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Video Game / Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
aka: Metal Gear 2

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All spoilers for Metal Gear are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
Seasons greetings from Zanzibar Land!
"...Metal... Gear?"
Solid Snake, beginning a grand tradition.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is the official sequel to the original Metal Gear. It was released for the MSX2 home computer in 1990 exclusively in Japan. Following the huge overseas success of the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Metal Gear,note  Konami commissioned the development of a sequel titled Snake's Revenge for the Western markets without the involvement of Hideo Kojima. After learning that a sequel without his input or consent was in development from another employee who was working on Snake's Revenge, Kojima immediately began working on his own authorized sequel, resulting in one of the most critically acclaimed 8-bit games of all time.

With the world facing an energy crisis after the world's oil supply unexpectedly runs dry, Dr. Kio Marv, a Czech biologist, develops a microbe called OILIX, capable of synthesizing petroleum. Hoping to use OILIX to ensure their military dominance, a small nuclear-armed nation called Zanzibar Land kidnaps Marv during a trip to the United States to discuss his findings. On Christmas Eve 1999, FOXHOUND agent Solid Snake is sent in to defuse this threat and rescue Marv from the clutches of Zanzibar Land. But Zanzibar Land has an ace up their sleeves: a new model of Metal Gear...

Despite being released only three years later, Metal Gear 2 features a much more elaborate game design than its predecessor with a completely redesigned engine. Many elements that would become mainstay in the Metal Gear series were actually introduced here such as the radar, the ability to crawl, the use of noise to attract enemies and peripheral vision for the guards. The narrative was also much more complex than the first game, with many more cutscenes and radio conversations than in the original game. Kojima would later use Metal Gear 2 to lay the groundwork for Metal Gear Solid.

Released during the twilight days of the MSX2, Metal Gear 2 was Konami's final MSX release and its low print run ensured that it would become one of the most sought-after games by MSX collectors. A fan-translated version was completed in 1998 by the hobbyist group G&T Soft, along with an online version of the user's manual (which includes not only playing instructions, but extensive information on the game's story and setting), just in time for the release of Metal Gear Solid. Konami themselves would later release Metal Gear 2 officially outside of Japan alongside the first MSX2 game in updated versions that were included in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and later in the HD, Legacy and Master Collections.

This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Faced with Big Boss' machine gun unarmed, Snake must create a makeshift flamethrower to fight him.
  • All There in the Manual: A very extensive one, with half of the manual covering the game's backstory and setting in great detail.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: All of the characters have different sprites when facing left or right, even unarmed characters.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: According to the manual, Operation Intrude F014 takes place on Christmas Eve 1999, thus explaining the Christmas references throughout the game.
  • Anti-Villain: Going by some characters' statements, in spite of Big Boss essentially wanting to turn the world into an immense battlefield, he did nonetheless do non-villainous actions such as saving the Outer Heaven Resistance members, as well as forgiving them for their earlier opposition towards him and Outer Heaven, after the NATO bombings of Outer Heaven. This was alluded to in Kyle Schneider's dying speech. Gray Fox revealed that Big Boss saved his life twice, earning him his genuine loyalty. He also saved the children living in Zanzibar Land, although the last part is in the gray area.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The "Czech" spoken by Dr. Marv in the MSX2 version was actually broken Russian transliterated to Japanese, something that even the fan translation project poke fun at on their website. In the later ports, it was replaced with actual Czech dialogue.
  • Ascended Glitch: The camouflage mat was based on a glitch that the developers discovered during the game's debugging phase. Specifically, there was a crawling space in a certain area that caused Snake to suddenly turn invisible. Kojima thought it was a cool glitch and requested the addition of an item that could replicate the effect.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: As in the first game, Metal Gear's main innovation is also its biggest flaw. Lobbing grenades at its legs will destroy it.
  • Attract Mode: It has two. The first, upon booting, is a credits reel, going over the specs of the new model Metal Gear. The second, if the player waits during the title screen, explains the plot.
  • Back Tracking: You'll be doing a lot of it. In general, the two MSX2 Metal Gear games were more open to exploration than later games in the series, due to having a looser plot structure.
