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After the highly polarized reception that Metal Gear Solid 2's story received, series creator Hideo Kojima had his work cut out for him: make a Metal Gear Solid game that would reunite the series's broken fandom. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, released in late 2004, did the job with flying colors.In 1962, a Soviet scientist turned Western defector, Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov, ends up back on the other side of the Iron Curtain in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Two years later, American intelligence learns that the Russians have forced Sokolov to create a secret weapon that could turn the Cold War into a blazing hot one. The United States formulates a plan to bring Sokolov back to America: a FOX operative codenamed "Naked Snake" will infiltrate the Soviet Union, rescue Sokolov from a secret weapons lab, then slip out of the country without incident.The mission does not go smoothly.The Boss, Snake's lifelong mentor and maternal figure, abducts Sokolov and announces her own defection to the Soviet Union; she even brings her devoted squad of soldiers, the Cobra Unit, along for the ride. To make things even worse, she has two miniature nuclear warheads to sweeten the deal — one of which her new boss, Colonel Volgin, uses to annihilate Sokolov's lab and frame America for the whole ordeal (thanks to Soviet radars picking up the plane Snake used to enter Soviet airspace).With the US's reputation on the line and the two nations on the verge of World War III, Snake re-enters the USSR a week later to clear the FOX unit's name and prove the United States' innocence by taking out Volgin, his secret weapon, the Cobra Unit, and The Boss. Once all that's said and done, Snake will become the one known as "Big Boss", the Big Bad of the early Metal Gear games.In terms of gameplay and its mechanics, Metal Gear Solid 3 puts more emphasis on survival than previous games, as it requires players to hunt, eat, and heal their wounds manually to survive. Kojima Productions swapped out the static indoor maps of the previous games with sprawling outdoor environments that require players to make use of camouflage to stay hidden from enemy sentries. Players can also distract sentries with a variety of tools, from tranquilizer darts to pornographic magazines, in tried-and-true Metal Gear fashion.With its far less convoluted story, fans viewed Metal Gear Solid 3 as a return to form. It featured another main character switcheroo, but this time, Kojima Productions eased the pain by replacing Solid Snake with his identical progenitor, Naked Snake. Since it takes place in the defining years of the Cold War, the plot line embraces every spy movie trope in the book — which includes a James Bond-esque musical intro sequence. Toss in a truly bittersweetTwist Ending, four memorable main characters, as well as a number of tense and memorable boss fights, and it doesn't take much effort to see why many fans still think of Metal Gear Solid 3 as one of the best games on the PlayStation 2.Metal Gear Solid 3 also received an Updated Re-release a year later with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence; this re-release featured a new third-person camera system, a brand-new online multiplayer component (shut down over a year after its release), ports of the first two MSX2 games, hilarious animated shorts, and additional stages to the kid-friendlycrossover minigame starring the monkeys from Ape Escape. The European release of Subsistence and limited editions included a third disc featuring a nearly four-hour movie version of the story strung together from cutscenes, radio conversations, and in-game footage.While Metal Gear Solid 4 shifted the focus back to Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid 3 spawned a series of direct sequels starring Naked Snake in the forms of Portable Ops, Peace Walker and the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V.Konami released an HD version of Metal Gear Solid 3 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation Vita as part of the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection; it also released a port for the Nintendo 3DS titled Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
"I give my life, not for honor, but for these tropes:"
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Absolute Cleavage: EVA has no shame whatsoever. The Boss rips open her shirt too, to show off her snake scar. For some reason, she doesn't see fit to button it back up for the ensuing fight.
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers under Groznyj Grad. Spacious enough that The Fury can fly inside without problems.
Achievements in Ignorance: OK, so Snake collects various plants and animals, which he can call Para-Medic to identify. At the same time, he carries around night vision goggles and other various things which require battery power. When he collects a species of bio-luminescent mushrooms, he assumes that because they glow, that eating them will "recharge [his] batteries." This works even though Para-Medic specifically told him it was impossible. Snake's ignorance is just that good. To be fair, Sigint does theorize that Snake may be imagining it somehow.
Action Bomb: Every one of the Cobras has a microbomb which detonates when they die, to prevent the enemy from searching and identifying their corpse. With the exception of The Boss and possibly The Sorrow.
Played straight with the former in the Secret Theater film The Joy when The Boss jumps off the bridge, detonates her microbomb, and screams, "The Joy!" after exploding in mid-air.
Affectionate Parody: Metal Gear Solid 3 features many affectionate nods towards the spy movies that inspired the series in the first place, as well as a few at rival near-future series like Splinter Cell; in particular, the use of cutting-edge 1960s hardware seems a gentle nudge at modern games' obsession with futuristic gadgetry.
All There in the Manual: The Pain's ability to control bees/wasps isn't explained in the game itself. However, bios from the official Metal Gear Solid 3 website as well as the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database state that its because he carries a Queen in one of his hip pouches.
Always Close: Subverted in the final battle. The battle itself is under a ten-minute time limit and not finishing it by then will see you blown up by the incoming bombing run. However regardless of how long it takes you, the subsequent conversation afterwards will play out even if you were cutting it close in the battle itself. The planes don't start their run until the following cutscene.
An Arm and a Leg: Variation: While none of the characters actually lose a limb in this game, the player has the option of stabbing Major Ocelot on one of his limbs, thus forcing him to wear a bandage on the stab wound for the remainder of the game.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: You know those tanks in Groznyj Grad's northwest section? Those tanks are actually real, as is the history and technical detail Sigint supplied about them. Also, Sigint's reference to the Soviets attempting to use dogs trained to blow up German tanks with explosives, as well as it backfiring, is not one of Kojima's usual insanity: That actually did happen. The WIG and the flying platforms were also completely real. Also, those screw-like devices on the Shagohod? They're real, and are called Augers.
A lot of the flora and fauna are fictional (Golova and Baltic Hornets to name a few) and it does sound ridiculous to have a goat whose name means "snake eater". Markhors, however, are indeed real goats and their name does mean snake eater. The only thing inaccurate about it was their horns.
Colonel Volgin's absurd resources are said to have allowed him to develop quite a few things "early:" the passive IR goggles are lampshaded as being ridiculously high-tech for the setting, the Mi-24 first flew in 1969, and the WiG is from the early '70s.
The XM16E1 is about a year early to have been issued for evaluation in any significant number, though enough were delivered that it's still somewhat plausible, and they did nail the designation.
The Lockheed M-21 that delivers Snake for Operation Snake Eater first flew in December 1964; the first drone launch from one wouldn't occur until 1966.
One of the foods that Snake can eat to replenish his stamina is the CalorieMate blocks, a food that would not hit Japanese shelves until 19 years later.
The Sabra magazines that Snake can pick up weren't even published until about four decades after the events of the game. In the Snake Eater 3D version, the magazines in question were Hooters Japan magazines, which is even further removed from the period the game is set. The first Hooters franchise in Japan opened in 2010, nearly 50 years after Operation Snake Eater took place.
The various Yoshi figures found throughout the game. Para-Medic gives the Hand Wave that Yoshi must be getting popular in the Soviet Union. However, this is about thirty years before Yoshi was ever in a game.
A table in the Graniny Gorki lab has a magazine advertising Metal Gear Solid 3 itself on the cover. The HD port makes it worse, with more magazines also advertising Metal Gear Solid 4 and Peace Walker.
Zero mentions the use of gadgets in James Bond films. While Dr. No and From Russia with Love had been released by the date the game takes place, the only gadget Bond had ever had at that point was the briefcase in the second movie. Given that Goldfinger, which was the beginning of gadget use in Bond films, came out a few weeks after the end of the game, it's possible Zero saw a pre-release or something.
And This Is for...: A villainous use of this. Just listen to Volgin's reason for beating up Snake in one of the game's biggest horrifying moments, as it pretty much was trying to avenge Raikov being hurt. It is also implied that the Flame Troops at Krasnogorje were sent there to roast Snake alive because Volgin wanted to avenge The Pain, The Fear, and The End. Of course, if the player gets trigger happy, the Flame Troops themselves were also implied to be doing this to avenge their comrades.
Since saving is equated with going to sleep in this game, the game replenishes more health and stamina depending on how long a break the player takes between sessions. If the player goes too long without returning, however, food will start to spoil.
A chance to save thankfully appears between the twenty minute ending and equally long epilogue.
Artifact Title: This game takes place before the implementation of the Metal Gear project, and it features the main protagonist (who isn't even named Solid Snake) trying to take down the Shagohod instead. Granted, the Shagohod fulfills pretty much the same purpose as Metal Gear, but it's made clear in-universe that they're two different projects. This would ordinarily just be a Non Indicative Name, but considering the next game in the series isn't even about stopping a nuclear threat...note unless one counts Liquid Ocelot's plan to fire a nuclear warhead at a satellite to stop the Patriots in that game as being a nuclear threat.
For what it's worth, however, this game introduces the originator of the Metal Gear concept: Granin, Sokolov's Unknown Rival. However, he's arguably just there to give Naked Snake an excuse to exclaim "Metal Gear!?" as per series tradition.
While the non-suppressible weapons have their uses when surrounded or during an alert, the M63 and RPG-7 will most likely only get used when infinite ammo is granted during the Shagohod chase because machine guns that eat through ammo note and even make Snake scream like John J. Rambo! and rocket launchers that nuke small areas aren't exactly ideal for a stealth mission.
The Fear's camo (obtained from stamina-killing him) gives a huge boost in the camo index, at the cost of rapidly draining your stamina.
At one point, if you call Sigint, he will talk about the possibility of a bipedal tank. He mentions that an American (Huey Emmerich, Otacon's father) wrote a proposal on such an idea. Much to the hilarity of the player, Sigint considers this idea ridiculous and impractical, stating that the entire idea of a tank needing to walk is pointless, because tanks have treads. This seems to a inside joke over the impracticality of the series' eponymous mechs. Ironically, MGS4 reveals that Sigint is Donald Anderson, the man who helped fund Metal Gear REX in the original Metal Gear Solid.
After Ocelot takes up Snake's advice and switches to the Single Action Army revolver, he starts wearing an ammo belt around his shoulder.
Volgin wears a long machine gun ammo belt over his shoulder and around his waist once he's ditched the overcoat. This might seem like a bad idea, given his Psycho Electro powers, but he is wearing a rubberized suit, and only emits his lightning from his hands. Though this does come back to bite him in the ass at the end of the final battle, when he's struck by lightning, setting off the ammo belt.
Badass Boast: Played with. During their second encounter, Snake lectures Ocelot about his poor choice of weaponry, ending it by boldly proclaiming that Ocelot doesn't have what it takes to kill him. It looks like it's just Snake pointing out Ocelot's relative lack of combat skill... until Ocelot realizes that he forgot to load his revolver.
