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 altered Nintendo 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 from a few spinoffs
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 brought to a close, however, 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.
The United States is being held hostage by FOXHOUND itself, which has gone rogue under the leadership of a man who not only looks uncannily like Snake
, but calls himself "Liquid Snake
". Naturally, Snake is 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 telling a surprisingly compelling (and serious) story about war, morality, and nuclear proliferation.Metal Gear Solid
became a huge hit for the PlayStation due to both its melodramatic (and incredibly juicy) plot and its satisfying gameplay; despite being the first 3D game of the franchise — hence the title's use of "Solid
" — it avoided hitting the polygon ceiling
The game received a Japan-only
re-release, Metal Gear Solid: Integral
, which included a third disc of creative "VR Missions" (an expansion of the virtual reality tutorial
from the original) to test players' skills. The VR Disc was later repackaged in North America and Europe as Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions
and Special Missions
, respectively. In 2004, the original Metal Gear Solid
was fully remade for the Nintendo GameCube
as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
The game's story was adapted into a graphic novel written by Kris Oprisko; it used stylized, sketchy artwork by Ashley Wood that deliberately imitated Yoji Shinkawa's promotional art. The graphic novel itself was released in a semi-interactive format as Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel
on the PlayStation Portable
. This same graphic novel and its sequel were eventually released on DVD in Japan as Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinée
(with full voiceovers from the Japanese cast). There is 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 game released outside Japan as Metal Gear Solid, 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. In the English version, Liquid mentions that he wanted revenge on Big Boss because the latter emotionally abused him by claiming that he was always the weaker one. However, in the Japanese version of the game, the in-game novel in Metal Gear Solid 2, and The Twin Snakes it is revealed that his reason for wanting revenge is because he thought Big Boss deliberately chose him to be inferior before birth. And this doesn't even get into the later 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.
- Alertness Blink: !
- The Alliance: Of a nefarious sort. If Liquid can just find a way to activate REX, he can bide his time until Ocelot's old Spetsnaz friends turn up and combine forces with the Genome Soldiers.
- 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.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees:
- The "Ear Pull" is an actual World Eskimo Indian Olympics sport that tests the contestants' ability to endure pain. The Muktuk Eating Contest is also surprisingly enough, a very real event in the WEIO as well, meaning Snake wasn't merely snarking about Raven's size. The "Stick Pull" and "Four Man Carry" events mentioned in The Twin Snakes are also real events.
- 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.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Snake ended up having two directly at him:
- After saving Meryl and defeating Psycho Mantis, Naomi asks when did someone's death bother him so much after going great lengths to save Meryl. Fridge Brilliance: He saw Gustava Heffner die in front of him in Metal Gear 2.
- Liquid asks Snake why he bothered partaking his mission in Shadow Moses knowing full-well that he was being betrayed. Snake clearly doesn't answer.
- Artistic License – Biology: Anyone who's passed 10th grade Biology knows that "recessive genes" doesn't mean "inferior genes." Later games in the series retconned and invoked the trope; Liquid was raised to believe that he was inferior so that he would resent his brother. Kojima has stated that this was actually one of Liquid's character flaws; he is not that knowledgeable with genetics.
- Asshole Victim: The VIPs being held hostage inside the base are far from innocent. Donald Anderson (later revealed to be Sigint from Metal Gear Solid 3 and a Patriot agent) is in here on orders from the Secretary of Defense to implement a weapons delivery system which can't be detected by radar or enforced by international law. This is not being done as a counter-strike measure, but to deliberately weasel out of the President's upcoming arms treaty with Russia. Kenneth Baker's looking out for his wallet and admits to bribing his way past the prying eyes of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Even the Secretary, Jim Houseman, doesn't like Baker; he included Baker in the FOXDIE program to rid the President of any loose ends.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
- Snake encounters giant Genome Soldiers of varying sizes in VR Missions. Their voice clips are slowed down when you strike them. At the end, Snake faces a Puzzle Boss of sorts in Genola, a 50-foot mook which attempts to make off with Meryl. In addition to being a shout-out to Godzilla, "Genola" is Pig Latin for Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, another reference to nuclear weapons.
