOX membership.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Let's face it. From Metal Gear Solid 3 to Metal Gear 2, his life has been one huge Trauma Conga Line.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Kind of. See Crazy-Prepared.
  • Übermensch: He develops his own moral code, and doesn't care if that makes him evil in the eyes of others.
  • Unfortunate Name: Although his original codename, Naked Snake, referred to the fact that he infiltrated Tselinoyarsk with minimal equipment and weapons during the Virtuous Mission, Miller makes fun of him by jokingly implying that Snake went into missions completely nude.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Well, young adult, anyway.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Up until his plans for Outer Heaven are stopped by Solid Snake. However, in MGS4, his popularity skyrockets once more after the Patriots de-classify all files relating to his past exploits, including Operation Snake Eater, much to Snake's annoyance.
  • Vindicated by History: In-universe. As mentioned above, Big Boss' exploits had gotten recognition to the point people wanted to use CQC. Snake naturally finds it stupid, to the point that he even calls the PMCs' CQC as cookie-cutter imitations.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The ethos behind Outer Heaven. Big Boss' objective was to give soldiers without a home someplace to belong, as well as an escape from Cipher/The Patriots' umbrella. As Big Boss happened across war orphans during his travels, he began integrating child soldiers into his army too. His intentions were benevolent, but Outer Heaven set the stage for a perpetual war machine, which The Sons of Big Boss and Desperado later accelerated.
  • Weak to Fire: The only way to kill him in Metal Gear 2 is to immolate him with a lighter and a can of hairspray.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: After his death, EVA recovered his body and patched it up using parts of Liquid's and Solidus's corpses.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Given how horrifically Governments and groups like Cipher treat soldiers in the Metal Gear Universe, it's not surprising Big Boss wanted to make a world where they'd always be needed.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
  • Wrote the Book: Co-invented CQC with The Boss, and invented the use of the tactical cardboard box as a hiding place. He even originated the very idea of the "Stealth Mission" — hence, the Metal Gear franchise owes its existence to this man. Zero pitched the idea after hearing about The Boss' war stories; the Stealth Mission is actually a modified version of what The Boss termed "Snatch" missions, wherein an agent is sent to extract a VIP. Obviously, these missions ruled out a full-on assault or tripping alarms since the hostage would instantly be killed. Virtuous Mission (a Snatch Mission) and Operation Snake Eater (a Sneaking Mission) were intended as test drives, to convince the higher-ups at Langley to marry spies and soldiers into a single unit.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: When he confronts Snake in Zanzibar, the agent has just emerged from a fire, lost all of his gear, and is utterly defenseless. Snake still refuses Big Boss's offer of a quick death. Big Boss can only marvel at his audacity.
    Big Boss: In such a situation, with no weapon, against me?
    Snake: Never give up. Always believe you will succeed, even when the odds are against you. ...Those are your words.
    Big Boss: Even I make mistakes from time to time.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: His codenames, "Snake" and "Big Boss", both stem from his assignment to kill the Boss and her Cobra Unit.
    • The original bipedal Metal Gear, ZEKE, is created using parts borrowed from Cipher: the rocket boosters from Pupa, the radome and railgun from Chrysalis, the armor from Cocoon, and the legs from Peace Walker, along with detachable heads from all four.
    • Peace Walker and Pupa utilize the same type of missile launcher and augers as the Shagohod, respectively. It could be said that each of Big Boss' battle trophies now comprise the standard Metal Gear design.
  • Zen Survivor: With moments left to live, Boss is completely calm and offers some final wisdom to Snake.

    Gray Fox (Grey Fox)
"I was raised by adults to be a tool of war."
Click here  to see Gray Fox in MGS1

AKA: Frank Jaeger, Your #1 Fan, The Cyborg Ninja, Deepthroat, Null
Voiced by: Kaneto Shiozawa (JP, MGS1), Jun Fukuyama (JP, MPO), Greg Eagles (EN, MGS1), Rob Paulsen (EN, MGSTTS & MGS4), Larc Spies (EN, MPO)

"We're not tools of the government or anyone else. Fighting was the only thing... the only thing I was good at, but... at least I always fought for what I believed in."