Badass Normal: Snake and his mentor, The Boss. Most of The Boss's subordinates have bizarre, often horrifying superpowers, but her only skills are the ability to shoot an assault rifle-caliber machine pistol one-handed and enough martial arts prowess to dismantle a gun in two quick moves. Volgin, the Psycho Electro, shows his only truly vulnerable moment when he mentions he doubts her loyalty, and backpedals immediately when she turns to face him with an angry glare. And, of course, Naked Snake earns his "Big Boss" title by defeating The Boss and every one of her subordinates despite having no superpowers at all, just good aim and a lot of tenacity. The game also highlights Ocelot's progression towards becoming a badass himself (Improbable Aiming Skills aside), courtesy of Snake's inexplicable compulsion to mentor him.
Bad Boss: Colonel Volgin dismisses his own subordinates, and is implied to kill off those he feels have no more use for him (such as the scientists and engineers after the Shagohod was completed), not to mention running over his own men and destroying his own base simply because they were in his way when piloting the Shagohod. Going by statements EVA made about Raikov after disguising as him, not to mention the personnel's reaction to Snake disguised as Raikov and Snake, while disguised as Raikov, beating up the personnel and getting away with it, Raikov also is cut from the same cloth.
The Bad Guy Wins: A subtle variation: The Stinger reveals that, despite Volgin's death and the destruction of the Shagohod, his plans to overthrow Khrushchev ultimately succeeded, albeit in a pyrrhic fashion.
Bag of Holding/Hyperspace Arsenal: While not described directly as such, Snake's (rather smallish) backpack is this in practice. The amount of items he carries "at the ready" count their weight when determining the drain on his stamina due to encumbrance. However, anything stored in the backpack is not counted for determining encumbrance, and there is no limit to how much can be stored in the backpack at once. His support team even tell him to put things he does not have an immediate need for into his backpack to save on weight.
Big Bad: Colonel Volgin, a psychotic, rogue Russian colonel with plans to heat up the Cold War. Not only that, everything that happens in every other Metal Gear title stems from his actions in this game.
Although Snake succeeds in defeating Volgin and destroying the Shagohod, he was forced to kill his beloved mentor. After spending a night together with EVA, she leaves. The next morning, Snake listens to a recording she left behind. It reveals EVA's true colors and the true nature of her mission. Later, he's awarded and praised for killing The Boss and even given her title, but is practically dead on the inside for going through with it. Armed with the fact that he now knows the truth of why he had to kill her, and that she will go down in history as a traitorous scumbag, the game ends with his salute at her unmarked grave while Big Boss sheds a Single Tear.
Several Secret Theatre videos have downer endings as well, most notably Metal Gear Sigint, Gotcha this Time!, and The Ultimate Weapon, though usually it's Played for Laughs.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Volgin does this twice in the game, both times when talking about the Philosophers' Legacy. Given the game is an Affectionate Parody of Bond and 60's spy films, it's likely intentional.
Book Ends: In the beginning of the game, Snake loses his backpack by it snagging onto the tree. During the last few moments of the game, his backpack is thrown out of the WIG by Ocelot.
Boring but Practical: Per series tradition, the suppressed tranquilizer gun. In this case, the Mk. 22. Quiet, takes out guards, allows you to capture animals (which means not only will it prevent them from rotting, but you can then throw live snakes at enemies), one of few silent weapons, and stamina kills are tremendously important.
The old punch, punch, kick melee combo can sometimes end up being far more useful than CQC, particularly against bosses, who seem to be immune to it.
Boss Corridor: The Pain and The Fury both get one. The former hangs out in an underground spring, while the latter patrols the catacombs beneath Grozny Grad.
Bottomless Magazines: Averted; enemies do need to change magazines in battle. They won't run out of extra mags, though, unless you blow up their ammo dumps. Then they only have one mag for their assault rifle, one for their handguns, and then they need to rush you with their combat knives or go home. Also, averted with the mounted turret guns, unusually. Of course, getting the infinite face paint gives you unlimited ammo for everything too; otherwise, the only weapons with truly infinite ammo are the unlockable EZ Gun and the Patriot.
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": There is no such fruit as a golova. However, it is based off of a real fruit called a jackfruit.
The Cavalry: The ending contains a few nods to MGS1. Khrushchev quietly calls off his MiGs before they can shoot down EVA and Snake's plane, a coded acknowledgement that the U.S. has fulfilled its obligations and that tensions have cooled. Snake and EVA are given safe passage to Galena Air Force Base in Alaska (the same base where Colonel Campbell recalls his stealth bombers in MGS1).
Camera Screw: The strongest criticism of the original release was directed at the fixed overhead camera, which was essentially unchanged from the first game and was felt to be rather archaic (and didn't really suit the sprawling outdoor environments, in comparison to the rigidly geometric settings of the first two games). This was fixed in Subsistence, which altered the system to use a mobile, player-controlled third person camera.
Car Fu: EVA's counterattack toward Ocelot after she got free of the hostage situation in Rassvet should count. It starts with a stare down, then she rams Ocelot and ramps up his torso, not only hitting him hard in the face, but also hitting with a Groin Attack with the back wheel (put simply, the whole maneuver is something like a somersault kick to the face combined with a crotch kick — with a motorcycle). Future Magnificent Bastard or not, one has got to feel for the guy.
Subverted: The lipstick zip-gun gets pulled out a couple of times near the climax but never turns out to be important other than as a failed attempt at killing Volgin.
A subtle example: At one point, the player will acquire the Snow camo, which is almost entirely white. It seems a little pointless when the game takes place almost entirely in the jungle. Then the player gets to the final battle between Snake and The Boss... which takes place in a field of white flowers.
Chekhov's Skill: Given how many weapons are available, it's easy to forget about CQC... until you actually fight The Boss. Also, The Boss takes and disassembles Snake's weapons in almost every cutscene they share. Three guesses as to what happens when you try pulling a weapon in close quarters during the actual fight.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Used to parody some of the more unrealistic game mechanics. For instance, Snake can find glow cap mushrooms, and call his Mission Control team to discuss its nutritional properties, when Snake starts to wonder if eating the mushrooms would replenish the batteries on his equipment. His Mission Control tells him to believe whatever the hell he wants... and as luck would have it, eating glow caps does replenish the player's batteries, which Para-Medic assumes is some sort of weird placebo effect.
Clark Kenting: EVA's pretty good at this. Her face and voice are the same, but her body language, speaking tone, hair style, and, yes, glasses, combine to give the player the impression that the nervous, mousy girl Volgin's captured is an entirely different person from the dazzling, cleavage-exposing showoff Action Girl helping out Snake. Even some first-time players get totally suckered.
Snake does this late in the game, where he must pose as a maintenance worker to infiltrate a fortress, but at this point he has an eye patch, and the enemy knows his face.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Colonel Volgin's favorite pastime. He seems rather proud of his skill, though in actuality, he's very, very bad at it; nobody he tortures ever talks, and he actually manages to interrogate himself while torturing Snake. Not that this matters to him. It's outright stated by EVA that he literally gets off on the pain of others, and doesn't really care if his victims talk as long as he gets his kicks. After witnessing it firsthand, Ocelot decides that torture isn't as bad as he previously thought; anyone who's played Metal Gear Solid will know his ratio of people tortured versus information extracted is similar to Volgin's.
Cold War: The time setting of the game. The tensions between the East and the West (and the contrast with the relatively more peaceful state of the 21st century) are central to the story.
Comically Missing the Point: Calling EVA before locating Raikov will have EVA attempt to explain to Snake, in an unsubtle manner, that Raikov is completely uninterested in the opposite sex. Snake seems to understand, but then asks if Raikov broke up with her, causing EVA to react angrily and remark that if the conversation continues, she'll jam her radio up Snake's head.
Compensating for Something: The director's commentary states that the reason why Volgin deduced "Raikov" was not Raikov is because Raikov and Naked Snake's groin size was different.
Sergei Gurlukovich had a throwaway line in Metal Gear Solid 2 that "even the technology that gave birth to these weapons is Russian!" While possibly meant at the time as a reference to Dr. Madnar from the MSX games, in this game it is revealed that the concept of Metal Gear was invented even earlier by another Russian scientist, Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin.
During the final battle, the player can find a trio of snakes, "Snake Solid", "Snake Liquid", and "Snake Solidus". All three provide the best stamina recovery in the game.
Controllable Helplessness: The most helpless ever. The "Snake gets captured and tortured" scene begins with the screen completely black, and we only hear what others are saying. However, it's not quite a "blank cutscene", because we still see Snake's health bar and camo index... and we can't do anything about it as it goes down while we're getting punched by Volgin.note Except holding the item or weapons menu open, thus preventing health damage.
Cool Guns: Quite a few are taken from the list in the article; special note goes to Snake's second M1911A1, which he takes time out to explain the extreme coolness of, to the point that he's oblivious to EVA changing clothes in front of him.
Cool Tank: The Object 279 tanks stationed at Groznyj Grad are real, and based on a tank that was really too cool for its own good. The vehicle was built by Troyanov for survivability on a battlefield where tactical nuclear weapons were being deployed; the lozenge hull was to prevent the tank being flipped over by blast waves, and the unusual quad tread layout to increase the tank's ground footprint for the same reason. The result was too expensive to mass produce, and the only prototype is now in the Russian tank museum at Kubinka proving ground.
The Coup: According to series mythology, Volgin was the puppeteer behind the movement to depose Khrushchev. Sokolov holds that the Colonel won't be satisfied with that, and will leverage the confusion of a third World War to take over the USSR.
Coup de Grâce Cutscene: Inverted: the player is forced to pull the trigger on The Boss. Although it will still happen automatically if the player waits for too long.
Counting Bullets: Snake manages to pull this on Ocelot after he switches from a pistol with eight rounds to a revolver with six.
Crossover: With, of all things, Ape Escape. Solid Snake would return the favor by appearing in Ape Escape 3, which was released at around the same time. In the HD port however, the minigame with Ape Escape stuff in it was removed.
Whenever Snake and The Boss cross paths, Snake gets his ass handed to him. The degree of curb stomping that occurs, however, becomes steadily and noticeably less and less as the game goes on. The first time they fight, Snake only gets a very brief grab on The Boss before she breaks the hold and then his arm before hurling him off the bridge they are on. The last time they fight in a cutscene, Snake holds her off for quite a while and even forces her to a knee before she takes him down.
An almost identically parallel situation to The Boss easily defeating Snake constantly while Snake slowly improves occurs with Ocelot. Several times Snake champions Ocelot through CQC and gunplay, but after while Ocelot seems to improve, until finally he is able to match Snake one-on-one in CQC during the final plane duel.
Cutscene Power to the Max: Mostly averted. Any time the player sees Snake performing CQC maneuvers in cutscenes, he's using the exact same moves that are available outside the cutscenes, although the stunts that Snake pulls off are a bit tricky to recreate in game play.
Death Is the Only Option: The "fight" against The Sorrow (when Snake is at death's door) cannot be won. He is a ghost, so you cannot hurt him no matter what you do. The only way out is to let him kill you at the end of your walk in the river, then use a revival pill to wake up in the "world of the living". Alternately, you can just get on your stomach and wait until you drown, as your head is under the water, then use the pill like normal. Same effect, but much shorter than doing it the normal way, especially if you killed a lot of people before this point. However, you cannot get the Sorrow's camo this way.
