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"As long as we have 'loyalty 'til the end,' there's no point in believing in anything, even in those we love. The only thing we can believe in, with absolute certainty... is the mission, Jack."
The Boss

After the highly polarized reception that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty received, series creator Hideo Kojima had his work cut out for him: make a Metal Gear game that would reunite the series' Broken Base. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, released in late 2004, did the job with flying colors.

The year is 1964, at the height of the Cold War. The United States of America have formulated a plan to covertly extract a Soviet defector, scientist Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov, before he is forced to complete a nuclear superweapon for the USSR. To this end, a lone FOX operative codenamed "Naked Snake" is sent deep into enemy territory by the CIA to secure Sokolov and escort him across the Iron Curtain without leaving a trace.

The mission goes horribly wrong when Snake's lifelong mentor and maternal figure, the legendary soldier known as "The Boss", suddenly intervenes to abduct Sokolov and announce her defection to the Soviet Union. She escapes with the help of her personal "Cobra Unit" and their new commander, Colonel Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, who detonates an American nuclear warhead to cover their tracks and frame the USA for his own treasonous activities.


A tense backroom deal is struck between the USA and the Soviet Union in order to prove the former's innocence and stop the warmongering Volgin from staging a coup against the latter. Codenamed "Operation Snake Eater", Snake must infiltrate the Soviet jungle of Tselinoyarsk, eliminate Volgin and his rogue faction, destroy Sokolov's superweapon, and assassinate The Boss. But as the mission goes on, Snake learns there may be more to this operation - and The Boss's defection - than meets the eye...

In terms of gameplay and its mechanics, Metal Gear Solid 3 puts more emphasis on survival than previous games, as it requires the player to hunt, eat, and heal their wounds manually to survive. Kojima Productions swapped out the static indoor maps of the previous games with sprawling outdoor environments that require the player to make use of camouflage to stay hidden from enemy sentries. The player can also distract sentries with a variety of tools, from tranquilizer darts to pornographic magazines, in tried-and-true Metal Gear fashion.


With its far less convoluted story, fans viewed Metal Gear Solid 3 as a return to form. It featured another main character switcheroo, but this time, Kojima Productions eased the pain by replacing Solid Snake with the man he was cloned from, Naked Snake. Since it takes place in the defining years of the Cold War, the plot line embraces every spy movie trope in the book — which includes a James Bond-esque musical intro sequence. Toss in a truly bittersweet Twist Ending, four memorable main characters, an amazing sense of level progression, as well as a number of tense and memorable boss fights, and it doesn't take much effort to see why many fans, gamers, and critics alike still think of Metal Gear Solid 3 as one of the best games, if not the best, on the PlayStation 2.

Metal Gear Solid 3 also received an Updated Re-release a year later with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence; this re-release featured a new third-person camera system, a brand-new online multiplayer component titled Metal Gear Online (shut down over a year after its release), ports of the two MSX2 games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, hilarious animated shorts, and additional stages to the kid-friendly crossover minigame starring the monkeys from Ape Escape. The European release of Subsistence and limited editions included a third disc featuring a nearly four-hour movie version of the story strung together from cutscenes, radio conversations, and in-game footage.

While Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots shifted the focus back to Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid 3 spawned a series of direct sequels starring Naked Snake in the forms of Portable Ops, Peace Walker, Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain.

Konami released an HD version of Metal Gear Solid 3 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Playstation Vita as part of the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection; it also released a port for the Nintendo 3DS titled Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.

On October 17, 2016, Konami released a pachislot game of Metal Gear Solid 3.

For tropes relating to its companion online component, please visit the Metal Gear Online page.

Warning: Spoilers relating to the game's Prolonged Prologue, the Virtuous Mission, will be unmarked below.

"I'm still in a dream, Trope Eater:"

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  • Absolute Cleavage:
    • EVA has no shame whatsoever.
    • The Boss rips open her shirt to show off her snake scar. For some reason, she doesn't see fit to button it back up for the ensuing fight.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers under Groznyj Grad are spacious enough that The Fury can fly inside without problems.
  • Ace Custom: The M1911A1 that EVA gives Snake when they meet up the first time is a model that has been extensively customized by an expert gunsmith. Snake even ignores EVA's obvious enticement to geek out over all the ways it has been fine-tuned and adapted from the stock model, saying that he has never before used a weapon as fine.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: OK, so Snake collects various plants and animals, which he can call Para-Medic to identify. At the same time, he carries around night vision goggles and other various things which require battery power. When he collects a species of bio-luminescent mushrooms, he assumes that because they glow, that eating them will "recharge [his] batteries." This works even though Para-Medic specifically told him it was impossible. Snake's ignorance is just that good. Sigint theorizes that Snake may be imagining it somehow.