  • Big Bad: Big Boss, once again, this time as the leader of Zanzibar Land.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Snake is freed of his nightmares of Outer Heaven and the secret of OILIX is safe. However, Dr. Marv was killed because he was caught in the middle of a political game. In addition, Snake disappears on Holly even though he agreed to have dinner with her once the mission was over.
  • Bland-Name Product: Snake's favorite brand of cigarettes are not Lucky Strikes, but Lucky Strikers.
  • Blood Knight: Although it was initially believed that Big Boss intended to use OILIX and the stolen stockpiles of nuclear missiles to conquer the world, it is revealed that his true goal was actually just to make the world a war zone so he and his soldiers can have meaning in their lives. Big Boss also implies that Snake is not that different than him.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Subverted: Snake and Holly White are fighting off against Zanzibar Land forces while waiting for Charlie (the pilot) to arrive to extract them, but then run out of ammo and are then at the mercy of the Zanzibar Land forces and presumably awaiting execution only for Charlie to arrive just in time and blast the soldiers to smithereens with the Sikorsky HH-64 Dragoon's machineguns.
  • Book Ends: The Metal Gear Solid 4 novelization claims that Zanzibar Land was originally Tselinoyarsk, the place Naked Snake infiltrated in Metal Gear Solid 3. In other words, his start of fame was in Tselinoyarsk, and his final defeat in this game is in Tselinoyarsk.
  • Boss Battle: Quite a few of them: Black Ninja/Schneider, Running Man, Hind D, Red Blaster, Four Horsemen, Jungle Evil, Night Fright, Drago Pettrovich Madnar, Metal Gear D, piloted by Gray Fox, Fox on foot, & Big Boss. Then you have a final alert chase.
  • Boss Corridor: Once Fox dies, a familiar voice is heard calling, "Here, Snake!" Snake's old CO, Big Boss, is waiting at the end of this winding passage. A second one follows the final boss room and the room where Snake reunites with Holly, and it leads to a room where three guards will automatically spot you and start the final alert chase to the finish line.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Present and averted. The pistol Holly gives to Snake after he defeats Big Boss will have infinite ammo until all the enemies pursuing them have been dealt with. Pressing the fire button again will cause Snake to state that he's out of ammo and for three more soldiers to surround Snake and Holly until Charlie turns up.
  • Bottomless Pit: The trap floors are back from the first game. All but the quarter-final one will kill you if you fall in (the quarter-final one is entered automatically after crossing the Point of No Return, but there's a real one in a room past Big Boss, and one more on the final screen of the game).
  • Broken Bridge: The bridge to the Detention Camp gets destroyed by Metal Gear when Snake arrives there, forcing him to go to the Tower Building balcony and hang glide across the crevice to continue. You only need to do this once; after you obtain the last key cards, 7, 8, 9, and the green card, you can use the cardboard box on a conveyor in both the Detention Camp and a Level 9 room in the Tower Building to travel between the two.
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Spending too long in the canal will give Snake a cold, necessitating either some additional backtracking to find medicine to cure it or heightened caution, as he'll randomly sneeze and draw guards' attention unless cured.
  • Character Title: Solid Snake was actually intended to be the main title of the game rather than Metal Gear 2, as evident by the fact that it's spelled in larger letters on the game's logo and was more frequently referred to as such on MSX-focused publications in Japan at the time of its release. Even the print ads for the game and the spine for the official soundtrack had the title written as ソリッドスネーク メタルギア2 or Solid Snake: Metal Gear 2. However, the franchise's later revival as Metal Gear Solid negated this.
  • Characterization Marches On: Snake's diction is rather different here compared to later games. His articulation seems a bit more mature and comes off as quite polite when interacting with other characters. This is at odds with the more gruff, sarcastic Snake we'd hear starting with Metal Gear Solid. This could be attributed to his character growth.