- In Metal Gear Solid 2, one of the Colonel's loony Codec calls makes reference to VR Missions, with footage of Genola. And in the Substance re-release, the boss returns as the final challenge of Snake's VR Missions.
- Back Tracking: Happens a lot since the game takes place in one very large area. Even Snake complains about it. The two most egregious examples are:
- Snake having to fetch a sniper rifle from a very early area so he can fight Sniper Wolf and save Meryl.
- Snake having to return to earlier areas to activate the different temperatures of the PAL key.
- Badass: Snake, to begin with. But he's far from the only one.
- Batman Gambit: Liquid cannot actually launch the nuke because Donald Anderson died prior to giving his code. Due to Mantis' suggestion, Liquid decides to manipulate 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.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation:
- Not a subtitle issue as much as pronunciation: "Saladin" doesn't actually rhyme with "Salad Bin".
- There is no place in China called, "Lopnor." The proper transliteration is "Lop Nur," which is the version the novelization used.
- 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.
- Bond One-Liner:
- "That takes care of the cremation."
- 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." Zing!
- Boss Corridor:
- Features one of the most famous hallways in gaming: the entrance to Otacon's is littered with chopped-up bodies, the handiwork of the Cyborg Ninja. He kills a few mooks in increasingly-creative ways until he tires of them, tossing a limp Genome Solider away like a rag doll before passing the threshold, his suit generating an electrical field which shorts out the door controls. This scene was so iconic that Metal Gear Solid 2 paid homage to it.
- Other examples include the hallway leading to the Commander's Room (where Psycho Mantis is waiting), and the passage leading to REX's "lair." Somewhat subverted in that REX won't be activated for some time, and poor Snake will be backtracking through this hangar over and over. Raven's entrance is heralded by ravens cawing ominously as the lift approaches the Cold Storage room.
- 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.
- But Thou Must: If the player didn't collect the SOCOM pistol from the truck in the Heliport before the gunfight in the Cell with Meryl, a SOCOM will be slapped in front of the player at the beginning of the battle. You can run past it and choke/human shield the guards in the first wave, but in the short cutscene after that, Snake will automatically run to the SOCOM and equip it.
- Canon Welding: Though billed as a standalone game, Metal Gear Solid 2 reveals that the VR Missions are, believe it or not, canonical and performed not by Solid Snake but his imitator Raiden. This is actually a significant plot point in Metal Gear Solid 2.
- 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.
- Catching Some Z's: Sleeping guards.
- Caught with Your Pants Down: Can be done to Meryl if you're fast enough.
- 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.
- Climax Boss: Metal Gear REX.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Snake, Meryl, the DARPA Chief and 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.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Not spoken by the villains themselves, but mentioned by Snake after coming across Liquid's parachute. In a Codec conversation with Colonel Campbell, Snake remarks that nobody can bail out of a Hind in mid-flight without being "chopped up faster than an onion in an infomercial." Quite a colorful metaphor from our old pal Snake.
- Cub Immortality: You can kill every wolfdog in the canyon area before Sniper Wolf, except for the pup at the very end who is enamoured with Meryl.
- Darker and Edgier: This game is definitely darker than the MSX2 games (even Metal Gear 2), which reflects Solid Snake's trauma and patricidal past. This is evident from the start with the colder color scheme and Gaelic opera in the introduction sequence. The color palette sticks to vivid greens and blues, which makes for a more solemn — and at times, creepy — atmosphere (And indeed, a few of the camera angles would be right at home in Silent Hill). The main villains also utilize 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.
- 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.
- Deconstruction: The story explores 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. Also, unlike in previous installments, nearly all of Snake's support staff are manipulating or hiding secrets from him. The Pentagon only agreed to send him in because they needed a carrier for their virus, while the Secretary of Defense plans to simply bombard the island and be done with it. Like Liquid says, the market value for spies has dropped sharply since the fall of the Wall; Snake is an expendable tool, nothing more.
Ocelot: You're a tough guy, Snake. But I've got some bad news for you. You're no P.O.W., you're a hostage. There's no Geneva Convention. No one is coming to save you.
- 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.
