Metal Gear Solid is a stealth action game released by Konami for the PlayStation in 1998. With its cinematic style and fusion of gripping play mechanics with an equally gripping storyline, it shifted the acceptable degree of Story to Gameplay Ratio, perhaps irrevocably, while also single-handedly popularizing the Stealth-Based Game.To many players' surprise, it is not the first game in the Metal Gear series: The original two MSX2 games in the series (Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake) were never released in North America (aside from a drastically alteredNintendo Entertainment System version of the former and an unrelated sequel titled Snake's Revenge), so Metal Gear Solid was the first proper game in the series that most people played, and the Metal Gear Solid moniker carried on to the rest of the series, aside froma fewspinoffs.Basic plot summary: six years have passed since the fall of Zanzibar Land and the death of Big Boss. Solid Snake, haunted by the death of both Big Boss — who claimed to be his father — and best friend Gray Fox at his own hands, has retired from his life as an agent for FOXHOUND, a special operations force for the United States military. His days of running dogs in Alaska are, however, brought to a close when he's kidnapped from his home and brought aboard a submarine beneath the Bering Sea. There, he's briefed by his former superior and only real "friend", Roy Campbell, and the enigmatic Dr. Naomi Hunter, who draft him into service once more.This time, the United States is being held hostage by FOXHOUND itself, which has gone rogue and is being led by a man who not only looks uncannily like Snake, but is himself called "Liquid Snake". Naturally, Snake's the only one who can stop his deranged doppelgänger and the Five-Bad Band working for him. What follows is a game that loves to break the fourth wall while also telling a surprisingly compelling and serious story about war, morality, and nuclear proliferation.Upon the advent of the PlayStation, Metal Gear Solid became a huge hit for both its melodramatic and incredibly juicy plot, and its wonderfully satisfying gameplay, which despite being the first 3D game of the series (hence the "Solid" in the title) avoided hitting the polygon ceiling.The game later received a remake for the Nintendo GameCube in 2004 titled Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.The game's story has also been adapted into a graphic novel written by Kris Oprisko, with stylized, sketchy artwork by Ashley Wood that deliberately imitates Yoji Shinkawa's promotional art, and the graphic novel itself has been released in a semi-interactive format as Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel on the PlayStation Portable. This same graphic novel, along with its sequel, was eventually released on DVD in Japan as Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinee, with full voiceovers from the Japanese cast. There's also a novelization by Raymond Benson.Note: this page is for the original PS1 game and its ports and remakes (including The Twin Snakes for the GameCube). For the Game Boy Color version (which is technically a separate game), see Metal Gear: Ghost Babel. For the rest of the series, see the main Metal Gear page.
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The original Metal Gear Solid provides the following tropes:
Abusive Parents: Jossed with. The English version had Liquid mentioning that he wanted revenge on Big Boss because the latter emotionally abused him by claiming that he was always the weaker one, and yet the original Japanese script, The Twin Snakes, and the in-game novel in Metal Gear Solid 2 claimed that his reason for wanting revenge is because he thought Big Boss deliberately chose him to be inferior before birth. That's also not getting into the more recent information that revealed that not only did Big Boss not initially know about the project, but he quit the Patriots as soon as he found out about it in disgust.
Action Duo: Snake and Meryl through most of the game. Also, Snake and Otacon in the final car chase if you let Meryl die.
Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Lots, sometimes in places that verge on being totally nonsensical. The most egregious of these is when Snake and Meryl stop to talk about love while, for all they know, a nuclear strike is on its way to blow them up real good.
Alternate History: Not much attention is called to this fact since the game, when it came out, took place in the future, but the backstory already calls for several Ruritanias from the Cold War. Just about everything else can be explained away or are the usual sort of fictional liberties, but Zanzibar Land and Outer Heaven stick out.
It was less that he thought that recessive genes were inferior, but more that he thought Solid Snake was meant to be the better twin. This gave him a major inferiority complex. Doesn't make him any less wrong.
Liquid knew that "recessive" does not automatically mean "inferior"; It Makes Sense in Context and he is regarding himself as inferior because his so-called "soldier genes" are recessive (he thinks) whilst Snake's were not (they were).
Back for the Dead: Gray Fox was given a lengthy retcon to justify his appearance in this game after his apparent death in Metal Gear 2, only to die during the penultimate boss fight.
Badass Normal: Solid and Liquid Snake have none of the superhuman abilities of the (other) FOXHOUND agents present in Shadow Moses. This doesn't prevent either of them from being extremely badass. Justified as they are clones of the legendary soldier Big Boss who is probably the biggest badass normal of the entire franchise.
Batman Gambit: Liquid cannot actually launch the nuke because Donald Anderson died prior to giving his code. Due to Mantis' suggestion, Liquid decides to manipulates Snake into using the PAL key to activate the code to override the nuke's safety precautions instead.
Bland-Name Product: Snake's so-called "smokeless cigarettes" (or "bent cigarettes" in the Japanese version) are specifically mentioned to be "Moslems" in the Japanese version. These were actually featured in Policenauts, where they came in a Marlboro-style red box.
Blood Knight: The FOXHOUND members involved with the revolt on Shadow Moses match this description, especially Vulcan Raven and Liquid. Snake himself was also heavily implied to be this throughout the game as well.