  • Child Soldier: Played with. There are several children within Zanzibar Land, and Big Boss alludes in his final speech to Snake that he plans to arm them for the wars of the next generation. However, their lack of antagonism towards Snake (or rather, lack of any interaction with Snake other than giving him hints), as well as Big Boss stating "wars of the next generation" makes it ambiguous as to whether they were actually intended to be deployed into the battlefield at that particular moment or if they they had to wait until they were grown up before it happened.
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: Snake is shown to be climbing these in the game's opening cutscene.
  • Copy Protection: When Colonel Campbell changes his frequency, he tells the player to check the back of the box to get the new frequency (in the fan translated version, Campbell simply tells the player the new frequency). Also, a few other frequencies can only be learned by deciphering tap codes through the use of a chart in the manual.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first game had a paper-thin plot with virtually no character development and only one notable plot twist. This game is where the series started to become what it is now by telling a very complex and dark story for the 8-bit era. Big Boss in particular, became a much darker villain with complex motivations.
  • Decapitated Army: Averted. Even though Snake manages to defeat Big Boss, Zanzibar Land troops still pursue him and Holly to the extraction point (this is the true final challenge of the game).
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Beat any boss and they will explode violently after their last words.
  • Difficulty Level: Just like in the first Metal Gear, the revised version in Subsistence adds an Easy mode which increases the ammo and item-carrying capacity by twice the amount.
  • Disney Death:
    • Schneider, who was implied to be killed off-screen in the first game, is revealed to be alive as none other than the very first boss. He dies for real after you defeat him, and leaves behind the Level 2 key card.
    • Ultimately subverted with Big Boss, as the "Big Boss" Solid Snake killed at the end of Metal Gear was none other than Venom Snake, Big Boss's Body Double from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
  • Disposable Woman: Gustava Heffner lasts all of ten minutes before getting a missile to the face.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Apparently, the American government wanted Dr. Madnar to work on SDI, NEDW, and Brain Bombs, but he refused. What did they do? They had the scientific community ostracize him, and then act as though he never existed shortly thereafter. Suffice to say, Dr. Madnar was not too pleased with this treatment.
  • Down the Drain: A mine-filled canal runs beneath the Zanzibar Building. You may find yourself making several visits here if you choose to replenish rations in the basement.
  • The Dragon: Fox for Big Boss. Fox is the one making the main calls in the second half of the game, he's the one piloting Metal Gear D when you fight it, and then you have to beat him in a Good Old Fisticuffs boss fight. Only after getting past him will Snake find Big Boss.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Compared to the simplicity of the previous game, Metal Gear 2 is surprisingly very close to Metal Gear Solid, despite being hampered by the technical limitations of the MSX2. It still has a few odd moments and leftover play mechanics from the first game, such as the fact that Snake still moves only in four directions.
    • Snake's origin as a clone of Big Boss is never mentioned in this game and they're simply former commander/subordinate turned enemies. This goes at odds with Snake's account of this game's events in the first Metal Gear Solid, which reveals the relation between the two and makes it seem as if there was some kind of Luke, I Am Your Father moment just before the final battle.
    • Today it's already well-known that Solid Snake (or any other character) uses a cardboard box to hide from enemies. This game however also has a Bucket that Snake can not only hide in but can also use to shield himself from bullets. This bucket never made another appearance in the franchise since.
    • Some aspects of the guards' AI may seem strange to players more familiar with the Metal Gear Solid games. For example, guards will react to suspicious elevator noises.note  Another oddity is guards have to be on the same ground or platform level as Snake in order to see him.note 
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The boss fight against the Four Horsemen takes place in an elevator.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Pretty much every returning character who was on Snake's side in the original game ends up being an agent for Zanzibar Land this time. To be precise: Schneider is a drug-enhanced ninja who faces Snake as the first boss, Fox is Big Boss's right-hand man and is the quarter/semi-final boss, and Dr. Madnar is secretly working for him too while pretending to be a hostage.
  • Failed Future Forecast: Metal Gear 2, which was released in 1990, assumes that the Soviet Union will be still be around by 1999 and even has a character (Natasha, who would later be renamed Gustava in newer versions) employed by the StB, a real life organization that was dissolved the very same year the game came out. Natasha even compares her failed romance with Frank Hunter with the Berlin Wall, which was destroyed during the same year as well, though the manual does note that the Berlin Wall was destroyed in 1989. For his part, Dr. Madnar ran into trouble with the U.S. bureaucracy due to his suspicious Eastern European origins.