- Difficulty By Region:
- 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 in Extreme in the English version.
- The Torture event is also a lot easier in Integral than it was in the actual North American and European versions of the original game. In the North American and European versions, the numbers of rounds per sessions increase gradually on higher difficulty levels (i.e. three rounds on Easy, four rounds on Normal, etc.). In Integral, they're always set to three rounds per sessions, regardless of the difficulty.
- Distressed Dude: Somewhat lampshaded by Snake on the torture rack. He gloats to the Russian captor that he's having "a nice nap on this revolving bed of yours." The whole sequence is very Bond-esque.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: That can't be taken the wrong way at all, Revolver Ocelot.
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.
- Early Game Hell: The Heliport at the start of the game is by far the most complicated section to navigate through. You have no weapons and few tricks, there's search lights, your footsteps can be tracked, there's surveillance cameras and many, many guards. Presumably, newcomers are expected to partake in the tutorials first.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: Wryly suggested. Snake suddenly catches a cold if you submit to Ocelot's torture, almost as though his superhuman heroism and general badassery have been stripped away from him.
- '80s Hair: Liquid. His character design exudes '90s comic book machismo.
- Empty Quiver: The terrorists have a mobile missile silo and a bottomless supply of warheads at their disposal. The Pentagon would love to bomb Liquid off the face of the Earth, but they can't risk losing REX and all its data. Liquid has the President's balls in a vice.
- Exposed to the Elements: Nobody in this game is dressed properly for sub-zero weather. Liquid and Raven are both shirtless, Sniper Wolf is baring her cleavage even while outdoors, Snake's running around without so much as a hat, which Master Miller lampshades, and Meryl is stuck wearing a tank top. Kojima later regretted some of the wardrobe choices here.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The whole game takes place over a single night.
- Failed a Spot Check: The guards in the series will never notice the cardboard box. Ever.
- It Only Works Once: If you don't move and the guard comes back, he will shove the box out of the way because it's blocking his path.
- Failure Gambit: Snake's goal is to shut down Metal Gear REX using a special key delivered to him by Otacon. Liquid Snake and his forces had, at this point, spent much of the game trying to retrieve this key from Solid Snake in order to prevent him from shutting down REX. In actuality, the key is the device that launches REX, and Liquid had counted on Solid Snake to make it through his forces and attempt to shut down REX, thus activating it.
- Fanservice: As a reward for completing the VR Missions, Snake can enter Camera mode and photograph either Naomi at her computer or Mei Ling. The more missions you complete, the closer you can zoom in. This gimmick has since been reused in Metal Gear Solid 4 and Peace Walker.
- Final Death: If you choose to surrender during the torture sequence, Meryl will be killed.
- Final Speech: Oh so many.
- Fisticuffs Boss: Cyborg Ninja and Liquid.note
Cyborg Ninja: At last, we can fight as warriors. Hand-to-hand: it is the basis of all combat. Only a fool trusts his life to a weapon.
- Five-Bad Band / Five-Token Band: FOXHOUND.
- Fixed Camera
- Fluorescent Footprints: Thermal goggles can track footprints.
- 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 Miller'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.
- Baker mentions a "Jim" who wants to shut him up just before he's killed. The comment seems to be a throwaway line until the endgame where the Secretary of Defense, Jim Houseman, plans to nuke Shadow Moses.
- Freelook Button
- 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.
- Grim Up North: Shadow Moses.
- Hand Stomp: In the final battle, if Snake is hanging off the edge of Metal Gear REX, Liquid will stomp on his fingers.
- Hailfire Peaks: REX's hangar is separated by a blast furnace and a sub-zero storage facility. Snake's supposed to race between the two in order to reshape the temperature-sensitive PAL key.
- Have a Nice Death: Die in the torture sequence, and Liquid harangues Ocelot for botching another interrogation.
- 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 Richard Ames.
- Hollywood CB: The Codec.
- Human Mail: You can hide in the cardboard box on a truck to rapidly travel between areas.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: To a lesser extent than later games, but still quite so.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Gray Fox, who clearly wants to die but for some reason needs Snake to do it for him. Psycho Mantis and Sniper Wolf also really want to die, but they would rather kill as many people as they can in order to found somebody who can kill them in battle.
