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Characters / Metal Gear — Solid Snake

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Main Character Index | Metal Gear (Solid Snake | Big Boss / Naked Snake) | Metal Gear 2 | Metal Gear Solid (FOXHOUND) | Sons of Liberty (Raiden) | Snake Eater | Guns of the Patriots | Portable Ops | Peace Walker | Revengeance (Senator Armstrong) | Ground Zeroes/The Phantom Pain | Acid | Acid 2 | Ghost Babel | Snake's Revenge | Survive
"Kept you waiting, huh?"
Click here to see Old Snake in MGS4
A.K.A.: Old Snake, Iroquois Pliskin, David
Voiced by: Akio Ōtsuka (JP), David Hayter (EN)

"I only felt truly alive when I was staring Death in the face. I don't know, maybe it's written into my genes."

The star of the show for much of the Metal Gear series, Solid Snake is an infiltration specialist whose exploits usually revolve around destroying the titular Metal Gears, nuclear-armed Humongous Mecha whose very existence shifts the balance of power in the world dramatically. Through this, he becomes entangled in a massive web of control and deceit centered around the Patriots, a shadowy Ancient Conspiracy group that has been engaged in clandestine wars for decades. Without a doubt Solid Snake is "the man who makes the impossible, possible."

The jump to 3-D gaming drastically expanded Snake's character, with the revelation that he was shaken up pretty badly during the MSX era, and that he's actually a laboratory-grown clone of his recurring enemy, Big Boss. He becomes a hermit in the interim, but is forcibly pulled out of retirement when Metal Gear rears its ugly head yet again. The Alaska incident has the benefit of pairing Snake with his future partner, Otacon. Together, the duo combine their brains and brawn to delay the proliferation of Metal Gear, whether it be by lobbying the U.N., or simply blowing up every prototype in sight.

Eventually, Snake's flawed clone DNA catches up with him, and he prematurely ages into an old man. The character was officially and canonically retired in MGS4, with recent games focusing on the past adventures of Big Boss and one focusing on the later adventures of Raiden.

Whilst Snake is indisputably The Hero of the Metal Gear universe, due to the story's non-linear approach he is only the player character for roughly half of the games in the series. The other two protagonists in the franchise are his father Big Boss and protege Raiden.

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  • '80s Hair: God, that mullet...
    • Slightly less mullety in MGS2, more just generally longish and held back by the bandanna. It's most obviously such while disguised as Iroquois Pliskin and not wearing said bandanna. But he is totally rocking the old man mullet in MGS4.
  • Action Dad: Snake counts as this once foster daughter Sunny comes into his life.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: In the interactive graphic novel version of Metal Gear, he is completely disinterested in Naomi's motives behind injecting him with FoxDie whereas in the game, he was sympathetic when he discovers her relationship with Gray Fox.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: How he beats Big Boss in Metal Gear 2.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Played with. His entire character arc is him repeatedly learning the same lesson about his freedom from the battlefield at the end of every game, only to end up back on the battlefield because otherwise you couldn't have a sequel. This was a factor in Kojima's decision to officially retire him in MGS4, by giving Snake Clone Degeneration-induced Rapid Aging, failing health, and a year left to live at best; for the most part, every later Metal Gear Kojima worked on has been a prequel focused on Naked Snake/Big Boss, whose character arc is (or at least was supposed to be) him coming to terms with the fact that he refuses to leave the battlefield. On the other hand, much of Snake's character development revolves around his reason for coming back to the fight: he goes from being a fresh, inexperienced commando who fights purely because he's ordered to (original game), to doing so for more personal/selfish reasons (to overcome his nightmares in Metal Gear 2 and then just to feel alive in Metal Gear Solid), to doing so because he feels a responsibility to make the world a better place for future generations (his and Otacon's anti-Metal Gear activities prior to and during Metal Gear Solid 2, his several assassination attempts on Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4).
  • Afraid of Needles: Drebin asked if he was this before injecting him with a syringe to update his nanos in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. In this case, his fear or rather hesitance was perfectly justified, as the previous time he got an injection before a mission, it turned out the person injected him with the unwanted gift of FOXDIE. He should have followed that gut instinct. However, new addition helps prevent him from becoming a living Weapon of Mass Destruction.
  • Ambiguously Bi: After the events of MGS1, Snake and Meryl were a couple, although it didn't last. Afterwards he started living together with Otacon, and raised an adoptive child together with him. In MGS2, Snake can take photos of scantily clad posters of both men and women alike, and if you show the photos, Otacon will remark that the male ones explain a lot about Snake's past behavior, Not That There's Anything Wrong with That. Which implies it's far from the first time Snake has visibly perved on another man.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Despite it being made clear in MGS4 that he had a year left to live at absolute best, his ultimate fate is never conclusively addressed in the events of Rising. Adding to the ambiguity, Raiden mentions the philosophy he passed on in an optional Codec conversation; throughout the exchange, Raiden refers to him in the present tense while others uses past tense.
    • This may be a reference to the Japan-exclusive Solid Snake Sword, which contained the spirit of Snake and spoke with his voice when it hit things. If you take the sword as canon, then Raiden may consider Snake to technically still be around.
  • Alliterative Codename: Solid Snake.
  • Anti-Anti-Christ: He was originally created, along with his brothers, to enforce the Patriots' will (albeit unknowingly), but he eventually managed to destroy the Patriots and save the planet from control.
  • Anti-Hero: A cynical man who nevertheless does the right thing, though some have suggested that he isn't really all that good.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: He doubts whether or not his actions will make a difference in the long run and knows how brutal and senseless life can be, but still devotes himself to the cause of creating a more just, peaceful world by stopping the proliferation of superweapons, especially Metal Gears. The speech he gives at the end of MGS2 is his take on the information control speech given by GW, spun using this trope as a basis; he believes that the world has a responsibility to pass on any information possible, using memes that are either good or bad so that future generations can learn from the past. As he so succinctly puts it:
    Snake: "Building the future and keeping the past alive are one in the same thing."
  • Amazon Chaser: He has hints of it, with him doing some low-key flirting with Holly and eventually inviting Holly out for dinner in Metal Gear 2 (although he ultimately doesn't show up for said date), and he is clearly attracted to Meryl in MGS1, and their relationship turns overtly romantic at the end of the game. He appears to have moved beyond it in MGS2, where him and Otacon talks about Olga, and he makes a grumpy throwaway comment about him having "had enough of tomboys", indicating that whatever he had with Meryl turned sour.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Despite living in a world where Humongous Mechas, Psychic Powers, and cyborg ninjas are commonplace, Snake refuses to believe that Vamp is truly immortal. Unlike most examples of this trope, he turns out to be right.
  • Arch-Enemy: Liquid Snake. Starts out as Unknown Rival, as Liquid has been nursing a huge grudge against Snake for years even before they meet, while Snake has no idea who the former is. By the end of the Shadow Moses incident, Liquid has killed and/or impersonated Snake's mentors, Master Miller and Gray Fox, making this extremely personal. Liquid then proceeds to hound Snake through Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Patriots, via pulling a Grand Theft Me on Revolver Ocelot, and becomes his most recurring foe. Although "Liquid" in Guns of the Patriots is really Ocelot having brainwashed himself into thinking that he's Liquid, it's telling that his antagonism of Snake is one of his defining character traits.
  • Artistic License – Military: Stillman sees through his Paper-Thin Disguise thanks to the various inaccuracies in his story, such as his use of Marine Corps and SAS mottos, despite impersonating a SEAL, giving himself a higher rank than a field operator would have, and using equipment meant for rear echelon command personnel.
  • Badass Bookworm: While not on the level of say, Otacon's mastery of engineering or Liquid explaining Asymmetry theory, Snake is proficient in just about anything that has bearing on military science. He also understands more about biology than Liquid does, as he demonstrates knowledge of apoptosisnote  and genetics in his private conversation with Naomi.
  • Badass Normal: Is able to take on a world of cyborgs, psychics, and supernaturally empowered warriors and win.
    • Some argue this distinction, as Solid Snake was a clone of Big Boss. However, there are indications that the geneticists considered him a flawed copy (most tellingly, Big Boss and Solidus were more physically robust, and Snake's training seems to have been less intense than Liquid's or Solidus's), so the trope is averted in spirit. Remember too that he is the clone of a regular man, Big Boss was by all accounts a normal human with no modifications whatsoever. Despite being a clone of a legendary soldier that soldier was still a badass normal.