Gray Fox is the only member of FOXHOUND ever to receive the Code Name of Fox, and not without good reason; Frank Jaeger had to grow up in harsh conditions. Originally a child soldier, he was one of the deadliest people on earth at just the tender age of eleven. Frank was rescued by Big Boss, who tried to leave him at a relief shelter where he could be safe, but he ended up getting abducted by the CIA/the Philosophers so they could turn him into the perfect soldier, codenamed Null.

After a series of complicated events, he ends up supporting Big Boss and Zanzibar Land, and then nearly dies, and is turned into the Cyborg Ninja. As the Ninja, Fox helps his old buddy Solid Snake one last time in Shadow Moses to take down Metal Gear REX in the events of Metal Gear Solid.
  • Already Done for You: The Cyborg Ninja leaves quite a mess behind. On the plus side, he eradicates all enemies in the basement of the warhead storage building, and his magnetic field shorts out the door locks on Otacon's office.
  • Anti-Hero: Type V in Solid, where he is motivated purely by his desire for a fight to the death with Snake. He winds up as a Type III by the end, choosing to die for something he believes in by saving his old friend.
  • Anti-Villain: Type III in Metal Gear 2, where he defects because of his loyalty to Big Boss and mistreatment at the hands of the US government, not because of any misplaced anger. He even sends Snake anonymous support to apologise for his role in the conflict.
  • Ascended Extra: Given Fox's major role in both Metal Gear 2 and Metal Gear Solid, and the way Snake talks about him in later games as if Fox was some sort of mentor during the Outer Heaven incident, it's very surprising at how little Fox actually does in the first Metal Gear. He gets kidnapped, Snake rescues him, and he disappears for the rest of the game. The player can even kill Fox before untying him, which has no real effect in the outcome of the story outside of demoting Snake's rank by one star.
  • Back for the Dead: Unfortunately, thanks to Liquid, he goes back to being dead - for good.
  • Back from the Dead: In Metal Gear Solid.
  • Badass Boast: A cornered fox is more dangerous than a jackal.
  • Badass Grandpa: By the time the events of Metal Gear Solid happen, he is at least in his early 50s.
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Solid Snake.
  • Blood Knight: Not necessarily enjoying battle, but he does feel as though he needs war, as he isn't able to function in society if he is deprived of it.
  • Blood Is the New Black: The Ninja's duds get sticky in the remake.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The method of his training as Null was placing him within a memory/emotion depriving tank, and presumably left without free will as a result.
  • Child Soldier: Most of his origin story entails this, as early as someone working at a work camp in the early stages of the Vietnam War to as late as being deployed in the Mozambician War of Independence and later experimented upon.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: "Hurt me more, Snake!" Justified, as he wants to die especially after he was denied the chance to die by Dr. Clark and instead put through the Cyborg Ninja project, and preferably die a painful death of fighting.
  • Cyber Cyclops: His helmet does have eye slits, but the big orange light in between draws most of the attention.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: By the time he is a Cyborg Ninja, he "should be dead" but is kept alive through prosthetics, though it really seems to cause him more suffering than just dying would. Being a guinea pig for dozens of cybernetic and gene therapy experiments probably didn't help either.
  • Cyber Ninja: The first of the Cyborg Ninja.
  • Cyborg: What he unwillingly became between MG2 and MGS, thanks to Dr. Clark.
  • Death by Disfigurement: In Metal Gear Solid, he dies just after losing an arm. He didn't die from the injury, however, but by gettingstomped (repeatedly) by Metal Gear.
  • Death Seeker: In Solid, he just wants Snake to put him out of his misery. Liquid is only too happy to oblige.
  • The Dragon: To Big Boss in Metal Gear 2.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: He ends up sacrificing himself to help out Snake in Metal Gear Solid.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Metal Gear REX turns him into a bloody stain on the floor.
  • Friendly Enemy: Gray Fox and Snake are best friends and war buddies, but conflicting ideologies pit them against each other in Metal Gear 2.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Definitely ends as a Face in Metal Gear Solid.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gets killed destroying Metal Gear REX's radome, but this forces Liquid to expose himself for the second round against Snake.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Solid Snake.
  • I Have Many Names - The only Metal Gear character to have more aliases than any of the Snakes or Ocelot (Frank Jaeger, Frank Hunter, Gray Fox, Deepthroat, Null, the Cyborg Ninja)
  • Katanas Are Just Better
  • Killed Off for Real: In Metal Gear Solid.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Variation. Gray Fox is often identified by that name rather than "Frank Jaegar." However, Frank Jaegar is also not even his real name, as it was actually given to him by his comrades in FREMILO in reference to his means of killing soldiers (he acted as a frank young boy, yet then killed them with the ferocity of a hunter when the soldiers let their guard down). His real name (as in: birth given name) is unknown.
  • Legacy Character: Not him, but the Cyborg Ninja, which would go on to become this. Mr. X/Olga Gurlukovich is the Ninja in MGS2, and Raiden becomes one in MGS4, and retains it for MGR.
  • Machete Mayhem: In Portable Ops.
  • Man in the Machine: His organic body is grafted surgically to his robotic exoskeleton, and he has to constantly take anti-rejection drugs or suffer extreme pain. It's artistic license on Kojima's part, though.note 