Bluff The Eavesdropper: Liquid and Ocelot discuss their PAL codes and Snake's card key deactivating Metal Gear REX, knowing that Snake is spying on them, to further fool Snake into unwillingly doing their bidding for them. The in-game novelization in the following game, In the Darkness of Shadow Moses: The Unofficial Truth, further emphasizes it, where it is heavily implied that most of the terrorists actually already knew about Richard Ames and the others eavesdropping on them via Snake's Codec, but continued "discussing" their plans in earshot anyways to further deceive them. Otacon somewhat supports this, stating that the grunts claimed that they already input the PAL codes.
Subverted to an extent in the torture room. Liquid mentions Decoy Octopus and Baker's deaths as well as the DARPA Chief's death by torture right in front of Snake, giving him an opportunity to figure out that the terrorists cannot launch a nuke, which Snake never does. Even many players missed it.
The novelization mixes this with Pre-Mortem One-Liner for astounding levels of narm: In the opening dock sequence, Snake approaches a sentry, says "Merry Christmas", and punches their lights out. "Oh, I forgot to tell you," he then adds, "Christmas came early this year."
Breaking Speech: Delivered by Liquid to Snake, pointing out that he had only stuck to their current mission because they love the action and violence.
Broken Aesop: The game explicitly delivers its "don't let yourself be ruled by your genes" message...during a nice long shot of the corpse of Liquid, who was killed by a "smart" virus that targets people based on their DNA.
Can't You Read the Sign?: The player could invoke this trope by going to one of the armory rooms, and take a smoke directly beneath a very large "No Smoking" sign.
Chekhov's Skill: Notably subverted with Nastasha Romanenko. The briefing, as well as the first Codec conversation with Nastasha, states that she was brought into the mission in order to aid Snake in dismantling a nuclear device should the time come. However, near the end of the game, Liquid wires Meryl to a time bomb which he explicitly states that it is a nuclear device. After defeating Liquid, Snake doesn't receive Nastasha's help at all. In fact, the part of the novel where Snake calls Nastasha after learning that Meryl is alive to have her give instructions to deactivate the nuclear device was actually one thing the novelization improves upon. More egregiously, the bomb isn't even dealt with once you beat Liquid. If you run out of time, the bomb will go off, but if you beat Liquid in time, it's not even mentioned.
Choke Holds: Snake can sneak up on guards, grab them by the neck, and throttle them unconscious. When they wake up, they're perfectly fine. Handled slightly realistically in that Snake can kill a guard by throttling him until his neck breaks.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Snake, Meryl, the DARPA Chief and Kenneth Baker are all vindictively tortured by Ocelot. Ocelot is so enthusiastic about it that he accidentally kills the DARPA Chief. Well, "accidentally".
Copy Protection: Notably, the game requires the player to look on the back of the game case for a Codec frequency (Meryl's) that's required for the game to progress. However, since this frequency is identical for every game, it's not really copy protection so much as the game giving the bird to the Fourth Wall. That, and the game will simply add Meryl's frequency number to the Codec's memory window if the player calls Campbell more than four times.
Darker and Edgier: This game is definitely darker than the MSX2 games, even Metal Gear 2. For one thing, unlike the previous two, the main villains actually attempt to launch a nuclear strike via Metal Gear (although the TX-55 Metal Gear and Metal Gear D utilized nukes, Big Boss did not issue a nuclear threat or utilize a nuclear strike in either Outer Heaven or Zanzibar Land). Plus, Metal Gear Solid actually utilizes torture this time around (even in Metal Gear, where Snake has to get himself locked up in order to find Gray Fox, he never actually experienced torture during that time). The game also goes into how the events of Metal Gear 2 affected Snake and his view on much of the world. He's distrusting and is only trying to survive and nothing more, at least at first.
Death Seeker: Again, Cyborg Ninja, who just wants one last battle to the death with Solid Snake.
And, to some extent, Sniper Wolf, who is waiting for someone to kill her.
Department of Redundancy Department: "This is just like one of my Japanese animes!" It is probably a translation oversight. In Japan, anime does not refer specifically to Japanese animation.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Nearly everyone who has read about this game knows about the Mantis fight. What most don't know is that Kojima actually had a failsafe in the event that the intended solution could not be performed. If you were to get the Codec call giving you the solution and then die without performing it, calling Campbell will result in the failsafe kicking in and the backup plan going into effect, allowing you to still defeat Mantis without having to get on a PlayStation with a working second controller port. This does not, however, carry over to The Twin Snakes.
The Japanese version only has two difficulty settings. The default one and an unlockable "No Radar" mode, which is just the same difficulty with the radar turned off. In the English version, the default Japanese mode became Easy mode, while the Normal and Hard modes (along with an unlockable "Extreme" mode) were added. The ranks from the Japanese version of the game are used for Hard in the English version, while the "Big Boss" rank, achievable only in No Radar mode in the Japanese version, is achievable only in Extreme in the English version.
The Torture event is also a lot easier in the Integral edition than it was in the actual American and European versions. In the American and European editions, the numbers of rounds per sessions increase gradually on higher difficulty levels (i.e. three rounds on Easy, four rounds on Normal, ect.). In the Integral version, they're always three rounds per sessions, regardless of the difficulty.
Revolver Ocelot: "I love to reload during a battle. There's nothing like the feeling of slamming a long silver bullet into a well greased chamber."