Decapitated Army: Subverted; it looks like it's all over when Volgin gets fried by lightning, but shortly after breathing a sigh of relief at the end of the ordeal, Snake and EVA are attacked by more soldiers, leading to a second Rail Shooter section and then one last sneaking section before the Final Boss.
Deconstruction: The game plays most of the standard Bond movie tropes straight (see Affectionate Parody above), but the game's twenty minute epilogue manages to completely brutalize how those films usually end. Sure, Snake is a bit sad he had to kill his mentor and maternal figure, but he still managed to save the world, destroy Shagohod, and get the girl, right? Turns out EVA is a Chinese spy who only didn't kill Snake because she made a promise to The Boss not to. The Boss was actually a Fake Defector who was the United States' Fall Guy. Snake was used to dispose of her and secure the Philosopher's Legacy for the US. The entire event inspires Snake's Start of Darkness.
Description Porn: Snake does this when EVA hands him the M1911, to the point that he's completely ignores EVA unzipping her jacket to show off her cleavage moments ago (players, however, can get a good look for themselves by pressing the first-person button). He also does this a few times if the player calls Sigint after they get a new gun or camo, or if they're near a vehicle or similarly technical object.
This is a Metal Gear game, after all. This is the sort of game where, in the ten minutes the player spends with EVA, they can fully explore her medical history and find out that she has breast implants, which is kind of weird due to the 1964 setting, but also hysterical considering how it slots into this world's Raygun Gothic tone (Crab tanks! Hovercrafts! Silicone!) She has also had Proctitis, a sexually transmitted infection characterized by inflammation of the anus, which can be caused by anal sex with multiple partners. Oh dear.
During the fight with The Sorrow, every enemy the player killed in the game up until that point will reappear, and their bodies will reflect how they did it: kill a guy with a Groin Attack, and he'll reappear in this fight, clutching his junk and shouting "I'm worthless now!". Where it gets crazy is that the player can kill a guard in the mountain area, let a vulture gnaw on his corpse, then catch and eat the vulture, and the guard will show up with the vulture perched on his shoulder, shouting "You ate me!"
Para-Medic is in the game primarily to advise the player on what to eat and how good it will taste. If you eat something, then call Para-Medic, rather than have her tell Snake what it tastes like, Snake will comment on the taste himself.
Disney Villain Death: Averted with Volgin: Volgin initially falls into a ravine thanks to EVA and Snake exploiting the C3-rigged bridge that the former set up earlier to get rid of the Shagohod. Unfortunately for them, he managed to eject the rear part of the Shagohod in order to get back up to the ravine, although on the flip side, the Shagohod's now vulnerable.
Snake's "cardboard box" lecture to a thoroughly squicked Sigint.
Snake:You should come inside the box... Then you'll know what I mean. Sigint: Man, I don't wanna know what you mean!
Doomed by Canon: Big Boss wears an eyepatch in earlier games, so most players expect him to lose it at some point in the game. The scene where it happens knows this and plays with that expectation horrifyingly.
Double Agent: EVA, Ocelot, and The Boss. Bonus points to Ocelot for being a triple agent.
Downloadable Content: There were a few bonus camo patterns available for PS2 owners who had an online connection. The camo patterns can be found on-disc in Subsistence. Unfortunately, a single camo takes up an entire megabyte off the player's memory card.
Duel Boss: The Boss. Snake's main mission is to fight and eliminate her, and thus their unavoidable confrontation is hyped up for the entirety of the game. It does not disappoint (see Mirror Boss below).
Dying Dream: The fight with The Sorrow qualifies as this. Afterwards, Snake wakes up, realizing it was all just a dream. Or was it?
Earn Your Title: This game shows how Snake earned the moniker that would stay with him for the rest of his life, by defeating his lifelong mentor, The Boss, and surpassing her in the eyes of his superiors.
Easter Egg: Some cutscenes have moments where you can switch to Snake's point-of-view. Watch the upper-right corner of the screen; when a button prompt appears, pressing the first-person button reveals something completely different going on, invisible from the third-person perspective. There are, however, several scenes where you can go to first-person mode without any prompt appearing. These secret scenes range from very silly to significantly helpful.
Escort Mission: Towards the end of the game, an injured EVA becomes the player's charge. Thankfully not for too long, because she moves slowly, will often start shooting at enemies with an unsuppressed weapon and needs to be constantly fed in order to keep her stamina up. Otherwise, there is moaning and stopping. You can, however, tranquilize her and drag her the whole way.
Everything's Worse with Bees: The Pain can control bees. Sure, some of the things he does with the bees are a little silly, but the basic power itself has horrifying potential. Just imagine how much being stung to death by a thousand bees would hurt.
Exact Words: "You don't have what it takes to kill me." Snake isn't being metaphorical; Ocelot used up all the ammo showing off.
Eye Scream: Double Subverted. The Boss prepares to cut out Snake's eyes in order to clear her name as the spy, but she is stopped at the last second by Tatyana/EVA. Then Snake's right eye is destroyed by a muzzle flash. The prospects of the first half of that scene are quite frightening during the first playthrough, considering Big Boss is well known for having an eyepatch.
Face Death with Dignity: The Boss, who seems eerily at peace with the idea of her own demise. It demonstrates how strong her spirit is, as a lesser person would have broken under the strain, while she barely sheds much tears.
Filler: A common criticism of the game is the fact that most of the Cobra fights add nothing to the plot and don't particularly tie into or expand upon any of the game's themes, in spite of being generally well-received mechanically. Mythology Gag is probably the more appropriate trope to describe this.
Fission Mailed: The player just cannot win the battle against The Sorrow no matter how hard they try, but then the player notices the inventory still works and take the Revival Pill just in time. Less obvious and more serious than the one in Metal Gear Solid 2 for it implies all hope seems to be lost at this very moment.
Fixed Camera: Snake Eater featured this in keeping with the previous games in the series, but it was very poorly received and criticized for being unsuited to the sprawling, open-ended jungle environments. This prompted its revision in Subsistence to an over-the-shoulder camera more typical for the third person genre.
Foregone Conclusion: Snake is told at the beginning of Operation Snake Eater that his goal is to kill The Boss. You know what's coming, especially since this Snake goes on to becoming Big Boss. It's also no surprise that Big Boss loses an eye during his mission.
Foreshadowing: EVA's Weapon of Choice, style of using it, and her Cool Bike are all Chinese, as Sigint tells the player if they call him about her. Guess who she's really working for? Also, in the same scene, Snake's supposed to be meeting an agent named "ADAM" who never shows up, but Ocelot and his men zero in on the player's hiding place without warning. Guess who Ocelot really is? (For bonus points, during your final encounter with him, he introduces himself as Adamska.)
The game hints at the characteristics of the Cobra Unit in the areas before their boss fights. Snake is attacked by bees before he fights The Pain, Snake moves through The Fear's trap filled arena before he actually needs to fight him, Snake encounters flamethrower mooks before he fights The Fury and so on. The exception is The End, who is introduced just a minute before The Fear but is fought afterwards.
Game-Breaking Bug: Not a true bug per se, but once a sniper rifle of any kind is found, if the player zooms in, and while still holding the L1 button, presses the R2 button to activate the weapon selection menu, then releases the L1 button, and then selects either of the handguns, and while still holding the R2 button, presses and holds the R1 button, then engages the fire button, and then releases both the fire button and the R2 button, it is possible to snipe people with a silenced handgun from across the entire map, with literally no margin of error. Granted, the maneuver is not exactly easy to pull off, but once it is mastered, it is literally impossible to miss. It's also possible to pull of this trick with the binoculars the player has from the beginning. In other words, there is no such thing as maximum effective range for any of the guns in this game. Or maybe Snake's just that good of a shot.
Ocelot's AI during his boss fight is tailored to his in-story personality. He reloads his gun in the open because he simply doesn't think he can be (seriously) harmed (and if you shoot him while he's reloading, he wises up and seeks cover to do so subsequent times), and most of the time he has a chance at hitting Snake with a straight shot, he'll disregard it in favor of a fancier ricochet shot instead.
Look carefully at the Ocelot soldiers' bodies right after their first run-in with Snake. Almost all the Ocelots have been knocked unconscious, but one soldier in particular has been tranquilized with a dart, just like in the preceding cutscene.
After Snake has his eye shot out, if you go into first-person mode, the far-right of the screen is darkened and your depth perception is off, forcing you to relearn how to aim.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Snake is airdropped into the mission and told by his commander that the enemy may be listening to their communications first thing. The commander then gives a detailed briefing, including explicitly stating who Snake is working for, where he is, and what he's doing, over these same comms.
EVA's preferred method of fire. Justified in that her weapon of choice is a Mauser C96 (a Chinese copy, anyway). She relies on an actual method of firing the weapon known as "Bandit Shooting," which involves using the muzzle jump of the gun to create a sweeping effect that is very useful for clearing rooms and helps prevent cases from jamming in the gun. It's only very useful at a maximum range of about five yards, though.
Ocelot also his semi-automatic pistol sideways and with arms slightly bent in the first part of the game, which Snake uses against him. On Snake's advice that this technique is more suited to a revolver, he switches to one (and later, two).
Gaussian Girl: Ocelot sees Snake this way after their initial encounter. Somewhat justified, since he is losing consciousness at the time. Ever since then, Ocelot has become his Stalker with a Crush. Also, it is played with jokingly in the Secret Theater film, He's Still Got It, where The End sees EVA like this.
Gender Is No Object: Surprisingly, nobody ever gives The Boss any guff for being a woman, despite this taking place in '60s, long before the glass ceiling disappeared for women in the military (and as far as combat-intensive roles go, that ceiling still hasn't really gone away)—and she's been doing this at least since the forties. It's possible nobody dares bring it up because she's that good. Her connection to the Philosophers probably doesn't hurt either.
Gotta Catch Them All: In order to obtain the EZ Gun on any difficulty above Very Easy, the player has to catch at least one of every 48 plants and animals in a single playthrough. If the player passes one of several points of no return without a certain food, the game needs to be started again, and this includes catching the undetectable Tsuchinoko.
Gratuitous Foreign Language: Immediately after praising Snake's Russian with both speaking in English, Sokolov says the name "Shagohod" in Russian. Snake then accepts the rather flowery translation "The Treading Behemoth" as opposed to the more mundane meaning of "Step-Walker."
Groin Attack: The game has a surprisingly large amount of groin attacks. For starters, it serves as an auto kill against enemies (or auto-KO, if the player does it unarmed).
In the battle with The Sorrow, the ghosts of people who received this at some point have special dialogue. "I'm worthless now!" "Do you know how THIS feels!?"
If the player wears the Raikov Mask and the Scientist disguise, as demonstrated in the beginning of this video here, Raikov will look at Snake, then go "Hey!", grab Snake's gonads, unzip his pants, and then hit them hard enough to send Snake flying back.