  • Action-Based Mission:
    • Most of the boss fights, with the notable exception of The End.
    • The rail shooter sequence towards the end of the game.
  • Action Bomb:
    • Every one of the Cobras has a microbomb which detonates when they die, to prevent the enemy from searching and identifying their corpse. With the exception of The Boss and possibly The Sorrow.
    • This is played straight concerning The Boss in the Secret Theater film The Joy when she jumps off the bridge, detonates her microbomb, and screams, "The Joy!" after exploding in mid-air.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: There are several moments where the game segues into discussing character motivations and histories that add all the more drama when they end up locked in conflict with one another. The Boss' monologue to Snake just before their final confrontation, where she shows him her scar and tells him about parts of her history she has never told anyone before, is one of the more prominent examples of this.
  • Action Girl:
    • The Boss goes all the way into Lady of War terrority thanks to how capable she in the battlefield.
    • EVA as she helps Snake during his mission.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Affectionate Parody: Metal Gear Solid 3 features many affectionate nods towards the spy movies that inspired the series in the first place, as well as a few at rival near-future series like Splinter Cell; in particular, the use of cutting edge 1960s hardware seems a gentle nudge at modern games' obsession with futuristic gadgetry.
  • All There in the Manual: The Pain's ability to control bees/wasps isn't explained in the game itself. However, bios from the official Metal Gear Solid 3 website and the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database state that it's because he carries a Queen in one of his hip pouches.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
    • You know those tanks in Groznyj Grad's northwest section? Those tanks are actually real, as is the history and technical detail Sigint supplied about them. Also, Sigint's reference to the Soviets attempting to use dogs trained to blow up German tanks with explosives, as well as it backfiring, is not one of Kojima's usual insanity: That actually did happen. The WIG and the flying platforms were also completely real. Also, those screw-like devices on the Shagohod? They're real, and are called Augers, and they propel the Shagohod forward, just like real life screw-propelled vehicles.
    • A lot of the flora and fauna are fictional (Golova and Baltic Hornets to name a few) and it does sound ridiculous to have a goat whose name means "snake eater". Markhors, however, are indeed real goats and their name does mean snake eater. The only thing inaccurate about it was their horns.
    • The short range Davy Crockett nuclear artillery shells were, naturally, very real, and yes, that was their unofficial name (hence Volgin's quip "Remember the Alamo"). They also suffered from the slight issue of an effective radioactive fallout radius larger than the effective range of the weapon itself: firing the shell meant you were getting hit with potentially lethal amounts of radiation, and probably getting injured by the blast itself. Volgin firing the shell from a helicopter is the only way everyone involved could realistically survive.
    • The single-man flying platforms are based on the American Hiller VZ1-Pawnee design, which used a rotor instead of a jet engine and lacked armor, and the later Williams X-Jet, which did use a jet engine and had a pulpit-like enclosure.
  • Always Close: The final battle itself is under a ten-minute time limit and not finishing it by then will see you blown up by the incoming bombing run. However, regardless of how long it takes you, the subsequent conversation afterwards will play out even if you were cutting it close in the battle itself. The planes don't start their run until the following cutscene.
  • Anachronism Stew: Considering the games that came out after this one, which featured technology that's implausible even today, Snake Eater is surprisingly faithful to the level of technology available in the 1960s. Despite that, it does fudge the dates a bit. If the previous Metal Gear Solid games took place 20 Minutes into the Future then it could be said this one is twenty minutes into the future ''for the 1960s'':
    • Colonel Volgin's absurd resources are said to have allowed him to develop quite a few things "early:" the passive IR goggles are lampshaded as being ridiculously high-tech for the setting, the Mi-24 first flew in 1969 (and Snake's reasoning for giving it the "Hind" callsign is based on its relation to another helicopter that wouldn't be adopted by the Soviets, much less become familiar to American forces, until 1967), and the WiG is from the early '70s.
    • The XM16E1 is about a year early to have been issued for evaluation in any significant number, though enough were delivered that it's still somewhat plausible, and they did nail the designation.
    • The Lockheed M-21 that delivers Snake for Operation Snake Eater first flew in December 1964; the first drone launch from one wouldn't occur until 1966.
    • One of the foods that Snake can eat to replenish his stamina is the CalorieMate blocks, a food that would not hit Japanese shelves until 19 years later.