Dragon Their Feet: Ocelot just sort of disappears before the final battle with Liquid. However, it turned out that he wasn't really on Liquid's side during The Stinger and he had acquired the test data for Metal Gear REX, and had no more reason to stay.
Based on Metal Gear Solid 4, he might actually have wanted Liquid to succeed, since their ultimate goals were similar (basically the same as Big Boss, against the Patriots and for a world of chaos), in which case he performed a Xanatos Gambit since even though Liquid lost, he still got what he needed. Plus you can argue that since he just had his hand cut off, he didn't fight Snake again because he really wasn't in any shape to do so, and not just because he had completed his secret mission.
Dystopia Justifies the Means: Liquid's goal is to ignite global conflict and plunge the world into perpetual warfare so that soldiers will always have a place and be valued for who they are. (Outer) Heaven for soldiers, Hell for everybody else. And even most soldiers would probably be against this; it's really for those Rambo-types who know nothing but war and aren't really able to fit in anywhere else, and again only the most sociopathic of these would sacrifice the welfare of everyone else on the planet to sate their own bloodlust or quench their thirst for purpose.
Foreshadowing: If Snake manages to survive the third torture session with Ocelot, Ocelot will explain that his plans were to reignite war across the world because he feels that most people's true natures, feelings, and emotions are suppressed in the current age. Come Metal Gear Solid 4...
Also, notice how Master Miller is not referred to even once in the briefings, yet ends up joining shortly after Snake arrives on Shadow Moses? More clues concerning Master's true identity include: after you take out the Hind D, Miller doesn't respond to any Codec calls for awhile. Also, towards the end when you're using the PAL key, contact Miller, and he acts uncharacteristically excited.
Why would a Russian ex-KGB agent name himself after an American cat, use an American firearm, and dress like a cowboy? The answer is that he is actually working as a double agent for the President of the United States.
Gray Fox also mentions that Snake "look[s] horrible... you haven't aged well." This gets mentioned quite a bit in this series, which of course all comes full circle in Metal Gear Solid 4.
Sergei Gurlukovich, Ocelot's old ally from his Red Army days, is mentioned by name near the end. He and his private army will play an important role in the sequel.
Freudian Excuse: Liquid's motivation. He believes that he's the "inferior" copy of Big Boss and so hates Snake, the "superior" clone, with a deep passion, as well as their mutual "father" for creating him.
There's also Psycho Mantis, who began his slow descent into madness when he peered into his father's mind and saw how much his father hated him.
Heroic Sacrifice: Gray Fox pays the ultimate price for destroying REX's radome.Otacon also nearly does this as well by unlocking the gates in the Meryl ending, but it's subverted because the bombing rum ended up being cancelled by President George Sears, Colonel Campbell, and Ames.
Hitler Ate Sugar: When Otacon insists that Sniper Wolf must be a good person because she likes dogs, Snake suggests that it might be a case of Stockholm Syndrome instead, since Otacon also mentions that Wolf was the only FOXHOUND member who treated him with any sort of decency. The official guide suggests that she cared for Otacon due to Lima Syndrome. In the novelization, Snake points out that Hitler, too, was a dog lover. This is not a straight example because Snake (who is a regular musher himself) is merely refuting Otacon's claim as fallacious rather than demonizing dog ownership.
Psycho Mantis and Sniper Wolf also really just want to die, but rather kill as many people as it takes to get someone who can kill them in battle, than to shoot themselves. For no reason at all.
Implacable Man: Both Solid and Liquid Snake due to their status as genetically engineered super soldiers. Liquid, however, deserves special recognition for being shot down, having his Metal Gear blown up under him (as well as with him in it), beaten senseless, knocked over a forty foot drop, taking multiple gunshot wounds, a car crash and he still nearly kills Snake before FOXDIE kicks in... and still survives in spirit thanks to Revolver Ocelot.
Liquid Snake: Not yet Snake! It's not over yet!
Improbable Aiming Skills: Revolver Ocelot is a villainous example. Though wielding a revolver (and never, ever using his other hand to steady it), he's got unerring accuracy, on-par with even Sniper Wolf. He can even ricochet bullets off of walls. When his right hand gets cut off, he just starts shooting with his left instead, without any perceptible drop in accuracy (although the GC version adds a scene where Ocelot tries to twirl his revolver in his left hand and drops it on the floor like a goof).
Snake is also able to cripple an M1A1 Main Battle Tank by pitching hand grenades perfectly into the open turret hatch (down the main barrel in The Twin Snakes).
Informed Attribute: In the original game, Liquid Snake and Solid Snake are supposed to be physically identical; seemingly, Snake's (or Liquid's, depending on who was designed first) change in hair color was a last minute one, since Meryl's dialog is that he looks exactly the same as Liquid. This is changed in the GC version; both Campbell and Meryl note their hair color is different.
Insult Backfire: During Snake's second encounter with Raven, Raven asks Snake if he was familiar with the World Eskimo-Inuit Olympics. Snake snarks that Raven must be quite a foe to be reckoned with in the "Muktuk Eating Contest." Raven seriously responds that he is. The Twin Snakes changes Snake's line to one where he wonders if Raven excelled at the "Stick Pull" and "Four Man Carry" events.
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: One each in the two communications towers. Tower A has a jammed door that can be opened with C4, but only from the outside for some reason, regardless of the fact that Snake might be carrying enough explosives that, were this a Real Life situation, he could easily vaporize the damn door. Then there's that damaged stairwell in Tower B, which is even worse. It's less than a ten foot drop, but Snake still has to go all the way back up to deal with the stalled elevator and the Hind.