    • Incredibly one-sided battles he's managed to win with only on-site-procured weapons include: a Hind-D helicopter, one piloted by a guy who used it to take down two F-16s, a tank with only grenades, a giant crazy-lady-piloted robot wolf, and a handful of giant war-robots over the years.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: His trademark accessory is the bandana he constantly wears.
  • Bad Liar: While not as bad of a liar as Roy Campbell or even his father Big Boss, it is clear that he isn't all that good at lying, as evidenced with his first appearance in the Plant chapter of MGS2: he states that he got to the Big Shell via a fast-rope descent from a Navy Chopper, yet that exact moment one of the sea lice from earlier falls off of him. Likewise, he disguises himself as Iroquois Pliskin, yet he gets portions of his uniform wrong (headsets are only used for commanders who are kept off the battlefield at all costs), and he quotes the wrong military mottos (he says "Semper Fi" and "Who Dares, Wins", which are the Marines and the British Special Air Service mottos respectively). Also overlaps into Paper-Thin Disguise.
    • Then, when MGS4 comes around, Snake tells Meryl that the UN sent him to the Middle East to do threat assessment on the local PMCs and see how they're affecting their refugee protection efforts. Meryl, having heard rumors of an assassin targeting Liquid Ocelot (which is what Snake was really there for), is not fooled.
  • Bag of Spilling: Lampshaded in MGS2, when his stealth camo shorts out in the opening cutscene. Drat.
    • Subverted, however, during the second guard invasion aboard Arsenal Gear. Snake tosses out infinite ammo to the player, having brought along his ∞ bandanna.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: Played with, as the in-universe explanation as to why he never used CQC before MGS4 is because of Big Boss's betrayal; in his words, it didn't feel right using the fighting style of "a man who betrayed his unit". He uses it now because Big Boss's Cold War-era exploits were declassified recently, meaning most soldiers on the battlefields of MGS4 know CQC, and Old Snake's first response to someone using it on him is to respond in kind.
  • Be All My Sins Remembered: He does not like it when someone calls him a hero. In his own words, he "never was, never will be" a hero, despite saving the world multiple times for Metal Gear and/or nuclear fire. The fact that he had to kill a lot of people to do it weighs on his mind heavily.
  • Because I'm Good At It: A big part of Snake's angst throughout the series. He's loath to admit it even under the most excruciating duress, but he loves battle, and while his enemies often seek the proliferation of worldwide conflict for the benefit of natural-born soldiers like himself, he has a selfless moral instinct which forces him to stop them at any cost.
  • Being Good Sucks: And he is well-aware of this. Unlike Big Boss, he pulls through everything life threw at him, but his perseverance kept him from going down the same path as his father. While others want to save the world, he does it his way. Even if it means "living like a pariah".
  • Beyond the Impossible: He's even regarded in-universe as "the man who makes the impossible possible".
  • Big Brother Mentor: To Raiden. In Revengeance, he recalls that Snake was the best combat veteran he'd ever seen, a man who absolutely did not know how to quit or fail. Notably, Snake hands his sidearm and cigarettes to Raiden when they first meet in the Big Shell, realizing the poor newbie was sent in without any gear, just like Snake was all those miserable times.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rather than Raiden who defeats Solidus, the interactive graphic novel of MGS2 has Snake as the one who defeats Solidus who rants about being Big Boss's greatest son while Snake is a mistake. Snake doesn't even care and took Solidus out in one stroke.
    Snake: Fine by me. I rather be a mistake... than be the one who makes them.
  • Big "NO!": Gives out one as Raiden is squashed by Outer Haven.
  • Blood Knight: Heavily implied in Metal Gear Solid by Liquid Snake, Psycho Mantis, and even Meryl Silverburgh to enjoy killing and battle. In Mantis's case, he is arguably worse than Liquid.
    • This is one of the central conflicts of his character. When he fails in living a peaceful lifestyle (similar to his father), Snake decides to put his Blood Knight tendencies to use for good.
  • Busman's Holiday: Runs to the ends of the earth just to never see another Metal Gear again... unaware that the Army is building a new one on his doorstep. D'oh.
  • Broken Ace: Especially in MGS1.
  • Broken Pedestal: Snake, still bitter over Big Boss's numerous betrayals, is one of the last people to recognize his achievements. Despite that, Snake is hinted to still harbor some respect for his old CO, as he becomes livid when he sees Solidus impersonating Big Boss, as well as the fact that he visits and even salutes Big Boss's grave in MGS4.
  • But Not Too Foreign: His genetic donor was an unnamed Japanese woman who was an assistant of Dr.Clark/Para Medic.
    Vulcan Raven: Blood from the East flows in your veins.
  • Byronic Hero
    Solid Snake: I'm just a man who's good at what he does, killing. There's no winning or losing for a mercenary. I've never fought for anyone but myself, I've got no purpose in life, no ultimate goal. It's only when I'm cheating death on the battlefield, the only time I feel truly alive.
  • Cain and Abel: With Liquid Snake and Solidus Snake.
  • Can't Stay Normal: After the events of Metal Gear Solid, he attempted to settle down and live a normal life with Meryl, but eventually gave up and returned to the battlefield.
  • Character Development: Goes from being a jaded, cynical jerk who could care less about anything but completing the mission to live another day to a jaded cynical jerk who does what he does because it's the right thing to do and no one else will do it.
  • Characterization Marches On: In Metal Gear, he was a Heroic Mime with fewer lines outside of generic messages and after he accomplished his mission. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake gives him more lines, but he comes off as being more polite towards his in-field contacts and boss fights. Metal Gear Solid is where he is a Deadpan Snarker and very abrasive when his contacts are hiding something from him. Considering his history with Big Boss, he had every reason to get on to Campbell for hiding something from him.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Not quite as much as Big Boss, perhaps, but the cutscenes in the Metal Gear Solid remake showed him pulling some ridiculous maneuvers. In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Snake is still very strong despite his biological age because his sneaking suit augments his strength.
  • Celibate Hero: While Snake flirts with Mei Leng, and has a short relationship with Meryl, he ultimately sacrifices his romantic attachments for the sake of ridding the world of Metal Gears. His clone degeneration doesn't help in MGS4, as he figures he won't be around much longer.
  • Child Soldier: Arguably one, as he was raised within the military.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Snake exhibits this trait to several beautiful women, especially to Meryl, whom he notes has a cute butt, and to Mei Ling, too.
  • Clones Are People, Too: He's his own person, and is explicitly described as Big Boss's son.
  • Clone Degeneration: The reason for his Rapid Aging in MGS4.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Well known for his unorthodox tactics, like using grenades on a tank. Furthermore, he has no qualms against killing dogs to protect himself.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: His Eastern Europe disguise in Act 3 of MGS4 consists of this along with a FaceCamo of his younger self. There's a practical reason for the coat, though. If he's equipped with a pistol, he can keep it concealed with his hands in his pockets so long as he doesn't move above a walking pace and doesn't crouch down.
  • Cool Old Guy: To some extent, in MGS4. Age hasn't slowed him down much, but it still weighs on his mind.
  • Covered with Scars: In Act Two of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Snake's physical body is shown to be this. But instead of being seen as a mark of being a badass, it's instead shown as actually being very horrible and extremely tragic to see the total extent of just how much he has gone through.
  • Covert Pervert: Hinted at in Codec conversations with Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Part of the reason he starts using CQC again in MGS4. He explains that the PMCs are all using "cookie cutter imitations" that they read about, and when they attempt to use it on him, he reflexively responds with the original techniques he learned directly from Big Boss.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Liquid referred to himself and Snake as "the brother of light" and "the brother of dark" — while who is who in unspecified, Snake is a grizzled, bitter looking man usually wearing dark clothing (contrasting his brother's light-skinned bare chest).
    • Big Mama specifically refers to him as a "shadow, which no light can shine on."
    • Then again, considering Mantis's statement about Snake deduced from what is strongly implied to be mind and past reading, Snake himself might have been Dark Is Evil. "Have been" is the key phrase.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments, such as during his confrontation with Vulcan Raven, where he quips that Raven must have "excelled at the Muktuk Eating contest" in the Eskimo-Indian Olympics.
