The Metal Gear
series, produced by Konami
in 1987, is the Trope Maker
and Trope Codifier
of the Stealth-Based Game
genre. The idea came when the series' creator and lead designer, Hideo Kojima
, realized that the MSX2
couldn't show more than a few enemies at a time without flashing epileptically and generally breaking—so why not make a game where avoiding your enemies is the theme? This concept received a lot of criticism—one famous quote from Kojima's boss is, "Hiding from your enemies? That's not a game!"
. But then they started playing it. And it became quite a hit,
spawning a great many sequels (with countless ports and editions):
Games in the Metal Gear Franchise
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001, PS2)
- The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 (2002, PS2)
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (2002, PS2/Xbox/PC)
- Metal Gear Solid 2: HD Edition (2011, PS3/Xbox 360/PS Vita)
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004, PS2)
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (2005, PS2)
- Metal Gear Solid 3: HD Edition (2011, PS3/Xbox 360/ PS Vita)
- Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D (2012, 3DS)
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (2006, PSP)
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus (2007, PSP)
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008, PS3)
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010, PSP)
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: HD Edition (2011, PS3/Xbox 360)
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (2013, PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
- Metal Gear Solid V
- Ground Zeroes (2014, PS3/Xbox 360/PS4/Xbox One/PC)
- The Phantom Pain (TBA, PS3/Xbox 360/PS4/Xbox One/PC)
- Metal Gear (1987, NES/C64/DOS) - Technically a port of the MSX2 original, but different enough to be considered a separate game.
- Snake's Revenge (1990, NES) - An unauthorized sequel to the first Metal Gear produced before Kojima decided to make his own sequel.
- Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (2000, GBC) - Released outside Japan as Metal Gear Solid.
- Metal Gear Ac!d (2004, PSP)
- Metal Gear Ac!d2 (2005, PSP)
- Metal Gear Online (2005, PS2) - The first version included with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, aka MGO1. The official servers were discontinued in 2007.
- Metal Gear Online (2008, PS3) - The second version included with Metal Gear Solid 4, aka MGO2. The official servers were discontinued in 2012.
- Metal Gear Online (TBA, PS4/PS3/Xbox One/Xbox 360/PC) - The upcoming third version scheduled to be included with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, aka MGO3.
- Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel (2006, PSP) - An interactive digital version of the MGS graphic novel by IDW.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinee (2008, DVD/Blu-ray) A voiced motion comic adaptation of both MGS graphic novels by IDW. Originally released only in Japan, it later got an English release when it was included as part of The Legacy Collection.
- Metal Gear Solid Mobile (2008, Phone)
- Metal Gear Solid Touch (2008-2009, iOS)
- Metal Gear Arcade (2010, arcade) - A port of MGO2 which uses a combination of stereoscopic glasses and a gun controller.
- Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops (2012, smartphones)
- Metal Gear 20th Anniversary: Metal Gear Solid Collection (2007) - A box set released exclusively in Japan that includes MGS and MGS2 in their original Japanese editions, plus the Subsistence edition of MGS3 (first disc only), The Document of MGS2, a bonus PS2 disc featuring the MSX2 games (as they appeared in Subsistence), the PSP game MPO in a special UMD case and a Metal Gear Saga DVD Video, essentially including all the canonical Metal Gear games prior to MGS4.
- Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection (2008, PS2) - The international equivalent of the previous set. It includes the original PS version of MGS in a PS2-style DVD case, as well as the Substance and Subsistence editions of MGS2 and MGS3 respectively. Unfortunately, it's missing the MSX2 games, despite the fact that they were included in the previous Japanese set.
- Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection (2011, PS3/Xbox 360/PS Vita) - A collection featuring HD editions of MGS2, MGS3 and (except on Vita) PW. The MSX2 games are also included as part of MGS3. The Japanese version of the collection lacked PW, which had a separate physical release instead, but the PS3 release made up for it by including a product code to download the original MGS on the PlayStation Network.
- Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection (2013, PS3) - A collection of every canonical game directed by Kojima (leaving out MPO and MGR)note , which means every game previously included in the HD Collection, plus the original MGS and MGS4. As a bonus, this set also includes the VR Missions/Integral expansion and both Digital Graphic Novels for the first time in Blu-ray Video format.
Chronological order of the series (ambiguously canon entries are in parentheses):
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - 1964
- (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops - 1970)
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker - 1974
- Metal Gear Solid V
- Ground Zeroes - 1975
- The Phantom Pain -1984
- Metal Gear - 1995
- Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake - 1999
- Metal Gear Solid - 2005
- (Metal Gear Solid: Mobile - 2006)
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
- Tanker chapter - 2007
- Plant chapter - 2009
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - 2014
- (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - 2018)
The plot is far too complicated
(and occasionally batshit crazy
) to write here in any detail. In general, it centers around the main character, Solid Snake, his family and the titular Metal Gears—walking battle tanks
capable of launching nuclear strikes from anywhere in the globe. A major theme is the mental and spiritual cost of being a soldier, especially one expected to save the world
on a regular basis. Simply put, being good sucks
in the Metal Gear canon. However, some things are worth fighting for
The series loves breaking the fourth wall
and has a distinct quirky sense of humor—running jokes involve the iconic use of a cardboard box to sneak around a base (wait until nobody is looking, run to a new location, and repeat)
. Another trademark is a general tendency for each new installment in the series to retcon
at least one more-or-less significant plot detail about at least one of its predecessors. Kojima's irreverence is such that he's been trying to kill the series off since Metal Gear Solid 2
made its protagonist switch, so he can get on with more interesting things, but a rabidly devoted fanbase simply won't let him.
One of the most engaging parts of the games is the huge focus on multiple uses for items; for example, whilst smoking cigarettes seem like a gag item that just drains your health and earns you a lecture from your contacts
, they come with the hidden bonuses
of showing laser beams with the smoke, and allowing for steadier aiming by calming your nerves. Metal Gear
was also a pioneer of non-lethal gameplay. Every title in the series after Metal Gear Solid
allows the player to complete the game without killing enemy soldiers. There are pros and cons to each approach, and the player's willingness or refusal to kill becomes a plot point in several stories.
Following the initial Metal Gear
, each game has been a deconstruction
of action movies and video games, playing tropes so painfully straight they curve right back in on themselves. Very few tropes are invoked without logically following them through, especially those of spy movies - we see exactly what kind of mind and complete control of a situation would be needed to pull off the absurdly complex Gambit Roulettes
that happen once per game, exactly what happens to a tykebomb
forced to take up a normal life, and there's a female on male sexual abuse subplot which is not at all okay
, to name just a handful.
Solid Snake began as a Deconstructed Character Archetype
of the badass
trope, as his wartime experiences had not turned him into the ultimate action hero, but into a bitter, broken-down wreck of a soldier
who just wanted to retire but could not escape the life of conflict that had entwined him for so long. After fans missed the point slightly
, this theme was hammered home with Raiden, who was put through the same torments as Snake in explicit detail. Not even Big Boss is immune to this theme: as Naked Snake, he's not the suave, impeccable agent that would fit perfectly into the '70s spy film pastiche of Metal Gear Solid 3
, but a likable, kinda-dorky (though admittedly brilliant at what he does) everyguy
. Only after going through immense psychological and physical scarring
does he begin to resemble the ultimate soldier known as Big Boss.
The series is acclaimed for a lot of good reasons - stellar gameplay, superb boss fights, very complex plots with pitch perfect deconstructions, excellent direction, intelligent character development and weird stylized dialogue. Just prepare for a lot of cutscenes. A lot
of cutscenes. No, more than that. Honestly, you play the game for two-fifths of the time, watch a full-length movie the other three-fifths. If you like the plot, though, you'll probably love the cutscenes.
The 2013 spinoff game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
, features Raiden, a controversial bait-and-switch protagonist who has certainly been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap
since his introduction in Metal Gear Solid 2
. Although stealth is present to some extent, it is an (very over the top) action game.
In addition, Metal Gear Solid V
has been announced. Metal Gear Solid V
is the first open world game
in the series, and is also the first to use Roman numerals in the title instead of Arabic (which is apparently symbolic). Metal Gear Solid V
is composed of a prologue called Ground Zeroes
and a main section called The Phantom Pain
to be released in early 2015. Ground Zeroes
was released in March, and was criticized for its short length, despite its reduced price, but was met with some praise in regards to the Fox Engine.