    • The Sabra magazines that Snake can pick up weren't even published until about four decades after the events of the game. In the Snake Eater 3D version, the magazines in question are Hooters Japan magazines, which is even further removed from the period the game is set. The first Hooters franchise in Japan opened in 2010, nearly 50 years after Operation Snake Eater took place and even about six years after MGS3 itself first released.
    • The various Yoshi figures found throughout the game in the 3DS version. Para-Medic gives the Hand Wave that Yoshi must be getting popular in the Soviet Union. However, this is about thirty years before Yoshi was ever in a game.
    • A table in the Graniny Gorki lab has a magazine advertising Metal Gear Solid 3 itself on the cover. The HD port makes it worse, with more magazines also advertising Metal Gear Solid 4 and Peace Walker.
    • Zero mentions the use of gadgets in James Bond films. While Dr. No and From Russia with Love had been released by the date the game takes place, the only gadget Bond had ever had at that point was the briefcase in the second movie. Given that Goldfinger, which was the beginning of gadget use in Bond films, came out a few weeks after the end of the game, it's possible Zero saw a pre-release or something.
    • While the Skorpion machine pistol acquired late in the game fits for the time period, the Laser Sight mounted underneath it is way off base. Lasers themselves were only created in 1960, with ones capable of projecting a continuous, visible beam under normal room-temperature conditions only being created in 1970 and ones designed to mount under a gun as an aiming aid not being designed until the late '70s. The model on the in-game Skorpion is also way too small, closer in size to a 2000s-onward laser sight; the first lasers designed to attach to firearms were almost as big as the Skorpion itself is, and needed way too much power to function for that kind of portability.
  • And This Is for...: A villainous use of this. Just listen to Volgin's reason for beating up Snake in one of the game's biggest horrifying moments, as it pretty much was trying to avenge Raikov being hurt. If the player hasn't killed many soldiers, it is also implied that the Flame Troops at Krasnogorje are sent there to roast Snake alive because Volgin wanted to avenge The Pain, The Fear, and The End. Of course, if the player gets trigger happy, the Flame Troops themselves are instead implied to be doing this to avenge their comrades.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: When EVA is gravely wounded, this exchange between her and Snake takes place:
    Snake: EVA, I need you!
    EVA: (Beat) S-say that one more time.
    Snake: I need you! ...I can't fly the WIG by myself.
  • Antagonist Title: The titular operation is derived from having to fight against The Boss and her Cobra Unit.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Anticipating that the sniper duel with The End was going to be very prolonged and difficult, they added a number of ways to make it easier and even outright bypass it:
      • Though it's tricky, since you need to know to visit an optional warehouse and grab an appropriate weapon before triggering a cutscene where he appears, you can snipe him immediately after that cutscene and actually kill him, preventing the fight altogether. Doing this, however, will lead to The End being replaced by the Ocelot Unit later on.
      • You can save during the fight, wait a week or adjust the clock, and resume to find that The End died of old age.
      • The End will never kill you, instead using non-lethal weaponry and simply carrying you back to a prison cell when you lose, which allows you to stock up and try again without losing progress.
      • Typing the Konami Code at the map screen will show you The End's current location on the map, which effectively renders him a Zero-Effort Boss.
    • Snake's inventory is completely cleaned out when he's captured at Grozny Grad, and even though he gets all of his gear back after he escapes, he'll lose any live animals he'd been keeping. If you lucked out and caught the very hard-to-find Tsuchinoko earlier, another live specimen will be sitting out in the open in the very next jungle area that allows you to scavenge for food.
    • Subsistence added an extra camera mode that gave you free control over the camera, in direct response to fan complaints that the original's sky-view locked camera, even with the ability to shift it further towards one direction, made it way too frustrating to keep track of where enemy soldiers were. Interestingly, the original camera was still kept as a toggle-able option, because it was genuinely more useful in a rare few areas, like climbing up the switchbacks of the Krasnogorje Mountainside area.
  • Anti Poop-Socking:
    • Since saving is equated with going to sleep in this game, the game replenishes more health and stamina depending on how long a break the player takes between sessions. If the player goes too long without returning, however, food will start to spoil.
    • A chance to save thankfully appears between the twenty minute ending and equally long epilogue.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Variation: While none of the characters actually lose a limb in this game, the player has the option of stabbing Major Ocelot in one of his limbs when he's knocked unconscious after their first meeting during the Virtuous Mission, thus forcing him to wear a bandage over the stab wound for the remainder of the game.