In fact, the stairwell situation had to be revised in the Video Game Remake since the new play mechanics would probably allow the player to easily and safely drop to the floor and avoid the Hind fight.
Inventional Wisdom: Discussed when Snake asks Otacon why he intentionally designed Metal Gear REX to have a weak point.
Ironic Echo: When Liquid is taking off from the Heliport with his Hind, he states that he's leaving to swat some bothersome flies (referring to the F16s that were arriving at Shadow Moses Island), which he managed to do. Later, Snake tells Otacon something similar in the communication tower B, this time in reference to Liquid's Hind.
Irony: Miller's accusation against Naomi (who turns out to have a completely different agenda) could very accurately describe Liquid's infiltration into Snake's team while posing as Miller. "She might be a spy...working with the terrorists."
Male Gaze: Meryl has a very distinct walk that gives her away even in disguise, and recognizing it is key to reuniting with her when she's disguised as a soldier. This, of course, means plenty of butt shots. Snake even goes out of his way to compliment Meryl's butt later on.
May-December Romance: The potential one between Snake and Meryl, big time. In this game, he's thirty-three; she's eighteen.
Minion Maracas: Snake does this to Otacon while interrogating him about Metal Gear REX, assuming Otacon had full knowledge it was a "nuclear-equipped walking deathmobile" as Snake put it.
Moon Logic Puzzle: Famously, Meryl's Codec number. Your only clue is that the number is on the back of the CD case (or, as Baker puts it in the GC version "the package"), and you have an item in your inventory that vaguely looks like one, leading many players to search for ways to examine the in-game disc to find the number, or searching high and low around the levels to find what CD case Baker was talking about. Of course, the number is actually printed on the back of the actual game box, where you can see Snake talking to Meryl in the Codec screen.
More Dakka / There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The room right before the corridor leading into Metal Gear REX's hangar is filled with roughly 30 gun cameras. All it takes is a chaff grenade disable all of them, but still...
Multiple Endings: Whether or not the player succeeds in the button mashing torture sequence decides if Meryl joins Snake in the ending scene (and grants the player the infinite ammo bandana for their next playthrough). If the player gives up, Meryl dies, and Otacon joins them instead (giving the player his stealth camouflage). With Meryl appearing again in Metal Gear Solid 4, Meryl's ending has been confirmed as the canonical one, although the reveal from the alternate ending (Meryl is actually Campbell's illegitimate daughter and not his niece, since he had an affair with his deceased brother's wife) is referenced in Metal Gear Solid 4.
New Game+: Started a tradition in the series. Depending on which ending you get, you can start a second playthrough with either the stealth camouflage or the infinite bandana. Get both, and on your third playthrough, Snake will wear a tuxedo, while the Cyborg Ninja will be recolored to resembleSpider-Man. In the Integral version, Meryl will wear Snake's sneaking suit.
No Fair Cheating: "Don't even think about using autofire, or I'll know."He's not joking. If the game detects it, Ocelot continues shocking you after the timer runs out until you finally die, and to rub salt in the wound you get a true Game Over with no Continue option, forcing you to reload your save. This is subverted by using a controller with adjustable autofire. "Cheating" is detected by reading button presses coming in faster than a human could possibly input them.
No Fourth Wall: Zigzagged. Oddly enough, this isn't exactly played straight. The game always takes itself seriously, regardless of the situation. Never once is the production and development crew ever mentioned, or the voice actors or anything you would typically expect when breaking the fourth wall. The characters don't act like they're directly inside a video game, but rather always making very vague references to the game anyway. All the examples can be given in-game explanations, though with a little bit of Lampshade Hanging in the process:
He Knows About Timed Hits: For the good majority of when the game breaks the fourth wall, it is simply to instruct you of what to do with your controller. None of the conversations and actions are ever treated like a tutorial for a game though.
Interface Screw: Psycho Mantis making you think that your game system just turned off. This one is not given any rationalization though. It just... happens.
Left the Background Music On: Right before your fight with Psycho Mantis, Snake notices that the background music stopped playing, but the way he comments, it is as if the whole military complex was playing music through speakers.
Campbell tells you to find Meryl's Codec number on the back of "the CD case", never going into more detail than that.
When you defeat Psycho Mantis, he finally realizes just how you were able to do it by using the secret method that you're supposed to. Snake just treats it as if he was trained in some form of anti-psychic therapy that Mantis didn't know about.
One of Mei Ling's ancient Chinese proverbs mentions how grateful you should be to be able to play a game every once in a while. She doesn't imply that you are playing a game, but says it is nice to enjoy the time you have to do so.
No Name Given: Though Snake was never really given a full name even in the original games, this is when the series basically started referring to nearly every plot important character by their codename or nickname. It's even lampshaded:
Cyborg Ninja: "I am like you...I have no name."
Non-Standard Game Over: "There are no continues, my friend." If you don't submit or survive the torture session with Ocelot, this line becomes literal: you can't continue, and you have to load the game from your last save file (if you didn't save).
He'll even lampshade this if the player hasn't saved in a long time by saying "Snake, you haven't saved in a while... You sure you want to lose all that progress?"