- An Ice Suit: The Genome Soldiers patrolling the outside of the plant are wearing distinctive artic wear. They've since become a Mascot Mook for the PSX era: They're recruitable in Portable Ops, and replace the XOF soldiers in Ground Zeroes' "Déjà Vu" mode.
- 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).
- When Solid Snake shoots someone in the legs with the PSG-1 (Kenneth Baker, Guards), the bullet magically hits them in the head or neck area.
- Improbable Piloting Skills: Liquid shoots down two F-16 fighter jets with a Hind D.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: While discussing Vulcan Raven, Master Miller comments on how Raven is part Japanese, just like Snake. However, Snake informs Miller that he never told him he was part Japanese.
- 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.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: Well, it is a Metal Gear game.
- 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."
- It Gets Easier: Snake gives this speech to Meryl.
- Japanese Ranguage: Was REX a joint venture with Rivermore National Labs or Livermore National Laboratory?
- Karma Houdini: Ocelot, who is the lone surviving member of FOXHOUND by the end of the game.
- Kick the Dog: Master Miller ( or rather, Liquid Snake) gives this bit of advice at one point:
"Don't feel guilty about the soldiers that died from your bullets. They knew the risks they were taking, just like you."
- Killed Off for Real: Although most of the bosses have been killed, one before he even got the chance to fight Snake, the person best fitting for this is Gray Fox, since he ended up being revived from the last game, and then when doing a Heroic Sacrifice attempt at taking down Metal Gear REX, he ended up squished.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Downplayed. If the player submits to Ocelot's torture instead of withstanding it, and the player escapes from the cell, Snake will end up catching a cold from Johnny Sasaki.
- Laser Sight: Each of your guns have this, but it seems kind of pointless since it's automatic and doesn't give you any kind of benefit.
- Leave No Witnesses: The Secretary of Defense, realizing the REX project has gone tits up, has Snake injected with a virus that is programmed to kill anyone with incriminating knowledge of the President's involvement. Naomi agrees to cooperate in the plan to fulfill her own personal vendetta against Solid Snake.
- LEGO Genetics: Normal soldier + Big Boss genes = mook. The later series includes people saying the whole exercise was pointless.
- Logo Joke: The music that plays during the logo sequence is a Shout-Out to Policenauts.
- Loophole Abuse: 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. The rail gun attached to REX is also cheating: President Sears' recent arms treaty with Russia only rules out intercontinental ballistic missiles, not rail gun-propelled ones. This is so reminiscent of real life arms treaties that it would be laughable if not so sad.
- MacGuffin: Everyone is after Big Boss' frozen remains. The purpose is not made clear until the end, when Liquid confesses that his Genome Army are all flawed copies of Big Boss. They're beginning to exhibit cellular degradation and needs his DNA.
- 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. Factor in Snake's accelerated aging thanks to Clone Degeneration, and it becomes a Mayfly-December Romance.
- Mind Screw: Psycho Mantis. The game dabbles in poking holes in the fourth wall from time to time, but Mantis' boss fight is where the game finally takes a sledgehammer to it.
- 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. Fortunately, if players didn't have the original game box available for any reason, forcing the code is easy (as everyone knows by now it's 140.15, it only takes 15 attempts starting at 140.00). The PSN store version includes the frequency in the software manual as well.
- 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 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, conceived from an affair with his deceased brother's wife) is referenced in Metal Gear Solid 4.
- Musical Nod:
- As you progress through the VR Missions expansion, the standard BGM ("Sneaking Mode") is gradually replaced with music from both MSX2 games, namely "Theme of Tara", "Frequency 140.85", "Level 1 Warning", and "Level 3 Warning" as the alert theme.
- Metal Gear Solid 2 uses the same tunes for its VR stages, along with a remix of "Sneaking Mode."
- If you die in the VR missions, the game over theme from the original Metal Gear plays.
- Mysterious Informant: Gray Fox, going by the pseudonym "Deepthroat".
- Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight: During the boss battle with the Cyborg Ninja, he can block fire from anything in Snake's arsenal with just his HF blade. Snake has to run up and melee him to get anywhere in the fight.
- 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 resemble Spider-Man. In the Integral version, Meryl will wear a sneaking suit.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Thanks to Liquid's Batman Gambit, Snake accidentally activates Metal Gear REX instead of deactivating it.
- 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. If you mash fast enough, however, it's possible to set this off without turbo as well.
- 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.
- The Colonel also suggests you keep your rations selected while in the Cold Storage facility, as Snake's body heat will keep them from freezing sold.
- 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 Honor Among Thieves: There's a lot of it going around. With REX in his grasp, Liquid sees no reason to hold up his end of the bargain and give Russia exclusive bidding rights — though he'll happily accept their chopper and ground units. Ocelot, in turn, is working with President Sears against the Russians and Liquid's confederates. The low man on the totem pole is Kenneth Baker, who is assassinated by his man in the White House, Jim Houseman, after his company has already finished building REX; the President had no intention of coughing up Baker's fee.
- 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, although it's revealed in the end of the game that Solid Snake's real name is David. It's even lampshaded:
Cyborg Ninja: "I am like you...I have no name."
- 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.
- Non-Standard Game Over:
- If you mistakenly kill Baker during the first boss battle, it triggers a game over. Instead of one the support team screaming Snake's name, Ocelot will call you an idiot.
- 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.
- The Nose Knows: Stealth camouflage is useless against the wolfdogs because they can easily smell you.
- 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, 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. As for actually defeating Mantis, in the novelization, at least, Snake gets the idea to trick him into performing as many psychic tasks at the same time as possible. This taxes Mantis's abilities enough that he's too distracted to notice Snake finally take aim and shoot him twice in the chest.
- Not So Different: Liquid and Mantis's speeches indicate that Snake is just as much of a bloodthirsty psychopath, or even more of one, than themselves.
- Opening a Can of Clones: Snake's brothers, Liquid and Solidus, are first introduced in this storyline. As a minor example, the Genome Soldiers are share the same "solider genes" that were harvested from Big Boss' remains. According to Liquid, this makes them all blood brothers.
- Pacifist Run: While low kill runs are possible,note 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. If you continue to screw up, the Cyborg Ninja will slice the jail door open.
- 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.
- Pietà Plagiarism: Snake cradles Meryl in this way upon discovering that she's dead in the non-canon ending.
- Plot Parallel: The DARPA Chief retroactively turns out to be Decoy Octopus in disguise, and this introduction of the theme of disguise foreshadows the later revelation that Master is Liquid in disguise.
- 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.
- The Precarious Ledge: On Disc 2, there is a blast furnace section. You have to cross a ledge on the wall, and there's a piece of crane-like machinery moving around that will hit you and make you fall into the open furnace— As a bonus, you can actually shoot the thing down before crossing it, not that your various Mission Control tells you that like they usually do. This is also the only ledge where there is an actual danger of falling.
- 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.
- Production Throwback: Clips from Policenauts, or Zone of the Enders, if you're playing The Twin Snakes version, are used when Otacon talks about his fondness of anime.
- 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).
- Random Drop: If the player kills a guard without triggering the alert phase, a ration or an ammo will sometime appear after the enemy's body disappears. This is a play mechanic that was carried over from the MSX 2 games, but was dropped in subsequent sequels.
- Rape as Drama: Implied near the end of the game:
Meryl: I didn't give in to the torture.
Meryl: And things even worse than that.
- 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.
- 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.
- Rescue Introduction: Snake meeting Otacon when he rescues him from the Cyborg Ninja.
- Snake and Campbell stated that Big Boss told Snake that he was his father back in Zanzibar Land, or at least implied it. Such a conversation did not occur in Metal Gear 2.
- 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.
- Rule of Cool:
- Yoji Shinkawa single-handedly drew up the Cyborg Ninja on the fly and presented to Kojima, because “it would be nice to have a ninja.” Kojima added, “Plus, it looked really cool."
