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* AlasPoorScrappy: [[spoiler: Emma Emmerich, see below]]. [[spoiler: Raiden too. This is subverted because he is loved by fans now, but back then, this trope applied to him.]]
* BrokenBase:
** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' catapulted Creator/HideoKojima to becoming the Creator/JamesCameron of gaming. After ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'', people began to wonder if he wasn't the Creator/MNightShyamalan of gaming. Nearly every aspect of the storyline was a magnet for controversy: the GainaxEnding and subsequent attempts (see ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'') to [[MindScrewdriver make sense of everything that happened]]; the quasi-incestuous relationships of Otacon and Vamp; major plot developments occurring off-screen between Solid Snake and Olga Gurlukovich, with Raiden restricted to being a non-participant; and, of course, some particularly long-winded sermons from Snake on the nature of free will, identity, the importance of legacy, hope, [[Wrestling/HulkHogan saying your prayers and taking vitamins]]. Fans of ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' instead find the climax and message of reaching your own answers extremely complex for a video game, and believe it was ruined by the expositions of ''Metal Gear Solid 4''.
%%Please do not add Fatman back in per the Cleanup Thread's decision.
** Creator/QuintonFlynn's performance as Raiden in the English version, at least for some fans. He's certainly a stark change from Creator/DavidHayter's grumbly delivery, whereas in the Japanese version, Raiden has as much of a BadassBaritone as Snake.
* ContestedSequel: It's either an EvenBetterSequel due to the gameplay refinements and ambitious plot, or a letdown for its BaitAndSwitch protagonist and MindScrew plot.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: [[AwesomeMusic/MetalGear See here.]]
* DamselScrappy: Emma for some. Yet, [[spoiler: her death is usually ''still'' a {{Tearjerker}} for them anyway]]).
* DracoInLeatherPants: Vamp. A DepravedBisexual KnifeNut [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Vampire]] [[TheWoobie with a tragic past]], [[HoYay a penchant for getting up close and personal with the resident]] {{Bishonen}} and [[MrFanservice dark hair, a seductive voice and a agile-muscular build]]. [[SarcasmMode I'm sure the fandom hated him after he crossed the]] MoralEventHorizon.
* EvenBetterSequel: While the story is heavily debated among fans to this day, almost everyone agrees that the gameplay is a major improvement over the original ''Metal Gear Solid''.
* EldritchAbomination: The [[spoiler: Arsenal Gear]] might a low level version of this. It's a [[spoiler: submarine the size of a few Manhattan blocks that kills god knows how many people when it runs aground there]] that is packed with missiles and Metal Gear [=RAYs=]. Additionally, it is designed to know and control, as in censor, all information via the Internet. Note that this includes the information in your very DNA. It is also sentient and has a pretty good MadGod vibe going on due to its AI corruption.
* EnsembleDarkHorse: The Colonel, [[spoiler:who is actually a AI replica]], is one of the more fondly remembered characters of the game, to the point of being referenced in future games, and even eclipsing the popularity of [[spoiler: the real Roy Campbell.]] He's such a whacko, a scoundrel, and a creep that you can't help but love him.
-->'''Colonel:''' One shouldn't stoop to vulgar levels just because they've set foot on the battlefield. ''(under his breath)'' [-But I sympathize with you there...-]\\
'''Rosemary''': You '''''[[BigWhat WHAT?]]'''''
* FridgeBrilliance: Since so much of the game is the product of stressed developers tossing gimmicks at a wall to see what sticks, the result is a warped kind of genius: the Big Shell is a crude copy of the Shadow Moses Incident, and Raiden is an inferior agent to Solid Snake. It makes sense to have him muddle through missions with roller-blading fat men, spritzing inanimate objects with a coolant spray, clearing hallways of lice, holding hands with little girls, cartwheeling around naked, and other indignities.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment:
** Raiden was designed as a bishonen character due to fan letter from a fangirl stating that she didn't want to play as "[[HollywoodOld an old man]]". Come ''Metal Gear Solid 4''...
** The Colonel's rather pervy behavior in some of the optional Codec conversations. The real Campbell ends up marrying Rosemary in ''Metal Gear Solid 4'', though he's merely her [[TheBeard beard]].