  • Artifact Title: This game takes place before the implementation of the Metal Gear project, and it features the main protagonist, who isn't even named Solid Snake, trying to take down the Shagohod instead. Granted, the Shagohod fulfills pretty much the same purpose as a Metal Gear, but it's made clear in-universe that they're two different projects. This would ordinarily just be a Non-Indicative Name, but considering the next game in the series isn't even about stopping a nuclear threat...note  For what it's worth, however, this game introduces the originator of the Metal Gear concept: Granin, Sokolov's Unknown Rival.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The Pain doesn't seem that sure if his pets are bees or hornets. The two species don't exactly get along. Unless the strangled cry of "my HORNETS!" refers to something else altogether.
    • There are plenty of made up plants and animals in the game. For example, there's no such thing as a Baltic Hornet (hornets can't make honey) and there is no golova fruit (although it's based off of a real fruit called a jackfruit).
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: According to Sigint, The Fury's flamethrower uses UDMH-NTOnote  rocket fuel mixture instead of conventional incendiary liquids. While this is a real rocket fuel, using it in a flamethrower would be a terrible idea for several reasons. Burning it produces heat around 3000 degrees celsius (for comparison, napalm burns at roughly 1000 degrees and white phosphorus at 2500), which could easily injure or kill the user with radiated heat, especially in closed quarters. The high-energy combustion would toss anyone firing the flamethrower backwards. Even fumes from the fuel are highly toxic when inhaled.
  • Artistic License - Firearms: The Boss shooting a fake death pill into Snake's leg. Random objects that happen to fit into a barrel do not make projectiles; no gunpowder, no fire.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Good luck finding all those tropical animals in the former Soviet Union. The justification is that the animals were brought into the jungle from other regions by the scientists for research purposes.
  • Artistic License – Economics: The Philosophers' Legacy consists of enough money to fight World War II five times over. The economic repercussions of putting this much money aside and then losing it would have been huge. These repercussions aren't even so much as acknowledged until Portable Ops and to a lesser extent Peace Walker.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Removing leeches by burning them off with a cigar is never a good idea, as it can make them regurgitate into the wound, leading to infection. Scraping them off is the recommended method. Made even worse when The Boss herself recommends it.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The Shagohod wouldn't quite be the doomsday weapon everyone makes it out to be. While obviously meant to fulfill the same role as Metal Gear REX in the original Metal Gear Solid, the Shagohod is grossly impractical for its intended purpose. It requires 3 miles of runway or other flat, straight terrain for its intended acceleration that has to be pointed in the right direction to fire the missile at the intended target. However, accelerating the tank to 300 mph before launching the missile wouldn't actually significantly affect the missile's range, especially not when being launched from ground level where air resistance is the highest. Launching the missile from a bomber in flight would actually be more effective than the Shagohod.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Some Russian names seems out of place, but the Shagohod takes the cake. It's a quite uncommon term for any Humongous Mecha that moves by walking, but in-game it clearly doesn't walk. To a Russian speaker, its name is analogous to naming a car model "a boat".
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • While the non-suppressible weapons have their uses when surrounded or during an alert, the M63 and RPG-7 will most likely only get used when infinite ammo is granted during the Shagohod chase because machine guns that eat through ammonote  and rocket launchers that nuke small areas aren't exactly ideal for a stealth mission.
    • The Fear's camo (obtained from stamina-killing him) gives a huge boost in the camo index, at the cost of rapidly draining your stamina.
    • At one point, if you call Sigint, he will talk about the possibility of a bipedal tank. He mentions that an American (Huey Emmerich, Otacon's father) wrote a proposal on such an idea. Much to the hilarity of the player, Sigint considers this idea ridiculous and impractical, stating that the entire idea of a tank needing to walk is pointless, because tanks have treads. This seems to be an inside joke over the impracticality of the series' eponymous mechs. Ironically, MGS4 reveals that Sigint is Donald Anderson, the man who helped fund Metal Gear REX in the original Metal Gear Solid.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Colonel Volgin dismisses his own subordinates, and is implied to kill off those he feels have no more use for him (such as the scientists and engineers after the Shagohod was completed), not to mention running over his own men and destroying his own base simply because they were in his way when piloting the Shagohod.
    • Going by statements EVA makes about Raikov after disguising as him, not to mention the personnel's reaction to Snake disguised as Raikov - including his ability to beat up those personnel and get away with it - Raikov is cut from the same cloth as Volgin.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: A subtle variation: The Stinger reveals that, despite Volgin's defeat and the destruction of the Shagohod, his plans to overthrow Khrushchev ultimately succeeded, albeit in a pyrrhic fashion.