If the player harasses EVA long enough late into the game, she will get fed up and then deliver a swift kick into Snake's crotch that is hard enough to kill him.
In the Secret Theater film Cat-like behavior, Ocelot shoots Snake in the groin shortly after Snake says that he doesn't have what it takes to kill him, a shot that was also implied to have killed him.
EVA receives a groin attack from Volgin after he discovers she's the KGB spy. The fact that she's a girl mattered little as it hurt her all the same, and was also not intended to be funny.
The method for defeating The Sorrow is best described as "moon logic." To be specific, the player has to let him kill them, then realize the inventory is still active on the game over screen and use the Revival Pill item that normally wakes the player up from using the Fake Death Pill. Mercifully, if the player goes through this enough times, Zero will just call the player and tell them to do this. It's probably less of a conundrum for those who actually tried using a Fake Death Pill even once beforehand.
Want to get the "Markhor" title to unlock the EZ Gun? Better make sure you know exactly where all the food in the game is and not miss a single one.
Gun Accessories: Snake has to collect silencers since each has a finite lifespan, and there's also the matter of Ocelot pulling out a clip-on skeleton stock for one of his revolvers, The End's horrible mutant Mosin-Nagant (with a folding stock and pistol grip) and Snake's custom M1911, which has been variously twiddled and re-customized to the point it takes him over a dozen closeup photographs to adequately describe it to Sigint.
Handshake Refusal: The U.S. President awards the Distinguished Service Cross to Snake. He shakes LBJ's hand, but refuses to shake the DCI's hand, because it's believed that DCI had him kill his mentor to both prevent an international incident and recover a massive sum of money from the Big Bad. The latter is true. In the former instance, it was his predecessor who was actually responsible because he was afraid of her charisma.
Hand Wave: Seemingly in response to criticism of the over-extended and often silly origin stories of the Dead Cell unit in Metal Gear Solid 2, the Cobra Unit and Volgin's powers simply aren't explained. They just have them.
Have a Nice Death/It's a Wonderful Failure: During the fight with The Boss, if the player was paying attention, they'll remember that she calls in an air strike before the fight begins, ensuring that she'll die. She warns the player to kill her before that happens. If the player fails to kill her in 10 minutes, she'll remark that it's all over and the player will get a cutscene showing both of their demises via MiGs. At least you get to hear arguably the most triumphant rendition of the game's theme song.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Ocelot spends the entire plot jumping between helping and hindering Snake (such as betraying Volgin to help Snake, before trying to crash Snake's plane for a duel to the death). Taken even further when it's revealed he was ADAM, making him a triple agent.
Several relating to 1960s projects and events: If Snake calls Major Zero shortly after arriving in Dremuchij North, during the conversation, Snake will tell Major Zero that the drone he used to infiltrate Tselinoyarsk may need its landing buffer redesigned, as potential pilots will get hurt or killed if they have to use it in the its current state. This refers to the real-life reason as to why the project ended up canceled: a launch went awry and crashed midair into the M-21, which killed the drone operator.
One of the radio conversations with EVA has her discussing the Katyn Forest massacre with Snake; apparently, in the Metal Gear timeline, Volgin was personally responsible for starting it and most of the actual killings.
If one calls Major Zero shortly after meeting up with EVA before infiltrating Groznyj Grad via Tikhogornyj, Zero will be holding back tears in regards to the phrase "I'll be your eyes." This is because this phrase was also used by an American spy who worked within GRU, Oleg Pentrovski who was executed in 1963 after he was discovered. Appropriately, his codename was "hero," since he was a hero whose name and accomplishments will never be known.
At one point, Sigint will mention that the Russians trained dogs to plant bombs below enemy tanks during World War II, where while they were successful in training the dogs to do the process itself, they messed up in that they ended up having the dogs bomb their own tanks by mistake, due to their using their own tanks to train the dogs. This actually happened in real life, with the suspected cause being that the Russians and the Germans used different fuel sources for their tanks.
If Snake holds a Claymore mine and calls Sigint, he suspects that the ones the player finds were stolen from an American arsenal or from performance trials in Southeast Asia. He then suspects that it won't be long before the Russians make their own version. In real life, the Russians eventually did develop their own directed anti-personnel mine, the MON-50, which shares more than a few similarities to the Claymore.
Hoist by His Own Petard: In Krasnogorje, there are anti-aircraft guns on the mountainside. You can actually use them against their own Hinds.
Hong Kong Dub: Very apparent, considering the previous games' lip flaps matched up to the English dialogue. It's most noticeable in a scene after the torture sequence, when The Boss talks to Snake in private, her mouth flaps for a couple seconds before we hear a strained "Run."
I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Boss, though it's because she's under orders from the U.S. Government not to kill herself or tell Snake the truth behind her mission. The only way to avert a nuclear war is for Snake to eliminate The Boss. No other course of action will do. She accepts her orders and follows them through to the end, showing a truly unparalleled sense of honor that no other character really lives up to.
EVA: A lesser woman would have been crushed by such a burden.
I Let You Win: Young Ocelot's excuse every time. Or maybe not an excuse, since he's your CIA contact.
I Only Read It For The Articles: In-universe, after Snake escapes from Groznyj Grad's prison, should he have the magazines on him prior to capture, calling EVA will have her reveal that she knows about the magazines (although she nonetheless promises not to throw anything away), with Snake being unable to explain why he had them. EVA, however, isn't too upset that he has them in themselves, more that he would actually read them during a mission, or that he would use them to distract an enemy, explaining that he should request her help [in distracting the enemy], at least.
Improbable Weapon User: Most of Snake's weapons are completely normal (if a bit advanced for their time period). However, you can also throw food and captured animals around. This includes live poisonous snakes. Throwing a king cobra at a GRU soldier is one fun way to creatively get rid of an enemy without wasting a bullet. Or, if you've destroyed the food storage in the area, the soldiers will be starving and will pick up any rotten or poisonous food you throw out for them.
The XM16E1 is also found in the game as well, complete with a supressor and camo paint job. Sigint suggest that they might have been captured from the evaluation phase held in Southeast Asia.
I'm Standing Right Here: Several times, particularly the Russian Glowcap conversation, Snake's support team will speak in the background and hope he can't heard them.
Indestructible Edible: CalorieMates(TM), Instant Noodles and Russian Rations do not go stale, though the rations taste horrible.
In the Back: Can be used when wearing the Cold War camo. Unlike most examples, however, it's completely justified, as the Soviet soldiers would not dare attack the front without hurting their flag, although the back has the American flag, which doesn't have the same exemption. The boss fight you get this from, Volgin, is appropriately intended to be fought this way as well.
Infinity+1 Gun: The EZ Gun, which is either given to you for free by setting the game to "Very Easy" or else by collecting every single living thing in the game (harder than it sounds since there are a few easily missable ones). It's an infinite-use tranquilizer pistol with a suppressor that never wears out, but it gets better: there's a laser sight for greater accuracy, it partially regenerates your stamina and just holding it will keep your camo index at a minimum of 80%, more than enough to freely walk almost anywhere without the enemy seeing you unless they're right on top of you.
Informed Equipment: Snake only carries the gun he's currently equipped with no matter what's in his inventory; unsurprising, as his full inventory would barely fit in the back of a pickup truck and he'd look a bit silly with cages containing three live snakes attached to his back.
Insistent Terminology: Most people who see CQC in action refer to it as "judo." In the 1960s, judo was an extremely popular buzzword, so even if it's not fully the same thing, it makes sense why everyone would keep saying that.
Invisibility Cloak: The Fear's uniform grants him near-invisibility, at the cost of rapidly depleting his stamina. It doesn't hold up so well under infrared, however...
If the player stamina kills him, they can receive his camo. It drains the player's stamina so fast, however, that it's Awesome but Impractical.
Also, as in the previous games, the player can unlock the stealth camouflage that makes them 100% invisible (95% during alert phase). Unless they're going for the "Foxhound" codename, The Fear's camo becomes totally useless once the player obtains this item.
Is It Something You Eat?: An interesting subversion; Naked Snake, being a survivalist, will eat anything, flora or fauna. Rather, the question asked to Para-Medic is "How does it taste?"
Is This Thing Still On?: In an optional radio conversation with Zero, Zero will excuse himself after learning that Snake saw the other side during his battle with The Sorrow and talks with Para-Medic about Snake's condition. However, he and Para-Medic were standing a bit too close to the mike, or he forgot to turn it off, causing Snake to hear the entire conversation.
It Has Been an Honor: When it seems as though Snake and EVA's WIG is going to be shot down by two MiGs, Snake gives this exchange:
Snake: You were great, EVA. EVA: Huh? Snake: Thanks.
It's Raining Men: How Snake entered Tselinoyarsk during the Virtuous Mission and, to a slightly lesser extent, Operation Snake Eater (he parachuted out of the drone upon ejecting in the latter mission).
It Will Never Catch On: Sigint wonders what Granin is thinking trying to design a tank on legsnote ironically enough, Granin likewise disparages Sokolov's "rocket engine on a tank" idea, which does indeed not catch on, save for a non-nuclear-capable, unmanned weapon in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker resembling it, and Snake mocks the addition of a three-round-burst firing mode on the XM16E1note most variants of the gun in military use today are incapable of fully-automatic fire. Snake also scoffs at Para-Medic's description of an early VCR — though he expresses interest in "movies where you control the characters yourself." On the opposite end, Para-Medic is certain Godzilla will still be popular by 2004, and Major Zero states he won't be surprised if 20 more James Bond movies are creatednote Godzilla is indeed stil popular by the time Godzilla Final Wars came out in the year, alongside the first time the original Godzilla to commemorate it's 50th anniversary, but the Final Wars itself had mixed opinions of the quality of the film itself. Quantum of Solace was No. 22, and two had been released by the time the game was set, with Goldfinger being released about two weeks after the end of Operation Snake Eater.
Just Between You and Me: Volgin actually says outright that he's going to explain all his plans to Snake before he kills him, in so many words.
Kill It with Fire: Preferred strategy of The Fury, as well as the mooks who use standard flamethrowers (his uses rocket fuel). Snake can also incinerate enemies with the White Phosphorus grenade.
Knight in Sour Armor: The Boss who still believes to the end that the world can be made into a kinder, gentler place, who in turn turned Snake into another one at the end of the game.
Lampshade Hanging: The explanation of why the Patriot has infinite ammo is a particularly amusing example.
Sigint: ...and it never runs out of ammo? Snake: Never. Sigint: Why's that? Snake: Because the internal feed mechanism is shaped like an infinity symbol. Sigint: Ah, I get it. Yep, that'll give you infinite ammo.
Large Ham: Volgin is clearly having entirely too much fun in more or less every scene he's in.
The Pain spends virtually all of his screen time posturing and posing like a combination between Sentai hero and a pro wrestler; as expected of a guy whose entire thing is using large swarms of hornets to kill people, subtlety isn't exactly his thing.