  • Meaningful Name: His surname "Jaeger" is German for hunter, as in Naomi Hunter's older brother, and is in itself derived from a common tactic he employed as a child soldier by stabbing Portuguese soldiers with a knife when they let their guard down.
    • Even Gray Fox has significant meaning to it. The code name is treated as a rank, and it aligns with Big Boss's "Naked Snake" code name; both men were named after their mentor's former unit, implicitly being regarded as dangerous as an entire Badass Army.
    • Also, his codename during MPO was Null, which is the German word for Zero and is meant to exemplify that he was a lost number in an unethical CIA project for creating the Perfect Soldier, due to being the Sole Survivor and Sole Success of the project.
  • Megaton Punch: The second to last phase of his boss fight in Metal Gear Solid. On later difficulties, it's a guaranteed One-Hit Kill.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: He didn't truly defect from America until after Operation Intrude N313, but it was made very clear that he was very sore about his country well beforehand due to their denying his lover Gustava Heffner U.S. citizenship, forcing her deportation, and thus being responsible for all the hell she has to endure in her birth country.
  • My Hero Zero: He is known as Null in his youth during MPO (Null is German for Zero).
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Justified due to Big Boss saving his life twice (arguably three, if one does not count Mozambique and counts the two times he saved him in Portable Ops).
  • Mysterious Protector: In Solid as Deepthroat.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: While he was under the persona of Null, Gray Fox indicated that he saw no point in life, feeling that even if he doesn't kill anyone, they still die anyways, and remarks that the world is "full of death."
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot
  • Noble Demon
  • Obi-Wan Moment: "Snake, we're not tools of the the government or anyone else. Fighting was the only thing... the only thing I was good at... but at least I always fought for what I believed in. Snake... farewell."
  • Precious Photo: In his sister's locket in 4.
  • Psycho Prototype: Kind of. While not quite a prototype, it is known that he was the only successful test subject in the Perfect Soldier Project, as most of the other test subjects died from the procedure.
    • He is, however, this to the Genome Soldiers, SOP troops, cyborg ninjas, and cyborgs in general. The experiments performed on him provided the make-up of entire armies and special units for a decade and then some after his death.
  • Recurring Boss: Null is fought twice in Portable Ops.
  • Redemption Equals Death: An interesting case, since he wants to die, but believes that only a fight to the death with Snake will do. It isn't until his Heroic Sacrifice that he's finally allowed to rest in peace.
  • Retcon: His origin story in Portable Ops contradicts the original origin in Metal Gear 2. In Metal Gear 2, Gray Fox states that he first met Big Boss in Vietnam, where he was working in a labor camp as a half-white war orphan. In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Naked Snake says he first met Gray Fox in Mozambique. Should also be noted that the official Metal Gear Solid 4 database doesn't even mention the former.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Fits the bill: He needs war despite clearly not liking it, has been through war enough times that he cannot function in society, and is also implied to suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Sixth Ranger: To Snake's support crew in MGS.
  • The Slow Walk: In the Twin Snakes remake.
  • Stealth Mentor: In Metal Gear 2 (where he provides anonymous radio support) and Metal Gear Solid (where he helps Snake despite wanting a fight to the death).
  • Super Soldier: He was even referred to as the Perfect Soldier in Portable Ops.
  • Super Speed: He was shown to be extremely fast even when he was not the cyborg ninja.
  • Trickster Mentor: In Solid, he wants to fight Snake to the death and help him save the world. In that order.
  • Together in Death: When Snake tells Fox Gustava would be waiting for him. Ends up subverted in Solid until he's Killed Off for Real.
  • Tykebomb
  • Unexplained Recovery: Subverted: While he did ultimately survive Zanzibar Land, he also was recovered by a cleanup crew belonging to the Patriots and was experimented on by turning him into a cyborg ninja, and the process was heavily implied to be quite horrific and very, very painful. In fact, not only was he used as a guinea pig for the Cyborg Ninja project, but also the gene-therapy project as well, and had to be sedated with drugs for four months as they experimented on him. Also, at least two instances where Gray Fox encountered Snake before his final hurrah, he also spazzed out and seemed in pain, with the second time screaming for medicine as he was losing himself.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: What he goes through would be an understatement. He was a Child Soldier during the Mozambican War of Independence and killed dozens, if not hundreds of battle-hardened soldiers during the conflict. Big Boss rescues him, only for him to be taken by the CIA and used as a test subject which deprives him of all sensory reaction and emotions. He later kills Naomi's parents and adopts her as his sister, only to be reminded of his guilt over this action every time he looks at her. He ends up killing the very woman he loved in Metal Gear 2, wishing to make her happy and Snake could not keep his promise for them to be Together in Death. Finally, he is a full-blown Death Seeker, wishing to die by Snake's hand in Metal Gear Solid. He didn't get his literal death wish until Liquid crushed him with Metal Gear Rex.