  • Badass Bandolier:
    • After Ocelot takes up Snake's advice and switches to the Single Action Army revolver, he starts wearing an ammo belt around his shoulder.
    • Volgin wears a long machine gun ammo belt over his shoulder and around his waist once he's ditched the overcoat. This might seem like a bad idea, given his Psycho Electro powers, but he is wearing a rubberized suit, and only emits his lightning from his hands. Though this does come back to bite him in the ass at the end of the final battle, when he's struck by lightning, setting off the ammo belt.
    • And of course, Snake himself.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Played with. During their second encounter, Snake lectures Ocelot about his poor choice of weaponry, ending it by boldly proclaiming that the latter doesn't have what it takes to kill him. It looks like it's just Snake pointing out Ocelot's relative lack of combat skill... until Ocelot pulls the trigger and realizes his revolver is empty.
    • Each member of the Cobra Unit makes one before their battles. Most, like The Pain and The Fear, simply detail how they're going to kill Snake, but The End and The Fury expound on their backstories while doing so, and The Sorrow has a more personal message for Snake.
  • Badass Normal: Snake and his mentor, The Boss. Most of the latter's subordinates have bizarre, often horrifying superpowers, but her only skills are the ability to shoot an assault rifle-caliber machine pistol one-handed and enough martial arts prowess to dismantle a gun in two quick moves. Volgin, the Psycho Electro, shows his only truly vulnerable moment when he mentions he doubts her loyalty, and backpedals immediately when she turns to face him with an angry glare. And, of course, Snake earns himself the title of "Big Boss" by defeating The Boss and every one of her subordinates despite having no superpowers at all, just good aim and a lot of tenacity. The game also highlights Ocelot's progression towards becoming a badass himself (Improbable Aiming Skills aside), courtesy of Snake's inexplicable compulsion to mentor him.
  • Bag of Holding: While not described directly as such, Snake's (rather smallish) backpack is this in practice. The amount of items he carries "at the ready" count their weight when determining the drain on his stamina due to encumbrance. However, anything stored in the backpack is not counted for determining encumbrance, and there is no limit to how much can be stored in the backpack at once. His support team even tell him to put things he does not have an immediate need for into his backpack to save on weight.
  • Bare Your Midriff: EVA exposes her torso wearing only a black bikini top.
  • Bee Bee Gun: The Pain can control bees. Sure, some of the things he does with the bees are a little silly, but the basic power itself has horrifying potential. Just imagine how much being stung to death by a thousand bees would hurt.
  • Been There, Shaped History:
    • Granin claims that his Granin Design Bureau and the designs that came out of it were the reason why the Nazis lost World War II. In particular, he claims to be responsible for the R-17 Elbrus missile.
    • Similar claims are made about The Boss and her Cobra unit's role in winning the war. The Boss also implies that she was involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and is still bitter over President Kennedy denying further air support that could have made the invasion a success.
  • Big Bad: Colonel Volgin, a psychotic, rogue Russian colonel with plans to heat up the Cold War. Not only that, everything that happens in every other Metal Gear title stems from his actions in this game.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although Snake succeeds in defeating Volgin and destroying the Shagohod, he was forced to kill his beloved mentor. After spending a night together with EVA, she leaves. The next morning, Snake listens to a recording she left behind. It reveals EVA's true colors and the true nature of her mission. Later, he's awarded and praised for killing The Boss and even given her title, but is practically dead on the inside for going through with it. Armed with the fact that he now knows the truth of why he had to kill her, and that she will go down in history as a traitorous scumbag, the game ends with his salute at her unmarked grave while Big Boss sheds a Single Tear.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: In a case of Shown Their Work gone awry, The Boss' Patriot assault rifle is shown firing bullets that tumble end-over-end as they travel through the air, which would also make any sort of accuracy impossible and drastically limit their muzzle velocity. Kojima gets partial credit for this, since it's based on a real fact that seems to have been misunderstood: the type of bullet this gun fires really can exhibit this behavior in real life (and all bullets can tumble like that once they travel past their effective range), but only after it's hit something, not as it leaves the barrel.note 
  • Blown Across the Room: The shotgun will do this to pretty much anyone close up. This includes The Boss.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Volgin does this twice in the game, both times when talking about the Philosophers' Legacy. Given the game is an Affectionate Parody of Bond and '60s spy films, it's likely intentional.