No OSHA Compliance: Shouldn't the blast furnace have at least a railing next to it? The walkways above it do but not the floor that's even closer to the molten metal. Having a stairwell leading down into a sewer drain filled with nuclear water surrounding Metal Gear REX's hangar also counts. Snake even has to dive into it just to recover a MacGuffin.
Not His Sled: Adapting the famous Psycho Mantis boss battle and its memory card reading controller-port-switching gimmicks into comic book form would have been incredibly challenging and awkward, so instead the writers redid the sequence for the graphic novel version, where Master Miller arrives at the nick of time to take out Mantis, and he and Snake go to REX's hangar where they're ambushed by Liquid and Ocelot... but then Snake notices that Ocelot still has both his arms, and figures out that it's all an illusion set up by Mantis.
The novelization does something similar to the above: Snake apparently blacks out, only for Master Miller to arrive to help Snake, they then leave the Commander's room... only to end up in an amusement park that Solid Snake apparently spent time at as a child when he wasn't being trained in military school. Miller disappears, he's alone in the carnival at night, Meryl apparently goes nuts on the rides, and then he finds the funhouse mirrors where Otacon, Meryl, and even Big Boss are trapped in the reflections. Otacon and Meryl are trying to get Snake to help them out, but Big Boss is resigned to his fate, although he does beg for Snake to input the detonation codes or something bad's going to happen to him. Snake doesn't know and Big Boss's face melts.
Not So Different: Liquid Snake and Psycho Mantis's speeches indicate that Snake is just as much of a bloodthirsty psychopath, or even more of one, than themselves.
Pacifist Run: While low kill runs are possiblenote the maximum allowed for a Big Boss Run is 24, and with a little Sequence Breaking it can be as low as 12, this is the only Metal Gear Solid game where it's impossible to get no kills, since there's no mechanism for non-lethally dealing with bosses and several combat encounters can't be beaten without casualties.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Retroactively subverted. In Metal Gear Solid, the player is led to assume that all Liquid had to do to pass himself off as Master Miller was changing his accent slightly, wearing his hair slightly differently, and putting on shades, and Snake totally fell for it, with Liquid even taunting Snake about his "flawless" disguise (which Snake could still somehow see over his Codec). However, in the re-released versions of Metal Gear 2, Miller's portrait was updated to resemble Liquid's disguise, and in Peace Walker, not only do they have Miller look almost exactly like Liquid with shades, they even had his voice actor voice him in a similar manner to how Liquid spoke when he posed as Miller.
Parachute in a Tree: A parachute in a tree, sans passenger, is how Solid Snake can learn that Liquid is alive after his helicopter was blown up. Snake believes it was left there intentionally as a coded threat by Liquid.
Passive Rescue: When Snake's captured, Otacon gives him some ketchup, which he can use to pretend to be dead and make Johnny Sasaki open the door to investigate.
Pet the Dog: Pointed out by Otacon, when he believes Sniper Wolf isn't evil because she loves dogs. Snake doesn't like it. See Hitler Ate Sugar above.
Politically Correct History: In-universe example: When Naomi mentions that her Japanese grandfather used to work for the FBI in the 1950s, Miller grows suspicious of her story, knowing that J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI at the time, was extremely racist and would have never allowed a Japanese man in the bureau.
Post-End Game Content: The stealth camouflage and the infinity bandana, depending on the ending. Get both endings in one save and you get the tuxedo, and Cyborg Ninja will wear a Spider-Man costume.
The Power of Legacy: Snake, at the end, refrains from telling Naomi that Gray Fox had confessed to killing her parents.
This in itself was a call back to Metal Gear 2, where Snake refrained from telling a dying Gray Fox that he (Fox) killed his lover Gustava.
Press Circle To Not Die: While not technically a cutscene like shown throughout the rest of the game, the torture sessions only gives you two options: Either you hit select and give up (in which case Meryl dies), or you mash the Circle button to recover your health just to survive it. If you run out of health, you get a Game Over that you can't continue from.
Previously On: The Special menu includes plot summaries of the two MSX2 games for the benefit of players who missed out on them during their initial release (which was virtually everyone outside of Japan). The Mission Logs when the player loads a save file serves a similar purpose.
Psycho for Hire: The majority of the FOXHOUND unit qualifies as such in addition to their Blood Knight status. To a lesser, but still notable, extent, Snake himself qualifies, as Liquid specifically told Snake when atop Metal Gear REX's ruins that he, Snake, enjoys all the killing, and Meryl mentioned something quite similar when they met in the bathroom (basically she deduced from Snake's status that Snake most likely felt alive when he saw everyone dying around him, that he enjoyed war and didn't want it to go away).
Implied even more by her line "But through all the pain and the shame, I held on to one hope."
Recurring Riff: Da-da da da-da! Although it's mostly just a leitmotif for this game in particular, it proved popular enough to be used on the Game Over screens for every Metal Gear Solid game since, with the exception of Portable Ops.
To a lesser extent, credits song "The Best Is Yet to Come" (or variants thereof) tends to play in the original game during emotional or sad moments.
Recursive Import: The Japanese Integral edition has English voice acting and all the other added content from the overseas releases (multiple difficulties, Snake's tuxedo costume), in addition to having its own exclusive content (a sneaking suit outfit for Meryl, a new weapon, new Codec frequencies and a first-person play mode).
Rescue Hug: In the good ending, Meryl drops from the remnants of Metal Gear REX into Snake's arms. The whole base is falling apart around them, but they just don't seem to care.
