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- Many rooms are hidden behind unhinted breakable walls. The only way to find these is to punch the wall until you find a spot that sounds different. Good luck punching every wall in all of the bases unless you have a strategy guide. And even better, some random doors require you to also punch them, even though they previously only opened with keycards.
- Big Boss tells Snake to contact Schneider whenever a specific item is required in some of the early locations (such as the first gas-covered room or the first area with an electrified floor). The problem is that Schneider's number is never given by anyone in the game and it's not even listed in the manual. If you play around with the transceiver in a certain area (namely the first screen of the third floor, after exiting the first elevator) you will eventually receive an incoming transmission from Schneider if you set the frequency to a certain number (which is 120.79). Players who don't experiment with the radio as much are unlikely to ever figure out his number without looking it up on a guide.
- In the final room before Metal Gear, there is a very long hallway composed entirely of electrified floors. When you enter this room, you immediately get a call from Jennifer, who insists that you have no choice but to damage-race through the room as quickly as possible while using any rations that you may have, which the average player will probably do (and use valuable rations since the final two battles against Metal Gear and Big Boss are extremely difficult). In every other room like this in the game, there is a switch on a wall somewhere in the room that you can hit with a remote-controlled missile to disable the electrified floors, and this room is no exception — because the switch is to the left of the exit door... but it's completely invisible!
- The NES version turned the Basement floor shared by Buildings No. 1 and No. 2 into a separate building with two entrances, both preceded by a maze area. The correct path in both mazes is "west, west, north, west", but none of your radio contacts or any of the prisoners you'll save will ever tell you this. At the time the game came out, there was no internet, so anyone who wanted to look up the solution would have to search for it in a video game magazine (such as Nintendo Power) and find out which issue featured the correct path.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
- Getting the suppressor for the AKS-74U above Very Easy difficulty, where it's just stashed in the same warehouse as the AKS-74U itself. On all higher difficulties, it's instead hidden on the far side of the connecting bridge between Shells 1 and 2, but only after the fight with the Harrier where it's been wrecked. The obvious way to get to it - crossing over to the Shell 2 side where it is and backflipping up from a raised portion over to it - doesn't work, because the instant you get up to that raised portion, a fire that can never be extinguished starts up to block off that path. You're instead supposed to climb back up to the half of the bridge closer to Shell 1 when the cutscene dumps you there and make a much more precise jump from the destroyed end of the bridge over to the platform where the suppressor is.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- Want to get the "Markhor" title to unlock the EZ Gun? Better make sure you know exactly where all the food in the game is and not miss a single one. It's made worse when one of the food items, the Tsuchinoko, is nearly undetectable, invisible until the first time you catch it, and involves placing a mousetrap in one of only a few set areas and hoping for an invisible number generator to give you one. You'll never catch this the first time you play the game unless you spend an unreasonable length of time farming food or if you are addicted to the optional codec dialogue, and even then, it is only described in nebulous terms.
- Defeating The Sorrow sounds simple once it's described, but finding that out for yourself comes close to outright moon logic. When you get to the end of the river and find his corpse, you just die instantly anyway, leaving a player to wonder how exactly they're supposed to win. The trick is discovering that you can still open your inventory in the Game Over screen in this specific instance, then taking the revival pill. Mercifully, if you go through the whole song and dance and fail enough times, Zero will eventually call you and just tell you what to do.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Some of the recruitment methods for several characters (including fan favorites) are needlessly obtuse and involve a variety of ridiculous (sometimes counter-intuitive) actions:
- Cunningham requires that you beat the game very quickly (on or before January 1st, 1971) and stamina kill him.
- Eliza requires you to nearly max out the Medical Team (level 80 or above), then beat the game, upon which she will be added to the army upon the next playthrough. The kicker is that you might get Ursula instead, depending on whether the unit level over 80 is an odd number. Nothing in the game tells you this.
- Eva is the most difficult to recruit by a country mile. Getting her requires that you've recruited Sokolov (himself an example of this) beforehand, then you have to interrogate random enemies in different locations (and refrain from recruiting other individuals while doing this). After interrogating several leads, you're eventually led to the communications base where she will call you to meet at the airport. You're then required to wait 6 days, head to the top of the airport, get another call from Eva and finally get to her location in the western wilderness, upon which she will finally join. And even better, you won't even be able to find Ocelot without recruiting her. Try working that out without a guide.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
- Good luck finding out everything there is to find out about this game on your own. You need to beat certain missions to unlock other missions (ones with highly desirable weapon schematics, like a rail gun) but the official strategy guide doesn't explain which unlocks which. Some missions also must be defeated with an S-rank (meaning no kills, no alerts, and pretty much speeding through as fast as possible) to unlock a few weapon schematics, and the Extra Ops where you collect weapon schematics actually don't unlock them. On that note, good luck trying to get any codenames for yourself, as the game does not tally the amount of weapons one uses or even weapon range, and the guide doesn't elaborate further on exactly how to unlock them.
- Trying to get the Neo Moss camo (with the best Camo rate) alone. To start with, you need to be in a specific ghost mission. S-ranking that mission only gets you a missile design spec. Guess how to get it. You use your codec near a ghost until you contact The End. Yes, him.