    • A lot of his dialogue in the comic adaptation is given this kind of spin — it has the effect of adding more humour to what is otherwise a very serious adaptation, in exchange for making him a little bit more of a Jerkass.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Only in MGS2.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Part of his Metal Gear Solid character arc.
  • Determinator: Oh god yes. He crawls out of a microwave hallway with his fingertips!
    • It's the only reason Old Snake is still alive from start to finish.
    • It's implied by Big Boss in MGS4 that this is what enabled to Snake not to end up like his father despite all the betrayals and manipulations he endured.
  • Dead Guy Junior: He shares his first name with Zero, Big Boss's close friend until their later falling out over their goals.
  • Death Seeker: At times. Once he is Old Snake in MGS4, he doesn't really feel he's got a lot left to live for.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the most basic Archetype in Hollywood: the badass Action Hero who blows bad guys to hell and gets the girl. Rather than being a hardcore larger than life hero, Snake ends up being a traumatized mess of a man in response to the hell he's put through throughout his adventures. And, while several women do show some interest in him, the closest he comes to being in any sort of long-term relationship is with Otacon.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When he moves to disable Metal Gear REX in MGS1, he accidentally activates it for Liquid instead. Problem is, his own observations from his captivity, visions from Psycho Mantis, and Vulcan Raven's admission that the DARPA Chief that he saw die was actually Decoy Octopus, means that Snake genuinely failed to realize or remember that Octopus was lying about the Chief's activation code being taken, and completely fell for Liquid's ruses and playing dumb when he would've otherwise been stonewalled due to the Chief dying mid-interrogation.
  • Dirty Old Man: Considering what's happening to him by Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, he comes pretty close to the trope by his appearance and reading Playboys to increase his psyche gauge (not to mention giving implied regret of retiring too soon when he hears that Mei Ling apparently got a promotion after catching an eye with an admiral that was implied to be of this trope), even if he is technically middle-aged.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Two in MGS4:
    • After the REX vs. RAY showdown on Shadow Moses, he ends up dislocating his shoulder, rendering him unable to aim his gun properly as Liquid Ocelot makes a getaway on Outer Haven.
    • While crawling through Outer Haven's microwave corridor, his Solid Eye and OctoCamo Sneaking Suit are completely fried.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: On occasion, he will actually use disguises in addition to his traditional brand of stealth. He briefly uses an enemy officer's uniform in Metal Gear, wears Navy SEAL fatigues for much of the Plant chapter in Metal Gear Solid 2, and can wear militia and rebel outfits in the first two chapters of Metal Gear Solid 4, making those factions friendly towards him, rather than shooting him on sight.
  • Driven to Suicide: In MGS4, Snake intends to kill himself at a graveyard in order to prevent himself from infecting the world with FOXDIE. It was subverted, though, as he ultimately couldn't go through with it, plus it turned out killing himself proved to be completely unnecessary anyway.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Snake mentions after revealing his identity to Raiden that before Shadow Moses, he took to heavily drinking while living in isolation at Alaska.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: He goes through a shit-ton of both physical and emotional pain, trauma, and betrayals, but by the end of MGS4, he finally succeeds at liberating the world from the Patriots' control and resolves to live the rest of his life in peace with his best friend, Otacon, and his surrogate daughter, Sunny, by his side.
  • Evil Counterpart: Solid Snake and Liquid Snake. Psycho Mantis's dying speech proclaims that Snake is this to Liquid, stating that he was as bad as Liquid after declaring that Mantis saw true evil which was Snake, before realizing that he's actually worse than Liquid. However, people will be far more likely to conclude that the opposite is true.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Snake really hates it when people refer to him as "Old Snake". In fact, just hearing the moniker takes a quarter of his psyche out.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The Solid Eye System. Unlike most instances of this trope, Solid Snake is not missing an eye and the Solid Eye is a functional heads up display with optional zoom and night vision.
  • Expy: He began as an amalgam of eighties action heroes, most notably Snake Plissken of Escape from New York. Hideo Kojima is a self-proclaimed fan of that film.
  • Face Death with Dignity: His attitude towards his eventual demise in MGS4.
  • Failure Hero: One of the greatest examples in all of gaming. His actions throughout the series effectively keep the Patriots in a position of power, meaning that every game ends with the Greater-Scope Villain winning. Then Snake and his adoptive family destroy the system forever in Metal Gear Solid 4.
  • Faking the Dead: Snake is lured into an explosive-rigged oil tanker in Metal Gear Solid 2. Luckily Otacon is standing by with a boat. Rather than wait for the Patriots to take another shot at them, the duo go into hiding and are presumed dead. They later turn up on the Big Shell while masquerading as SEAL operatives.
  • Feeling Their Age: Due to accelerated aging, Snake feels this way for the entirety of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. For example, when he crouches and walks for too long, his back suffers, which didn't used to happen in previous installments. Oh, and his hair is grey and he has a grandpa-'stache.
  • Female Gaze: He has a truly fantastic ass, something that's emphasised by certain camera angles and outfit choices throughout MGS2 and MGS4.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Mentioned a few times in his appearances. The first time was in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake when encountering Big Boss at Zanzibar Land, where he states that he took the mission to get rid of the nightmares relating to Outer Heaven that he experienced since his mission to Outer Heaven. In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, it’s strongly implied that Snake was suffering from nightmares from Shadow Moses (contacting Pliskin while Snake is asleep will have him mumbling something before abruptly screaming Liquid's name, presumably this part was during their fight on REX). Finally, in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, not only does Snake have a nightmare regarding his entry into Shadow Moses, the player even plays the nightmare in Act 4.
  • Flawed Prototype: He is supposed to be a flawed clone of Big Boss, but exactly how flawed he's supposed to be given that he's managed to put a stop to the Outer Heaven and Zanzbar uprisings, defeated Big Boss, Venom Snake, Liquid Snake, and Solidus Snake in the interactive comic, and even ended The Patroits' hold on the world.
  • Foil: To Big Boss. Both experience horrible events, both are subjected to betrayal and treason, and both are made to suffer. But while Big Boss embraces hatred and vengeance, Solid Snake defies it. Big Boss kills to get his vengeance, while Snake kills for the greater good.
  • Forgiveness:
    • One of his most noticeable traits that separates him from his father, his brothers, and even Venom Snake is his willingness to forgive and understand other people. Despite being betrayed and manipulated throughout MGS1, he ultimately understood that each of his support team basically had a gun to their head while doing so, and never once blamed them for their actions beyond getting a bit angry. Likewise with Grey Fox where he never once blamed Fox for betrayal and always considered Fox a friend despite being an enemy during the Zanzibar uprising.
    • This is even pronounced with his meeting with Big Boss in MGS4. Despite the latter being an enemy commander and tried to send him to his death on his first mission, he ultimately realizes that Big Boss is literally him if he took a dark path that lead the creation of Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land takeover if he let his own PTSD clouded his judgment.
  • Free-Range Children: He was born and raised in the United States even though he was raised in the military. Eli was also a free-range child, but kept making trouble with his handlers, and flees to Africa.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Gray Fox. In Metal Gear Solid, he outright tells Naomi that even if he and Fox were technically on opposite sides during the Zanzibar Land incident, he still viewed Fox as his friend.
  • Functional Addict: In MGS2, he wryly notes that his "retirement" consisted of him being "holed up in the middle of nowhere in Alaska, drinking too much." He was still, however, able to properly raise and race an absurd number of huskies during that time, and when called back to do the mission on Shadow Moses, he seems to suffer from no ill effects from being away from alcohol over a 24 hour period. On top of that, he's a heavy smoker for most of the series; it's only when his health begins to fail in MGS4 that his allies become concerned and insist he quit, only for him to refuse on the grounds that he's going to die soon anyway, so what harm can it do now?
  • Gallows Humor: His reaction to discovering just what Outer Haven's microwave hallway will do to someone is:
    "You'd have to have a death wish to go in there. Sounds like the perfect job for me."
  • Genius Bruiser: He is shown to know some history pretty well, and was stated to have an IQ of 180 and fluent in at least six languages (including English and French). He's also without peer in hand to hand combat, and adept with basically every weapons platform he can get his hands on.
    • He also catches just about every obscure political or cultural reference anyone makes in his presence, often when the player doesn't.