** ''Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance'' has Raiden wearing Gray Fox's Cyborg Ninja outfit for VR missions. It seems fun now, right? Well, it won't be fun or amusing after playing ''Metal Gear Solid 4'' where Raiden does become an actual Cyborg Ninja under painful and extremely tragic circumstances.[[note]]''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'' manages to inject the fun back into it by making Raiden the main character.[[/note]]
* GameBreaker:
** The Stinger missiles Snake gives Raiden make the boss fight against Vamp a piece of cake.
** The M9 tranquilizer handgun, or the silenced SOCOM. Take your pick. Both are capable of instantly incapacitating headshots from distances that only a sniper rifle would remain accurate at in RealLife, the ammo is extremely common, and abusing them almost guarantees you never being seen. The M9 is arguably the better of the two since you don't aim it down the iron sights, meaning the gun takes up less of the screen in first-person view, and the laser is much easier to line up shots with than the SOCOM's ironsights. Plus, your endgame status is better if you don't kill anyone, and you get extra dog tags from the bosses to unlock goodies for NewGamePlus. Extra points since it's a DiscOneNuke. The silencer for the SOCOM comes literally about an hour into the game later though. Subverted on higher difficulty settings, where the tranquilising effect doesn't last pissing time.
** [[SniperPistol Long-range sniping using the binoculars and a pistol]] is possible in this game, as well as in ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater Metal Gear Solid 3]]'', via a complex sequence of button presses. Take out the binoculars, zoom in, hold down the first-person button, unequip the binoculars while still holding the first-person button, hold the fire button to aim. Wherever you were looking at, your weapon will be aimed directly at it, no matter how far you zoomed in.
* HarsherInHindsight: Kojima called 9/11. In fact, looking at this list, we should just use Kojima to predict the future at this point. The "New York Incident" is referenced in ''Metal Gear Solid 4''; it seems the destruction of Lower Manhattan took the place of the (comparatively smaller) destruction of the Twin Towers. It also leads to a dramatic rise in private military contracting and [[TheWarOnTerror increased turmoil in the Middle East]].
** It should be noted that in [[http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100901202930/metalgear/images/6/66/Arsenal_Gear_crash.jpg Kojima's unedited version]], the WTC is about the only New York landmark that ''doesn't'' get destroyed. Click it and cringe.
** Solidus Snake's political extremism and secessionist views aren't too dissimilar from the current climate in the U.S. Even better: they think they're continuing on in the spirit of the Founding Fathers while [[MisaimedFandom having nothing in common with them]], and have named themselves after the Boston Tea Party, in the game's case, the perpetrators. In 2009. Kojima: calling the Tea Party a decade in advance.
** Near the beginning of Raiden's section, the Colonel talks about how oil leaking out of the Big Shell would be the worst ecological disaster in history, killing all the marine life and ruining the coastline for generations. After the BP Oil Spill, a bit of oil leaking out of the Big Shell, as opposed to rushing up from the sea floor, doesn't seem quite so bad in retrospect.
*** A minor point, but the worry in the game is that the chemicals used to clean up the oil spill would contaminate the coastline. The spill itself has already happened with the sinking of the Tanker.
** Snake's stern warnings about the dangers of "turning war into a video game" can seem even more chilling today that they did in 2001, with the advent of drone warfare.
** The issue of censorship and intel concerning the Patriots, then the Patriot Act of 2001, effective 2002.
** A secret security hole being used by the government to spy on and control the citizens? Heartbleed being used by the NSA anyone?
** The game was written in 1999. Featuring an extremely militaristic older president named George. It even throws Truthers a bone, seeing as he actually ''did'' attack Manhattan.
** In a less horrible, but more meta way, almost everything that got this game hated back when it came out is now standard. Deconstructing video game tropes and linearity has gotten pretty popular, using games as a storytelling platform is becoming the standard, soapboxing along with mindfucks is extremely popular amongst the more artsy and indie games, which gets them love for it, and sodomizing the fourth wall is no longer taboo, but almost expected. Even changing your protagonists has become a far more popular thing, although usually being more upfront with it.
** [[spoiler: The Patriots AI]]'s speech at the end of the game is viewed as an eerily accurate prediction of the state of American politics and online communities in TheNewTens, notably the extreme polarization and self-enclosure into echo chambers.
--> "Everyone withdraws into their own small gated community, afraid of a larger forum. They stay inside their little ponds, leaking whatever "truth" suits them into the growing cesspool of society at large."
* HilariousInHindsight:
** The premise of the game being a computer program with implied sentience manipulating all of humanity and causing a lot of atrocious deaths via a terrorist group all for an "experiment," and that program being voiced by Creator/PaulEiding, gets ''very'' interesting when ''VideoGame/DirgeOfCerberus'' does something ''very'' similar for its plot.
** Also, Raiden recalling that [[spoiler:he never actually met the Colonel even once]] will sound pretty funny after ''Metal Gear Solid 3'', where Raiden's {{expy}} in that game, Major Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov, definitely knows a colonel.