- Getting parts for ZEKE. Most people don't know how to get them. You must leave the part you want either completely undamaged, or rather, you can damage it, but any parts below 90% health gives you a very low chance of getting the parts and some require no damage at all, very hard with the AI weapons that move around a lot. Even then, it is still a very small chance of actually getting the parts even if you don't damage them at all.
- Unlocking the true final boss requires you to complete at least the bare minimum for your Humongous Mecha, which can only be acquired from parts that drop from boss fights; go through six separate missions to locate an escaped prisoner (Zadornov) with each one only being activated after completing a few Extra Ops missions. Then, Zadornov escapes a seventh time, but, because he figured out a way to remove his tracking device, he doesn't have a dedicated mission. The game expects you to go to the target practice area and collect him from there. Furthermore, Zadornov won't even show up in said area unless you're playing as Snake, despite the other search missions allowing you to play as other recruits, and the player at this point has probably grown accustomed to using a particular recruit with superior stats.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
- Getting some of the Data Storages and making one of the enemies with a collectable left arm to spawn are pretty obscure: one of the former requires you to stay on a damaged elevator as long as possible since the last enemy you kill drops it and it's basically impossible to avoid dying after you get it, while the latter requires you to accomplish 2 out of 3 current objectives without getting detected when stealth is strictly optional everywhere else. It hurts even more if you screw up and kill the enemy with the data arm without cutting it off or damaging the arm itself.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
- In order to keep Quiet from leaving Diamond Dogs (necessitating her rescue and the mission that follows it), you have to use one of two unapparent methods to keep her in your employ — either keep the Buddy Bond with her below 100% or use a Butterfly part (awarded for using the character repeatedly on missions and having them do the majority of the work) in your emblem. Players are unlikely to know of both methods because it's highly likely that your bond will be maxed by the point she leaves in the game (mission 43), and the only place the emblem strategy was explained was in the official strategy guide.
- Even worse, how to get Quiet back after completing "A Quiet Exit". You have to complete mission 11 ("Cloaked in Silence") and neutralize her non-lethally seven times, after which the mission changes to "[Reunion] Cloaked in Silence" and you need to complete it non-lethally once more to get her back. Unless you read the patch notes when this feature was added in, nothing in the game hints to it otherwise.
- The Animal Conservation Platform sidequest. Early on, Kaz tells you that an NGO has contracted Diamond Dogs to find and rescue various animals throughout the two operating theatres. While you will encounter most of the large animals throughout your travels in both regions, it's incredibly difficult (if not outright impossible) to capture the rest without the use of a guide. Certain animals are only found in very specific parts of the two maps, and if you didn't have the strategy guide which showed these locations, you would have no idea they existed. Of particular note are the ultra-rare animals like the Tsuchinoko, which is located in an inlet at the northern end of Lufwa Valley in Africa, which is never normally visited at any point in the storyline. And even worse, these animals are needed for 100% Completion.
- The method to unlock the secret mission (and therefore see the true ending of the game). The strategy guide refuses to explain it, supposedly because they were told not to by Konami. As a result, the method was only discovered through significant trial-and-error by enterprising players. Most of the requirements are straightforward (beat all normal/postgame story missions, fully upgrade Mother Base, complete required side-ops), but the last requirement is to listen to all of the yellow-highlighted audio recordings. Which are tied-up in dozens of submenus that are unloaded on the player at various points in the game. If you forgot to listen to even one, you're out of luck. Thankfully, it's easy to skip to the next recording (the cassette is counted as "viewed" once the exclamation point disappears from the tape after a few seconds). Most guides online don't even know how to unlock it.
- The Paz sidestory is tied up in a section of Mother Base that the player has no reason to visit at any point in the game besides a single side-op (the Medical platform), in an unassuming section of the second floor that only opens up once you've completed the first Wandering Soldier mission. Even when you reach it, you have to know that the storyline won't progress until you complete a mission in between each Wandering Soldier side-op.
- Neither the manual or anything in the game (besides a single loading-screen tip) mentions the existence of the Cardboard Box Delivery system (though those who have played previous titles in the series will likely catch on at some point). Even then, you have to know that you need to collect a delivery invoice from a base before you can travel to that specific place, and there's no specific way to keep track of which invoices you have and haven't collected without referring to a map. Not to mention that there are items that can only be acquired through this sidequest (the water-resistant and smoke-deploying cardboard boxes), which requires you to get all of the invoices from one and/or both areas. The only place any of this is explained is in the strategy guide.
- Completing the Target Practice Side-Op on the R&D Platform is a hair-pulling exercise in frustration, not helped by the poor design of the platform itself. Nearly all of the Target Practice Side-Ops throughout Mother Base allow to shoot a majority (or in some cases, all) of the targets from your starting location. Not so much with the main R&D Platform, with a route that forces you to jump down storeys and shimmy across pipes in a specific route through the platform. Not helping matters is that (a) several of the targets are hidden in fiendishly-difficult spots and are easily missed (e.g. the underside of the helicopter landing pad), and (b) if you fall too far and die, you could lose a significant chunk of progress due to the game not autosaving whatsoever on Mother Base. Just completed some of the other Target Practices before this and screwed up? Enjoy doing it all over again!
- Repeatedly tapping the same button/key used to start lockpicking whilst in the process of doing so allows you to pick the lock much faster than normal. There is nothing in the game that tells you this.