Also, Metal Gear 2 hinted in both its manual as well as the beginning prologue after the main menu that the entire world had disarmed most of its nuclear weapons by this point, and the only country to hold nuclear weapons was none other than Zanzibar Land. Turns out that wasn't the case at all in this game, where at least 20,000 nuclear weapons still exist in 1998 (the time the game was released).
Ring Out Boss: Liquid Snake can only be defeated by being knocked off Metal Gear REX.
Rules Lawyer: Implied to be the reason why the U.S. Government and military were able to get away with conducting the Genome Soldier project despite the fact that what they were doing was illegal under international law.
Liquid does this at the conclusion of the Hind D boss fight, though in a more dramatic and less annoying fashion.
...And also when losing the fist fight against Solid Snake.
Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: A mundane example, and more egregious for it. The cargo elevator in Tower B has a weight limit of 650 pounds. Most elevators that are not expected to carry military equipment or supplies, or heavy nuclear materials, have a much higher weight limit than that, usually between 1200 and 2300 pounds. In other words, weakest lift ever.
Screw Destiny: Exactly what is written inside Snake's mind. No matter how people around him say about the inherent killer instinct in his gene, he still fights to defy it with his own free will. That mindset also inspires the natural courage in Meryl to live.
Series Continuity Error: Metal Gear 2 was originally said to take place three years after the events of the first Metal Gear. However, the plot summary in this game state that the Zanzibar Land mission occurred four years after Outer Heaven. Note that even the Metal Gear 2 manual was a bit inconsistent about the timeline of the Outer Heaven mission.
Shirtless Scene: Several. Notably, at the end of the game, during the second-to-last battle with Liquid, both he and Snake are shirtless. Especially blatant since Liquid takes your shirt off before the fight for absolutely no reason.
Shout-Out: The freight elevator is a near duplicate of the one in AKIRA, even leading to a sub-zero basement area.
There's also Snake himself, who, besides the initial Shout Outs made in the previous games, also takes his real name from David Bowman, of all people.
Hal is a Shout-Out to 2001, Emmerich is a shout out to Roland Emmerich, and Otacon is an explicitShout-Out to Otakon, the Otaku Convention (which, according to his bio, he regularly attends).
Otacon is also a slight subversion: He was originally supposed to resemble an overweight slob who constantly ate a chocolate bar (sort of like Dennis Nedry from Jurassic Park, but far more sympathetic), but Yoji Shinkawa decided to design him differently. See also What Could Have Been.
Speaking of 2001, Snake and Otacon share a 2001 joke when Snake reveals his name to be Dave. Snake himself wonders if they should go on a space adventure.
The Meryl ending has a shout out of its own. Snake still announces his real name as "David" to Meryl, who calls him "Dave", referencing Kojima's earlier visual novel game Policenauts which had the very same Meryl Silverburgh character (albeit older, wiser and tougher) as a supporting character who was partnered with a guy named Dave Forrest. MGS!Meryl even wears the same orange bodywarmer in the ending that Dave wears in Policenauts.
In the briefing, when Naomi talks about recreating Big Boss's genetic structure, Snake sarcastically replies, "It's like some dinosaur theme park."
Psycho Mantis will read your memory card and mention certain games if you have a save file for it. Which games depend on the version you're playing; the original will have other Konami games, while The Twin Snakes will have Nintendo games (and Eternal Darkness, another Silicon Knights developed game).
Shown Their Work: Kojima did a lot of research into how the American military works, even having consultant teams to make sure that things were right. While there are still some inaccuracies, a lot of those are done just because it makes the story and setting more interesting. Natasha's whole purpose in the game was basically to explain the intricacies of nuclear weaponry. The tidbit about the START II program in the ending is real as well. See the trope article itself for more detail.
Smoking Is Cool: Snake loves to smoke up so much, he was willing to smuggle his cigarettes onto the mission by swallowing a whole pack and then regurgitating it, after taking a shot that suppressed his stomach acids (although Snake wasn't quite willing to go that far in the novelization, where he steals a pack of cigarettes on-site and spends the rest of the book complaining about the flavor). He can even use them to detect laser traps.
Steam Vent Obstacle: There's a blast furnace full of leaky pipes where you can pick up the optional body armor.
Stock Footage: The game uses public footage of nuclear bomb testings from the 1950s and various shots of Alaskan wilderness and nature, but special mention goes out to using footage of the Gulf War. Even when the game came out in the 1998, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything that actively focused any amount of detail on the Gulf War, much less video footage.
Sympathetic Murder Backstory: Snake is tormented by his murder of Big Boss and especially Gray Fox. Significantly, it's when he describes to Naomi how his murder of Gray Fox was done with professionalism and with no hatred, and that they loved beating each other to death ("like a sport"), that Naomi begins to realize that Snake is an Anti-Hero rather than a villain.
Theme And Variations Soundtrack: Every song in this game is a remix of the "Encounter" theme, which in turn is a remix of the "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme." Even the boss music is just a dark, distorted version of the "Encounter" theme. This is changed in The Twin Snakes where every song is different.
Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Psycho Mantis had his powers fully awaken after he accidentally read his father's mind and thought his father would kill him, resulting in the destruction of his entire village.