- It's often observed by fans that the staggering costs of Metal Gear make it an impractical tool for warfare. Well, Shadow Moses is the first enemy stronghold in Metal Gear for which that could be said, too. This is most needlessly complicated base known to man and its construction would probably bankrupt the country if any President tried it. But that's why it is awesome.
- Ruritania: Not to the extent of the first two games to be sure, but still to a small extent. The Fox Archipelago does in fact exist, but there's no such island as "Shadow Moses Island." However, Shadow Moses may just be the name of the military base (and top secret black project) located there.
- Same Story, Different Names: The plot structure of Metal Gear Solid is a combination of events from both MSX2 games, more so from Metal Gear 2.
- Snake begins his mission with an underwater insertion to Shadow Moses Island, just like he did at Outer Heaven.
- One of Snake's radio contacts is the enemy commander pretending to be an ally and tries to sabotage the mission near the end (Big Boss in the original Metal Gear and Master Miller/Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid).
- The FOXHOUND bosses (Revolver Ocelot, Psycho Mantis, Sniper Wolf, and Vulcan Raven) in Metal Gear Solid are named after their weapon or tactic of choices, much like the Outer Heaven mercenaries in the original Metal Gear (Shoot Gunner/Shotmaker, Machinegun Kid, Fire Trooper, and Coward Duck/Dirty Duck). Raven in fact, uses a tactic similar to Machinegun Kid.
- Snake gets captured at one point and is locked in a cell without his equipment. When he escapes and regains his gear, a booby trap is planted among his items (a transmitter in Metal Gear and a time bomb in Metal Gear Solid).
- Snake catches a cold after a certain event (if he remains in the underground drainage ditch for an extended period of time in Metal Gear 2 and if the player submits to the torture sequence in Metal Gear Solid).
- At one point, Snake must use a remote control missile to destroy a power generator in order to shut down an electrified floor in his path, which happens in the original Metal Gear.
- Snake must destroy a tank before reaching the second building, like in the original Metal Gear.
- Snake uses Meryl and Otacon to access doors he can't open himself, much like he did with Jennifer in the original Metal Gear.
- Snake must find a disguised female contact in the women's bathroom, like in Metal Gear 2.
- Like in Metal Gear 2, Snake's initial objective is to locate a hostage in the enemy's base (Dr. Marv in Metal Gear 2, the DARPA Chief in this game) by tracking him down with a radar. However, the bad guys see this coming and they implant the tracking device (Dr. Marv's signal emitter or the DARPA Chief's nanomachines) into a disguised enemy agent (Black Color/Ninja or Decoy Octopus).
- Snake fights an old comrade who is presumed dead, but was instead resurrected as a ninja. Unlike Black Color/Black Ninja though, the Cyborg Ninja remains a recurring character throughout the game rather than being a one-off boss.
- Snake receives help from "a fan", who turn out to be the same person in both games.
- There is a lengthy staircase chase, like the one in Metal Gear 2.
- Snake's fight with the Genome Soldiers in the Communications Tower's elevator is similar to the Ultra Box/Four Horsemen boss fight in Metal Gear 2.
- Gray Fox uses Metal Gear to blow up the bridge, which ensues a lot of backtracking and detouring. Liquid's Hind D did the same to the Communications Tower connecting bridge.
- Snake uses a parachute to jump off the roof of Building No. 1 in the original Metal Gear, while in Metal Gear Solid he uses a rope to rappel on the first Communication Tower.
- The DARPA Chief and Baker both die of a "heart attack", just like Dr. Marv did in Metal Gear 2 (although the cause is different).
- The temperature-sensitive PAL key is an obvious stand-in for Natasha/Gustava's brooch.
- Snake loses his items in a fire, then engages Fox in a bare-knuckle brawl while surrounded by mines. He does it again with the Ring Out Boss Liquid, this time atop REX's hide.
- Snake becomes romantically involved with a female contact (Holly and Meryl).
- All three games also feature a Hind D boss battle. The one in this game combines aspect from the previous two battles. Like in the original Metal Gear, it is set on the rooftop of a building, but requires Stinger missiles to be destroyed like the one in Metal Gear 2.
- Say My Name:
- 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.