There is also The Last Days of FOXHOUND
, a webcomic based off Metal Gear Solid
which parodies certain aspects of the games as well as discussing some questions that were unanswered before Metal Gear Solid 4
, as well as another webcomic titled The Cobra Days
chronicling the World War II
adventures of a similar quirky miniboss squad
from Metal Gear Solid 3
, and hiimdaisy
's affectionate parody
comic series Let's Destroy the...Please do not dump tropes that only apply to specific games on this page; put them on the appropriate pages or on the character page. This page is for tropes that appear several times throughout the series.
This franchise provides examples of:
open/close all folders
- Absolute Cleavage:
- EVA, even as a much older woman in 4.
- Naomi Hunter in Metal Gear Solid 4, where she leaves her labcoat unbuttoned and is obviously wearing no bra.
- Naomi's lack of a bra is even a point that gets brought up in gameplay in one level; after being "rescued" by PMC soldiers and Haven Troopers, you're forced to track Naomi. The Haven Troopers use a variety of tricks to try and catch you including a voice recording and a pink bra left on the trail. According to the Integral Podcast, the designers wanted to have leave various pieces of female clothing throughout the trails, and a naked, unconscious female soldier near the end of the level.
- Sniper Wolf got there before any of them.
- The Boss during the final battle of Metal Gear Solid 3 when she opens her shirt to reveal her snake-shaped C-Section scar.
- Action Duo: Several:
- Solid Snake and Meryl Silverburgh in Metal Gear Solid. Also, Snake and Otacon in the final car chase if you let Meryl die.
- Snake and Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2.
- Naked Snake and EVA in Metal Gear Solid 3.
- Meryl and Johnny in Metal Gear Solid 4.
- Action Girl: The Boss, Meryl, EVA, Olga Gurlukovich, Sniper Wolf, the Beauty and the Beast Unit, and the FROGS.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Handy to escape guards. At least half-invented this trope, at least in the world of video game publishing.
- All Up To You: In most of the games, the radio contact who usually supplies info in regards to how to defeat various bosses is, for various reasons, unable to help Snake out in defeating the final boss. The only notable exceptions to this rule are Metal Gear Solid 3 where everyone in Snake's control team is cheering him on in beating The Boss, and Portable Ops, where Roy Campbell supplies some hints on how to beat Gene.
- All There in the Manual: Many of the characters' backstories are only revealed in supplemental materials or in optional radio/Codec conversions within the games. The most notable is the true identity of The Boss and The Sorrow's son, who is only revealed if you trigger a radio call between Snake and EVA in Metal Gear Solid 3. It's Ocelot.
- The Metal Gear Solid 4 Database, in addition to compiling every piece of Metal Gear lore up to Metal Gear Solid 4, features an extensive backstory for Raiden of what happened to him between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 that is not even mentioned in the game itself.
- Almost Dead Guy
- Alternate Continuity: Ghost Babel is an alternate sequel to the original Metal Gear; the first Acid game follows a different story (though Snake is still a legendary soldier) and the second goes further.
- Ghost Babel had some hidden foreshadowing to the plot of Metal Gear Solid 2.
- Snake's Revenge was also relegated to an alternate continuity after Metal Gear 2 was made, although it was originally intended to be a true sequel.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance included "Snake Tales", a series of five missions that featured Snake going through stages from Sons of Liberty, but with different plot point (there's no mention of the Patriots, and Snake's backstory is subject to changes). "A Wrongdoing" features Snake trying to save the President from Fatman, which turns out to be a plot by a third party. "Big Shell Evil" features Snake saving Emma Emmerich from Russian drug traffickers, while another third party is planning another plot. "Confidential Legacy" features Snake facing off against Sergei Gurlukovich and Meryl aboard the Tanker, and serves as a direct sequel to the first game. "Dead Man's Whisper" features Iroquois Pliskin helping Commander Dolph apprehend Vamp, with another conspiracy transpiring in the background. "External Gazer", the fifth and final tale, involves an alternate-universe Solidus planning on wrecking the multiverse by having Solid Snake destroy a fifty foot tall guard with death ray eyes.
- Alternate History: In the Metal Gear verse, history appears to have diverged at some point during World War II with the Cobra Unit being instrumental in the defeat of the Axis Powers. Cloning, AI and robotics technology of the 1970s are more advanced than even now in Real Life and The Cold War ends later (though Metal Gear Solid 4 appears to have retconned this).
- Alternate Universe: Cloning was perfected extremely early, and apparently, so were exoskeletons and mecha and gigantic Big Brother ships. Oh, and batshit AI.
- The first game, made in 1987, takes place in 19XX (later established to be 1995). The second game, made in 1990, takes place in 1999 and has the Soviet Union survive past 1991. Metal Gear Solid, made in 1998, takes place in 2005 and contains the line "the nuclear age ended with the turn of the millennium." Metal Gear Solid 2, released in 2001, took place in 2007 and 2009. So it takes place in the future, which is now the past, but the next game takes place in the future anyway, which won't happen because the past didn't happen because it was just a theory about what the future would be, This makes for one of the most confusing timelines in the history of fiction. Only the addition of time travel could it make it more confusing.
- Hilariously enough, that actually did happen with Raiden... in a non-canonical Secret Theatre clip from Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.
- And if you take the information in Snake Eater about the Philosopher's Legacy, fortune amassed by a conspiracy consisting of China, the US and the Soviet Union, the world of Metal Gear diverged from our own at least some time between the First and Second World Wars.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Subverted in Portable Ops and further in Metal Gear Solid 4. The actual conspiracy, the Patriots, were formed fairly recently, in the 1970s, and only use the "ancient" conspiracy, the Philosophers which was itself founded in the early 1900s as a disguise to hide behind. The only link between the two is that the Patriots were founded with the money that the Philosophers left behind when they split.
- Anti-Villain: Zero. Even though he is behind creating the Patriots, his ultimate goal was good and he is far more caring and humane than the typical Knight Templar. However, this is extremely debatable given his 'caring' solution led to a network of AI crashing the world into sterile, hopeless future dominated by proxy wars and iron-fisted information control.
- Overall, straight-up non-Anti Villains are more the exception than the rule in this series.
- Anyone Can Die: A good number of main characters do. At the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, more than 80% of all characters are dead.
- Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Particularly in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, most of the elite cyborgs favour swords and other melee weapons over guns (in Rising, Mooks use guns, but the Elite Mooks use giant hammers and most of the UGs have some form of melee weapon or other). It's justified by explaining that bullets don't have the energy to get through cyborg armour, while HF Blades and other advanced weapons do.
- Arc Number: Sort of. Three of the years in which major events of Big Boss' life occur have the number 4 at the end.
- Arc Words: You'll hear "It's not over yet!" in a lot of the games.
- Also: "Neither enemy or friend", "I've still got a job to do", and "The world needs only one Boss/Snake/Big Boss".
- Don't forget Snake's usual response to people telling him smoking is dangerous; "So's war and I've done that all my life" tends to show up, making for a heartwarming moment when Snake gives up at the end of 4, after he learns he doesn't have to fight anymore.
- Both Snakes like to say 'Kept you waiting, huh?' whenever they make their first appearance.
- Arrow Cam: Nikita Remote Controlled Missiles - First Person Mode.
- Artistic License – Biology: Most infamously in the original Metal Gear Solid, where it is revealed that Solid Snake and Liquid Snake are both clones of Big Boss. Yet somehow they have different genetic make-up.
- Finally revealed/retconned in Metal Gear Solid 4 as the two being genetically manipulated by the Patriots for different purposes. Solidus is the only 100% identical clone of Big Boss.
- Not exactly retconned as in Metal Gear Solid, Liquid straight-up says that they were trying to isolate the genes that made Big Boss the ultimate soldier, and to do this they created two imperfect clones to see which had the greater natural ability. (They did this by genetic modification, Snake and Liquid were originally exactly identical, being from the same egg.)
- Audio Adaptation: There was a two-volume Metal Gear Solid Drama CD in Japan (titled Drama CD Metal Gear Solid) that basically served as a continuation to the PS1 game, while the fictional radio drama Idea Spy 2.5 in Ghost Babel became an actual radio drama starring Hideo Kojima as the title character.
- Awesome but Impractical: The Metal Gear concept itself. Sure, it seems like the ultimate weapon, given that it can launch nukes essentially undetected from any terrain, but the idea seems to run on Rule of Cool. The games seem to acknowledge this, though. The first two games have the legs of the titular Metals Gears as a serious weak point (The TX-55 is brought down with multiple C4 charges at its feet. Metal Gear D is destroyed by hurling frag grenades at the knee joints), a flaw that is uncorrected until the development of Metal Gear REX. The Shagohod, while technically not a Metal Gear, also has a similar (but not quite as fatal) flaw with its augers, as well as needing three miles of runway to launch its nuke.
- Ax-Crazy: Half the freaking cast.