    • This actually serves as a clue to Raiden and Stillman in MGS2 that "Iroquis Pliskin" is more than what he seems (the player, on the other hand, will only be fooled if they're literally blind) when he ends a conversation with the phrase "Who dares, wins." Not many Navy Seals are going to be casually dropping the motto of the British SAS.
  • Godzilla Threshold: It's part of the In-Universe justification for him using CQC in MGS4. He always knew how, but he refused to use it because of Big Boss betraying everyone after the events of the first Metal Gear. That said, with everyone using CQC to some extent as of MGS4, his more authentic variation of such becomes his own personal Godzilla.
  • Good Counterpart: To Big Boss. (Almost) identical DNA, similar lives, skills, trials and tribulations, but Snake didn't allow his trauma to make him pull a Face–Heel Turn. Lampshaded by Big Boss himself in their final meeting, commenting his son for this.
  • Good is Not Nice: When Snake asks you a question, it's best to answer truthfully.
    • Otacon of all people was on the receiving end of this during their first encounter; when Otacon parrots the party line about REX strictly being a missile-defense system, Snake unexpectedly snaps and throttles Otacon in a rage.
    • He is shown to be willing to save the world from itself, although that doesn't stop him from sometimes acting like a jerk towards his friends, and at one point manipulate a person into getting himself captured in a really complex method of Trojan Prisoner. Otacon reassures the victim that it was kindly meant.
  • Good Old Ways: Snake has a low opinion of virtually every 21st-century soldier he encounters. He regards the flashy, inexperienced Genome Soldiers as all hat and no cattle; the next-generation VR soldiers as clowns; the twitchy rookie Meryl as a total liability. Several times in MGS4, he expresses disdain for the SOP nanomachines and unmanned weapons.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: He, The Hero of the series, smokes cigarettes, a contrast to the cigar-chomping Big Boss and Liquid Ocelot.
  • Guest Fighter: In DreamMix TV World Fighters and Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Ultimate.
  • Handguns: In each game, he carries a different pistol that reflects his character:
    • In the classic MSX games, he uses a Beretta 92, which during the eighties, was often seen in movies in the hands of a hotshot Anti-Hero. At the time, it was also the standard sidearm for the US military, showing Snake's loyalty to his country.
    • Metal Gear Solid has him carry a Mark 23 SOCOM, which is stated by Nastasha to be a Difficult, but Awesome to use, reflecting Snake's experience. It's also considered a more sensible choice than the Hand Cannon Meryl wields, showing her inexperience.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 gives him a tranquilizer gun converted from a Beretta M9 at first, showing that he wants to cut down on the killing after being called out by Liquid. His lethal pistol in this game is a USP, an evolution of the SOCOM, showing Snake as having undergone Character Development since the previous game.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4 outfits him with a Springfield Operator, an updated 1911, which reflects himself during the game; older, but given a few modern accessories to allow him to keep up on the battlefield. This also reflects him becoming more similar to Big Boss, given that the Operator serves as the upgraded version of Big Boss' signature Ace Custom 1911 from Snake Eater in addition to relying on camouflage and CQC.
    • He hits on girls half his age! He hits on his support staff! He broods over whether to ask Otacon's permission to date Emma! The man has a healthy libido, let's leave it at that.
    • He's less of a ladies' man than his behavior would suggest, as his war experiences have severely harmed his ability to open up to other people. Meryl was more than a woman, she was a combat buddy; and even she dumped him.
  • Hates Small Talk: Another surefire way to piss him off is digging into his personal life.
    • He comments in MGS1 that he and Grey Fox — supposedly his closest friend in the world — never talked about anything personal. Just endless conversations about rations and rifle clips, apparently. "Sort of an unwritten rule."
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Variation in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. His rapidly aging body combined with the FOXDIE virus from the Shadow Moses Incident, making the latter slowly mutate. By the time three months had passed, FOXDIE would kill indiscriminately, and kill Snake in another three months. After he spent his life eliminating Metal Gears, he would essentially become a bioweapon, something Naomi even lampshaded. It was barely subverted when Big Boss revealed that the new FOXDIE Drebin injected him with uprooted the old, meaning he was no longer a biological threat to the world.
  • Hero Protagonist: Solid Snake is the primary protagonist of the series up until MGS4 and his contributions are the most significant out of all the playable characters overall, successfully undoing almost all the damage done by Fallen Hero Big Boss and Greater Scope Villains The Patriots.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: He's been branded a criminal since the Shadow Moses incident, and was framed as an ecoterrorist by the Patriots during the Manhattan incident. Of course, he doesn't really mind this.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: As a retiree, Snake coped with his demons by becoming a dogsled racer, raising fifty huskies in his cabin. He was even preparing to compete in the Iditarod when Campbell yanked him back into action. Snake is fond of wolves, as well (though the feeling isn't mutual).
    • Despite this, Snake admittedly has no qualms against killing attack dogs to protect himself, much to Otacon's horror.
    • Turns out this was one of the qualities he's inherited from his dad Big Boss.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Snake views himself as nothing more than a killer, and he does it because that's all he's really good at. The fact that he happened to save the world a few times while killing people is just a coincidence. Snake seems to have a low opinion of people referred to as "heroes" in general, though; he says in MGS2 that "there's not a lot of difference between heroes and madmen".
  • Heroic Willpower: If there's one way to sum up Snake past his personality and combat skills, it's that nothing will stop him from completing his mission. It goes past The Determinator because most of the time he doesn't even like his work or what he's usually being forced to do; even if he knows he's an Unwitting Pawn, he simply will not die, no matter if he's facing one of the other Snakes or Big Boss, going toe-to-toe with a towering Metal Gear, taking on an entire army force and the Patriots' pawns, and physically crippling injuries and torture all the while, you name it. By the time his Clone Degeneration kicks in for MGS4, Naomi outright lists this as the sole reason Snake is even physically standing, never mind fighting, because by all logical and physical sense for the human body, anyone short of his willpower would be bed-ridden for the rest of their days.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Otacon. Neither has much luck with the ladies, they travel the world together, raise Sunny as joint foster parents, and bicker Like an Old Married Couple. He used to be this with Gray Fox, too.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Strongly implied to be such by Vulcan Raven:
    Vulcan Raven: You are a snake which was not created by Nature. You and the Boss... you are from another world... a world that I do not wish to know.
    • Given the existence of the supernatural, the concept of destiny, and Snake's heritage that is both memetic and genetic, Vulcan Raven may have been onto something there. Whatever the case, Snake is superior to a world full of ghosts, monsters, psychics, giant robots, and killer A.I.s. Whether this is merely the case of his tried-and-true badassery or also of an inexplicable innate nature can be debated.
  • Hunk: Hands down, the undisputed champion of this trope when it comes to this series. Handsome as hell, muscular as hell, manly as hell. And age'll be damned — he's still a certified hunk even after he sports gray hairs. This man's truly one of a kind.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Snake's a good agent, but chafes at being kept in the dark about his mission. He naturally keeps Raiden in the dark about absolutely everything in MGS2.
  • I Will Fight No More Forever: At the end of MGS4. With the Patriots' fall and his Rapid Aging ensuring, he'll be dead soon anyway. After one last meeting with Big Boss, David resolves to spend the rest of his life in peace and not waste it fighting.
  • Iconic Item: His bandanna. Also his cigarettes. Snake somehow manages to smuggle his cigs into every mission, despite being forbidden to bring anything along.
    Snake: Sorry to disappoint you, but I did manage to smuggle out my smokes.
    Naomi: (exasperated) How did you do that?
    Snake: In my stomach. Thanks to that shot you gave me which suppressed my stomach acids.
  • Identical Grandson: Played With. He is an identical clone of Big Boss, but was gestated, birthed, and grew up just like any other "normal" person. He is also consistently referred to as Big Boss's son, not his clone.
  • I Read It for the Articles: It is strongly implied that Solid Snake has other reasons for possessing dirty magazines besides using them as bait to distract enemies in Metal Gear Solid. In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, he refers to the magazines as having "educational value" when trying to convince Raiden that having them isn't that bad, and if the player reads the magazines in the model viewer in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Old Snake's Psyche Gauge goes up. Because of his aging problem, it also in a way overlaps into Dirty Old Man.
  • I Work Alone: He's also not a fan of rookie soldiers. FOXHOUND trained him to procure weapon on-site and leave no trace; they didn't prepare him for some trigger-happy fool blundering into his line of fire.