** One of the cardboard boxes found in the game is labeled "The Orange". Years later, an unrelated compilation titled ''The Orange Box'' would be released.
** Solidus using an offshore plant to revive Outer Heaven becomes much more meaningful if you've played ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker'' and/or ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVThePhantomPain''.
* HoYay: It's a ''Metal Gear Solid'' game. And one where a DepravedBisexual joins the fray!
* HypeBacklash: Expectations were high to the point ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'' sold well for including a demo of ''Metal Gear Solid 2''. The game was a best-seller but [[http://web.archive.org/web/20041026221343/http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/september03/25overrated/index25.shtml whether it fulfilled expectations is contentious.]]
* InferredHolocaust: Thanks to various cuts within the final version due to the unfortunate timing of its release, Arsenal Gear crashing into Manhattan as well as the results was glossed over.
* ItWasHisSled:
** By the time of the release of the PC port of the game, around 2003, two years after the game first came out for the PS2, reviews of the game had already abandoned trying to keep the game's DecoyProtagonist a secret. That, and everyone knows that the game's ending is, err... rather ''demanding'' of the player.
** Raiden is actually depicted front and center on the ''Substance'' box art.
* MagnificentBastard: This was the game where Ocelot became a true MagnificentBastard. By the end of ''Metal Gear Solid 4'', he was one of the most magnificent bastards ever created.
* MemeticMutation:
** "I NEED SCISSORS! 61!", Raiden [[{{Narm}} "MANAGING TO AVOID DROWNING."]]
** And to a lesser extent, the way Stillman "KILLED HIS SOUL!" and has to "DEFUSE HIS SINS!"
** "A DUD!!!"
** FissionMailed.
* {{Moe}}: Emma.
* MoralEventHorizon: [[spoiler:Vamp's murder of Emma.]]
* NarmCharm: "We managed to avoid drowning!" Seems pretty {{narm}}y at first, but you just completed an underwater EscortMission in which the escortee has {{life|Meter}} and {{oxygen meter}}s smaller than yours. It's not hard to feel relieved that you're past [[ScrappyMechanic awkward control central]].
* NightmareFuel:
** Everything that happens after [[spoiler: Emma's death]] is so fucked up that you cannot tell what is real and what is not anymore. The FissionMailed screen is particularly disturbing - with the obviously twisted English words and you still fighting alright.
** Especially consider the meaning behind the words FissionMailed, along with "Emit" and "Continent" - all those words carry an ominous meaning toward the villains' next move...
** The [[spoiler: Colonel's last words to you before you fight Solidus are a hideously rasped and digitally distorted ''"Our beloved monsters -- enjoy yourselves."'' All the while, it flickers between its recreation of Campbell's face, and a skull, which leers at you.]]
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome:
** While we do see the Computer Room fill with water as the Big Shell collapses, we never see the water touch or carry away the lifeless body of [[spoiler:Emma]], and so miss out on what could have potentially been a very poignant BurialAtSea. It wouldn't have been much of a stretch either, considering the game had already done something similar for [[spoiler:Sergei Gurlukovich and Scott Dolph]], who were far less important to the story.
** Most of the things Snake does. It's a crying shame that the ''Substance'' version never included a HeroOfAnotherStory chapter where we play as Snake.
* OlderThanTheyThink:
** ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' was acclaimed for its deconstruction of the concept of linearity in video games, but this game beat it to the punch by six years. You could also make a compelling argument that ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' predated ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable'' by ten years, particularly the torture room gag with Ocelot.
** ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' was not the first game in the series to order the player to shut off their console. That credit goes to [[VideoGame/MetalGear the first game in the series.]]
* OneOfUs: Raiden, in a strange meta-sort of way. He's a [[PopCulturedBadass self-admitted huge movie geek]], is an enormous [[RunningGag Solid Snake]] [[AscendedFanboy fanboy]], and [[OccidentalOtaku obsesses over Japanese culture and traditions]]. When he's not being a total badass or bloodthirsty killer, he's probably a very cool guy to hang around with (post-CharacterDevelopment anyway). Then again, most everyone from Maverick come across this way.
* PlayerPunch: This game ''loves'' this so much it makes the entire final third of the story this.
* PortingDisaster: The PC version. You know you've screwed up when you fail at porting a game that worked perfectly fine on the {{Xbox}} to PC, when the architecture is nearly identical between platforms. It was so bad, in fact, that no ''Metal Gear Solid'' game since then was ported from its original console until the ''HD Collection'' in 2011 (a full seven years after ''Metal Gear Solid 3''[='=]s initial release), and it took another two years for any to come to PC (''VideoGame/MetalGearRisingRevengeance'' in January 2014, nearly eleven years after the ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' PC port).