  • Bookends: In the beginning of the game, Snake loses his backpack by it snagging onto the tree. During the last few moments of the game, his backpack is thrown out of the WIG by Ocelot.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Per series tradition, the suppressed tranquilizer gun. In this case, the Mk. 22 "Hush Puppy". Quiet, takes out guards, allows you to capture animals (which means not only will it prevent them from rotting, but you can then throw live snakes at enemies), is one of the game's few silent weapons, and stamina kills are tremendously important.
    • The old punch, punch, kick melee combo can sometimes end up being far more useful than CQC, particularly against bosses, who seem to be immune to CQC.
    • Sigint deisgned a knife with a hollowed out grip used to store accessories. Snake points out that this means the knife will break much easier. Instead Snake uses a sturdier, more reliable survival knife.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy:
    • The Pain can command an army of hornets to swarm and overwhelm his enemies. However, the insects obviously can't swim, meaning any potential victim can easily escape his attacks by diving underwater. So where, of all places, does he decide to fight Snake? In a cave full of water.
    • The Fury's Weapon of Choice is a flamethrower, but he decides to fight Snake in an underground tunnel filled with water pipes that can be shot at to put out the flames.
  • Boss Corridor: The Pain and The Fury both get one. The former hangs out in an underground spring, while the latter patrols the catacombs beneath Grozny Grad.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Subverted; enemies do need to change magazines in battle. They won't run out of extra mags, though, unless you blow up their ammo dumps. Then they only have one mag for their assault rifle, one for their handguns, and then they need to rush you with their combat knives or go home. This is also subverted with the mounted turret guns, unusually. Of course, getting the infinite face paint gives you unlimited ammo for everything too; otherwise, the only weapons with truly infinite ammo are the unlockable EZ Gun and the Patriot.
  • Break the Cutie: Snake starts the game as a rather good-hearted rookie soldier with many dorky personality quirks. The events of Operation Snake Eater are just the start of his breaking into the bitter, angry shell of a man who would eventually become Big Boss. First, the amount of physical trauma the man is put through is absurd: During the ill-fated Virtuous Mission, he has his arm broken, a shattered rib and multiple lacerations from losing his first fight with The Boss and being thrown from a bridge into a river. Given not even a week of recovery time where his medical officer suggests he should be back in intensive care rather than out on another mission. He is then shot through the thigh with a crossbow bolt, poisoned with the venom of one of the deadliest spiders on earth, beaten to within an inch of his life, subjected to 10 million volts of electroshock torture which is so painful that he pisses himself from the agony, and then he has his right eye shot out. This is just counting canon injuries, and any lesser man would be a physical and psychological wreck by the end of it, but what really breaks him is having to murder his mentor and mother figure, who in actuality never betrayed her country to begin with, just so the government could save face. This completely shatters Snake's faith in his country and renders him emotionally dead.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": There is no such fruit as a golova. However, it is based off of a real fruit called a jackfruit.
  • Call-Forward: See this game's dedicated page for more information.
  • Camera Screw: The strongest criticism of the original release was directed at the fixed overhead camera, which was essentially unchanged from the first game and was felt to be rather archaic (and didn't really suit the sprawling outdoor environments, in comparison to the rigidly geometric settings of the first two games). This was fixed in Subsistence, which altered the system to use a mobile, player-controlled third person camera. It isn't uncommon today to hear players considering the original version unplayable because of the camera.
  • Camp: The Metal Gear franchise was already very campy to begin with, but this game goes beyond. While it is an Affectionate Parody of old Spy Fiction, it still fully embraces many of its conventions, and then adds its own brand of Metal Gear madness like over-the-top action and characters, ridiculous Boss Battles and several amounts of Mind Screw.
  • Canon Character All Along: Naked Snake initially seems like an Expy of Solid Snake. But then at the end of the game, he is awarded the title of "Big Boss" meaning that he is the man Solid Snake was cloned from as well as the Big Bad of previous installments of the franchise.
  • Car Fu: EVA's counterattack toward Ocelot after she got free of the hostage situation in Rassvet should count. It starts with a stare down, then she rams Ocelot and ramps up his torso, not only hitting him hard in the face, but also hitting with a Groin Attack with the back wheel (put simply, the whole maneuver is something like a somersault kick to the face combined with a crotch kick — with a motorcycle).
  • Casting Gag:
  • The Cavalry: The ending contains a few nods to the original Metal Gear Solid. Khrushchev quietly calls off his MiGs before they can shoot down EVA and Snake's plane, a coded acknowledgement that the U.S. has fulfilled its obligations and that tensions have cooled. Snake and EVA are given safe passage to Galena Air Force Base in Alaska (the same base where Colonel Campbell recalls his stealth bombers in Metal Gear Solid).