  • Idiot Hair: A forelock is always sticking out of place on Snake's forehead, though Snake himself is far from stupid.
  • Informed Ability: He's stated to have an IQ of 180, but you'd never know it from his dialogue. Most of the time he comes across as average at best, and that's discounting his instances of Cutscene Incompetence. In MGS1, for instance, he fails to piece together on his own that the DARPA chief he spoke to was Decoy Octopus in disguise, even though he found Donald Anderson's decomposing body, and continues to trust the information he got from the guy even after being told this and shown that said information doesn't add up. Liquid fools him with his act as Miller despite barely disguising his face and voice and his backstory being inconsistent. He also can't call BS on Naomi Hunter's claimed background because he apparently doesn't know that the FBI didn't have Japanese-American special agents under Hoover in the 1950s. Liquid even questions whether or not he remembers elementary school to be so ignorant.
  • Informed Flaw: We only have Mantis's word that the seemingly heroic Snake is more evil than Liquid. Mantis's rather harsh judgment of Snake is probably a holdover from when Snake was a Deep-Immersion Gaming Audience Surrogate in the original Metal Gear games; a bunch of potshots were aimed at Snake because of the average video-game player's sadistic tendencies when playing games, presumably so that the conversations about war would seem more relevant if the player was the focus. Because of this, the games never bothered actually portraying these tendencies on Snake's part, so that when he grew into an actual character he didn't quite live up to those Blood Knight credentials. It's also likely that, being a childhood friend of Liquid's, Mantis is maybe more forgiving of Liquid's motivations than he is of Solid's.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Subverted. While Big Boss does watch him attempt to shoot himself, he stops himself from doing so, after which Big Boss reveals himself and congratulates his son for not going through with it.
  • In the Blood: Solid Snake is a designer baby made with the DNA of "the greatest soldier ever".
  • Irony:
    • For a man with "inferior genes", he managed to accomplished what Big Boss, Venom Snake, Liquid, and Solidus failed to do: destroy the Patriots.
    • Speaking of "dominant and recessive genes", keep in mind that dominant genes were the ones that chldren inherited from a parent, like the hair gene. This is often misunderstood, but look at both Solid and Liquid's hair to realize it: Liquid/Eli has blond hair, while Solid/David has brown hair and is generally very similiar in appearence to Big Boss, so he was the one with the dominant genes.
    • He actually accomplishes the one thing that Big Boss and Venom Snake failed to do: Fulfil The Boss's Will.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even after his Character Development in Metal Gear Solid, he's still as abrasive and bitter as ever. However, he's now willing to fight for other people as opposed to just himself. By the time Metal Gear Solid 4 rolls around, he's noticably more bitter, but he's barely rude to anyone.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Quite possibly the best example in gaming. Mentally, spiritually, and physically, Snake is put through the wringer throughout the series. He is jaded and cynical, and doubts that anything he does will make any difference in the long run, but he still fights to rid the world of superweapons like Metal Gears because it's the right thing to do, and because no one else will. He doesn't complain, but he has a dark and brooding side seen most clearly in the original Metal Gear Solid. War transforms us, into beasts.
  • Legacy Character: Despite the fact that he's one of Big Boss's three clones, he's the only who is commonly referred to as "Snake" by everyone, whereas his brothers are known primarily as "Liquid" and "Solidus". Granted, the fact that he was the original protagonist in the MSX2 games, while Liquid and Solidus were introduced much later.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Thanks to FOXDIE, he's this to the members of FOXHOUND in Metal Gear Solid and then to EVA, Ocelot, and Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Applies to MGS1, and only increases with each game. This is a guy who took out two Metal Gears with a fistful of grenades.
    • With Solidus's fall from grace and the publication of Natasha's tell-all book, Snake's fame reached its zenith. This was the last straw for the Patriots opting to remove Snake rather than allow him to continue discrediting. Even then, soldiers like Raiden refuse to buy Snake as a terrorist, and even suspect he faked his death (which later turns out to be the case).
  • Lightning Bruiser: Compared to Big Boss (who emphasized joint locks, throws, and overwhelming force) and Revolver Ocelot (who preferred brute strength), Solid Snake is a striker who favors powerful jabs and kicks to stagger and knock out enemies as fast as possible. While this lacks the finesse and versatility of CQC, his style shines in one-on-one combat. This also applies to his appearance in the Smash Bros. universe.
  • Like Father, Like Son: He is remarkably blasé about entering the most fortified and advanced strongholds in human history armed with nothing but a pack of cigarettes. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater shows he inherited this attitude from his father.
  • Living Legend: Has reached this status already in MGS1, where Mei-Ling refers to him as "the famous Solid Snake". His fame grows stronger through the series, with Meryl calling him a "legendary hero" in MGS4. However, he ends up becoming the Patriots' #1 enemy in the process.
  • Living on Borrowed Time:
    • During MGS1, he's injected with the FOXDIE virus to kill off the members of FOXHOUND, but Naomi secretly alters it so it would kill Snake as well, but set it to a "wildcard" value. When he questions Naomi about when it would activate and kill him, Naomi tells him of being unsure, and advises him to live his life to the fullest in whatever time has has left.
    • Come MSG4, he's dying from Rapid Aging. While Snake always knew he'd never have a normal life, he still has to stop Ocelot's plan before he can die.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: For most of his life, David spent his childhood in America while Liquid was sent to UK then to Africa. He doesn't discover the dark secrets of his birth or his connections to Big Boss and his brothers until he's face-to-face with them. To wit:
    • In Zanzibar, Big Boss pulls a Luke, I Am Your Father revelation (via retcon) after his equipment are burnt, getting into a fistfight with Gray Fox, and now practically defenseless against his father. This parental revelation would replace his nightmares of Outer Heaven with new ones with Zanzibar for years to come.
    • In Shadow Moses, Liquid constantly calls Snake as "brother" and reveals that they're both the sons of Big Boss. Apparently, Liquid left such an impact on him that his Zanzibar nightmares were replaced with Liquid haunting him from the grave.
    • In Big Shell, Snake finds out about Solidus posing as him. Unlike the former two, Snake doesn't lose sleep or have nightmares involving Solidus.
  • Macgyvering: He did "kill" the world's greatest soldier with a Zippo lighter.
    • He coaches Raiden to shoot pipes and fire extinguishers in MGS2, quoting "necessity is the mother of invention" numerous times. This is undoubtedly a main tenet of FOXHOUND.
  • Made of Iron: You could write a novel's length of things he has endured, including dozens of gunshots, having half his face horribly burned and crawling through a tunnel filled with lethal microwaves
  • Martial Arts Headband: His trademark.
  • Meaningful Name: His real name David is a Hebrew name that derives from King David, the Old Testament Hebrew ruler who managed to slay the giant Goliath with nothing more than a sling and a dagger prior to becoming the king of Israel. Solid Snake, in a similar fashion, has managed to overcome seemingly impossible odds despite being the Les Enfant Terribles clone that contained supposedly inferior genes, and he takes on giant war robots with nothing but a rocket launcher (and sometimes less) on a regular basis. In fact, David in Hebrew means "beloved", as he is the most beloved character in the franchise.
    • By extension, David has a brother named Eliab in the bible. Liquid Snake's real name? Eli.
  • Memetic Badass: Acknowledged in-universe as the man who makes the impossible, possible. Some of his most impressive feats include destroying an Abrams battle tank with only a handful of hand grenades, shooting down a Hind D gunship piloted by a guy who previously used it to shoot down a pair of F-16 fighter jets, and winning a fist fight against a cyborg ninja warrior who can react so fast that he can deflect bullets with his sword. Snake is widely regarded as the greatest soldier to have ever lived, for good reason.
  • The Mentor: Acts as one to both Meryl and Raiden.
  • Misblamed: In-Universe; post-MGS, Naomi was arrested for treason and placed in a maximum security facility, only to be broken out three weeks later. Snake was assumed to be the one who engineered this escape, with the incident being added to his rap sheet. However, MGS4 reveals that it was actually Liquid Ocelot who busted Naomi out.
  • Military Brat: A rare literal example, as not only is he "related" to someone in the Military (he's a clone of Big Boss), but the novelization for Metal Gear Solid as well as the source material and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker implied he was raised within the military from a very early age.