* ProtectionFromEditors: Likely the reason for why the game turned out the way it did. Apparently, Kojima's original script was over 800 pages long.
* ReplacementScrappy: Raiden was loathed by fans for replacing Snake, but ''Metal Gear Solid 4'' [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap rescued him.]]
* RomanticPlotTumor: Ye gods, Rose.
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny:
** While some of the later video games released were acclaimed for its deconstruction of the medium, ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' is now considered the earliest example to explore this.
** Anyone who played the games from the ''[[UpdatedRerelease Subsistence]]'' edition of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' tends to find the old overhead view from this game difficult to get back to grips with.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: Appears to be the case with Solidus, where the message is that [[spoiler:doing the right thing with your own benefit in mind is entirely the wrong thing. After all, Solidus aspires to destroy the Patriots, just like Snake eventually does, but his self-centered approach rather than the selfless altruism of Snake makes him just as much a bad guy as the Patriots.]]
* StopHelpingMe: In the Plant mission, your support team can get on your nerves.
* TakeThatScrappy: "External Gazer" takes a good bit of piss out of ''Metal Gear Solid 2''[='=]s story, even more than ''Metal Gear Solid 3'' did. The much-loathed romance angle between Raiden and Rose is lampshaded by their VR avatars, the misdeeds of which earned "the combined hate of the entire universe" and whose mere presence "has the ability to destroy a world."
* ThatOneLevel: Arsenal Gear-Jejunum, where you have to sneak past Tengu guards butt-naked (which prevents you from using your chokehold). If you get spotted, you're pretty much screwed and have to run all the way back to the torture room to get them off your tail.
* ToughActToFollow: The paradox of ''Metal Gear Solid 2'': it goes down a lot easier if you play it before the original ''Metal Gear Solid''... and yet the storyline can't be fully appreciated without playing beating ''[=MGS1=]'' ''first''.
* TheScrappy: In addition to Raiden, see above, Rose was seen as this by many, as they found her constant melodrama and clinginess to be downright irritating. Fortunately, her role in ''Metal Gear Solid 4'' was [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap much better received.]]
* TheUntwist: Iroquois Pliskin is actually [[spoiler:Solid Snake.]] Word has it they made it as blatantly obvious as possible just to see if anyone would fall for it anyway.
* ValuesDissonance: Part of the reason for Raiden's lukewarm reception in the West. In Japan, there isn't nearly as much stigma against [[{{Bishounen}} men with feminine features]], and it's actually very traditional to cast them in heroic roles.
* ValuesResonance: One of the villains' main goals is to try to censor the Internet, only making information that fits the party line available to the public. What was essentially an eight-hour commentary on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_textbook_controversy Japanese textbook controversy]] has taken on a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act new]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_IP_Act light]] a decade later. Bear in mind that the game was released in 2001, long before Internet users were considering this a major concern and absolutely online anonymity and freedom were essentially givens.
* VindicatedByHistory:
** Though its gameplay and graphics were praised, the storyline was deemed convoluted at best and exploitative at a few points. However, as years go by, [[BrokenBase many]] are finding it to be an excellent early example of post-modernism in the video game medium, as well as a decent deconstruction of ButThouMust games. These two traits would later be championed by the critically acclaimed ''[=BioShock=]''.
** In addition, critically acclaimed games that act as a {{Deconstruction}} of the medium such as ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' and ''The Stanley Parable'' have only boosted this game's vindication. As these sorts of games become more popular, ''Metal Gear Solid 2'' has also recently become much more accepted, and is even considered to be the first example of a "game about games".
* {{Waggle}}: The pressure-sensitive controls are highly awkward, at first, especially for the assault rifles (even after you're used to them). Lightly pushing the button to shoot will make you aim your weapon, while depressing it fully fires it. This is an important distinction, as accidentally shooting guards you're holding up can be very annoying. In addition, movement with the D-pad is also pressure sensitive--pressing a direction lightly causes the player character to sneak fairly quickly, while a full depression causes you to run noisily. ''Metal Gear Solid 3'' fixed this, where normal movement is now solely on the left stick and the D-Pad is for sneaking more sneakily.
* {{Wangst}}: To some fans, Fortune. Even in-universe, Ocelot notes that she "couldn't get enough of the drama" and was "absorbed" in her own "misfortune".
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-> ''The mission is a failure. Cut the page right now!''
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