Metal Gear Solid 3 was later given an Updated Re-release called Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which, besides making improvements to the main game (most notably adding a much-demanded interactive camera), also included a second disc mainly pertaining to the first version of Metal Gear Online. Of special note though was that the bonus disc also included the first two games in the series.
Subsistence itself also came in two versions: The regular, two-disc version, and a Limited Edition which included a third disc called Existence, containing a three-hour movie of Metal Gear Solid 3 created from the game's own cutscenes and playing footage (the "Existence" disc is included in all EU releases of the game however).
The Japanese Premium Edition threw in a CD, DVD, two booklets of bonus material and a 1/144 scale painted model of the Shagohod.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: Inverted. When the game was originally announced, Naked Snake being Big Boss was meant to be a spoiler. It took everyone watching about 10 seconds to figure it out once the time period was revealed, though, so Konami quietly stopped acting like it was ever supposed to be a secret.
Lost in Translation: Like every game since Metal Gear Solid 2, the implications of the Patriots' true name are lost in the English version. "La Li Lu Le Lo" are the missing vowel sounds in Japanese; the point of the name is that it's not technically possible to write or say it in Hiragana (because there's no distinction between "L" and "R" and the string is usually "Ra Ri Ru Re Ro"), so the Patriots censor their name to something that can't be written down or spoken. This is never really gone into in the English version (since English doesn't do that), so it just seems to be meaningless babble.
Volgin uses the phrase "Kuwabara, Kuwabara" several times. It's a Japanese expression equivalent to the English "knock on wood" that is believed to ward off lightning. At the end of the game, he refuses to say the phrase, instead mocking the storm, and is promptly struck by lightning.
Raikov's name "Raidenovitch" can be read in Japanese as "Raiden No Bitch," meaning "Thunderbolt's Bitch." The impossible-to-translate pun seems basically the only reason for Volgin's once-off nickname. While it means "Son of Raiden" in Russian, it hardly helps since that implies nothing (since Raiden wasn't alive in the 60s, let alone parent someone) ...although Raikov clearly is a Spiritual Successor to him (at least, chronologically in real-life).
Luke, I Am Your Father: A combination of radio conversations with EVA and The Boss's own admission that she gave birth on the battlefield at Normandy reveal that The Boss is Ocelot's mother. While it is never outright said in Metal Gear Solid 3, if the player talked to the support team throughout the game, this will be pieced together.
A MacGuffin Full of Money: The Philosophers' Legacy. Volgin describes the sum on two occasions as "one hundred billion dollars" and "enough to fight the war five times over."
Manly Tears: Snake sheds one manly tear in the final shot, and he's perfectly justified in doing it, as is the player.
In an example of The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, if the player switches to first person view during that scene, the screen will be a little blurred. This is because Big Boss's good eye is tearing up.
The Mario: Tiger Stripe camo is effective, but not the best, for a good chunk of areas (it's also the best in a few as well).
And the Snake camo, which the player gets for stamina-killing The Boss.
Meaningful Name: The Boss's former codename was "The Joy," ostensibly because she's really only happy when in battle (hence why she's a sourpuss whenever out of combat). There's another phrase, however, that goes: "The greatest joy is the joy of duty," which fits her perfectly.
Volgin's fortress is "Groznyj Grad," meaning "Fearsome City."
"Snake Eater" is a (usually insulting) nickname for U.S. Green Berets (of which Snake was a member of prior to the game), referring to the fact that survival training doesn't exactly encourage a picky eater. In-universe, it's also a reference to the fact that Snake's mission entails taking out The Boss and her Cobra Unit.
During the Virtuous Mission, Major Zero chooses the codename "Tom" (from Tom, Dick and Harry) after what he thought was the codename of the tunnel that the PO Ws used to escape from a prison camp in The Great Escape. After the mission goes awry, he learns that "Harry" was the actual escape tunnel, and he decides to revert to being called Major Zero.
Para-Medic takes her name from her idea of medic soldiers parachuting into battle.
Sigint is short for "Signal Intelligence", his specialty. He's also the go-to guy for information on weapons and camo.
Subverted to hell and back with the two main characters, though: "Snake" is the one who ends up tempted and fooled by "EVA's" lies, and "ADAM" ends up playing both of them by posing as Major Ocelot with no one the wiser.
Menu Time Lockout: Snake can switch his camo, heal wounds and eat things (all at the same time, if need be) instantly, since all these actions take place in a paused menu.
Subverted in the final boss fight. If the player has the game paused during the fight for more than ten minutes, the airstrike that The Boss called in will trigger once they unpause.
Military Coup: A large premise of the plot was trying to halt a military coup that was being orchestrated by the Big Bad, Colonel Volgin, in the Soviet Union against Khrushchev as a means to prevent World War III. The stinger implies that Volgin ultimately succeeded in his coup, even with his death and the destruction of the Shagohod.
Mind Screwdriver: Served as the first part of one for Metal Gear Solid 2 with Metal Gear Solid 4 finishing the job.
Specific example: the whole subplot with The Sorrow serves to very neatly retroactively explain why Ocelot could be possessed by Liquid in the second game: because his father was a medium.
Mirror Boss: The final fight with The Boss is effectively this. Snake has three basic specialties: stealth, CQC, and guns. The Boss counters with her own powerful machine pistol, is a master martial artist, and wears white camouflage in a field of white flowers that makes her hard to see. This is heavily justified since Snake is her student. If the player finds the black prototype sneaking suit, they can choose to wear it during the battle, mirroring The Boss's white Sneaking Suit. Is it practical? Not really. Does it look cool and symbolic? Yep.
Considering that flashbacks in Peace Walker depict Snake wearing the sneaking suit, it's likely canon.
Misplaced Wildlife: Tons of it, although justified most of the time, as Para-Medic can give a detailed explanation of every animal in the game, and explain that most of the animals that aren't supposed to be there were brought in for testing. Presumably, the misplaced wildlife was scattered all over the place to prevent players of the demo version from guessing where exactly the game takes place.
Mood Whiplash: Metal Gear Solid 3 is the most willfully goofy entry in the series, yet also has a depressing ending. The use of this is perfectly illustrated in a single scene in which Snake is disguised as Volgin's effeminate boyfriend Raikov (who looks exactly like Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2), and Volgin playfully grabs at his crotch in much the same way the President Johnson does to Raiden in the second game. One might think that this is just an inside joke. However, once Volgin realizes the person in question is not actually Raikov, it leads to him pummeling Snake half to death in one of the series' most shocking scenes.
Mr. Fanservice: Ocelot is a strapping young man with sharp features and a cool, if evil, style. Hell, Snake, too. The player can even play as him shirtless throughout the entire game.
MST3K Mantra: Invoked. Call Sigint during a New Game+ and he's in awe of Snake's new weapons. When he asks Snake where he got them, Snake's response is essentially, "Don't worry about it."
Mundangerous: Get shot a few dozen times with an assault rifle? Just wait a bit and it instantly heals. Fell asleep while climbing a tree? Instant death, regardless of height (many are shorter than some ledges the player can jump off with no damage).
Mundane Fantastic/Magical Realism: Most Metal Gear games involve this trope to some degree and this one is no exception. Lots of real-world weapons and technology stand side-by-side with terrorists with bizarre superpowers. More tellingly, people don't even bother to explain the superpowers. Everyone's in awe of Volgin's electrical powers, but nobody ever questions it for a moment.
There are conversations related to the old game mechanics, including one on the silliness of eating food to instantly recover health, and an extended discussion between Snake and Sigint about why Metal Gears wouldn't actually work.
Ocelot's boss fight is prefaced with him pulling out two revolvers and saying "This time, I've got twelve shots." As opposed to the six he had in the original Metal Gear Solid.
Snake says that he feels he can't help but compare himself negatively to James Bond all the time when explaining to Zero (a huge James Bond fan) why he is disinterested in the franchise. In the original release of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Big Boss' appearance was modeled after Sean Connery, who actually played James Bond around the time the game is set.
Before the boss fight with the End, EVA talks to Snake to inform him what he is going up against. She asks if he has any experience as a sniper, and Snake says he has in urban and marine environments.
New Game+: Snake keeps all his gear and camo pickups in a new game plus, and can also get several rewards, including Ocelot's Single Action Army and The Boss's Patriot carbine. Weapons found during gameplay are exempt as always, however, which sadly includes The End's tranquilizing sniper rifle. Notably, this is the first MGS game in which you can equip both stealth camouflage and infinite ammo simultaneously, due to the infinite-ammo item being a face-paint.note Earlier games had these bonuses accompanying certain items; however, only one item can be equipped at a time. The infinite-ammo bonus being provided by a face-paint gets around this limitation.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: When he tries to interrogate Snake, Volgin thinks he's really after the Philosophers' Legacy, and ends up telling him everything about what and where it is. Ocelot is in the room too, so he learns. And so does EVA, in disguise as Tatyana. And The Boss. And this is after The Boss tells him Snake was trained by her, and simply will not break. Volgin fails to successfully interrogate anyone in the entire game. Given that he's a major sadist, one assumes he loses a certain amount of objectivity.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev aside, two of the attendees at Big Boss's award ceremony (implied to be the CIA Director and a high-ranking member of the DOD) were based on John McCone and Robert McNamara, who were the real-life CIA Director and Secretary of Defense, respectively, during that time period, and had it not been for someretcons in the story, they most likely would have been the exact same people. Likewise, while not actually seen, The Stinger has Ocelot briefly talking to the KGB Chief Director, who is strongly implied to be Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastny (the real-life Chief Director at the time), about the time arriving to overthrow Khrushchev. Semichastny, in real life, was indeed involved in the overthrow of Khrushchev and the installment of Brezhnev.
Applies to all the Cobras as well considering The Pain is the loudest and angriest member, The Fury fights you slowly and oppressively in a dark tunnel with a terrifying atmosphere, and The Fear uses bolts that contain very painful poisons. The End meanwhile fights you with a tranquilizer rifle so he will never actually "end" you.
The Nose Knows: Ocelot realizes that Tatyana/EVA was the spy in their midst by the smell of motorcycle gasoline on her.
Odd Name Out: Subverted. Snake ponders why Ocelot, a Russian agent, is named after a North American big cat. He and mission control eventually jot it down to his agility, which turns out to be true. For the hell of it, he even signals his unit once by purring loudly. Subverted again when it turns out he's an American spy planted to help Snake.
Old Save Bonus: Sort of. If you start up Subsistence (or the HD Edition, which has most of the features of Subsistence) and select "I like MGS3!" you'll unlock several new custom camouflage options that grant you some sweet bonus abilities, like a uniform that keeps suppressors from wearing out or a facepaint that lets you breathe underwater. You get bonus gear no matter the answer, but "I like MGS3!" gets you more stuff that you'll probably find more useful than what the other answers would have given you.
Ominous Save Prompt: Inverted. Right before facing The End, Para-Medic will tell him not to save his game in the middle of battle, since saving equates to falling asleep in this game. If the player still decides to save and load the game three days later, The End shoots Snake in the neck with a tranquilizer dart and carries him all the way back to the lab. If the player waits a week before playing again, The End will die of old age.