  • Morality Pet: When Snake starts drifting too far to the dark side, it's usually Otacon who pulls him out of it and reminds him that there's still good in the world.
  • Mr. Fanservice: That ass is legendary. Emphasis on making his catsuit restrictive in all the right places so that the gazing would be well received while playing the game as Snake. He also gets some costumes and scenes that show off his nice physique throughout the games.
  • Must Have Nicotine: He often goes to extremes to get his nicotine fix.
    • In the original MGS, he swallows a pack of cigarettes to take him to Shadow Moses.
    • Taken to extremes in MGS4, where he's constantly smoking and complaining when he can't. Best shown when he reunites with Naomi; he's constantly trying to light a cigarette, fumbling it, dropping it, having to find it again, failing to light it, having it stolen by Naomi, and so on and so forth, for the whole scene, and Naomi doesn't even pause expositing at him about how he's going to die, horribly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Let's see, his actions in Outer Heaven resulted in NATO blowing up the Outer Heaven resistance members despite their being their allies, his defeat of Gray Fox and Big Boss not only got Naomi very angry at him (enough to inject a bioweapon in him to target him specifically among other things), but it also led to the Patriots controlling humanity by the 21st century, and heck, even after he defeated both the Patriots and Outer Haven in 2014 while dying, Rising implies things may have actually ended up worse than before.
    • Almost everyone who is aware is glad that the Patriots are gone, especially when one considers that they planned to use nanomachines to implement the system across all of humanity.
  • No Badass to His Valet: To Otacon and Sunny. Neither hesitate to call Snake out on his bad habits, and Sunny is perfectly willing to snatch cigarettes right out of his mouth.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: In MGS4, Naomi Hunter performs a thorough medical examination on Snake and notes that due to his Clone Degeneration/Rapid Aging, only his sheer strength of will is holding him together; she specifically notes that a normal man wouldn't even be standing by this point.
  • Nothing Personal: Even though they were on opposing sides during Zanzibar Land, Snake and Gray Fox still considered each other to be best friends no matter what, with Snake even phrasing this trope by name while telling Naomi as such.
  • #1 Dime: Snake refuses to go on a mission without his smokes. During the Outer Heaven Uprising, he smoked a brand of cigarettes known as Lucky Strikesnote ; since then, he considers them a sort of "good luck charm".
  • Odd Friendship: Snake doesn't have a whole lot of friends for rather obvious reasons, but laconic, tough as nails, no nonsense soldier Snake and nerdy Otaku, Omnidisciplinary Scientist, and all around Nice Guy Hal 'Otacon' Emmerich have a startlingly genuine friendship, having bonded over their shared ideals. Snake also has, to a lesser extent, several strong relationships with figures from his past... but as far as friends go it's really just Otacon.
  • Omniglot: He's noted in both Super Smash Bros. Brawl and MGS4 to be fluent in six languages, though the only ones we know of for sure are English and French.
  • One Last Smoke: He quits smoking after sharing one last smoke with Big Boss in the ending of MGS4.
  • One-Man Army: Snake is more than capable of taking an army down all by himself, as he demonstrates on multiple occasions. It is downplayed compared to normal uses of the trope, however, due to his relative vulnerability and his operations usually being sneaking operations, but when push comes to shove, that doesn't deter him one bit.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: In MGS1, Snake is called back into action after his old unit FOXHOUND goes rogue and seizes a nuclear warhead disposal facility. Snake is selected for the mission due to his knowledge of FOXHOUND's inner workings, though Snake denies having any insight into those newfangled Genome Soldiers or weirdo shamans. It also helps that Snake shares the same face as the unit's leader Liquid Snake.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: He's only referred to by his real name of David thrice in the entire series. Once in the ending of the original Metal Gear Solid when telling Meryl and/or Otacon, once in MGS4 when Big Mama calls him as such, and in the Truth Records in MGS5.
  • Only Sane Man: He's the only character in his saga who starts out and ends their story with all their marbles intact. While he suffers trauma similar to Big Boss, he never goes off the deep end into conspiracy and warmongering like his mentor.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: For his masquerading as Pliskin to fool any player, they would have to have literally never played a Metal Gear game before, including the tanker section of the same game. Raiden is the only one who buys it, as even Peter Stillman sees the holes in his story.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: Sort of. It became somewhat clear that Solid Snake, after the Shadow Moses Incident, was willing to commit actions that would at the very least get people both foreign and domestic hateful of him enough to issue a bounty on his head, and then the Patriots were ticked off enough at him to try to orchestrate the sinking of a tanker in part to frame Snake.
  • Parental Substitute: To Sunny Emmerich, the biological daughter of Olga Gurlukovich. After Olga's death, Otacon and Snake take over the role of being Sunny's parents, with the former acting as her official legal guardian and adoptive father.
  • Perma-Stubble: Which develops into a full mustache by the time of MGS4.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Snake lost the ability to laugh sometime between MGS1 and MGS2.
  • Player Character: In Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Libertynote , and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, as well as various non-canon sequels and spinoffs (Snake's Revenge, Ghost Babel and the original Acid). That's not even counting his "Snake vs. Monkey" minigame appearance (although they technically cheated on that one by using the Naked Snake model).
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: He's at least seen Jurassic Park,note  2001: A Space Odyssey,note  Escape from New York,note  and A New Hope.note  Ironic, considering Big Boss, his genetic father, was completely ignorant of pop culture.note 
  • Popularity Power: Like Big Boss, Snake's notoriety in-universe is a nod to his actual fanbase. In fact, even the games are canonical; Raiden has beaten VR versions of Outer Heaven, Zanzibar Land, Shadow Moses, the Tanker, and even Galuade.
  • Posthumous Character: It's heavily implied that he died between MGS4 and Rising since both games are four years apart and Snake only had about six months left to live.
  • Pretender Diss: His attitude towards soldiers trained by VR experiences rather than in the actual field, as revealed in MGS2. He has much the same attitude toward the SOP-controlled soldiers in MGS4.
    Snake: (appraising Raiden) A virtual grunt of the digital age, that's just great.
    Raiden: That's far more effective than live exercises!
    Snake: You don't get injured in VR, do you? Every year, a few soldiers die in field exercises.
  • Properly Paranoid: In the Tanker chapter of MGS2, Snake expresses vocal concern about his mission onboard the tanker, citing that it might be a trap, and also expressing genuine worry that the guards weren't undergoing enough SOP. He's right on both fronts, as the former was revealed to be true as a smear campaign against Philanthropy instigated by the Patriots, and the latter had the Gurlukovich Mercenaries (and later Ocelot) killing the Marines with ease.
  • Psycho for Hire: See Blood Knight above, most specifically Liquid Snake's line about Solid Snake enjoying all the killing when on REX.
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • If Metal Gear 2 is any indication, Snake's a figure skating enthusiast.
    • He also has this J-Pop song on his iPod in MGS4.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: To at least some extent when Snake reconciles with his father.
  • Red Baron: He's dubbed as "the man who makes the impossible, possible".
  • Reflexive Response: When Otacon asks how he suddenly knows CQC, he explains to Otacon that he used to learn CQC until he abandoned it upon finding out about Big Boss' true goal. He then goes to tell Otacon that whenever soldiers decide to use a cookie cutter imitation of CQC, he cites this as a reason as to how he is able to perform it.
    Old Snake: When some guy comes at me using that cookie cutter imitation of CQC, my body just reacts naturally. That's all.
  • Reputation Apathy: Snake does what he needs to do to save the world, even if it makes people hate him for it or he's branded a terrorist in the processes. This is what separates him from Big Boss; whereas Big Boss eventually snapped and sought vengeance on the world for taking everything from him and wanting him dead, Snake just plain doesn't care. Campbell even remarks on this in MGS4:
    Campbell: We can't all be as strong as you, Snake. Some of us can't bear living like pariahs.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Snake's actions in service of the CIA have assembled a phone book-thick dossier of war crimes which, if the U.S. government so chooses, could piledrive him into federal prison until he's a "very old man". Essentially, Campbell can revoke his retirement anytime he pleases, which he does. Twice. The original idea for the ending to Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots actually referenced this fact, concluding with Snake and Otacon turning themselves in to the authorities and being executed for their various crimes against the state; staff at Konami rebelled against the idea, however.