- Back Tracking: One of the more egregious examples occurs in Metal Gear Solid. Upon encountering Sniper Wolf, Snake is told to go find a sniper rifle, which is in a room fairly close to where the player started the game. Snake even lampshades it.
- The Twin Snakes alleviates this by placing a non-lethal one much closer to where the player actually needs it.
- Metal Gear 2 forces backtracking for nearly the whole game.
- Badass: Well, yeah.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Metal Gear Solid 4 Johnny and Meryl get one of these during their Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Badass Beard: Big Boss and The End. The young Roy Campbell has one in Portable Ops too.
- Badass Bookworm: Otacon, eventually.
- Badass Grandpa: Several. There's Big Boss, Revolver Ocelot, and The End. Solid Snake becomes one in Metal Gear Solid 4, and EVA is a badass grandma in the same game as well.
- Snake's case is a Deconstructed Character Archetype, as Snake fighting in spite of his condition isn't solely treated as being heroic or inspiring. Rather, it's occasionally treated as being foolish and suicidal by the other characters at the minimum, and said characters aren't above patronizing and treating him like a burden.
- Badass Longcoat: Ocelot. Liquid would count except he only has the coat on for maybe two scenes maximum.
- Badass Mustache: Old Snake.
- Badass Normal: Snake, at least when compared to the majority of his supernaturally-gifted or crazy-equipped foes. He does have enormous willpower and is Made of Iron, but he can't carry an M61 vulcan cannon and doesn't usually have kickass battle armor to help him.
- Big Boss arguably even more so seeing as he isn't a cloned super soldier.
- Oddly enough, Johnny qualifies for this trope. He's patently useless in the majority of appearances, but his actions at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4 cement his status (considering he was just a normal completely unmodified human soldier).
- The Bad Guy Wins: Most of the Metal Gear Solid games (barring Metal Gear Solid 4) has the main characters actually unwittingly allowing the bad guys from behind the scenes to succeed in their overall evil plan, usually revealed in The Stinger. Metal Gear Solid 2 and, to a certain extent, Peace Walker are notable exceptions to the whole Stinger route, where it is made pretty clear that the behind the scenes villains won even before we get to The Stinger.
- It helps that the bulk of the series is essentially one big Enemy Civil War, with the Patriots as an elusive Bigger Bad. The Big Bads of all of the main series games (Big Boss, Liquid Snake, Solidus Snake and Ocelot) all turn out to be rebelling against the Patriots for personal gain, so stopping them invariably just helps the Patriots maintain their stranglehold on the world.
- Banana Republic: Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land in the original MSX2 games. Oddly enough, the Metal Gear Solid games mostly avert this, with the exception of "Army's Heaven" in Portable Ops. The sidestory installments also have Gindra in Metal Gear: Ghost Babel and the Moloni Republic in Metal Gear Acid.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: Sniper Wolf and then Crying Wolf... the matching second names are not a coincidence, right down to a similar location for the boss fight, both in a snowfield and Communications Tower on Shadow Moses Island. Although it's not impossible to take down Sniper Wolf with Nikita or Stinger missiles at the final confrontation.
- BFG: Lots and lots of them, especially in Metal Gear Solid 4. Remember the rail gun Snake takes from Crying Wolf?
- In Metal Gear Solid, Vulcan Raven uses a M61-A1 Vulcan 20mm gatling gun that he ripped out of an F-16.
- Crying Wolf uses the same rail gun as Fortune.
- Big Boss can wield a plethora of them in Peace Walker including a hilariously powerful minigun.
- Because I'm Good at It: The mentality which leads to the formation of the Patriots, and various incarnations of Outer Heaven. Regardless of their allegiances, they're all military. Their lives revolve around war, and nobody in Metal Gear goes unscathed.
- The theme of indoctrination and war propaganda runs deep in Metal Gear. The Genome Soldiers from Shadow Moses are genetically predisposed to war, creating in months what once took Big Boss several years and an army of war orphans to build. Raiden's old unit is snidely referred to by Snake as "grunts of the digital age," conditioned using the Force XXI virtual reality programs and lacking any real talent or experience. MGS2 focused on memes instead of genes, so the S3 Plan was a method of trying to ensure that people who support the Patriots could be generated at will and, theoretically, at a mass level. The Paradise Lost Army is, or course, yet another example.
- Even in MGS3, Big Boss' support staff had that tiny bit of psychosis in them: Paramedic talks enthusiastically about genes and cloning, Signt's kinda obsessed with his projects, like the mask that could blink and the bioelectric battery; Zero loves his Bond movies, but seemed to have had a particular fascination not just with the gadgets, but also the warmongering Bond villains, like Blofield.
- One of those little moments occurs in Peace Walker when Big Boss talks to Paz about the great stone spheres of Costa Rica. He instantly thinks of shooting them in a fire fight. Because, to Paz's horror, he just doesn't get or understand the value of anything that can't be used for war.
- Big Bad: One per game, and also one for the entire series, until the plot goes into Gray and Grey Morality.
- Bigger Bad: The Patriots are this for the overall series. They're the biggest threat, but Snake never comes into direct conflict with them until the Grand Finale. For the most part, they're vaguely defined and stay in the shadows. Ironically, most of the big bads that he faces in individual games are actually battling the Patriots themselves, though for differing reasons.
- Bittersweet Ending: Every individual game, though the bitterness and sweetness varies with each one.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 verges on Downer Ending territory.
- The only Solid game that doesn't really count is probably the original Metal Gear Solid. Even then, the non-canon ending where Meryl dies is very bittersweet and wasn't revealed as non-canon until ten years later in Real Life, when Metal Gear Solid 4 was released.
- The Blank: Decoy Octopus and Laughing Octopus.
- And, by extension, Old Snake, after he gets Laughing Octopus's mask.
- Blocking Stops All Damage:
- Any Cyborg Ninja worthy of the name in Metal Gear can deflect more than they weigh. Grey Fox held back Rex from crushing Snake easily and Raiden could also block hits from a massive mech easily. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance gave Raiden a block function that is pivotal to success, but he can still take damage while blocking if his opponent is awesome or big enough.
- Similarly, any MSF member in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker can prevent any damage from being crushed by a Humongous Mecha, especially the massive tank that is Cocoon, simply by catching their massive weight with their hands.
- Blood Knight:
- Big Boss. He wants to create a place in the world for people like him.
- Solid Snake as well, although he is downright repulsed by the thought of being one.
- Liquid and Solidus, who want to carry out Big Boss' fantasy.
- Gray Fox. Well, kind of. He doesn't necessarily enjoy battle, but he does feel like he needs it.
- Raiden. Not until he turns into his Jack The Ripper persona, but when it happens, he becomes THE Blood Knight.
- Book Ends: If taken chronologically (and canonically, in light of Revengeance), the series begins and ends with Big Boss smoking a cigar.
- Boring but Practical: All games post-MGS2 have a tranquilizer gun than can attach a suppressor. It's usually one of the first weapons you get. It will likely see more use than all of your rocket launchers, shotguns, railguns, grenade launchers, and heavy machiens guns combined.
- Boss Battle: The series is famous for, among other reasons, its excellent boss battles.
- Metal Gear: Shotmaker, Machinegun Kid, Hind D, Tank, Fire Trooper, TX-11 Cyberoid "Bloody Brad", Dirty Duck, TX-55 Metal Gear, Big Boss.
- Metal Gear 2: Black Ninja/Kyle Schneider, Running Man, Hind D, Red Blaster, Four Horsemen, Jungle Evil, Night Fright, Drago Pettrovich Madnar, Metal Gear D, piloted by Gray Fox, Gray Fox, Big Boss.
- Metal Gear Solid: Revolver Ocelot, Tank (controlled by Vulcan Raven), Cyborg Ninja/Gray Fox, Psycho Mantis, Sniper Wolf, Hind D (piloted by Liquid Snake), Sniper Wolf, Vulcan Raven, Metal Gear REX (piloted by Liquid Snake), Liquid Snake.
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Olga Gurlukovich, Fortune, Fatman, Harrier (piloted by Solidus Snake), Vamp, Tengus, Metal Gear RAY, Solidus Snake.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Major Ocelot, The Pain, The Fear, The End, The Fury, The Sorrow, Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, Shagohod (piloted by Volgin), The Boss.
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Laughing Octopus, Raging Raven, Crying Wolf, Metal Gear RAY (piloted by Ocelot), Screaming Mantis, Ocelot.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: Pupa, Chrysalis, Cocoon, Peace Walker, Peace Walker (quadruped form), Metal Gear ZEKE (piloted by Paz).