One Dose Fits All: Zig-zagged in the same way as Metal Gear Solid 2. The game features a tranquillizer pistol, with which enemies can be dispatched non-lethally. Tranquillizer darts will be equally effective on any regular enemy regardless of size, provided they are not wearing full body armour, making this a straight example. In boss fights, however, it's played with. Bosses can also be defeated non-lethally, but rather than knocking them out with a single dart to the head, they instead have a "stamina" bar (much like their regular health meter) which depletes the more they get hit by tranquillizer darts. However, this stamina bar is based not on the enemy's size, physical fitness or constitution, but rather simply scales up linearly as part of the game's difficulty curve. So it's averted, but in the interests of gameplay rather than realism.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Almost everyone. Inverted in Volgin's case; Sokolov claims that "you in the West know him as 'Thunderbolt'," but aside from Sokolov and Zero (the latter in an optional radio conversation during the Virtuous Mission), nobody else ever calls Volgin by that name - Snake even responds to this claim with "never heard of him".
Played straight with his deceased father: He is never referred to anything else besides "Volgin's father." However, Volgin's middle name (which doubles as a patronymic name) is "Borisovitch", implying that his name is Boris Volgin.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Ocelot regards Snake this way, even saying at one point: "Don't you die on me yet." The Boss also keeps Snake alive long enough for him to fulfill his mission of killing her.
Outside-the-Box Tactic: There are a lot of creative ways to defeat some of the bosses in the game. Some methods are even necessary for players embarking on a Pacifist Run.
There are lots of ways to deal with Ocelot during the duel with him. You can shoot beehives to force him to leave cover and get a shot at him. He will accuse you of playing dirty if you do this, for some reason. You can also shoot his hat off of his head, which stops him for a while until he can put it back on, giving you a free shot.
If The Fear's stamina is half-depleted, he will start hunting for food. The player can then throw poisoned or rotten food at him, further depleting his stamina, and leaving him vulnerable for a few more shots. Conveniently, the area is full of poisonous dart frogs and mushrooms, which you can collect before fighting The Fear.
One of the things which make the boss fight with The End so entertaining for players is the immense variety of ways you can fight him. It's actually easier, in fact, not to try to beat him at his own game; except for his scope lens reflecting sunlight and a noisy parrot companion, it is seriously difficult to find him if you just keep looking through a scope, more so when doing so while he's already shooting at you. You can: track his footprints down with the thermal goggles and follow him around the battlefield; capture his parrot, which you can follow back to him; use the Directional Mic to listen for his heartbeat; among other strategies. Or if the whole thing is just too frustrating, you can actually use the Konami Code to show his location on the Map. Or advance the internal clock of your console by 7 to 10 days, resulting in him dying of old age.
As opposed to just mowing him down with your guns, there are lots of other tactics which can be used against Volgin in the first fight with him. CQC is surprisingly effective against him, although you have to time your approach or risk getting damaged. Wearing the Raikov mask will disorient him for a second, allowing you a free shot, although this only works once (throwing a tree frog at him also has the same effect). A more bizarre yet viable tactic is throwing a Russian Glowcap mushroom near him, which results in the mushroom absorbing all of his electrical attacks (one mushroom can only absorb one attack, however).
For a non-boss variant (as well as a Call Back to MGS1), there are several ways to escape your prison cell after Volgin's torture. If you caught the Easter Eggduring the torture scene and saw The Sorrow holding up a chalkboard with a Codec frequency written on it, you can use that to open the cell door. One very elaborate method of escape can be initiated by throwing the food you're given back at the guard. After doing this three times, a cutscene will ensue, which ends with the guard giving Snake back his cigarettes, which turn out to be the Cig-Spray tranquilizer gas weapon. You can then use that to incapacitate the guard as he walks in front of the cell door, opening it for you.
Overly Long Gag: The sequence where the player climbs a ladder. For a very long time (about two minutes, in fact). To be fair, Snake is actually climbing up a mountain. At some point, the theme song starts playing for no apparent reason. Said ladder arguably serves as the game's intermission, splitting the game into two halves.
Pacifist Run: The player is required to kill only one person: The Boss. If the player does this, the fight with The Sorrow will be much shorter, although the bosses will still explode when they are defeated non-lethally. However, if the player kills people indirectly by drowning them or throwing them off cliffs, they won't get a kill penalty. You can also "kill", i.e. drain their health-bar to zero, bosses who won't/can't actually die in-story, such as Ocelot and Volgin and it will still count as a Pacifist Run.
Paper-Thin Disguise: EVA was able to successfully fool the GRU members (except for apparently The Boss) while acting as a former KGB officer by... putting on glasses, slightly changing her hairstyle, and wearing a Soviet officer's outfit. The director's commentary even lampshades this fact. Although she's actually pretty good at it; see Clark Kenting.
Playing Possum: On his mission, Snake is equipped with a potassium Fake Death Pill in case he gets caught, which drops his vital functions down to almost nothing. When the coast is clear, he can bite down on the Revival Pill embedded in his tooth to get back into action (which plays out his death animation backwards). Of course, trying to pull this trick on The Boss does not amuse her. And if you remain "dead" for too long (if the words "Snake Is Dead" change completely into "Time Paradox"), it's Game Over.
Product Placement/Anachronism Stew: The CalorieMate and the Sabra magazine are available (although the latter item is simply mentioned to be a book). Both of those are also anachronisms as the CalorieMate and Sabra weren't made until 1983 and March 2000, respectively, and in the case of the former being the chocolate variety, that wasn't even made until later than 1983.
Rapid Fire Interrupting: Para-Medic just doesn't let Sigint explain the life medicine to Snake, much to his annoyance.
Rare Guns: Only about 3,600 Stoner 63 weapon systems were produced in total. In 1964-rare terms, the SVD had only just begun serial production (making it about equivalent to the PSG-1 of the first game in terms of exoticness, even though it's now one of the most common marksman rifles in the world) and the XM16E1 had barely been issued (though there were still 85,000 units ordered the previous year, so there's still some plausibility there).
Reality Is Unrealistic: Those flying buckets sure do look goofy and impossible, don't they? Wait, those things actually existed in the sixties?note Though granted, they didn't actually work all that well.
Wow, get a load of The Boss's gun, those spinning bullets are completely stupid and unrealistic and exactly the same sort of thing the weapon's real-life counterpart, the M231, would do if it were shortened to that size (so that it better resembles its real-life namesake, the RMA Patriot◊), leaving the weapon with practically zero rifling. Of course, when the bullets tumble as much as they do, the weapon's accuracy and penetration suffers greatly... which is why The Boss compensates with More Dakka.
Oh wow, tumbleweeds during the fight with Ocelot, how cliché... wait, they actually are native to Russia?
Recycled Script: In-universe, Sigint's explanations for the active sonar, the motion detector, and the anti-personnel sensor were a complete copy of Zero's explanations on the respective items, with Snake remarking on the similarity. Sigint then deduced that Zero most likely read Sigint's notes on the respective devices word for word.
Red Herring: Late in the game when Snake is captured by Colonel Volgin, Volgin asks The Boss to cut out Snake's eyes. Since Snake is Big Boss, we know that eventually he loses his eye. However, he actually loses his eye a few minutes later trying to protect EVA.
Also toyed with in terms of how Ocelot discovers EVA is Tatyana. Early on, he notes that EVA is wearing perfume, and later does the same to "Tatyana". When EVA is captured after Snake plants the charges on the Shagohod's fuel tanks, Ocelot reveals that he actually figured her out due to Tatyana smelling of motorcycle fuel. Another red herring in this case is that the camera focuses twice on the scuff marks on EVA's boots, when it's not even what gives her away as Tatyana.
Red Scare: Both played straight (initially) and inverted in this game. Snake and Zero were almost executed (the former while hospitalized) because the government felt that they were involved in The Boss's defection, and an optional radio conversion revealed that during the week between the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater, several less stalwart key Government members were placed under house arrest due to The Boss's defection, fearing that they'd follow her example. Likewise, over on the Red end, Volgin attempts to justify his actions by claiming that spies are everywhere, and that his job is to root them out and then kill them. Of course, the former was actually all just an act due to their intention of getting the Philosophers' Legacy that went sour.
Regional Bonus: The European version of the game featured a boss battle mode, demo theatre, some extra facepaint patterns based on international flags, two new Snake vs. Monkey levels, and the "European Extreme" difficulty setting. The default European version of Subsistence was the three-disc pre-order version of the North American release.
Renegade Russian: Volgin and co. are a rare example of this being used in a time period when the USSR was still around.
Retcon: How Naked Snake/Big Boss managed to lose his right eye was different than previously stated (in the manual for Metal Gear 2, it mentioned that Big Boss lost his eye while in combat during the 1980s).
Also, Ocelot (under the possession of Liquid) said in MGS2 that Big Boss was in his late fifties when Solid, Liquid, and Solidus were born. He was 39 in Peace Walker, meaning that he is 29 in this game, and was in his late thirties when the sons of Big Boss were born (exactly in 1972).
Right Through His Pants: During the ending, EVA and Snake share a romantic moment, only for Snake to wake up while still wearing his pants and shoes.
Rule of Funny: Some videos in the Secret Theatre collection included on Subsistence, a major example being "How not to handle C3", pretty have much this as the reason some things work. For instance, no matter how hard the C3 slams into another C3, it won't detonate prematurely as C3 is mechanically and chemically stable. When he slams the C3 into the other, the timer trips to 0. That sets off the C3, not the impact.
Running Gag: Snake's desire to eat everything and Para-Medic's disgusted reactions.
Russian Roulette: Ocelot's favorite method of intimidating his foes, complete with juggling three Single Action Armies. Surprisingly, The Boss snatches the loaded gun and shoots the bullet before Tatyana can come to harm from this. It's also the reason why Big Boss cannot use his right eye anymore.
Say My Name: The Cobras shout their names before dying in a massive explosion, except for The Sorrow, who's already dead, and The Boss, who is killed with a gunshot to the head. She does do it in one of the Secret Theatre films, except she uses her previous codename, The Joy.
Schmuck Bait: The team dialogue for the scientist camo. Guess what usually happens next:
Major Zero: It won't do you any good to go around the jungle wearing a scientist disguise. Para-Medic: No one would be that stupid. Major Zero: If they did, they'd have to be a fool. *snicker*' No, more than a fool—a complete dumbass. Don't you think so, Snake?
Admit it, you took your knife to Ocelot after he was knocked out in the cutscene.
Secret Test of Character: Twice! The End won't kill the player because he wants them to surpass him, and The Boss spares Snake's life at the beginning of Operation Snake Eater, telling him to either toughen up or go home.
Self-Deprecation: The game features an extended lambasting of the somewhat whimsical design of the entire Metal Gear concept in general, with the military expert Sigint explicitly pointing out that putting a tank on legs rather than treads makes little logical sense.
Sexposition: You can press a button to stare at EVA's breasts while she exposits.
Shared Family Quirks: It's revealed that Naked Snake shares his future sons' love for cardboard boxes.