  • Fake Longevity: The game is game thanks to all the backtracking the player has to do.
  • Final Speech: This game began the series' tradition of the bosses doing this following their defeat.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: Snake is forced to discard his entire inventory before fighting Fox in unarmed combat. Fox sets Snake on fire and a good chunk of your inventory, including all weapons/key cards but excluding rations, will be burning and sap your health rapidly until you get rid of all the burning items in your inventory.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Despite the fact that OILIX was supposed to end the energy crisis and it was recovered in the end of the game, no mention of it was ever made again in the Metal Gear Solid games.
  • Freudian Excuse: Schneider, Dr. Madnar and Fox each give one in regards to why they defected to Zanzibar Land.
  • Grass Is Greener: Dr. Madnar was sorely disappointed when he did defect/immigrate to America and learned what he is going to be forced to do.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Mercenary War, from which Zanzibar Land gained its independence, is an event that is only alluded to having happened before the events of the game, during which Big Boss took control of the country.
  • Guide Dang It!: The player is required to decipher tap codes to learn at least two frequencies, which can only be done by using a chart in the manual. Additionally, Snake is also told to look at the back of the game's package to learn Campbell's second frequency upon reaching the Tower Building. Unfortunately, the North American version of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence only came with a condensed manual and the online PDF version barely contained any information of the older games. Because of this, some of the solutions were posted online by Konami in an FAQ on their site (no longer online, but there's a waybacked copy available). Metal Gear Sold 3: HD Edition fixes both of these issues by having the PDF manual cover both MSX2 games.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Kasler, who was part of the Zanzibar Land forces during the Mercenary War two years prior to the events of the game.
    • For a retroactive variant, there's Master Miller, who served under Big Boss during the events of Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain. His motives aren't all sunshine and rainbows, however; Miller only wanted to help Solid Snake to take revenge on Big Boss, who abandoned him and left Miller with the Body Double Venom Snake so he could create Outer Heaven undetected.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • You know the stinger missiles Snake has to use to shoot down the Hind D around the heliport area? Well, those Stinger missiles he gained were originally supposed to be installed onto the war machines of Zanzibar Land, including the Goriate tanks and the Hind D gunships.
    • This is how Red Blaster ended up being defeated; he attempts to "cook you slowly with his grenades" when you enter his wire trap boss room in the Tower Building 30th floor while searching for a carrier pigeon, but all you have to do is throw your own grenades at him on the ceiling.
  • Hollywood Acid: At some places, you will encounter shallow puddles of unspecified acid, which will instantly kill Snake if he takes one step into it.
  • Humongous Mecha: This game marks the first time in the series Snake gets to battle a manned Metal Gear.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Bridge of Sorrow separates the mainland from the detention camp and final areas of the game. Dr. Madnar manages to scurry across first. When Gustava goes next, the bridge gets destroyed by a missile launched by Metal Gear D, sending her flying back to Snake's side of the crevice. Dr. Madnar is then re-captured by armed guards.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug: The setup leading to the first boss fight, Black Ninja, is that Zanzibar Land found the transmitter on Dr. Marv, dismissed it as being cheap and inferior, and used it to lay a trap for Snake.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: According to the specs, Zanzibar Tower looms 600 meters high with 30 floors above ground and a single basement floor. You can't visit every floor, obviously, though Snake leads the guards on a merry chase up the staircases once the elevator that stops on the 20th floor is disabled following the Four Horsemen team boss fight.
  • It's Raining Men: According to the manual for the game, Snake infiltrated Zanzibar Land at the dead of night via a HALO jump.
  • Kill It with Fire: After destroying Metal Gear, Fox jumps out and sets Snake on fire. You must get rid of all the items in your inventory that have flames over them to put the fire out before it kills you; this will force you to discard all weapons, all your keys, and a few other now-useless items such as the gas mask and a "National Anthem" cassette. Thankfully, it won't burn your rations or the bulletproof vest, which cuts the damage you take in half.