     Dr. Madnar (Dr. Pettrovich)

Dr. Drago Petrovich Madnar was a Russian scientist responsible for the creation of the TX-55 Metal Gear and its successor Metal Gear D.

    Ellen Madnar (Elen Pettrovich) 
The daughter of Dr. Madnar and a former Bolshoi Ballet star.

    Kyle Schneider/Black Ninja (Black Collar)  
The leader of the Outer Heaven Resistance. Returns in Metal Gear 2, having defected to Zanzibar Land.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Joins up with Big Boss because he saved them from being killed in Outer Heaven's self-destruction even though he was technically Big Boss's enemy at the time.
  • Lost in Transmission: He ends up being silenced before he could report to Snake who the leader of Outer Heaven was.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Part of the reason why he defected to Zanzibar Land dealt with this trope, as most of his resistance was killed by NATO in an air raid, with them not even caring because they were war orphans and war refugees, and he himself was severely injured and experimented upon.
  • Shout-Out: The original name for his ninja getup was Black Collar, which was a tribute to Blackcollar (the title of a novel about space ninjas).
  • Trope Maker: The technical originator of the "Cyborg Ninja" trend in Metal Gear, where previously appearing allies would be reintroduced as antagonists or slightly more morally ambiguous allies later on. Although, as clarified below, he's not a cyborg.
  • Unexplained Recovery: He ends up returning as an enhanced ninja (not a Cyborg Ninja, that comes later with Gray Fox).
  • You Killed My Father: His main motivation for creating the resistance was because his wife and child were killed in an incident not revealed other than it involving Outer Heaven.