- Secret Character: A couple of the VR Missions put you in control of Gray Fox, who possesses all of his moves from the story campaign. Unfortunately, his steath camo drains his HP as long as it's activated (it's built into his exoskeleton), which in turn lowers your final score.
- 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.
- The freight elevator is a near duplicate of the one in AKIRA, even leading to a sub-zero basement area.
- Revolver Ocelot is also an explicit Shout-Out to Spaghetti Westerns, even down to his look modeled after actor Lee Van Cleef.
- 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 explicit Shout-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 in the Trivia section.
- 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.
- When Otacon about how anime inspired him to make REX, FMVs from a past Konami game, Policenauts, is shown in the original game. In The Twin Snakes, FMV footage of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is shown.
- 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. Metal Gear Solid Meryl even wears the same orange bodywarmer in the ending that Dave wears in Policenauts.
- "I'm going to send you a love letter, Snake. Do you know what that is? It's a bullet straight from my gun."
- Meryl being shot at by Sniper Wolf was a direct reference to Full Metal Jacket.
- Sniper Wolf's line about the best assassins being women might be a veiled reference to The Living Daylights, where Bond is told something similar. Or it might be Truth in Television. Or both.
- 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.
- Sinister Silhouettes: FOXHOUND are shown as such during the Briefing mode.
- Slashed Throat: Yes, long before Big Boss and his trusty Bowie knife, there was the Cyborg Ninja and his HF Blade. When playing as Fox in the VR Missions, Snake's neck-snapping move is replaced with a throat-slitting option, creating a glorious pixelated fountain of 32-bit blood.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Meryl's long-barreled Desert Eagle. Lampshaded by Snake while being somewhat chauvinistic.
Snake: Isn't that a big gun for a girl?
- 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). Their only practical purpose is 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 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.
- Talking to the Dead: In the ending where Meryl dies, Snake apologises to her for not being strong enough, and asks for her forgiveness.
- There Is Another: There's a third clone. His name is "Solidus", and Ocelot has been in league with him since the beginning of the mission. Oh, yeah... and he's also the President of the United States.
- Throw The Mook At Them: In VR Missions.
- Puzzle mission 1 has you situated on a floating platform with several small "domino" platforms lined up in front and facing you, there are mooks on each platform. The objective is to throw a grenade to the frontmost Mook soldier in order to send hi flying backwards, hitting the soldier behind him and so on like dominoes. Failing to chain them correctly renders the mission Unwinnable and you have to restart.
- Puzzle mission 2 involves you having to play "domino" by pushing a Mook soldier off a VR ledge in order to kill the two Mooks below him who in turn fall onto another pair of mooks and so on until they're all dead. Note that failing to chain the domino effect makes the mission Unwinnable and you have to restart.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: 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.
- Treacherous Advisor: More than one. Like everything else in the series, it gets complicated.
- 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.
- Unexplained Recovery:
- Liquid does this a ridiculous number of times.
- Meryl is this too. She was able to move freely despite being shot multiple times in crucial muscles with a high powered military grade rifle round (7.62x51mm NATO).
- 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 and for PC everywhere else. 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 west.
- 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.
- In the PC version, you don't even get the pre-battle cutscene with Mantis.
- Victory Pose: Snake takes a long drag after each boss battle. Contrary to the disclaimers, this actually increases his health. It's a gameplay relic from Metal Gear 2, in which Snake's "rank" (his maximum health and item-carrying capacity) increases after each boss encounter.
- 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.
- If you're feeling really cruel, you can beat up (or kill) two Genome Soldiers if you need to kill time for the elevator to descend during the opening stage.
- Video Game 3D Leap
- Warrior Heaven: It turns out this is Liquid'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: This:
Master Miller: You didn't think you made it this far by yourself, did you?
- And immediately after, revealing his true identity:
Colonel: Snake! You've been talking to...
Master Miller: Me... dear brother.
Ocelot: Yes, thank you. Good-bye, Mr. President.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Nastasha.
- 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.
- Also Liquid and Mantis's Not So Different speeches.
- If the player submits to the torture, Ocelot will actually criticize Snake for endangering Meryl to him.