  • Killer Rabbit: The "deadly poisonous" Zanzibar Hamsters.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: An important item is hidden inside an MSX cartridge made by a Japanese company called Konami. Hmm...
  • Long-Runner Tech Marches On: Understandable if you played the prequels up to this point, since items such as the iDroid don't exist yet. It even extends to the Metal Gears such as Sahelanthropus the first Metal Gear mech to stand upright. This is lampshaded by Black Color, who mentions the transmitter on Dr. Marv is outdated.
  • Made of Explodium: Bosses tend to explode when they die. Can be a bit of a level breaker if they've just given a dramatic speech.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Madnar. However, his name was originally Dr. Petrovich, and he was on Snake's side in the first game. Plus, according to him, the only reason why he was even labeled as such was because America's politicians just wanted him to make things like Brain Bombs, as well as make things relating to SDI and NEDW, and he also mentions that the same politicians only abused and showed contempt of him.
  • The Maze: The Maze Wood (a.k.a. the Lost Wood) is the requisite shout-out to Zelda that every top-down game needed to have at the time. Only the Green Beret knows the correct route out of the jungle, so you'll have to shadow him around for a few minutes.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Schneider (and presumably the other surviving members of his Resistance), Dr. Madnar, and possibly Fox's reasons as to why they defected to Zanzibar Land dealt with this:
    • For Schneider, after Metal Gear was destroyed in Snake's mission to Outer Heaven, NATO decided to commence a pinpoint aerial nuclear bombardment on the nuke production facilities of Outer Heaven, and indiscriminately killed both Outer Heaven personnel and the Resistance members (the latter of whom were their allies), and that's not even getting to the deaths of war orphans and war refugees. NATO also recovered a near-dead Schneider and subjected him to a NASA-based experiment regarding extraterrestrial ninjas until he and the rest of his unit were disbanded. Because of this, as well as Big Boss actually saving the surviving Resistance members, he decided to throw his lot to Big Boss to repay him for this debt.
    • For Dr. Madnar, after Outer Heaven, he defected/immigrated to America, leaving his daughter behind. When he did join America, he was treated with total contempt by the American government, who forced him to make brain bombs, SDI, and NEDW. He was then ostracized by the scientific community when he wanted to recreate Metal Gear. He then decided he had enough and secretly defected to Zanzibar Land, since they at least would allow him to work on the weapon.
    • Lastly, Fox. During the Calgary Olympics, he, under the alias of Frank Hunter, met Gustava and wanted to elope with her, arranging for her to defect to the United States. However, the U.S. refused amnesty to her. Fox didn't take it too well, although he didn't defect until after Outer Heaven.
  • The Mole: Dr. Madnar, who tries to strangle you as an actual boss after Holly outs him.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The whole owl egg puzzle, that ends with Zanzibar security believing it's currently nighttime because an owl is hooting... in broad daylight.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Fox allies himself with Big Boss, since he had saved his life twice before.
  • My Nayme Is: The first boss in the MSX2 version is a space ninja called Black Color, named after the Timothy Zahn novel The Blackcollar, while the four-man assassination squad Ultra Box is named after the band Ultravox. Despite the mistaken assumption that these spellings were fan translation errors, that's how they were actually spelled in the MSX2 version, as all of the bosses had their names romanized instead of being written in Japanese kana.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Snake managed to stop the TX-55 Metal Gear from being completed. Unfortunately, NATO apparently decided to use that opportunity to launch an air raid nuclear strike against Outer Heaven that resulted in both the Outer Heaven personnel and the Outer Heaven Resistance members suffering severe casualties, not to mention people who were war refugees and war orphans. In fact, it was this action that nearly resulted in Schneider's near death, not Outer Heaven as it was earlier implied. Also, his nearly killing Fox and Big Boss, especially the former, would prove to have serious repercussions for him in the next game.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The portraits in the MSX2 version are obviously modified photographs of popular celebrities at the time.note  This was likely not an issue in 1990, since the game was Japan-exclusive, and celebrities in the Western world likely would not have cared, or even have known about it. However, once the franchise became an international hit and Konami ported the game to modern consoles, by including an updated version in re-releases of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, they had to change them to avoid any likeness infringement. As such, every portrait was changed to the style of Yoji Shinkawa, the character designer of the Metal Gear series.