- Metal Gear Rising: Metal Gear RAY Mod.0, Hammerhead, LQ-84i/ Bladewolf, Mistral, GRAD, Monsoon, AI!Mistral, AI!Monsoon, Sundowner, Jetstream Sam, Metal Gear EXCELSUS (piloted by Armstrong), Armstrong, Armstrong (Ripper Mode).
- Boss Rush: Very often a bonus mode, seen in Metal Gear Solid 2 and individual boss battles of 3, and an extra treat in the Acid series and Portable Ops Plus. The Subsistence version of Metal Gear Solid 3 adds this to the original MSX games as well.
- Bottled Heroic Resolve
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- In Metal Gear, Big Boss orders Snake to turn off the MSX2 or NES console.
- In Metal Gear Solid, Psycho Mantis will scan your Playstation or Gamecube memory card for existing save files from other Konami games. He also does a harmless attack called "Hideo" which blacks out the screen and displays the aforementioned words to fool the player into checking their tv.
- In Metal Gear Solid, revolver Ocelot warns Snake that if he detects a controller with rapid-fire capability, he'll automatically disqualify him and kill Meryl.
- Metal Gear Solid 2 introduced Fission Mailed.
- But Not Too Foreign: Pretty mild for most characters but up the ying-yang for the Snake "family." Although Western in origin, and in spite of the fact that both Otacon (who's surname is Jewish-German) and Mei Ling look much more Asian than any of the Snakes, the characters are told again and again how Asian they are. Says Vulcan Raven in Metal Gear Solid: "The blood of the East runs in your veins" and he then goes on to describe (how he knows this we have no idea) that Snake's ancestors were from Japan and before that the Mongolian plains. As it turns out, Snake and his brother Liquid were cloned using a donor egg from a Japanese woman (so their mitochondrial DNA is East Asian).
- Otacon himself is a pretty good example as, while (as far can be told) he's entirely European in origin, he is an emphatic Japanophile. Likewise, Raiden, while not a Japanophile, seems like he walked straight out of one of Otacon's Japanese animes.
- Butt Monkey:
- Johnny, who gets knocked out a lot and keeps getting bad diarrhea problems, and is The Scrappy of Rat Patrol Team 01... up until he gets some badass points and steals Meryl from our lovable, crotchety old clone.
- Raiden has it pretty rough as well. In Metal Gear Solid 2 he is nagged by his girlfriend, is urinated on, he gets beaten up and used as bait for certain people, it is revealed that his parents were murdered by Solidus, and that's just his first appearance. In Metal Gear Solid 3 he was parodied by Volgin's gay lover Raikov, a usable face mask that Major Zero and Sokolov both apparently dislike, and Metal Gear Raiden: Snake Eraser where he travels back in time to kill Big Boss so that he could become the main character of the series. To say he failed miserably there would be a understatement. In between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4, he is told by Rose that she suffered a miscarriage (don't worry she was lying) after which he is tortured by the Patriots and used as a guinea pig for their experiments, his head is severed from his body at the jaw and transplanted to an entirely synthetic body, which is later upgraded to the exoskeleton we see him wearing in Metal Gear Solid 4.
- Camp: So, so much. This is a very tongue-in-cheek series.
- Canon Discontinuity: Snake's Revenge, a sequel to the NES version of the first Metal Gear which Konami produced for the international market without Kojima's involvement. It was technically the first Metal Gear sequel, as it actually inspired Kojima to make Metal Gear 2 in the first place.
- Captain Obvious: There are a whole lot of these. Some examples:
- Char Clone: Gray Fox in the remastered Metal Gear 2, Ocelot in Snake Eater and Liquid in the original Solid.
- Character Outlives Actor: Kōji Totani, the Japanese voice actor of villain Revolver Ocelot, died during the production of Metal Gear Solid 4. As a result, the role was recast to Banjō Ginga (Liquid Snake's Japanese voice), with Liquid Snake's persona having (apparently) taken complete control of Ocelot's mind as a convenient excuse for the recast. This wasn't much of an issue in the English version, since Ocelot's English voice actor Pat Zimmerman was still alive and reprised the role anyway.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The first we hear about Sunny is while she's still a developing embryo in Olga's womb early in Metal Gear Solid 2. She becomes a recurring character in Metal Gear Solid 4, and at the end, plays a big part in defeating the Patriots.
- Johnny Sasaki was just a guard who had his clothes stolen and caught a cold in the original Solid, but still warranted a full name in the credits. Come Metal Gear Solid 4, and he was one of the major players who Took a Level in Badass.
- Child Soldiers: Null/Gray Fox, Raiden, Drebin, Chico, and technically the Les Enfants Terribles clones.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The name comes from The Last Days of FOXHOUND, a webcomic based upon the game, which is used to describe Revolver Ocelot's habit of betraying anyone and everyone. Including his own soldiers in 4.
- Code Name: Every special forces group in the Metal Gear universe seems to have some sort of codename system. Most notably, the FOX unit (and later FOX HOUND) uses animal-themed names.
- Cold War: The setting of the Naked Snake games (MGS3, MPO, and Peace Walker).
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Meta-example. The packaging art for each MGS game (at least in Japan) have a main color each. This is further reflected in tie-in products such as the Acid series and Social Ops.
- MGS = rednote
- MGS2 = blue
- MGS3 = green
- MGS4 = black
- MPO/MGSPW = yellow
- Combat Sadomasochist: Vamp and Raiden seem to enjoy hurting each other a little too much.
- Comm Links: The codec.
- Companion Cube: The cardboard box. Both Solid and Naked Snake apparently have some sort of sexual fetish with it, and Naked Snake believes that not only is his being in the box his destiny, but it is also the true key to happiness. The former finds it relaxing to sit in the box - or, y'know, barrel. Solid Snake doesn't just find the box relaxing, to him, it's the most important thing he has on him. He even lectures Raiden about it, giving the famous "Take care of your cardboard box, and it'll take care of you" comment.
- "I'm not exaggerating when I say the success of your mission hinges on how you use that cardboard box."
- Conspicuously Selective Perception: AI can only see in front of them in the earlier games. Of course, an enemy spotting you right away would piss off many.
- Contemplate Our Navels: The series has to be a Lifetime achievement Award contender, especially the Metal Gear Solid games. Characters spend lots of time waxing poetic about the harshness of war, the dangers of genetic engineering, the military-industrial complex, their tragic childhoods, etc.
- Continuing Is Painful: Variation: You can continue as much as you want without any harm except your rank at the end suffer. On the other hand, with the exception of a few bosses that your support team gives you more specific advice for (and on two cases, both tell you the secret that makes the fight possible) on future attempts, there is no reason to not just select "exit" to go the main menu and then load instead as long as you remember to save at the start of each area (where "continue" will return you to).
- Copy Protection: Both, the MSX2 version of Metal Gear 2 and the original MGS, had a certain character's contact number written on the back of the retail packaging. In the latter's case, this became problematic to players who bought the game secondhand without the original CD case or were merely renting it.
- Creepy Crows: Vulcan Raven in Metal Gear Solid, Raging Raven in MGS4. The similar codenames are not a coincidence.
- Cut Scene: Let's just say there are two types of people in the Metal Gear fandom: those who hate Metal Gear because of the cutscenes, and people who don't.
- It is frequently said by fans that Metal Gear's an interactive story, rather than a game, not that it's a bad thing.
- Cyber Cyclops: The Ninja in MGS1 and Metal Gear Ray are both cyclopes.
- Only the mass production models of Metal Gear RAY are Cyclopes. The prototype has two optical sensors.
- Also, although Gray Fox's mask affects the appearance of a cyclops, if you look closely the eye holes are actually two slits immediately next to the giant red scanner. However, the aesthetic remains similar.
- However, and this is more noticeable in Twin Snakes but still present in the original, if you look at Gray Fox's face when he's unmasked you'll note that he only has one eye left, as the result of his near-death experience.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Fortune, Drebin and Scott Dolph. Also, technically Liquid, but his dark skin and blond hair were the result of bleaching during his time in the Iraqi prison camp, and he's not black in any percentage, like the other three examples.
- Death Seeker: Metal Gear Solid had Gray Fox, who was looking for one last battle with Solid Snake. MGS2 introduced us to Fortune, whose father died in the tanker incident, followed by her husband's death and a miscarriage as a result of all the stress. She cannot be hit by bullets due to a top secret electromagnetic weapon that she unknowingly carries. Vamp doesn't really start playing this role until MGS4, and injects himself with nanomachine suppressants in order to cancel out his healing factor and finish himself once and for all. Snake himself arguably counts in MGS4, since his reasons for living are rapidly disappearing. He decides to see the world with Otacon during his last few months, however.
- Deconstruction: Lots of it.