- What the Hell, Player?: Naturally, if you shoot the downed Meryl after she's wounded by Wolf, Campbell and Naomi are quick to call you out on it.
- 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 inventory. 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 'collected' in the drainage ditch, which Snake only has 10 seconds to dispose of.
- Why We're Bummed Communism Fell: It seems that elements in the U.S. and Russia aren't ready to disarm just yet. The prospect of the next "great war" has Baker positively glowing; his company has almost gone bankrupt in peacetime. Liquid's buyer, Colonel Gurlukovich, is eager to restore Russia to her former glory with Metal Gear. A political discussion takes place between Snake and Ocelot, of all people, in the torture room: Ocelot expresses disgust at the sorry state of his homeland; Snake thinks he's not giving the Russians enough credit.
- 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.
- With This Herring: This mission is On Site Procurement — except for cigarettes.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: While the entire series is peppered with this, Snake's turning point comes during a discussion when Meryl is compromised:
Naomi: ...I'm just surprised you're willing to sacrifice yourself...you've got the genes of a soldier, not a savior...
Snake: Trying to say I'm only interested in saving my own skin?
Naomi: I wouldn't go that far, but...
Snake: I don't know what the hell my genes look like, and I don't care. I operate on instinct.
Naomi: Like an animal?
Snake: I'm going to save Meryl. I don't need an excuse.
Snake: And I'm not doing it for someone else either. I'm saving Meryl for myself. Colonel, don't worry!
Colonel: Snake, thanks.
- Worth Living For: Living in this case as opposed to merely surviving, when Snake finds out he's going to die anyway.
- Worthy Opponent:
- Ocelot and Snake are this against each other.
- 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 Bastard: The "Otacon" outcome of the torture sequence. Basically, Ocelot crows that he's going to rape/torture/murder Meryl, and it's all your fault. "I hope you can still look at yourself in the mirror."
- 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.
- Aside Glance: When Psycho Mantis directs the player to put their controller on the floor for him to move, Snake, while keeping his gun trained on Mantis, will give the camera a brief nod of agreement.
- 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.
- Bowdlerization: Snake is no longer naked in the briefing, but rather shirtless. This is a borderline example since the prologue is now in fully-animated 3D.
- Bragging Rights Reward: Soldiers carry dog tags to collect in this version, but nothing is unlocked for acquiring them.
- Bullet Time: See Cutscene Power to the Max.
- 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).
- Compressed Adaptation: The highly popular VR missions were excised from The Twin Snakes entirely. On the other hand, they were updated for Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance.
- Cutscene Power to the Max:
- Very conspicuously. Infamously, even. In the Coup de Grâce Cutscene for the Hind D battle, Snake leaps onto an incoming missile and jumps off of it, shooting down the Hind D in mid air. Such acrobatics are perhaps more suited for Raiden (who once claimed to have beaten Shadow Moses in VR, so there's that).
- Paradoxically, 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.
- Dungeon Bypass: There are now steam and nitrogen pipes lining the walls of REX's lair. These are meant for freezing/warming the key and skipping the whole rigamarole.
- 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.
- Leitmotif: Fox's boss theme incorporates tribal chants and drums, a nod to his previous encounter with Snake in the jungle. The theme is titled "Solider vs. Ghost."
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Jennifer Hale dropped Naomi's British inflection for the remake. Also, Kim Mai Guest is now speaking normally, without the stereotypical accent. This was made canon in Metal Gear Solid 4. What's really interesting is that Paul Eiding uses his normal baritone for Colonel Campbell. Presumably, Silicon Knights took "The Colonel's" robotic speech in Metal Gear Solid 2 as the character's canonical voice, and directed Eiding accordingly in the voice acting booth.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Video Game Remake
- Vocal Evolution: David Hayter seems to portray Solid Snake as being very distant and cold through his speaking. In later games, while still very gruff, Snake's voice is warmer and more comforting.
- What the Hell, Player?: Like the original version, if you shoot the downed Meryl after she's wounded by Wolf, Campbell and Naomi are quick to call you out on it.
...Yes, sir, we've managed to complete the tropes page for Metal Gear Solid.
...Okay... Mister President.
* Ending sting*