  • No-Gear Level: You have to confront Fox on foot with just your fists; after you get him out of Metal Gear, he sets you on fire and forces you to drop your weapons, which are burned up. This also applies to Big Boss until you solve the door puzzle in his room and get the lighter and spray can, which acts as a makeshift flamethrower, but after defeating the final boss, Holly will give you a replacement pistol with unlimited ammo to confront the final escape.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Several rooms in the Zanzibar Land fortress have a bunch of dummy soldiers in them. The second room you enter with these has one soldier sticking out of a row of dummy soldiers. It's a trap; he's a real man and will start the Alert sequence if you touch him or step in front of him. The third room with dummies has two live soldiers randomly placed in the room, and another room has a live soldier at the end that you need to distract.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • "Zanzibar" is an Arabic term that literally means "Coastland of the Black-skinned", which doesn't really fit a landlocked former Soviet Republic thousands of miles away from the African continent. There is a real place called Zanzibar, which is a group of islands along the east coast of Africa.
    • Due to a mixup, the track titles on the OST are not entirely accurate with the scenes or locations where they're actually played in-game:
      • "Spiral" is actually played during the final escape sequence, while "Escape" is played during the spiral staircase chase.
      • "Imminent" is the actual swamp theme, while "Shallow" (which is identified as the swamp theme on the OST) is actually played on the first floor of Tower Building.
      • "Wavelet" (which is listed as Holly's theme) is actually played during the conversation between Snake, Gustava, and Dr. Madnar, while "Reprieve of the Doctor" (which is listed as the music for that scene) is just the standard background music for the underground sewer. Holly's actual theme is titled "Night Fall", which the soundtrack lists as Schneider's theme (the track that plays during the conversation with Schneider is "An Advance", which is the suspenseful music played during most of the conversations).
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Every once in a while, you'll meet some yellow sweeping machines. Touch them and you're Squashed Flat.
    • This is the case with the Zanzibar Hamsters around the MSX cartridge, who kill you right away. You need to use cheese in one of your rations to lure them out and kill them one at a time.
  • Orwellian Retcon:
    • As aforementioned, the character portraits in all versions of the game other than the original MSX2 version were changed from those heavily resembling celebrities at the time to recognizable modern designs of the characters. But even the Japanese Wii Virtual Console version, which is otherwise a straight emulation of the original MSX2 version, uses the new portraits. This was almost definitely done for legal reasons.
    • Almost all the ports of Metal Gear 2 have name changes for some of the characters (such as Natasha Marcova, who became Gustava Heffner) and makes Snake's cigarettes hazardous to his health when equipped, much like what was done in the ports for the original Metal Gear. Unlike the first game, in which the cigarettes were only useful to extend the timer during the final battle, here they're required to see infrared sensors. To make up for this, the designers added a pair of thermal goggles which can be procured inside the first base and used without health penalty.
    • The MSX2 version featured comparisons between Big Boss and William Morgan (a real life American mercenary who fought for the Cuban revolution) in both the in-game script and the manual. The references to Morgan were removed in later versions.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Soldiers will drop whatever they're doing and salute if the national anthem blares, which actually sounds very similar to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas":
    YouTube commenter: Is it just a coincidence that the song sounds like this and that in Peace Walker it's revealed that Big Boss believes in Santa Claus?
  • Point of No Return: Despite the broken bridge, the player can still travel back and forth between the Detention Camp and the other places in Zanzibar Land by using the cardboard box to transport himself via one of the shipping trucks, which is a necessity if one has forgotten to change the shape of Gustava's brooch (you will need to get the last two key cards, 8 & 9, to be able to enter the room in the Tower Building where you can take the return trip to the Detention Camp). However, once Snake has acquired the MSX cartridge, he will fall into a trap door where he is forced to face the final gauntlet of boss challenges.