  • Retired Badass: He's dragged out of retirement in Metal Gear 2 and Metal Gear Solid. Lampshaded by his appearance in "Snake vs. Monkey" from Snake Eater, where he chews the Colonel out for taking him out of his vacation, asking at one point why he couldn't get Sam or Gabe to handle this.
  • Scars Are Forever: Near the end of Act 3 of MGS4, Snake gets the entire left side of his face badly burned while saving Big Mama from being burnt. The burn scars remain for the rest of the game.
  • Scratchy-Voiced Senior: While he was always had a Smoky Voice, come MGS4, Old Snake's voice is the deepest and most gravelly it's always been. Of course, it doesn't help that he's also been a heavy smoker his entire life.
  • Separated at Birth: With Liquid Snake. They were born in Carlsbad, New Mexico but Snake spent his childhood in Oregon while Liquid was moved to England shortly after their birth. They had similar upbringings though, both being raised in isolation and receiving extensive education and military training.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: His PTSD is so severe, he retires from FOXHOUND and retreats into the snowy mountains of Alaska. In MGS2, we see his flashbacks of Outer Heaven have been replaced by nightmares of Liquid taunting him.
  • Shirtless Scene: He gets two: the first in the original Metal Gear Solid when he's captured by Liquid and Ocelot, and the second in MGS4 when Naomi has him undergo an extensive medical exam. The latter counts as Fan Disservice due in part to his Rapid Aging, and the mere sight of what is happening to him is enough to both horrify and move Naomi to tears.
  • Shrouded in Myth: It seems like everyone who meets Snake for the first time has some sort of memetic badass picture of him.
  • Signature Move: His go to move is to sneak up behind enemies and perform a Judo chokehold until they pass out.
  • Silver Fox: In MGS4. Despite having the body of an old man, Snake still has a fairly muscular body and an extremely prominent, well-sculpted ass.
  • Smiting Evil Feels Good: In MGS1, he angsts over the fact that he genuinely enjoys killing enemy soldiers. Killing enough people in the fourth game will result in Liquid's below accusation ringing in his mind, causing Snake to throw up in disgust with himself.
    Solid Snake: I don't want that kind of world!
    Liquid Snake: Ha! You lie! So why are you here, then? Why do you continue to follow your orders while your superiors betray you? Why did you come here? Well, I'll tell you, then. You enjoy all the killing! That's why!
    Solid: What?!
    Liquid: Are you denying it? Haven't you already killed most of my comrades?
    Solid: That was-!
    Liquid: [chuckling] I watched your face when you did it. It was filled with the joy of battle!
    Solid: You're wrong...
    Liquid: There's a killer inside you. You don't have to deny it; we were created to be that way.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Until he finally quits in the fourth game.
    • Ironically, he actually tells Raiden not to smoke as it would "stunt his growth" in a Codec conversation. Even with trying to cover his identity (he was disguised as Pliskin after all to keep his "death" faked), the fact that he actually carried cigarettes around (he was the one who gave Raiden the cigarettes in the first place) would borderline Hypocritical Humor. (Truth in Television as smokers are frequently the most adamant bunch when telling non-smokers NOT to start smoking)
      • In MGS4, with all he goes through, by the time of the final act, he's coughing up his lungs and sucking on a breathing machine, and he's still asking for a cigarette. Definitely not cool. (Also Truth in Television, as anyone will know who's known an inveterate smoker ill with terminal lung cancer. "What harm can it do me now?" seems to be the line of thought; indeed, aside from the potential for explosion in careless handling of open flame around bottled oxygen, it's hard to come up with an answer.)
  • Spanner in the Works: The reappearance of Snake does not make the Patriots happy, as the Big Shell scenario was intended for Raiden alone.
    • Solid Snake was also one to Big Boss. During the original Metal Gear, he was always intended to die due to Big Boss feeding Venom Snake information about Solid Snake's mission. Not only did Solid Snake kill Venom Snake and destroy Outer Heaven. He managed to defeat Big Boss in Metal Gear 2 and destroy Outer Heaven's organization a second time, thus Big Boss lost everything he built up in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and later has only a few key allies left as support in Metal Gear Solid 4 where his father truly dies with the goals fulfilled.
  • Smoky Voice: In the English dub, Snake has a coarse and weathered voice, not only to reflect his age but also partially from him being a habitual lifelong smoker. By MGS4, it's deteriorated quite a bit, both through his old age and cigarettes. The drastic upgrade in Snake's growling in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was David Hayter's idea; he thought that Snake's voice would completely fall apart as he prematurely aged.
  • Stomach of Holding: As mentioned above, he managed to smuggle his cigarettes in with him to Shadow Moses in his stomach, due to a shot that suppressed his stomach acids.
  • Strong and Skilled: He's a super soldier with enhanced strength, speed and agility and decades of combat experience and skill in a variety of martial arts such as Judo, Karate, Boxing, Jiujitsu, Aikido, Muay Thai and Taekwondo.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Snake has a tendency to break out a new skill when it's most needed (Hey, if Snake Plisskin could become an expert surfboarder in an instant...). He learned to rock climb and hang-glide just in time for Metal Gear 2. MGS1 reveals him to be a master of scuba diving (though he previously swam through a swamp to reach Outer Heaven, it didn't involve sub-zero water or a torpedo) and rappelling — two abilities he puts to use in the game. In MGS2, he even boasts to Stillman that he's an expert in bomb disposal. However, it's not entirely unreasonable for him to know such a broad range of combat skills having been trained from a young age and been a special forces operative.
    • He was trained in CQC by Big Boss, but (conveniently) never used it until after MGS3 was released in stores, claiming he preferred not to copy the moves of his sworn enemy. Big Boss's fame in the Metal Gear world is proportionate to his popularity among gamers; hence, the enemy soldiers all use CQC because Big Boss's adventures are enjoying a revival, so Snake sensibly decides to fight fire with fire.
  • Super-Soldier: Was a clone of Big Boss, and via the Super Baby Method he was one of two surviving fetuses in a method of abortions of the fetal growth.
    • He may also be a subversion of the trope. Metal Gear Solid repeatedly claims that one of Big Boss's clones was inferior to the original, the other twin and Solidus. If this is true, then there's a strong chance that Solid Snake is the inferior clone.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: It's common for Snake to relate with his enemies during their post-Boss Battle dying speech. The best example is after his fight with Sniper Wolf: when Wolf declares herself to be nothing more than a dog for shaming Wolf's people and going along with Liquid's plan, Snake comforts Wolf and assures otherwise. It's ultimately subverted by the time of MGS4, where he's just too tired to care and explicitly tells Drebin not to expect him to feel sorry for the B&B Corps. Hilariously subverted in Metal Gear 2, Running Man asks how Snake was able to win with his speed. Snake in return asks "Maybe you weren't fast enough?" as Running Man dies.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: His height has varied from 178 to 182 cm, he has dark hair and one very sharp wit, playing this trope completely straight.
  • Talking Weapon: He returns in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance as a talking wooden katana DLC weapon that is apparently infused with his soul called the "Snake Soul" Wooden Sword.
  • Technical Pacifist: He's considered the greatest warrior on Earth, but he's committed to preventing violence whenever he can and explicitly tells Raiden in MGS2 that, regardless of what he does it for, killing people is never right.
  • Too Much Information: In MGS4, there's Snake's Codec call to Otacon while hiding in a trash can/dumpster. When Otacon asks Snake how he knows how it is where the household dumps their waste, Snake explains in full, such as it smelling bad from last night's leftovers from dinner, as well as bugs crawling around his face, apparently roaches, a lot of them, as well as something crawling up his leg, leaving Otacon completely grossed out by the end. When questioned by Otacon whether he even feels sick from this, Snake responds that if it keeps him out of sight, he'll go so far as to hide in a toilet.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Twice. The events of Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land did him in the first time (Big Boss's betrayal, and several deaths of former allies and field contacts such as Gustava). He took the worst of it in Metal Gear Solid 4. It took Big Boss himself to help him realize he should spend the rest of his life peacefully.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Due to the events of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Snake was cordial to his in-game contacts and field agents, and when he does talk to them, his diction (or manner of speaking) comes off as polite. Come Metal Gear Solid where he becomes assertive towards his own in-game contacts and field agents who were too green to even trying to shoot him. 4 took this further down the line due to Clone Degeneration, his Rapid Aging heavily affects him to the point of being a Jerkass to everyone involved.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Had to undergo this in the original Metal Gear in order to locate the prison cell that Gray Fox was imprisoned inside.