Shoot the Dog: Near the very end, when Snake has to finish off The Boss. Made even worse by the fact that the player has to pull the trigger. If the player doesn't pull the trigger after a while, it will happen automatically.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Everything that occurs only served to further the actions of the corrupt, with The Boss forever known after this as a traitor, and Big Boss is left broken by the end, leading to his inevitable Face-Heel Turn.
Obvious cases are Snake berating overly complicated survival knives (Rambo), Zero's love of James Bond movies and Para-Medic's B-movie obsession.
In one sequence, Snake flees Ocelot and his men and jumps out of a high storm drain. This is lifted directly from The Fugitive.
Want to know what the trophy/achievement for CQC-interrogating a soldier is called in Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection? "Tell Me Where the Bomb is!"
Some of the names of the other trophies/achievements in the HD Collection version are references too.
In the intro for Snake vs. Monkey, Snake asks Colonel Campbell if Sam or Gabe can go on the mission instead of him, referring to Splinter Cell and Syphon Filter, respectively.
Colonel Volgin sounds very similar to "Colonel Vogel", as in the Nazi Colonel from Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. Just like Colonel Vogel, he ends up falling into a ravine while inside of a tank*:Although to be fair for Volgin, it wasn't completely his fault, as he was forced to fall in due to EVA rigging the bridge with C3 and Snake blowing it up. Unlike Vogel, however, Volgin does actually manage to get back up.
In Snake Eater 3D, the magazines are from Hooters.
In an optional cutscenenote You have to keep the transmitter inside your body by the time you encounter EVA in Tikhogornyj to view it, EVA will inspect Snake's body in order to remove a transmitter. During that cutscene, in a manner somewhat similar to the Austin Powers franchise, EVA and Snake's shadows can be seen on the wall doing things that make it look like they're wrestling.
"Way to Fall", the song that plays during the credits, has clear allusions to "It's a Long Road", another heartbreaking guitar ballad of loss and betrayal, played over the credits of First Blood.
If the player contacts Major Zero while wearing the crocodile cap, Para-Medic brings up The Alligator People.
Para-Medic: "The Alligator People." It's a science fiction movie. You've never heard of it? Snake: No. Para-Medic: Oh... well you should see it sometime. It's about this guy who gets hurt in a car accident and tries to heal his wounds by injecting himself with a crocodile serum, but then his head turns into a crocodile head. You look just like him with that mask on. That's awesome. Snake: Right...
Simple Yet Awesome: The Mk 22 tranquilizer gun isn't flashy, but it's very accurate and great for head shots during a Pacifist Run. It's also surprisingly satisfying to use in boss fights, especially for the different camos the bosses drop if you beat them non-lethally.
Skippable Boss: It's possible to snipe The End in the head long before the player has to fight him. However, the player will have to fight the Ocelot Unit again. Alternatively, the player can wait seven days and let him die of old age.
The Sorrow as well. During the fight with The Sorrow, the player can simply lay down so Snake's head is under the water and wait until he "drowns". This will skip straight to the end of the scene where the player can use the revival pill and wake up. However, the player won't receive his Spirit camo if this method is used.
Smoking Is Cool: Naked Snake outdoes his son by smoking the one thing cooler than a cigarette: a cigar.
When The Boss complains, he'll mention that she used to smoke, and she'll actually bring up several uses a cigar would have, such as a torch or to remove leeches. She'll still be a spoilsport and order him not to smoke on duty.
Sniping Mission: When fighting The End, the only way to stop him without cheating outrageously is to beat him at his own game; run around like an idiot with no camouflage and the player will be blown off their feet before they even see him. And unlike most video game snipers, he does not give away his position with a laser beam (though he does have an extremely shiny scope). It takes most first-time players hours to wear him down, but it feels awesome when they do. See Outside-the-Box Tactic above for other ways to deal with The End.
Soviet Superscience: The Shagohod, the predecessor to the Metal Gear weapons, as well as the basic designs for Metal Gear itself, were developed by Sokolov and Granin, respectively. In addition to the giant robots of doom, the hover platforms, planes, and weaponry are extremely advanced for the time period and most of the characters marvel at some of their capabilities.
Stat Grinding: A subtle example, Snake's health slightly increases after he recovers from big injuries.
The Stinger: Typical for a Metal Gear game. Ocelot talks with the KGB's Chief Director and states that Volgin's coup successfully ousted Khrushchev and that no American technology could be salvaged from the ruins of Groznyj Grad, which The Boss annihilated prior to her death. After putting the phone down, Ocelot then calls the CIA's Director of Central Intelligence and mocks the obliviousness of the Russians to the fact that he's actually a triple agent for the CIA. He also reveals himself as ADAM, whom Snake was supposed to meet in the latter's mission, and states that America successfully secured what EVA thought she had retrieved for the Chinese, including a large share of the Philosophers' Legacy.
Story Difficulty Setting: The Updated Re-releaseSubsistence came packaged with two bonus discs which included (among other things) an option to watch a "film" version of the game, consisting of the numerous Cut Scenes in the game spliced together, with additional footage to bridge the gaps between them. Hideo Kojima explained in the game's manual that this feature was offered for the benefit of players who might not have the free time to play through the entire game, but nevertheless wanted to experience its story.
Straight Gay: Considering this is one of the most Ho Yay-laden video game franchises out there, it should come as no surprise. Colonel Volgin in particular comes across as extensively macho, so his little affair with Raikov (who is also an example, to an extent at least) might be a bit of a surprise. There's also Ocelot, whose raging man-crush on Naked Snake only begins to take form in this game, and carries on through the rest of the series.
Super Drowning Skills: Snake has this when it comes to mud. Normally justified in that by the time his head goes under, he'll likely be too far from solid ground to pull himself out, but it also means Indian gavials can instantly kill the player by knocking them on their ass in the wrong place.
Super Window Jump: Snake can use this as an alternate escape route to escape the Ocelot Unit at Rassvet. (The window pane hangs just over Sokolov's cell). However, the shattering glass will alert troops, so a better idea would be to punch out the glass before sunrise.
Snake can also somersault though select windows in Granin's lab.
Surpassed the Teacher: Naked Snake finally surpasses his former mentor The Boss in a final confrontation where he had ten minutes to defeat her or else the area would be napalmed. Amazingly, Snake is able to actually defeat her despite earlier not even being able to harm her in hand to hand combat, for the first time in the game Snake can actually counter his mentor's CQC attacks and respond in kind showing a vast degree of improvement in his skills from earlier in the game when she handed his ass to him. For his efforts, Snake is awarded the title of Big Boss showing that, in the U.S. military's eyes, he had surpassed his mentor.
Tactical Suicide Boss: There's an easy trick to beating The Fear with a stamina kill; he'll pick up any food left lying around the arena when his stamina runs low as a priority rather than killing one of the critters himself. This means discarding spoiled food will result in him eating it, damaging his stamina even more, and making him the easiest Cobra to defeat by far. Also, The Fear tested his weapons on rabbits, which also now have an immunity to his Cobalt Blue Tarantula venom. The same rabbits are also conveniently in the same area as where The Fear is fought.
The Pain is a good runner-up in this category. What is the one weakness of his bees/hornets? Water. Where, of all places, does he decide to fight Snake? In a cave full of water, of course. I mean, come on what could possibly go wrong?
Also, The End keeps falling asleep in the middle of the battle, which makes beating him considerably easier. Although it is because he's old, it can be questioned why a man of his age goes to the battlefield in the first place.
The Fury gets special mention for using a flamethrower in an underground tunnel filled with water pipes that can be shot at to put out the flames.
It's also implied that the Cobra Unit may have had their own reasons for fighting Snake as a means of testing him, as they only seem to follow The Boss's commands, and EVA implies that some of these commands may also be beyond even Colonel Volgin's knowledge, which may explain why they attempted to fight Snake in areas that might be disadvantageous for themselves.
Take That: One radio conversation with Sigint about the Survival Knife will have Sigint lament that Snake didn't take the knife he made for him with a hollowed out grip and a compass in the pommel. Snake points out that such a knife is useless in a fight, as the hollowed out grip unbalances the knife and makes it more brittle.
Taking the Bullet: Naked Snake, when he was being tortured by Volgin, ends up counting the bullet chambers as Ocelot decides to play his version of Russian Roulette with Tatyana when deducing that the latter's the spy, and flings himself at Ocelot to deflect the bullet away from Tatyana. It worked, but in the process, he received muzzle burn near his right eye, costing him the use of his right eye.
Tech Demo Game: The 3DS remake was this for the 3DS, starting out as a literal tech demo called "The Naked Sample" before being completely remade.
Temporal Paradox: Killing EVA or Ocelot causes a TimeParadox. The standard Game Over screen also shifts to "Time Paradox" if the player wait a while. This is because Naked Snake is Big Boss.
The HD Collection has an trophy/achievement for killing Ocelot (thus killing the man behind almost everything in the series) called "Problem Solved, Series Over".
Theme Naming: The Cobra Unit each use emotions as their codenames. A radio conversion with Sigint reveals that they name themselves after what they feel in battle. Some are easy to figure out (The Fury, The Sorrow, and The Joy), while others are a little trippy ("The End" is supposedly because of the oblivion of sleep, but "The End" is a pretty good name for a sniper in general, considering how lethal they are to enemy soldiers). The Fear promises to scare the player, but his antics reveal that his combat style is pretty cowardly itself, hiding and poisoning them (going with his "spider" theme). The Pain can obviously cause a lot of pain with his bees, and once he pulls off the mask, the player will see that he's in quite a lot of it himself.
That Came Out Wrong: When calling EVA after escaping the prison, should the player have magazines up to their capture, EVA will state that Snake could have asked for her help. She meant in regards to distracting the enemy, but the way she said it made it seem as though she would prefer for him to ask her to seduce him instead of reading magazines.
Third Is 3D: An odd variation: while not true for the original release, it does hold true for the Nintendo 3DS remake.
It was, however, the first entry in the series to use a full 3D camera, as opposed to the fixed cameras of previous entries. An interesting note though is that the original release did not have the full 3D camera, being a fixed camera like the previous two games. However, the more open environment of this title meant that the fixed camera proved too limiting for most players to have proper situational awareness, hence the 3D camera's inclusion starting in Subsistance and continuing on with every re-release and sequel after that.
Title Drop: The bulk of the game takes place during Operation Snake Eater, a name chosen because Snake is taking on The Boss and her Cobra Unit, not to mention the fact that actual cobras also eat other snakes.
The title "Metal Gear Solid 3" is also seen on Snake's helmet during the HALO jump in the beginning of the HD Edition (it was unreadable in the original PS2 version).
Too Awesome to Use: The Tsuchinoko. A one-of-a-kind incredibly rare and hard-to-find mythical snake that you can eat to restore full stamina... which nobody ever does, because keeping it in your inventory until the end of the game unlocks the infinity facepaint, and your Mission Control will hate your guts if you eat it.