The former vocalist of punk band Thin Wall. Provides Snake with info on most bosses as well as Outer Heaven's weapons system and traps.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Justified as she was a punk star.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: If you call her when fighting Big Boss' Phantom.
    "This is Diane! I don't know how to defeat Big Boss... Now it's all up to you! Solid Snake! ... I... want to tell you... Er, nevermind... Be careful..."
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Her brother Steve answers when you call her outside a boss battle, making up excuses for why she's unavailable at the moment. One of his lines implies that he thinks Snake is trying to get in bed with her.

A member of the Resistance movement. Infiltrated Outer Heaven posing as a nurse in order to rescue her brother, who had been taken hostage. Helped Snake by giving him information on equipment and weapons.

Quirky Miniboss Squad

     Shotmaker (Shotgunner) 
A mercenary and prison warden at Outer Heaven; he guards the cell block where Gray Fox is held.

    Machinegun Kid 
A mercenary at Outer Heaven who guards the parachute needed for the jump into the Building 1 courtyard.
  • Evil Brit: He was formerly a member of the Special Air Service regiment within Great Britain.
  • More Dakka: His weapon of choice is a machine gun.

    Bloody Brad (Arnold) 
Two cyberoid units built by Dr. Madnar during his time as a captive in Outer Heaven.
  • Dual Boss: There are two Arnolds/Brads, but unlike the other bosses, the boss theme does not play in their room on the MSX and don't attack you in their room unless you step in front of them. You can destroy them immediately after getting the Rocket Launcher, and eventually you WILL need to destroy them to get the Level 7 keycard, which is needed to proceed to Building 3.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Bloody Brads/Arnolds are two Terminator-esque cyborgs guarding one of the rooms in Outer Heaven.
  • Shout-Out: Originally named Arnold after Arnold Schwarzenegger, referring to his role in The Terminator.

    Fire Trooper 
A mercenary at Outer Heaven who guards the elevator that leads out of the Building 2 basement.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Subverted: He was a member of Outer Heaven and of German origin, but he was in fact a former member of the anti-terrorist German police division GSG9, which was created as a way to deal against terrorist threats without worrying about becoming another Nazi Germany.
  • Kill It with Fire: His specialty is a flamethrower.
    Fire Trooper: I'm Fire Trooper! I will burn you alive!

     Dirty Duck (Coward Duck) 
A mercenary at Outer Heaven who holds the last keycard needed to reach Metal Gear/the end of the game and hides behind three POWs and a trap door. Should not be confused with Howard the Duck.
  • Awesome Aussie: His nationality isn't stated in the game or the manual, but his usage of boomerangs implies that he was Australian. It's also deconstructed, as he's shown to be a dirty fighter.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Zig-zagged but lampshaded.
    Coward Duck: I'm Coward Duck! You can't shoot me, can you?
  • Dirty Coward: Why do you think he has the name Dirty Duck? In addition to having three hostages in front of him, one of whom is the brother of a major resistance operator, but the hostages also have a trap door right in front of them, severely limiting the battle zone.
  • Human Shield: His specialty, besides his use of boomerangs and having a hidden trap floor smack-dab in the middle of his boss room.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: He used to be the commander of the terrorist group known as "Egg Plant"

     Metal Gear Codename: TX-55 
Created to serve as a deterrent to protect Outer Heaven from enemy nations.

It possesses two nuclear warhead launchers and it's one of the most compact Metal Gears ever created.

  • Stationary Boss: The real battle is dodging two laser cannons while trying to apply C4 to Metal Gear's feet.
  • The Unfought: Technically, as Solid Snake destroyed it before it's activated.
    • Whereas in the NES Version, Snake destroys, not Metal Gear, but a Supercomputer that controls Metal Gear's nuclear missile launching capabilities.

Alternative Title(s): Metal Gear 1987