    • He does a variation in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Namely, he gets Raiden captured, faking betrayal and allowing him to be brought before the Sons of Liberty in order to lessen security onboard Arsenal Gear. However, neither he nor his accomplice, Mr. X/Olga Gurlukovich, let Raiden in on the plan beforehand, presumably to ensure that Raiden's reaction was genuine, causing Raiden to be quite irritated at Snake afterwards.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: In which Big Boss points out. Just like Big Boss, Snake ends up being betrayed by those who used to be his allies (including his father and Gray Fox). Both men wanted to live outside the battlefield, but their traumas prevents them from forming a normal life. They both also created organizations to put a stop to the Patriots' plans. But whereas Big Boss created his so that soldiers can have a meaning in their lives, Snake just wanted to save the world from itself, even if he has to be a war criminal. And in the end, the world wants them dead, but where Big Boss would rather seek his revenge against the world, Snake plainly doesn't care.
  • Typhoid Mary: He carries the FOXDIE virus, engineered to kill the members of FOXHOUND as well as those involved in creating Metal Gear REX (i.e., the ArmsTech President Kenneth Baker). By the time of MGS4, it's stated that the FOXDIE Naomi injected him with was mutating and within at least three months would indiscriminately kill people left, right, and center, effectively turning Snake into a Person of Mass Destruction. Fortunately, a second strain of FOXDIE injected into him by Drebin cancels the first out, effectively stopping the outbreak before it starts.
  • Two-Faced: At the end of Act 3 of MGS4, he suffers a nasty burn that scars the entire left side of his face.
  • Underwear of Power: Snake's sneaking-suit may count.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Twice over. He is considered an inferior clone of Big Boss to Liquid's superior, and defeats him. Then he operates REX against RAY designed to destroy REXES and its derivatives, and win.
  • The Unfavorite: Solid Snake and Liquid were grown via the Super Baby Method, with six of their siblings being aborted to promote growth in the remaining two. Even hedging their bets, the Patriots ended up with only one satisfactory clone: Liquid. Solidus was a third clone was later created, suggesting the Patriots really had no use for Snake as an insurance policy anymore and received sub-standard training as an adult. Regardless of his unspectacular genes, Snake surpassed Big Boss, the other two, and even Venom Snake, proving once and for all that DNA does not determine one's fate.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Running back and forth to heat and cool the key card in what he thought was the REX deactivation routine. Being the vector of the FOXDIE virus may also count in another way.
  • Villain Killer: His battles with FOXHOUND end with most of them dying. The exceptions are Ocelot, who goes on to become a recurring character through the series, and Decoy Octopus, who was already dead by the time Snake arrived on Shadow Moses.
  • Warrior Poet: He can be rather philosophical when the occasion calls for it.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Snake triumphs repeatedly against soldiers with numerical and technological superiority (the Genome Soldiers in the first game, the Gurlukovich Mercenaries in the second game, and the PM Cs in the fourth game) just because he knows what he's doing and has the confidence and ability to pull it off. Even in the fourth game when his body is rapidly breaking down from old age, he still kicks tons of ass, just down to his sheer skill at covert warfare. Not even people with borderline supernatural abilities are much of a match for him.
  • We Do the Impossible: A legend in the black ops community, "The man who makes the impossible possible" because he can do things that [are considered by other characters to be impossible.
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: He prefers .45 caliber handguns, showing both his preference for subterfuge as opposed to straight combat and his old-fashioned sensibilities (plus, lower-velocity rounds are also easier to use with a suppressor). Also lots of grenades, mines, and explosive charges, for the same reasons. He's primarily depicted with a Mark 23 SOCOM in Solid and an M1911 in Guns of the Patriots, and while he uses a 9mm USP in the tanker chapter of Sons of Liberty he switches back to a SOCOM as his handgun of choice for the rest of the game. It says something that in his guest appearance in the Super Smash Brothers series, the developers made sure to put a holstered SOCOM pistol on his model even though he never uses it in gameplay.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, his fate is never conclusively addressed; during an optional Codec call, Raiden refers to Snake in the present tense, whereas others refers to him in the past tense, effectively leaving his fate open for Kojima to decide what to do with him.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Snake recognizes he is a soldier and a killer, and believes for most of his life he's fated to die on a battlefield. Despite being betrayed and abandoned many times, he climbs out of his despair, and decides to struggle on by fighting Metal Gears all over the world, because no one else will.
    Raiden: What are you, and Otacon fighting for?
    —>Snake: A future. You can stop being part of a mistake, starting now.
  • White Sheep: Of all the Snakes, he is the only one who did not turn villainous thanks to holding on to his moral compass. He and his two brothers were born through the Les Enfant Terribles, but had a villainous goal to defeat the Patriots while Big Boss and Venom Snake hates the world that wants them dead while creating a nation of soldiers to keep fighting. Snake has no reason to hate the world nor have ulterior motives born from hate but to save the world from itself. This is why Big Boss has so much respect for him in the end as Snake did not Turn Out Like His Father at the worst way possible.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Hilariously, this is Snake's attitude towards Sunny's cooking skills: a bad habit of burning or undercooking eggs and Snake looks physically ill whenever Sunny specially prepares a plateful for him.
  • Willfully Weak: In the MGS universe, there are two somewhat distinct systems of fighting, Close Quarters Battle note  and Close Quarters Combat note , with CQC being a more advanced and efficient art. Because CQC was Big Boss's signature, Snake refuses to use it and relies mostly on CQB until MGS4. This does however give him one advantage — since CQC relies on manipulating a target (preferably with a hand-gun and knife) where CQB revolves around threat suppression, practicing CQB makes Snake a deadlier opponent in a straight fight. The Final Boss of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots reflects this preference, as the game mechanics shift to a more combat focused style using moves from the first two Metal Gear Solid games rather than the "grab" system of CQC from the latter two.
  • World's Best Warrior: Through the games Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2 and Metal Gear Solid, Solid Snake cements himself as the greatest soldier of his generation, and quite possibly even the greatest soldier to have ever lived. While the most genetically imperfect of the three brothers cloned from Big Boss, his sheer skill and Heroic Resolve put him head and shoulders above his "better" brothers. Raiden as of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance can claim to have surpassed him, but when considering only baseline humans not augmented by cybernetics or other abilities, no one else comes remotely close to Snake.
    • An entry in the MGS4 Database, a free DLC, even verbatim calls him "The strongest soldier in history".
  • Would Hit a Girl: If they're the enemy. However, he's not totally unconscionable. Before his first boss fight with Sniper Wolf, he told Naomi he didn't want to see any woman die in front of him, which may stem from seeing Gustava Heffner die in front of him in Metal Gear 2. When the B&B Corps are defeated non-lethally, he takes the time to check their pulses before moving on to resume his current mission.
  • You Didn't Ask: He keeps a lot of info from Raiden, perhaps as a form of revenge for having to talk entirely in questions during the other games. One of the funnier gags in MGS2 is Raiden's growing incredulity at Snake not sharing what he knows.
  • Younger Than He Looks: An extremely tragic example of this: The Patriots tampered with his genes prior to his birth, changing them to greatly accelerate his aging process once he reached an age of around 40, as it would be the point his physical condition would have peaked and, seeing how he was meant to be a soldier, he would have by and large outlived his purpose. As a result, Snake is 42 by the time of Metal Gear Solid 4, but looks like he is on the edge of 80, and he won't very likely live past the age of 43.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Possibly inverted: As of Metal Gear Solid 4, he is the only one of the Les Enfants Terribles children who not only survived, but can live in peace for the rest of their lives, and he's the eldest of the children (or at the very least the middle child).
  • Your Days Are Numbered: In MGS4. Due to his Clone Degeneration-induced Rapid Aging, Snake has, at absolute best, only one year left to live.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: It is implied when Snake reveals his true identity in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that the organization that he founded, Philanthropy, committed actions that were comparable to terrorism during their raids on Metal Gear facilities. Unfortunately, this made it easy for the Patriots to frame him for the Tanker debacle.
  • Zen Survivor: Philosophizing is one of the few ways he copes with the trauma of war.