  • Qurac: Zanzibar Land, which is located in Central Asia.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: If this game is any indication, Snake, of all people, is into women's figure skating.
  • Refusing Paradise: The game takes place in an alternate 1999 where the U.S. and Soviet bloc have agreed to toss out their old nuclear weapons. When the oil reserves run dry, Dr. Marv accidentally invents OILIX. Big Boss takes advantage of the armistice by stealing OILIX and building a new Metal Gear, leaving the now-defenseless planet at his mercy. What makes Big Boss so deplorable here isn't that he is holding the world ransom, but also sabotaging the real possibility of a peaceful 21st century.
  • Retcon:
    • There are various plot differences in the later Metal Gear Solid entries that makes them inconsistent with Metal Gear 2. One of the most notable was the constant references to the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc that were done in such a way that made it seem as though they were still in existence by the end of 1999. Many of these retcons, that one in particular, were a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as at the time the game was being made, it really was still in existence, and the Soviet Union and Communism in Eastern Europe were still going somewhat strong until it fell faster than predicted.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain brings one up to both this game and its predecessor. The Big Boss whom Solid Snake fought in the original Metal Gear was in fact a Body Double and not the real one. This contradicts the explanation for Big Boss's survival in this game, in which he was given cyborg implants after being fatally wounded in Outer Heaven.
    • The backstories for both, Big Boss and Master Miller, as given in the manual are entirely inconsistent with what the later prequels established about both characters and Fox's origin story, which he tells to Snake during his death speech, is completely contradicted by the character's appearance in Portable Ops.
  • Schematized Prop: The opening credits sequence is a lengthy detailing of Metal Gear D's various parts.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Dr. Kio Marv's name is VRAM 0.1K backwards, a riff in on the MSX booting sequence, as revealed during the ending.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • A few things get muddled if you try to reconcile this game with later games in the series. In particular, it's claimed by Kasler in-game that Big Boss lost his right eye in Outer Heaven (although he was already wearing an eyepatch in the original Metal Gear and the manual states he lost it during a mission in the '80s prior to becoming the FOXHOUND commander), and the revelation that Big Boss is Snake's father is nowhere to be seen.
    • The dialogue between Snake and Big Boss at the end suggest that Metal Gear 2 takes place three years after the events of the original Metal Gear, which would place the first game in the year 1996. Moreover, the manual claims that the "Outer Heaven Crisis" occurred in 1995, but the first Metal Gear (i.e., the one Snake destroyed) was built in 1996, which implies that while problem with Outer Heaven began in '95, Snake's mission didn't occur until a year later. However, the plot summary in Metal Gear Solid claims there was four year gap between the Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land missions.
    • The manual has other inconsistencies, such as referring to the mission from the first game as "Operation Intrude N312" instead of N313 and the region in Africa where Outer Heaven was located as "Salzburgh" instead of Galzburg. Natasha's bio even refers to her former lover as "Frank Jaeger", even though she actually mentions "Frank Hunter" in-game. Admittedly, his name really is Frank Jaeger, but she only knew him as Frank Hunter, since Fox never revealed his true identity to her.
    • Dr. Madnar is mentioned in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as the scientist who saved Raiden, despite the fact he is mortally wounded after his fight with Snake in this game.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran:
    • The pre-final boss dialogue between Snake and Big Boss reveals Snake had been tormented with nightmares involving Outer Heaven. Big Boss seems to share the sentiment (if you understand the latter's backstory). As of the sequel, Big Boss threw a Luke, I Am Your Father reveal, adding this to his nightmares.
    • It's ultimately revealed that Fox is also this. Tormented by war, he feels he cannot function outside the battlefield and make a woman happy (revealed to be Gustava). Metal Gear Solid added in the murder of Naomi Hunter's parents as looking at her eyes felt as if her parents is staring back at him. No wonder he's a full-blown Death Seeker.
  • Shout-Out: Several, especially in the MSX2 version:
    • Minovsky Particles from the Gundam series are referenced in the Maze Wood area.
    • Gainax, the Japanese anime studio, is referenced as a lavatory production facility.