Truth in Television: Psycho Mantis was recruited by the KGB and the FBI during the Cold War due to his psychic abilities. In real life, during the Cold War, both the East and the West were studying psychic abilities, and the FBI has been known to consult psychics for its harder to solve cases.
Also, Otacon mentioned that the stealth camouflage devices were prototypes. At the time that the game was made, the U.S. military was actually researching ways to implement stealth into the battlefield.
Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: The fight against Psycho Mantis. He starts controlling Meryl and making her try to blow her brains out. The easiest way to stop her? Just put her in a choke hold to knock her out.
Meryl is this too. She was able to move freely despite being shot multiple times.
The Unfought: Decoy Octopus. Snake, or rather, the bioweapon virus that Snake was unknowingly carrying, killed him in the first 10 minutes they met.
Updated Re-release: Metal Gear Solid: Integral, which came out in Japan only for the PS1, although it did served as the basis for the PC release. It was mainly a Recursive Import of the English version, but with a couple of additional game modes (Very Easy mode, First Person View Mode), new Codec frequencies, and an alternate costume for Meryl in addition to the ones for Snake and the Ninja. However, the real meat of the game came with the third disc containing over 300 VR training missions, which was sold by itself as a literal mission pack sequel in the overseas market.
On the other hand, this version severely gimped the No Fourth Wall aspect of the Psycho Mantis fight, as a good number of compatible games mentioned by Mantis in the original Japanese version were cut out, due to using the English voice acting as the base for the Integral version, and those cut games were only released in Japan. The most notable victims of this were Mantis' mentions of Policenauts and Tokimeki Memorial, as well as the special message from Kojima triggered when having save data from both Snatcher and Policenauts.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can refuse to save your progress again and again rapidly and make Mei Ling so mad that she refuses to talk to you.
Warrior Heaven: It turns out this is Liquid Snake's ultimate goal, along with his whole "let's cure the Genome Soldiers of their random genetic diseases" thing and his desire to off Snake.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Liquid. His main motivation for his actions against the United States Government is that he wants soldiers to truly be respected and not be tools to be disposed of by the government via hypocritical political policies, and he needed Big Boss's remains to cure the Genome Soldiers as they are succumbing to an unknown illness.
Also, Ocelot. His main motivation for wanting a world filled with strife is explained as him wanting people to have the ability to actually voice their true emotions and viewpoints, something he knows the current age forbids. The fact that Liquid Ocelot states something similar in Metal Gear Solid 4 implies that for once, he actually was being honest about his goals that time. This explaination requires a lot of work and luck to get, though, as it can only be accessed after surviving the third torture round.
Revolver Ocelot: You're a soldier. You should understand. You and I can't continue to live in a world like this. We need tension... conflict. The world today has become too soft. We're living in an age where true feelings are suppressed. So we're going to shake things up a bit. We'll create a world dripping with tension... ...a world filled with greed and suspicion, bravery and cowardice. You want the same thing that we do. Liquid Snake is the one. He is an incredible man. He is the man who can really make it happen.
Wham Episode: The entire third act. Everything after you beat Raven is pretty much a twist out of nowhere.
Wham Line: Miller/Liquid Snake: "You didn't think you made it this far by yourself did you?"
Ocelot: "Yes, thank you. Good-bye, Mr. President."
What the Hell, Hero?: One of Naomi's reasons for injecting Snake with FOXDIE (besides Just Following Orders) essentially amounted to this in regards to what Snake indirectly had her adoptive older brother, Gray Fox, endure after the fight in Zanzibar Land.
If the player submits to the torture, Revolver Ocelot will actually tell off Snake for endangering Meryl to him.
Where The Hell Is Springfield?: Averted: The game explicitly states that the location of Shadow Moses Island is within the FOX Islands, and a map of Alaska also comes up to show the specific location during the briefing.
Why Am I Ticking?: After escaping from the torture room, Snake will recover his equipment. Unfortunately for him, he also has an extra gift among his belongings from Ocelot: a ticking time bomb with a 2 minute timer. Luckily, if the player doesn't notice it after the first minute, Deepthroat will let them know via Codec. It's not the only time this happens, either, as a timer bomb can also be found in the drainage ditch, which Snake only has 10 seconds to dispose of.
Wig, Dress, Accent: After the re-released versions of Metal Gear 2, as well as Peace Walker, Liquid disguising himself as Miller is closer to this. More obviously Decoy Optopus, as not only is he capable of matching a person exactly (hence his codename), but he can even use their blood with his own just to ensure that he doesn't get caught.
The Ninja (really Gray Fox) also respects Snake as a Worthy Opponent. He demands Snake fight him in hand-to-hand combat (shooting at him simply results in an automatic deflection). He even becomes disgusted if you attempt to hit him with a heavy weapon like the Stinger launcher.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: What's that? You figured out that Liquid shouldn't be able to launch the nuke because they killed the DARPA Chief, and the Chief you talked to was Decoy Octopus in disguise? Well too bad; you've gotta use the PAL key to activate Metal Gear whether you like it or not.