  • Character Filibuster: The Boss gives a ten-minute speech about how "there is no such thing as an enemy in absolute terms." As the game goes on, it becomes clear how her entire life is contained in those words, and the she repeats the speech again at the end of the game.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: If the player chooses "I like MGS2!", Snake wears a Latex Perfection mask to hide his identity on the plane ride during the Virtuous Mission. Later on, he wears it to disguise himself as Major Raikov.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Subverted: The lipstick zip-gun gets pulled out a couple of times near the climax, but never turns out to be important other than as a failed attempt at killing Volgin.
    • A subtle example: At one point, the player will acquire the Snow camo, which is almost entirely white. It seems a little pointless when the game takes place almost entirely in the jungle. This is before they fight The Pain, whose bees won't attack Snake wearing the Snow camo due to apparently thinking that he's wearing a beekeeper uniform. While it can be used when on a high-up mountain with some minimal amounts of snow, there are other camos that blend in with the environment better. Then the player gets to the final battle between Snake and The Boss, which takes place in a field of white flowers.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Given how many weapons are available, it's easy to forget about CQC... until you actually fight The Boss. Also, The Boss takes and disassembles Snake's weapons in almost every cutscene they share. Three guesses as to what happens when you try pulling a weapon in close quarters during the actual fight.
  • City People Eat Sushi: Lightly parodied when EVA is flirting with Snake, and asks him to take her somewhere nice to eat once the mission is done. EVA, being a refined NSA codebreaker used to high class trendy food, suggests sushi, which is "all the rage". Snake, the Extreme Omnivore who's not adverse to eating raw meat while in the forest, is all for the idea once she explains it's made of raw fish:
    EVA: It's Japanese. I hear it's all the rage right now. Supposedly, it's made from raw fish.
    Snake: Raw fish? Just the place for my survival techniques!
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Used to parody some of the more unrealistic game mechanics. For instance, if Snake finds some Russian glowcap mushrooms, he can call Para-Medic to discuss its nutritional properties. When he starts to wonder if eating the mushrooms will replenish the batteries in his equipment, she tells him to believe whatever the hell he wants. As luck would have it, eating the Russian glowcap does replenish the batteries. Para-Medic and Sigint then assume that this is some sort of weird placebo effect.
  • Clark Kenting:
    • EVA's pretty good at this. Her face and voice are the same, but her body language, speaking tone, hair style, and, yes, glasses, combine to give the player the impression that the nervous, mousy girl Volgin's captured is an entirely different person from the dazzling, cleavage-exposing showoff Action Girl helping out Snake. Even some first-time players get totally suckered.
    • Snake does this late in the game, where he must pose as a maintenance worker to infiltrate a fortress, but at this point he has an eye patch, and the enemy knows his face.
  • Codename Title: Operation Snake Eater. The goal was for Naked Snake to assassinate the founding member of the Cobra Unit, The Boss, and to destroy Sokolov's nuclear carrying weapon. At least that's what Snake's officials told him as more of the story unfolds.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Colonel Volgin's favorite pastime. He seems rather proud of his skill, though in actuality, he's very, very bad at it; nobody he tortures ever talks, and he actually manages to interrogate himself while torturing Snake. Not that this matters to him. It's outright stated by EVA that he literally gets off on the pain of others, and doesn't really care if his victims talk as long as he gets his kicks. After witnessing it firsthand, Ocelot decides that torture isn't as bad as he previously thought; anyone who's played Metal Gear Solid will know his ratio of people tortured versus information extracted is similar to Volgin's.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: While disguised as Major Raikov, Snake can get away with pretty much anything, including punching his subordinates in the balls without anyone even batting an eyelid. According to EVA, Raikov is "just that kind of guy".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Calling EVA before locating Raikov will have EVA attempt to explain to Snake, in an unsubtle manner, that Raikov is completely uninterested in the opposite sex. Snake seems to understand, but then asks if Raikov broke up with her, causing EVA to react angrily and remark that if the conversation continues, she'll jam her radio up Snake's head.
  • Company Cameo: The logo of the FOX unit is the same as that of the company that made the game, Kojima Productions.
  • Compensating for Something: The director's commentary states that the reason why Volgin deduced "Raikov" was not Raikov is because Raikov and Snake's groin size was different.