- Depraved Bisexual: Both Volgin from MGS3 and Vamp from MGS2 & 4.
- Derivative Differentiation: The games were initially just a tongue-in-cheek take-off of American spy and action films, but Metal Gear Solid was where the series started to establish its own identity (as the Sequel Displacement can attest to).
- Did Not Get the Girl:
- In 4, things don't work out for Snake and Meryl, what with Snake being an Ineffectual Loner and Meryl falling in love with, then marrying the series' "perennial loser."
- Also happens to Raiden and Rose in Metal Gear Solid 2, although they end up together in Metal Gear Solid 4, and Big Boss and EVA in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater — though technically subverted as she got pregnant with Big Boss' "child" clones.
- And lest we forget that there were two full games before the Solid Series, Snake obviously does not end up with Holly White (MG2), even ditching her at the end of the game to retire to Alaska.
- Die Hard on an X: On a nuclear missile disposal site, cargo tanker, oil decontamination facility, Russian jungle and the battlefields of 2014 respectively.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Awesome, world-renowned badasses who smoke heavily and advise the player not to smoke. In this franchise, it's kind of a motif. In MGS1, Natasha actually says this with a cigarette dangling from her mouth. ("Zey are bad for you.")
- Driving Question: The Patriots' identity, during games 2-4.
- Dysfunction Junction: The games go to lengths to point out just how incredibly screwed up almost every single character is, and the tragic consequences of such.
- Easter Egg: Tons of 'em.
- Edge Gravity: Unless of course you encounter a pit trap.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Played with. In MGS1, the 'high-tech next-generation special forces' are the useless Mooks of the game, and in MGS2, the US Marines and Navy SEALs are Red Shirt Armies. Normal forces are more or less never shown, and the Redshirt Army status of supposedly elite forces just go to show how dangerous the enemies are or how Badass the heroes are.
- Played straight with FOXHOUND, Dead Cell, the Cobras and the B&B Corp. In each case, they are specifically described as some of the most dangerous people on planet Earth.
- Elite Mooks: The Hi-Tech Soldiers, Arsenal Tengu in MGS2, the Rocket-men and FROG units in MGS4.
- Enemy Chatter: Only during Alert, Evasion, and Caution phases. However, there is some chatter to be found in most games, if you look hard enough.
- Enemy Detecting Radar: Present in all of the main MGS games, in one form or another. The first two had the "Soliton Radar" which showed you the position and facing of enemies on a nearby radar minimap. Some people complained—justifiably—that the radar actually made things a little too easy. For MGS3, the prequel, they had a number of lower-tech solutions that all ran off of battery power: a motion sensor that would not detect stationary enemies, a "sound ping" radar that could give away your position to someone nearby, and an "AP sensor" that made the controller vibrate when enemies were near. MGS4 gave players the "Threat Ring" which showed the relative locations of enemies surrounding Snake, but only when he held still and knelt on the ground, and also a sound-detecting radar in the form of the Solid Eye—loud explosions, gunfire and other turmoil would make it not work as well, but it provided a nice balance between the previous incarnations. MGS5 uses the "Marking" system, which tags people and important items (such as vehicles, fixed guns or supplies for your base) while looking at them using binoculars or aiming with a gun ; tagged items and people appear as pictograms on your map and on your screen (if you are close enough) until they are killed/destroyed or leave the map.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: The ranks of the various Quirky Miniboss Squads tend to be quite diverse. And then there're the Patriots.
- Escort Mission: Raiden and Emma; Big Boss and EVA; Old Snake and Drebin's Stryker; Old Snake and the Van.
- Everything Fades: Averted - except for the first MGS, dead bodies don't go and need to be hidden.
- However, enemies killed in alert mode or action sequences will disappear (flicker out more like it), and occasionally in normal status if one waits long enough.
- As a possible reference to this, Liquid Ocelot's elite FROG units immolate themselves once they're dead, and if Snake touches the bodies, they crumble to dust.
- Played straight in Revengeance, since bodies cut down by Raiden exploded right after, of if cut down for to much time in Blade Mode or the HF Wooden Sword, simply faded (this happens due to the possible crash that lots of scattered enemies pieces would cause).
- Evil Brit: Two of the most influential villains in the entire series are British: Zero, founder of the Patriots, and Liquid Snake, one of the only men in the world who can face Solid Snake in equal combat. Ironically enough, in the Japanese version they're voiced by the same actor, Banjo Ginga.
- Subverted with Strangelove, who is more like an anti-heroic albino, Emma (who was the daughter of a British woman), and possibly Otacon, as the in-game novel In The Darkness Of Shadow Moses: The Unofficial Truth implies that Otacon has some British ancestry. Peace Walker ends with Strangelove and Huey coming to an 'understanding'. It's entirely possible but not confirmed for certain that Strangelove might be Otacon's mother. For what it's worth, 'Emmerich' is a German name.
- Evil Is Dumb: Johnny Sasaki and, arguably, Fortune.
- Exposition Break: Utterly infamous for these.
- The CODEC seems to stop time, so Snake and his Voice with an Internet Connection can carry on long conversations during a firefight, or even while Snake is kneeling down right in the line of sight of an enemy sniper.
- Averted in Peace Walker, where not only does time not stop during a Codec call, but it's also actively encouraged that you don't attempt to call when near enemies. MGS4 also has some Codec calls in real time, where the person calling is just telling you where to go next or commenting on something nearby.
- Subverted in Revengeance. There are standard codec calls as well ones that occur in real time, preventing you from doing anything else other than walking. Justified in the fact that real-time codec calls are disguised loading screens, akin to the infamous Mass Effect elevators.
- Expy: Snake shares many characteristics with Snake Plissken from Escape from New York, while Colonel Campbell is Colonel Trautman from Rambo. Given that Kojima is an avowed movie fan, this is no surprise.
- Raiden is an expy of Solid Snake, and probably Jack from Titanic.
- Raikov in turn is an expy of Raiden.
- Eyepatch of Power: Subverted slightly in that Big Boss' eyepatch really is an eyepatch, while Old Snake's Solid Eye simply provides optical enhancements... as well as 'radar,' of sorts. Well, then there's also Solidus.
- Raiden Custom Body's eyepatch acts as a cybernetic eye, since Doktor couldn't get a replacement after he lost his eye to Sam (in fact, the eyepatch he uses has all the benefits of a fully operational artificial compound eye, and all the coolness of an eyepatch).
- Fakeout Escape: One of the ways Snake can escape jail cells he ends up in (in Metal Gear Solid) is by simply hiding under the bed while the guard is gone.
- Fallen Hero: Big Boss, along with Major Zero, Para-Medic, and Sigint.
- Famous Last Words: See Final Speech below.
- Fan Disservice: See trope entry.
- A Father to His Men: Big Boss and Gene.
- The Boss in reference to the Cobra Unit.
- Female Gaze: A good deal of Metal Gear is geared towards the Female Gaze, given how taut and firm Snake's ass is, even when he's an old man.
- Femme Fatale: Sniper Wolf, EVA, Naomi, Mistral.
- Fight Like A Card Player: The Ac!d series.
- Final Speech: Every single character death includes one of these. No exceptions, bar the bosses in the first Metal Gear game.
- First Person Snapshooter: Each Metal Gear Solid features a digital camera that allows the player to take screenshots of the game and save them to the memory card.
- Fission Mailed: Trope Namer.
- Fisticuffs Boss: At least twice.
- Five-Bad Band: Several.
- Flawed Prototype: The eponymous Metal Gears, nuclear-armed walking tanks that never actually get into the production stage. RAY and the GEKKO are exceptions, but as the games are quick to remind us, they aren't actually Metal Gears.
- Forgotten Superweapon: REX was more or less abandoned at Shadow Moses. Justified since REX was developed illegally.
- Foreshadowing: In Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Yes, Hideo Kojima snuck in hints about MSG4 on the Killer App of a competing company in an Intercontinuity Crossover. It's really not out of place.
- The games themselves are riddled with foreshadowing. Starting from the first Metal Gear Solid we have references to Snake not aging well and the mention of a few characters from Metal Gear Solid 2. MGS2 gave us the revelation that the Metal Gear technology was originally Russian. MPO brought in hints of who the Patriots really were.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Everyone's sneaking suits.
- Future Badass: Raiden in MGS4, Null to Gray Fox. Additionally, Portable Ops can count - the remaining survivors of the San Hieronymo incident later become part of Big Boss's mercenaries.
- Future Spandex: The sneaking suits.
- Gainaxing: Meryl (who doesn't wear a bra) and EVA.
- Possibly borrowed from Policenauts, in which you could jiggle almost every female character's breast. Except, ironically (unless under special circumstances), Meryl's.