In 2004, the game was remade for the Nintendo GameCube as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, co-developed by Canadian developer Silicon Knights, developer of the highly acclaimed GameCube title Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. For the most part, the game was identical, with virtually the same level design and plot, but with a signifigant visual overhaul to bring the game's visuals up to the same standard as Metal Gear Solid 2. However, the dialogue, while almost entirely the same, was completely re-voiced (all of the original voice actors appear to reprise their roles in The Twin Snakes, along with Rob Paulsen taking the mantle of the Cyborg Ninja instead of Greg Eagles, who voiced both the Ninja and Donald Anderson in the original), with the foreign accents of two characters (one of whom was American anyway and the other raised by an American) being lost (a trait that was carried on when both characters reappeared in Metal Gear Solid 4). Game mechanics from Metal Gear Solid 2 were added, such as tranquilizer guns, and all the references to Policenauts were changed to Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner.Somewhat conspicuously, both the cinematics and music were completely redone, with mixed results. While the new soundtrack is sometimes considered to be superior to the original, the new cinematics have often been derided for their over the top (even by Metal Gear standards) style and blatant use of Bullet Time in imitation of the then popular Matrix movies and Max Payne games. Ryuhei Kitamura, the director hired on for the cutscenes, claimed in an interview that they were initially to be redone to look exactly like their PS1 counterparts, but Kojima had asked for them to be done in the manner seen in the final version.Because of the aforementioned, The Twin Snakes continues to divide opinions to this day on whether it's a fantastic upgrade to an already-spectacular game, or a mockery of the original masterpiece.
The Twin Snakes provides examples of:
Almost Kiss: Between Snake and Meryl on top of Metal Gear REX after the second-to-last fight with Liquid; they get interrupted by a Codec call from Otacon. This near-kiss was not present in the original version.
Back Tracking: Averted slightly in The Twin Snakes, where during the first fight with Sniper Wolf, Snake only has to go back a fraction of the distance he did in the original Metal Gear Solid to get an adequate sniper rifle (more specifically, a tranquilizer based PSG-1).
Also, when you get to the part where you must insert the PAL key at room temperature, then cold, then hot, there's two pipes around that area, one steam pipe and one liquid nitrogen to greatly shorten the distance.
The Cameo/Creator Allusion: In The Twin Snakes, you may notice that the magazine's centerfold has Alexandra Roivas on it. There's a reason for that. The game she starred in, Eternal Darkness, was developed by Silicon Knights, the same company that also developed The Twin Snakes. Other references to the former game include the tilting room trick during the fight against Psycho Mantis.
Another change to the Psycho Mantis fight is that the framed photos in the command room are now of Denis Dyack (CEO of Silicon Knights), Hideo Kojima, and Ryuhei Kitamura (director of the cutscenes).
Cutscene Power to the Max: Very conspicuously. Infamously, in the ending cutscene for the boss battle with the Hind D, Snake leaps onto an incoming missile and jumps off of it to shoot the Hind D with his own missile in mid air. Ironically, the same cutscene development also downplayed some of Snake's abilities. For instance, in the original game, before the boss fight against the tank, Snake was knocked back by the tank's cannon. He managed to recover mid air and land on the ground safely. In The Twin Snakes, Snake is knocked back by the tank's cannon, hits the cargo door before collapsing, and attempts to avoid the fuel barrels near him before the tank could blast them, only to fail.
Doing It for the Art: David Hayter gave up half of his paycheck so that the entire cast of the original game could be reunited to reprise their roles in The Twin Snakes.
Easter Egg: The remake retains most of the easter eggs the original version had, plus some new ones:
You can find posters of the big bad from Eternal Darkness as well as the protagonist as a centerfold within the dirty magazine item.
In the lab where you fight the Cyborg Ninja, you can find a Gamecube with a Wavebird controller with a monitor displaying the GameCube's main menu.
In the same room, shooting the bobblehead of Mario produces the classic 1-UP sound effect and restores Snake's health by a little bit. Shooting the Yoshi bobblehead simply plays the character's voice clip.
Pacifist Run: Doable this time thanks to the inclusion of non-lethal weapons such as the tranquilizer firing M9 and the inclusion of the stamina meter for the bosses.
Playing Against Type: Rob Paulsen plays Gray Fox. Knowing Paulsen's usual roles as comedic characters, his playing as Gray Fox, as well as doing it roughly in-character due to Gray Fox being a very serious character, can come off as a shock.
Refuge in Audacity: The action cutscenes run on this - see Cutscene Power To The Max for an example.
Retcon: Although some script changes from the original game were debatable (as apparently some of the original dialogue were actually Woolseyisms), the ending narration definitely qualifies, as it was changed the date of the expected removal of all nuclear weapons and the date that, as of that time, 20,000 nukes still exist from 2001 and 1998 to 2007 and 2003, respectively.
Serendipity Writes The Plot: David Hayter has mentioned in an interview that the reason why the dialogue had to be re-recorded for The Twin Snakes was because all the original dialogue was recorded in an apartment that had been converted into a recording studio. With the GameCube's much improved sound card, the player would have heard the traffic outside.
Shown Their Work: Thanks to the added power of the GameCube, the Genome Soldiers are not only much more clever and dangerous (going into search mode when suspicious), they move as part of a team searching and clearing out rooms. Their fire and movement mirrors a special forces unit much more closely.
This may also be in part that the game uses the same engine as Metal Gear Solid 2, which also features similar AI behavior.
Video Game Caring Potential: The Twin Snakes carries over the non-lethal weaponry of Metal Gear Solid 2 and actively encourages the player not to kill their enemies.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Sniper Wolf's wolfdogs can be killed, including the puppy. You can also shoot Sniper Wolf's corpse as well as Meryl during the first encounter with Wolf.