    • Pegimin-H, from Ultra Q, is mentioned to be one of the natural resources for Zanzibar Land.
    • Omni Corporation, one of the Goliath tank's creators, is based on Omniconsumer Products from RoboCop.
    • The Ultrabox boss (renamed to the Four Horsemen in the official English translation) is named after British Synth-Pop group Ultravox, of whom Kojima was and still is a huge fan (to the point where he once took on a part-time job in the '80s simply to buy one of their music video compilation tapes).
    • For Kojima-related shout outs, there are two for Snatcher, the first was when Kasler informed Snake about the rumors about Big Boss being a cyborg as a result of the Snatcher project (which some have interpreted as a dig at Snake's Revenge as well). The second was when Campbell mentions Kasler in a radio call, where he warned Snake to avoid discussing anything relating to "whale cuisine." This is a reference of an autopsied murder victim who had whale cuisine inside his stomach tract. It's Lost in Translation, though, as the whale cuisine was changed to buffalo meat in the Sega CD localization of Snatcher.
  • Shout-Out Theme Naming:
    • Three of the bosses in the MSX2 version were named after other works. Black Color is named after the Timothy Zahn novel Blackcollar, while Running Man and Predator take their names from films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (who incidentally had an enemy character named after him in the first Metal Gear). Ultra Box, the four-men assassination squad that Snake faces in an elevator, are named after the British new wave band Ultravox (the band's frontman, Midge Ure, would befriend Kojima in later years). All of these bosses, with the exception of Running Man, had their names changed in the newer versions of the game.
    • Many plot elements of the game were also inspired by the J.C. Pollock novel Crossfire, including the names of some of the characters. Frank Jaeger and George Kessler were both named after the book's protagonist, Frank Kessler, while Natasha Marcova is named after Paulina Marcova, a minor character from the book. Presumably this is why the spelling of George's last name was changed to Kasler in the revised editions, and why Natasha Marcova underwent a full name change to Gustava Heffner.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The actual MSX2 game had different spellings for some of the names than the ones used in later games. In particular, Frank Jaeger was originally "Frank Yeager" and Roy Campbell was "Roy Kyanbel". The fan translated patch, which was released on the same year as the original Metal Gear Solid, switched to the now standardized spellings for them and actually fixed the spelling of Holly's name, which was originally Horry (a mistake which managed slipped by unnoticed in the plot summary featured in the original MGS).
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Fox, Schneider and Dr. Madnar, Snake's allies in the previous game, have officially ally with Big Boss on their own free will.
  • Tabloid Melodrama: Briefly alluded to by Big Boss when explaining his motivations for creating Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land, when explaining that soldiers often end up as dead weight back at their home countries:
    Big Boss: On the battlefield, you and I are valuable commodities. But back "home", we're nothing but dead weight. If we're lucky, we might get the attention of some two-bit journalist from a cheap tabloid.
  • Together in Death: Snake promises this for Fox and Gustava. We all know how that turned out...
  • Undying Loyalty: The people of Zanzibar Land are zealously loyal to Big Boss because of his genuine benevolence and the fact that he saved many of them, even former enemies.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The player can make Snake kill war-torn orphans.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: It isn't as severe as what happens if the player kills POWs in the previous game, but if the player decides to shoot or even punch out war orphans, as listed above, they'll lose health.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Snake can poach items from the trash compactor, though he barely has time to inspect a bag before the hydraulic press shoves him into rotating blades.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Unlike the original Metal Gear, it's subverted: The game and manual state that Zanzibar Land was located between the (former) USSR, Afghanistan, China, and Pakistan, and it's even given something of a map showing the bordered area of Zanzibar Land.note  It's basically within the Badakhshan region. It also starts the series' trend of showing the specific location the game takes place in.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Four Horsemen team of mercenaries are fought together in a Tower Building elevator after you've advanced far enough in the game to get a "This elevator will be your coffin" codec message from Fox.
  • Would Hurt a Child: It's possible to attack the war orphans that you come across, though you'll penalized with a loss of health.

Alternative Title(s): Metal Gear 2