- Gambit Pileup: Almost every game has one, which thanks to continuity build up and create a bigger pileup for the entire series.
- Game Shark: Mentioned, but not actually used.
- Generational Saga: The series (if you don't count Rising) takes place over a fifty year period with two of the three playable characters being a father and son.
- Generation Xerox:
- All of Big Boss' children are skilled soldiers. Not surprising, since they're clones and were in fact raised specifically to be perfect soldiers.
- Even more egregious is Otacon and his father, both genius robotics engineers with similar personalities, who wind up unwittingly creating walking nuclear death tanks and then actively work to stop their work from being used. Huey's relationship with Big Boss mirrors Otacon's with Solid Snake's as well.
- Get On With It Already: Many cutscenes and conversations throughout the series. But none compare to all of MGS4. (Fortunately, almost all of the MGS4 cutscenes are skippable. Unfortunately, the exceptions include Big Boss' death, the awfully long credits, and the post-credits ending.)
- Good Bad Translation: The NES Metal Gear. "The truck have started to move" and "I feel asleep", for instance.
- Gone Horribly Right: The Patriots started the Les Enfantes Terrible project because they wanted perfect soldiers like Big Boss. They succeeded, and ended up with three guys who do not enjoy getting dicked around at all.
- Gratuitous French: The name of the project that spawned the Snake clones; Les Enfants Terribles (The Terrible Children).
- There's also the first incarnation of Big Boss's Outer Heaven, Militares Sans Frontiers (a take off Medicines Sans Frontiers, which they had to throw a legal disclaimer saying the two weren't related.)
- Mistral's polearm L'Etranger. Justified in the fact that she is a big Shout-Out to Albert Camus' novel The Stranger ("L'étranger" in French).
- Graying Morality: Most of the games feature a de facto villain while playing with moral ambiguity as a thematic device. That is until MGS4 which is a full on Grey and Gray Morality story which also retcons the entire series conflict into one as well.
- Groin Attack: In MGS2 and MGS3, shooting an enemy in the family jewels was a one hit kill. In MGS4, you can knock out a male enemy by crushing their balls. Performing it on a FROG-Trooper, however, turns it into a grope and a very angry FROG trooper.
- Hand Cannon: Meryl's Desert Eagle in MGS, which she claims to have used since she was a child; in MGS4 she has both that and a long-barrel version with an attached scope. There's also the Patriot in MGS3, essentially a sawn-off version of an M16 prototype that only The Boss can effectively fire one-handed. And Gray Fox has a plasma cannon which replaces his right hand when he needs it.
- Harder Than Hard: The European releases of MGS2 and 3 add an unlockable "European Extreme" mode as a PAL Bonus. It's like the regular Extreme difficulty, with the added stipulation that triggering an Alarm phase ends the game immediately.
- In Metal Gear Rising we have the Revengeance difficulty, where if you die, you go back to the beginning of the level.
- He Knows About Timed Hits: Made into an art form.
- Heal Thyself: Resting in hidden areas in MGS3 and MGS4 restores health, not to mention the fast-regenerating camouflage given to you by one of the bosses in MGS3. (In MGS4 there are at least two iPod songs that specifically increase Old Snake's recovery rate.)
- In MGS2, when bleeding, Raiden can stop the bleeding if he stays still because of the fast acting nanomachines.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Snake and Otacon. They're serious competitors with Mario and Luigi for the title of "Most Badass Bromance in Videogame History".
- Honor Before Reason: Averted and commented on by everyone, especially Solid Snake, who mocks the idea.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: In MGS4, Vamp would be unless you use the Syringe to end his nanomachine-enhanced regeneration.
- In MGR:R, Senator Armstrong just punches and kicks you like a ball in the first and second fights, until you get Murasama HF Blade and kicks his butt.
- Fortune in MGS2 is truly a hopeless fight; all you can do is dodge her shots until events force her to leave.
- Hospital Hottie: Dr. Naomi, Rosemary, Para-Medic and Elise.
- Hot Scientist: Naomi Hunter. Otacon also becomes significantly more attractive with each game, ironic as Snake becomes older and uglier with each game.
- Human Weapon: The franchise has this as the main theme. The plots usually revolve around the protagonist and their direct opposition being manipulated by politicians, conspiracies, and other forces, and being treated as expendable tools with no goal or aspirations of their own.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Unabashedly. You can carry about fifty weapons in MGS4, but only five at a time that you can wield in your menu. You can also carry an oil drum.
- Portable Ops and Peace Walker downplay this trope heavily. Portable Ops allows you to carry four items only, regardless of type. Peace Walker, on the other hand, will allow you to carry between one and three primary weapons, depending on which outfit you're wearing, and a couple of secondary weapons as well as a limited number of items.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Gray Fox has absolutely nothing to live for except one last battle with Solid Snake. Vamp's nanomachine-enhanced Healing Factor prevents him from committing suicide. Fortune cannot be hit with bullets, and any grenades thrown in her vicinity end up being duds due to the top secret electromagnetic weapon developed by the Patriots that she is unknowingly carrying, but she lost everything after the tanker incident so this is actually a curse. All three are looking for a Worthy Opponent to finish them off. The Boss was a special case, as the Philosophers ordered her to die at Naked Snake's hands for the sake of a cover-up. She couldn't commit suicide, and she couldn't tell Snake what was going on. The fact that nuclear war would likely result if she stayed alive was also a factor. Even Snake fits this during MGS4, as he cannot die until he completes his mission.
- Identical Grandson: Big Boss and the three Snake brothers are meant to resemble each other (notably in the fact that Solid Snake is a dead-ringer to Naked Snake, the young Big Boss, while Solidus Snake resembles the elder Big Boss).
- Idiot Hero: Despite having the situation explained to them every 3.5 seconds, both Snakes and Raiden are unbelievably dense. Though considering how many plot twists get revealed in each cutscene and the Mind Screw nature of MGS2, it could just be an effort to identify with the players who are probably just as confused.
- Johnny (Akiba) in MGS4 also qualifies.
- Ignorance Is Bliss: The Emmerich family are never told that they are working on a machine that is going to be used to destroy the world because they would not help. Thankfully they are incredibly gullible.
- I Have Many Names: Many examples.
- Ocelot, ADAM, Adamska and Shalashaska are the same guy.
- Big Boss, Naked Snake, Saladin, and Jack/John.note
- Solid Snake, David, Iroquois Plisken and Old Snake.
- Major Zero is also Major Tom, David Oh, and Cipher.
- Frank Jaeger is also known as Gray Fox, Cyborg ninja, Deepthroat, Null and The Perfect Soldier.
- EVA is also Tatyana, and later on, Matka Pluku or Big Mama.
- Raiden is otherwise known as Jack, Jack the Ripper and Mr. Lightning Bolt.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Deconstructed with Solid Snake, and even more savagely deconstructed with Raiden.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Justified in the fact that A) the blades are meant to deflect bullets, and B) the suits they wear increase reflexes.
- When playing with Cyborg Ninja Raiden, you don't have a block button, you just have to Ninja Run to automatically deflect bullets.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: See all the Five-Bad Band entries.
- Rare Guns: You have D-Eagles (and the long-barreled version, which is widely available), muskets, the Bizon, Chinese copies of Mausers, DSR-9s, and so on.
- Rated M for Manly
- Recruited From The Gutter:
- In Metal Gear Solid, Naomi reveals that her adopted brother rescued her (and put her through medical school) after she was orphaned. Her brother was Grey Fox, Snake's old Friendly Enemy; she joined the team to get revenge on Snake for killing him.
- In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Grey Fox reveals that he's defected to Big Boss's side because he was recruited to Foxhound by him as a child soldier (the later games which starred Big Boss would elaborate on this).
- Big Boss in general founded Outer Heaven as a refuge for disenfranchised soldiers and war orphans...albeit to form a private army. To his credit, he does sincerely care about them.
- Redshirt Army: The SEALs sent in to deliver the Nuclear Football in MGS2 (to be fair, they're up against a vampire and an unkillable woman with a railgun), the US Army/Marine Corps task force in MGS4 (though they later fend off a horde of FROG units).
- Retcon: A few aspects of the story have been changed occasionally, such as MGS4 ignoring that Dr. Clark was a man in MGS1 to allow the character to also be Para-Medic from MGS3).
- Rule of Symbolism: In MSG3 (Naked) Snake is given the order to meet with his contacts Adam and Eva. Eva goes so far to ask him if he has come to seduce her.
- Rather interesting, as (Naked) Snake manages to successfully seduce both Adam and Eva. Without even trying or noticing, even.