Translation Convention: Snake and Sokolov talk for a short time at the beginning. Sokolov seems to have some sort of British accent, which is strange for a Russian scientist, until he compliments Snake on his excellent Russian. Throughout the rest of the game, the characters are assumed to be talking to each other in Russian, with only Granin exhibiting a noticeable Russian accent, presumably either because he's drunk and is slurring his speech, or is actually speaking English in the scene in which he appears.
It was originally intended to be averted, with Sokolov and Snake actually speaking Russian, but the Japanese voice actors (besides Akio Ohtsuka) complained about this, so Kojima decided to play it straight.
Truth in Television: During the Virtuous Mission briefing, when Zero mentions that the Turkey Deal was actually misinformation, he explains that the nukes in Turkey were obsolete anyways, and they were planning to get rid of them anyway. This part was actually quite true, as the nukes had been obsolete, both in lifeline as well as the fact that America had updated nuclear submarines patrolling Turkey.
Also a case of Shown Their Work: An optional conversion with Zero has him remarking that the U.S. Government is currently at DEFCON 2 because of the failure of the Virtuous Mission. The penultimate protocol before a nuclear war is indeed DEFCON 2 (DEFCON 1 is nuclear armageddon, contrary to some mediums claiming it to be DEFCON 5).
And even more egregiously, the Snake's Nightmare minigame, which the player can play by saving the game in the jail cell and reloading. Not included in the HD re-release though, because the mini-game was actually a demo for a game currently in development at the time (but was soon cancelled).
You have to open a locked door. How do you do it? Disguise yourself as a scientist, and knock.
The Fear constantly uses up all of his stamina to turn invisible and jump around. He replenishes it by finding food on the battlefield. Thus, Snake can leave his rotten or spoiled food around for The Fear to find and actually poison him with it.
The Pain attacks with a swarm of bees in water-filled caverns. And since everyone knows bees hate water, you can actually toss grenades into the water to splash him.
You can defeat The End by sniping him the first time he appears in a cutscene, thus skipping his entire boss fight. Barring that, you can also skip the fight entirely by just saving the game and leaving it alone for a week. Since The End is over 100 years old, he'll actually die waiting for Snake to show up again.
You just ingested rotten food and don't have digestive medicine to counteract it, so what do you do? Well, just go to the Medical screen and start spinning Snake around until he gets dizzy and pukes it out.
The Fake Death Pill has several uses. Many enemies will reveal their positions, expose vulnerabilities or unlock doors to see what the hell happened if Snake just suddenly "dies" right in front of them. It's also the only way to pass one particular boss fight.
Victor Gains Loser's Powers: If the player defeats The End non-lethally, they get his sniper rifle, the Mosin Nagant. If the player defeats the other bosses non-lethally (specifically The Pain, The Fear, The Fury, Volgin, and The Boss), they will receive their camouflage that includes their abilities (The Pain's camouflage allows for Snake to manipulate the bees, The Fear's camouflage significantly boosts his camo at the cost of stamina, The Fury's Camo allows for Snake to survive fire and explosions, lessening the damage of the former, Volgin's camouflage allows Snake to keep Soviets from firing at him when facing them, and The Boss's camo basically yields a decent camo in most areas (although not to the extent of The Fear's Camo), The End's abilities of regenerating under sunlight as well as 100% camouflage under grassy and mossy areas also qualify (although that only necessitates holding up The End thrice), and technically, The Sorrow's camouflage (which allows Snake's footsteps to be silent and drain stamina of the enemy when holding them up) can be unlocked by defeating him, should Snake end up reaching the end of the path.
Video Game Caring Potential: It's entirely possible to beat the game without killing anyone, with one exception: the game still forces the player to pull the trigger on The Boss.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: See all those helpless scientists, mechanics, and cute animals? They're all killable. Snake can also throw poisonous or spoiled food items to hungry enemies, which has the expected effect.
The player can also, while disguised as Raikov, beat up the soldiers and scientists without reprisal or being suspected of anything, something that is even lampshaded in a call to EVA, because Raikov "is just that kind of guy."
The player can destroy food stores, causing all guards in the area to slow down, and start complaining about hunger. If the player throws out any food, they'll desperately run for it as soon as they see it... and if it was poisoned, their day gets even worse.
Schrödinger's Gun: Also, although the Flame Troops will still be present at Krasnogorje, the actual reason for why they are present depends on how many of their men the player killed. Sigint will explain if the player got too trigger happy, they want revenge on Snake for his killing a lot of their men. If not, they are only there because Volgin ordered them to as revenge for Snake killing off The Pain, The Fear, and The End.
Visual Pun: You see that stamina-killing Ladder? You know who's climbing it up? Yes. Snakes and Ladders.
Voice with an Internet Connection: Zig-Zagged. The game makes it explicitly clear that Snake's contacts on the radio cannot actually see Snake, and the "faces" communicating with him are actually just photographs similar to a slide projector. However, in quite a few spots where they can tell what Snake's up to before he even says anything. EVA even freaks out if Snake calls her wearing the Raikov mask, somehow mistaking him for the real Raikov despite only being able to hear his unaltered voice.
Walk It Off: Snake recovers health automatically, depending on how much stamina he has, but first he has to heal his wounds through impromptu surgery to recover to full health. Although rations no longer heal Snake, he can take some Life Medicine to instantly heal himself (at the cost of a penalty to his final ranking). Conveniently, taking and healing wounds also increases Snake's maximum health in the long run.
What an Idiot: In-universe example: if the player interrogates a certain guard at Graniny Gorki, the guard will state "The isolation cell guard... what an idiot!" which is obviously referring to the amount of easy escapes regarding scientists that end up in an isolation cell.
What Could Have Been: An in-universe example: Rassvet was originally going to have a factory built in the area (explaining the half-completed structure's origins), but the Kremlin at some point decided to reorganize Tselinoyarsk into a secret military center and a research facility (Groznyj Grad and Graniny Gorki, respectively), thus cancelling the construction plans of the factory. A similar story exists for the Graniny Gorki lab: it was originally built as a prison, but at some point, it was converted into a research lab instead (which explains the presence of prison cells in the eastern portion of its basement).
What the Hell, Hero?: An optional conversion with Para-Medic will have Snake explain why he recommended Ocelot use a revolver instead of a semi-auto. Snake doesn't really have an answer when Para-Medic responds by asking him why he was giving combat tips to his enemy.
What the Hell, Player?: Par for the course, as far as the Metal Gear series goes at least. Try starting a New Game+, wearing the tuxedo and calling The Boss, and be prepared to be berated.
If the player calls her wearing the Ga-Ko camo, she will give the player the exact same conversation. I guess a tuxedo on a sneaking mission is just as silly as camouflage covered in pictures of bright yellow ducks.
Bypassing The End via the internal clock trick will have Snake regretfully explain that fighting him was the old man's dying wish and that he feels like he disappointed him by not granting him that wish.
Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Averted: Tselinoyarsk is explicitly stated to be within the Soviet Union, and it's implied to be bordering Pakistan in the beginning. Also, a map during the briefing at the beginning of the Virtuous Mission shows the Eastern Bloc and zooms in on the specific area where Tselinoyarsk is at. Word of God also stated that the entry route for the Virtuous Mission was west of China and north of Southeast Asia. There is a fan theory that it is also the location of Zanzibar Land in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snake is terrified of the undead and ghosts. Just mentioning Dracula gives him nightmares. It can be inferred, then, that facing all those ghosts of the men he's killed really was the worst possible thing Snake could encounter.
Considering that one of Big Boss's defining traits later on is his tendency to spare his enemies and show mercy instead of killing them, this could count as Fridge Brilliance.
Then again, it may only be vampires that he's afraid of. He didn't seem to react much in regards to zombies when Para-Medic explained what zombies are to Snake, and he didn't seem too fearful about the Spirit camo, either. In either case, it's also ironic as "zombie" is the Voodoo religion's word for "snake."
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Inverted in the fight against Volgin: Volgin's first action upon realizing that Snake's most likely going to win is to order Ocelot to shoot Snake. Ocelot refuses, and he implies that the reason why he won't shoot him is because The Boss made him make the same promise that she made EVA promise later (that they neither kill nor aid in killing Snake).
With This Herring: Being the first game chronologically in the series, Metal Gear Solid 3 gives this one a proper explanation: Snake's presence in Russia is already a violation of international law, so he can't leave any evidence of his presence, including discarded American weapons or remnants thereof (or even fecal matter), which is why Snake begins the mission with minimal equipment (hence his codename, Naked Snake) and has to procure his equipment on-site, a tradition which both the FOX and FOXHOUND units would later uphold for all their sneaking missions.
Worst Aid: Burning leeches off with a cigar in real life makes them vomit into the wound, increasing the risk of infection.
The game doesn't care what order you perform medical tasks, or whether you attempt to perform a completely pointless bit of medication. This can lead to you disinfecting a wound after stitching and bandaging it up, stitching up a bullet hole before removing the bullet, or using your knife on a deep cut.
Worthy Opponent: The End consistently refuses to kill Snake for good, because he wants him to prove his worth by out-sniping him. Instead, The End uses harmless tranquilizer darts, and shows genuine disappointment in Snake should he ever pass out in the middle of the fight.
The Boss takes it even further than that, calling in an airstrike that will kill them both in ten minutes, thus giving Snake a time limit to complete his mission, which is to kill her. She seems eerily at peace with the prospect of her own death, even smiling as she tells him: "Let's make this the best ten minutes of our lives, Jack."
Ocelot does this as well, challenging Snake a number of times and coming away even more impressed every time. The final fight is a variation of Russian Roulette (one bullet, two guns, and they shoot at each other). No matter the outcome, Ocelot just laughs and jumps out of the plane, confident that he'll see Snake again. In fact, in most of the scene's variations, it is revealed that the bullet Ocelot has been carrying on a chain around his neck with the express purpose of defeating Big Boss is a blank.
You Bastard: Thought it was funny to shoot a man in the balls or slit a bunch of throats? Now face their specters in the river of the dead! There's also a few times in the game when a radio conversation mentions whether or not the player has gone on a killing spree.
You Have Failed Me: It's heavily implied from a radio conversion with EVA that the reason why Johnny was unwilling to let Naked Snake escape from the prison is because Volgin would have executed him if he either had Naked Snake escape or if Snake died in the cell before Volgin could continue torturing him.
Surprisingly averted in regards to Ocelot and his unit at the end of the Virtuous Mission. Considering how they technically failed to capture Sokolov (since The Boss and her Cobra Unit is literally the only reason they even captured him in the first place), you'd think Volgin would have his unit executed. Instead, he is seen talking with Ocelot celebrating the overall success over their capture of the Shagohod and Sokolov without even a hint at wanting to punish Ocelot for the blunder.
You Kill It, You Bought It: Naked Snake gains the title of "Boss" (or rather, Big Boss), after killing The Boss (though this probably isn't the standard procedure for the promotion).
You Monster!: EVA says this to Volgin during his torture of Sokolov.
Youngest Child Wins: The trope is referenced in an optional radio conversation with Major Zero regarding Raikov.