- In MSG4 an apple falls from (Old) Snake's pocket and rolls towards Eva, who picks it up. Later she hands the same apple to Adam (aka Ocelot), who crushes it and throws it away.
- Say My Name: Every single Metal Gear Solid has this, with both enemies and allies screaming "SNAAAAAAAAKKKEEEE!!!"
- Substituted with "Raiden, what happened?! Raiden! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIDEEEEEN!" in Sons of Liberty.
- "FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOX!!" when Grey Fox is killed off for real during the REX battle.
- The intro to MGS2 (itself a sort of Nostalgia Level) with Otacon shouting, "...Snake..? Snake?! SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE" whenever your net a game over, and later "E.E.? E.E.!? E.EEEEEEEEE-!!" if the player screws the pooch and gets Emma killed.
- The series' use of it is inverted near the end of Guns of the Patriots when the Scarabs start piling on Snake: "OOOTACOOOOOOON!" Inverted both for Snake being the one to use it, and it being a genuinely tense and dramatic moment instead of meme-fuel.
- Snake screamed Otacon's name again earlier in Guns of the Patriots when he got half of his face burned very badly.
- This almost qualifies as a CMOA during the final duel when after Snake takes an absolutely brutal beating at the hands of Liquid Ocelot he turns the fight around by breaking his enemy's fingers. As Snake rises he screams his rival's name with a cry of rage and frustration, to be answered in kind as the camera spins. And they they really start beating the hell out of each other.
- Save Token: You can save by using your codec/radio/etc to call a "data analyst" and have them save your game for you.
- Scare Chord: !
- The stingers to Solids 1-3 all feature one after the respective Wham Line comes up. In the original after learning that Ocelot was working for the President, in Sons of Liberty after Snake learns the Patriots have been dead for a century, and in Snake Eater after Ocelot reveals he was "ADAM".
- Sequential Boss
- Sensor Suspense: You will be looking at the radar minimap quite often, and you will most definitely notice when one of the blip's vision cones turns yellow.
- Shirtless Scene: At least one per game.
- Shout-Out: Vietnam War-era jungle setting of the game aside, Snake of Metal Gear Solid 3 is a shout-out to James Bond AND John Rambo. The former is paid tribute to in the music of the alert phases, whereas the latter happens when Snake roars Sylvester Stallone's trademark battle-cry when firing an M63 machine gun. Solid 'Old' Snake also roars like this when firing the M60E4 in Guns of the Patriots, signifying how much he has become like his father.
- There's many others as well. For example, Raiden's real name is Jack, and his girlfriend is named Rose.
- Not only that, but in both endings of MGS1, Snake reveals his name to be David, or "Dave" as his rescue partner calls him. With his techie buddy Hal.
- Bonus points for Hal actually being named after HAL from the movie.
- The Meryl ending continues the shout out fest, this time being one of several shoutouts to Kojima's earlier visual novel game Policenauts.note
- Drebin and his "naked guns" is a shout out to a rather unexpected franchise.
- Of course, Hideo Kojima has shoutouts to his own work as well, with Policenauts posters and Snake can actually use the Gun De Sol from Boktai as a bonus weapon, the Solar Gun, by acquiring the FROG statue and the B&B Corps statues, by defeating them (for the B&B Corps their Beast forms) all nonlethally.
- Metal Gear Mk. 2 originally appeared in Kojima's Snatcher. Except that one was a reference to the original Metal Gear. A reference is even made to the "Metal Gear Menace" of the late 20th century.
- The freight Elevator in MGS is a near exact duplicate of the one in AKIRA,and even leads down to a sub-zero area.
- Solid Snake's name is a shoutout to Snake Plissken from Escape from New York. The film is one of Kojima's favourites, and was a large influence on the series (particularly notable is the theme of an uncaring government sacrificing heroes for minor or personal gain).
- The MGS4 "Chair Race" trailer featured a battle between Snake and Raiden over a chair labeled "main character". Snake's gear and method of movement in the trailer is reminiscent of Sam Fisher.
- Simultaneous Warning And Action: Who's there?! In addition, the Alert/Caution/Evasion calls to HQ.
- Skippable Boss: MGS3's The End - using two methods! Either set the clock ahead so that he dies of old age, or snipe him when he appears in his wheelchair — albeit the latter will lead to the boss fight areas being instead patrolled by 20 enemy soldiers. In MGS4 there are no truly skippable bosses, but any damage to her Life or Psyche that Raging Raven takes during the motorcycle chase sequence will carry over to the 'true' boss fight, so go fire on her with whichever bar of hers you wish to damage later.
- Also in 3, if you blow up the HIND at the ammo dump, you won't have to face it later when you're climbing the mountain. If you blow up ammo and/or food dumps, the soldiers you face later will run out of bullets quickly and/or be weakened and hungry (meaning tranqs and CQC will take them down faster and they'll eat anything they find, including poisonous food).
- Smoking Is Cool: You can say this is the Trope Codifier on the Video Games entry.
- Sniper Scope Sway: Sniper rifles are common, and generally accompanied by this. You can use pentazemin (or a cigarette) to relax and reduce the tremble when scoping.
- Sniping Mission: Raiden must protect Emma this way in Metal Gear Solid 2. The battle with Sniper Wolf in Metal Gear Solid, The End in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and Crying Wolf in Metal Gear Solid 4.
- Solemn Ending Theme: Most of the games — see the trope page for details.
- Spider Limbs: Laughing Octopus and Solidus Snake.
- Spotting the Thread: The fact that the DARPA Chief refers to the terrorist act as a revolution is a major hint that he might not be who he claims to be. Yet no one picks up on this, despite the fact that they know for a fact a master of disguise is among the Fox Hound renegades.
- And in MGS3, there are several blatantly obvious hints that EVA might not be who she says she is, in her very first scene. She fails to answer the code phrase, instead gunning down several mooks... with a Mauser C96, which was only used by one nation during the Cold War: China. She even uses the "Bandit Shooting" technique that was invented specifically to take advantage of that gun's tremendous recoil. She ends up being a Chinese triple agent tasked with tracking down the Philosopher's Legacy. Of course, Snake doesn't pick up on any of this, due to EVA's Absolute Cleavage. Neither do most players.
- Spy Catsuit: Inverted - only the men get them. And look damn Fan Servicey in them, too. EVA comes close in her form-fitting motorcycle outfit with Absolute Cleavage, and the FROGs wear a combat version of this.
- The Beauties get some very form fitting suits. When facing off against Raging Raven, after she sheds her suit and turns away, still quite insane, Snake stares at her butt. Please note that originally, it was intended to be averted.
- Start of Darkness: Metal Gear Solid 3, Portable Ops, and Peace Walker detail the events behind Big Boss' transformation from a young, patriotic soldier into a war hero disillusioned with the modern world's treatment of soldiers.
- Stealth-Based Game: Trope Codifier.
- The Stinger: Usually Once per Episode in a post-credits phone-call:
- MG1: Big Boss survived the explosion and is waiting for Solid Snake, eager to fight him again.
- MGS1/Twin Snakes: Ocelot was working with the President... and President George Sears is a third Big Boss clone named Solidus Snake.
- MGS2: Most of the Patriots (later revealed to be their predecessors, The Philosophers) have been dead for up to a hundred years, leaving Otacon's "contributor" to be one of the few living members.
- MGS3: Ocelot is triple crossing America and the Soviet Union, and stole the real Philosopher's legacy with the CIA Director to revive the Philosophers.
- Portable Ops: Ocelot has retrieved the Philosopher's Legacy, and agrees to use it to start "The Patriots" with an anonymous figure on the condition Big Boss is allowed in too.
- MGS4: While the FOXDIE isn't going to become a non-discriminatory weapon, Snake's aging still means he hasn't long to live. Since he doesn't have the ability to pass on anything to the next generation, Otacon decides to spend the rest of Snake's life with him as a witness.
- Peace Walker: The first has Snake accept the title of Big Boss after learning the truth about The Boss. The second has Big Boss deliver a speech wherein he defines MSF's beliefs, and christens their base "Outer Heaven."
- Revengeance: World Marshall is overthrown, but more PMCs are still on the rise. Raiden declares he still has his own war to fight.
- Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: To reiterate. There are a lot of cutscenes. MGS4 has about nine hours of 'em. Check the helpful chart on the trope entry for how the average Metal Gear game breaks down.
- Supervillain Lair: Shadow Moses, Gronzyj Grad, Arsenal Gear, Outer Haven (and its later incarnation), you name it...
- Sympathy for the Devil: Most villains in the series can be sympathized with to a certain extent. The Patriot AIs, Volgin and Hot Coldman avert this.
- Hot Coldman becomes a bigger aversion when it's revealed that he was behind probably the biggest Tear Jerker of the series.
- Take Cover
- Metal Gear Solid (1998) introduced the peek-around-the-corner cover mechanic, where Snake can crouch behind and press against low walls and peak around corners.
- Metal Gear Solid 2 (2001) expanded on it, introducing a shoot-around-the-corner cover system, where Snake or Raiden can crouch behind or press against low walls and aim from behind them, to shoot from around the corner of a wall. This shoot-around-the-corner cover system has also been employed in later Stealth Games like the Splinter Cell series and Tactical Shooter games like Rainbow Six Vegas (2006).
- Metal Gear Solid 4 features an improved cover system similar to Kill Switch.
- Taking You with Me:
- Cunningham uses those exact words after his defeat in Portable Ops.
- Big Boss later utters these words before fighting Solid Snake in the first Metal Gear game.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Happens with nearly all codec conversations, often at absurd times.
- Theme Naming: All Quirky Miniboss Squads (with the exception of Dead Cell) are some of the most notable examples.
- FOXHOUND had a two-part codename: the first part comes from the boss' specialty/weapon, the second part comes from an animal.
- The Cobra Unit base their names off the emotions they carry into battle. For reference, this is where The Boss' second codename, The Joy, comes from.
- The Beauty and the Beast Unit combines the emotion of a Cobra with a FOXHOUND operative's animal.
- The Peace Walker AI Weapons are based off different names of a butterfly's formation. In addition, Dr. Strangelove named the AIs after American presidents (the same names would be reused for the Patriot AIs.
- Lastly, the Winds of Destruction are named after powerful winds from their respective home countries.
- Title Drop: Solidus Snake's terrorist group in MGS2 are the Sons of Liberty, Snake's mission in MGS3 is codenamed Operation Snake Eater, and Ocelot calls his master plan in MGS4 the Guns of the Patriots. Metal Gear is first introduced this way in the first game. Also, Snake Eater, despite not having an actual Metal Gear, introduces the man behind the original concept.
- Transplant: Very few people knew that Meryl Silverberg was originally from the Japan-only Policenauts, and a version of Metal Gear Mk. II from Snatcher appears in MGS4. However, they are very different verisons of those characters. Versions of Jonathan and Ed appear in MGS4 as well, and in Japanese are played by the same Policenauts actors, just like Meryl. Incidentally their actors happen to be Otacon and Psycho Mantis as well.
- Treacherous Advisor: Big Boss in the original Metal Gear, Liquid disguised as Master Miller in Metal Gear Solid (and technically Naomi and the entirety of the Pentagon in the same game), The Colonel/AI in Metal Gear Solid 2, The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (kind of), General Wiseman in Metal Gear AC!D2.
- Try Everything: The codec frequencies, if you miss the hint.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: Barring the Big Boss sections (which obviously take place in the past), the series tends to take place 4-8 years after the game's release and with appropriately advanced technology.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Since MGS3, the games have been split into telling the stories of Solid Snake and Big Boss.
- Uncle Sam Wants You: Not in any of the games themselves, but a promotional poster for GDC recruitment for Kojima Productions regarding the "Next" Metal Gear Solid game has Big Boss, a'la Uncle Sam, pointing at the viewer with the caption "BIGBOSS wants YOU! THE "NEXT" MGS"◊
- Unexpected Gameplay Change:
- The Shagohod chase in MGS3 is an on-rails shooter.
- Escaping from South America in Metal Gear Solid 4 mixes Zombie Apocalypse and turret gunplay, there's more on-rails shooter stuff with Big Mama again in Eastern Europe (albeit you're limited to one-handed firearms), and mecha combat in Shadow Moses—REX versus RAY.
- And as if that wasn't enough, the final battle with Ocelot is an arcade-style fighting game.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: Though MGS2 managed to partially subvert this by having one CODEC conversation that explained that the weapons had an ID system that recognized a specific person, it's odd though how they didn't explain this more directly.
- Finally averted in MGS4 by Snake getting a "hack" into the system... as a result, weapon pickups are a notable part of gameplay, and in Screaming Mantis's case it's necessary to pick up her Mantis Doll to defeat her.
- Unwilling Roboticization: Grey Fox and Raiden were turned into Cyborg Ninjas against their will.
- Variable Mix: Quite stunningly good in this instance.
- The Verse: The series frequently jumps between three protagonists; Solid Snakenote , Big Bossnote or Raidennote .
- Video Games And Fate: An underlying theme of many entries in the series, which is particularly pronounced in MGS and MGS2.
- Video Game Caring Potential: It's entirely possible (and encouraged) to beat Twin Snakes, 2 and 4 without killing a single enemy. 3 also falls into this, as you are only required to kill a single enemy: The Boss. In fact, the fewer enemies you kill in 3, the easier time you will have with one of the boss fights.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Lots of awful things you can do to guards... although in MGS4, touch a FROG the wrong way, and she will fight back.
- It gets worse in Metal Gear AC!D2. Setting them on fire, throwing them off trains or into the path of trains, dropping things on them.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The Sorrow's boss fight, in a nutshell. Downplayed in that it just prolongs the "battle", and there's an upper limit on how long it can go on.
- Video Game Remake: The Twin Snakes and The Naked Sample.
- Viewers Are Geniuses
- Vodka Drunkenski: Several of the San Hieronymo Soviet personnel, Colonel Skowronski, and Granin were shown drinking vodka a lot, and they are also all Russian (obviously). Unlike most examples of the trope however, their reasons were completely justified, due to certain incidents that were depressing or angering enough for them to require getting themselves drunk.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: The Codec. Probably a fourth wall breach, although it is also implied a few instances that the Codec does have people observing what is going on.
- Warp Whistle: In a few of the games, the cardboard boxes can be used to be transported to different areas.
- The War Sequence: Raiden fights up to twenty mass-produced Metal Gears in MGS2, and several Gekkos in MGS4.
- Warrior Heaven: Big Boss and Liquid Snake try to make this ideal on Earth by making the world into "Outer Heaven," a world where warriors will always be needed, honored and respected, although in MGS4, it appears that Big Boss' motive may have been to create a world free from the Patriots... that was certainly why Liquid Ocelot claimed to have had Outer Haven, at least.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Major Zero, Big Boss, Ocelot, and Solidus Snake.
- What the Hell, Player?: You can get a lot of reactions like this if you screw around too much.
- Where I Was Born and Razed: Psycho Mantis and all of the B&B Corps.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: With the exception of Metal Gear, it's largely averted in the canonical installments, where they not only cite specifically where the location setting(s) is/are, they even show a map or other evidences to hint where it is located.
- Why We Are Bummed Communism Fell: Kicks off the MGS games, save for Snake Eater and its direct sequels, which took place during the Cold War.
- With This Herring: Justified as weapons and equipment being OSP, On-Site Procured. In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, we learn that Big Boss' original codename, Naked Snake, is taken in part from this.
- In a neat twist on previous games' weapons progression, the first weapon pickup in MGS4 is the AK-102 assault rifle found right next to Old Snake after one of the first cutscenes, and it's the Mk.II suppressed tranquilizer pistol and suppressable lethal Operator pistol which are received next, instead of the other way around as in the past. It's markedly inferior though to the M4 Custom which you pick up not long after the pistols.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker averts this by giving the player an M16, a tranquiliser pistol and some grenades to start with. Ground Zeroes zigzags this depending on whether you play a mission on Normal or Hard; Normal gives the player a rifle and a tranquiliser pistol and Hard gives the player only the tranq pistol with less ammo.
- Wild Mass Guessing: Worth mentioning because some of the WMG theories are less crazy than what's canon.
- War Is Hell: Largely no one is really proud of what they are doing, and only the real baddies don't suffer a lot because of it or have any real joy in what they do. Metal Gear's use of this trope is one of the most well-known uses of it in all of video games.
- When It All Began: Although it's not really apparent until the end of the series, everything that happens in the Metal Gear universe has its roots in August 1964, the Virtuous Mission which sparked Operation Snake Eater and led to the creation of the Patriots.
- Those are only the deepest roots of the main conflict. Some pieces of the puzzle go back to the turn of the 20th century, when the Philosophers were founded.
- White Shirt of Death:
- The most dramatic death scene in Metal Gear Solid takes place in a snow storm, where the poor victim is wearing a white camouflage uniform.
- The most dramatic death scene in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater takes place in a field of white flowers, where the victim is wearing a silver and white sneaking suit.
- World of Badass
- World of Ham: And how!
- Youngest Child Wins: Inverted, the only one of the Les Enfants Terribles children who has anything close to a happy ending is Solid Snake, who was born before Solidus.
Snake! What happened? Snake? SNAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!