  • Competitive Balance: The game has two assault rifles available for Snake: The AK-47 and the XM16E1. The former has slightly better stopping power and a larger magazine at the cost of higher recoil and more difficult to use sights. The latter has lower recoil, more user friendly sights, select fire options, and the ability to take a suppressor, all of which make it viable as both an assault rifle and as an alternative to the 1911 for stealth kills at the cost of a smaller magazine than the AK and less available ammo
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sergei Gurlukovich had a throwaway line in Metal Gear Solid 2 claiming that "even the technology that gave birth to these weapons is Russian!" While possibly meant at the time as a reference to Dr. Madnar from the MSX2 games, in this game it is revealed that the concept of Metal Gear was invented even earlier by another Russian scientist, Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin.
    • Ocelot, in the aforementioned cutscene, notes that "I abandoned [Russia] during the Cold War" when he reveals his allegiance to the Patriots. Sure enough, The Stinger has him speaking with the CIA Director, revealing that he was the actual CIA support agent, ADAM, sent to assist Snake.
    • During the final battle, the player can find a trio of snakes, "Snake Solid", "Snake Liquid", and "Snake Solidus". All three provide the best stamina recovery in the game.
  • Contrasting Sequel Setting: In contrast to the two previous games (which take place in industrial/military bases), this game is largely set in sprawling temperate rainforest.
  • Controllable Helplessness: The most helpless ever. The "Snake gets captured and tortured" scene begins with the screen completely black, and we only hear what others are saying. However, it's not quite a "blank cutscene", because we still see Snake's health bar and camo index... and we can't do anything about it as it goes down while we're getting punched by Volgin.note 
  • Cool Bike: EVA's bike is a Chinese-produced copy of the German BMW R75, with an optional Cool Sidecar.
  • Cool Guns: Quite a few are taken from the list in the article; special note goes to Snake's second M1911A1, which he takes time out to explain the extreme coolness of, to the point that he's oblivious to EVA changing clothes in front of him.
  • Cool Plane: Operation Snake Eater commences with Snake being delivered via a Lockheed M-21.
  • Cool Tank:
    • The Object 279 tanks stationed at Groznyj Grad are real, and based on a tank that was really too cool for its own good. The vehicle was built by Troyanov for survivability on a battlefield where tactical nuclear weapons were being deployed; the lozenge hull was to prevent the tank being flipped over by blast waves, and the unusual quad tread layout to increase the tank's ground footprint for the same reason. The result was too expensive to mass produce, and the only prototype is now in the Russian tank museum at Kubinka proving ground.
    • The Shagohod. It's a tank with a rocket engine with screw-like treads which Volgin literally could afford to mass-produce. Historically, the plan never got off the ground.
  • The Coup: According to the series' mythology, Volgin was the puppeteer behind the movement to depose Khrushchev. Sokolov holds that the Colonel won't be satisfied with that, and will leverage the confusion of a third World War to take over the USSR.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: The player is forced to pull the trigger on The Boss. Although it will still happen automatically if the player waits for too long.
  • Counting Bullets: Snake manages to pull this on Ocelot after he switches from a pistol with eight rounds to a revolver with six.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Select too many heavy items to your active inventory and you will pay for it in poor stamina conservation.
  • Crossover: With, of all things, Ape Escape. Solid Snake would return the favor by appearing in Ape Escape 3, which was released at around the same time. In the HD port, however, the Snake vs. Monkey minigame was removed.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Whenever Snake and The Boss cross paths, Snake gets his ass handed to him. The degree of curb stomping that occurs, however, becomes steadily and noticeably less and less as the game goes on. The first time they fight, Snake only gets a very brief grab on The Boss before she breaks the hold and then his arm before hurling him off the bridge they are on. The last time they fight in a cutscene, Snake holds her off for quite a while and even forces her to a knee before she takes him down.
    • An almost identically parallel situation to The Boss easily defeating Snake constantly while Snake slowly improves occurs with Ocelot. Several times Snake champions Ocelot through CQC and gunplay, but after while Ocelot seems to improve, until finally he is able to match Snake one-on-one in CQC during the final plane duel.
    • The battle with The Sorrow. You can't do any damage to him, and you're forced to wait until your health goes down all the way.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: When you get captured, one of the items you get is a Fork. After you eventually escape, it serves as your main melee weapon until you can get your gear back. It can also be used for medical treatment like the standard knife, and any animals or plants you hit with it are eaten instantly.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Mostly averted. Any time the player sees Snake performing CQC maneuvers in cutscenes, he's using the exact same moves that are available outside the cutscenes, although the stunts that Snake pulls off are a bit tricky to recreate during gameplay.
  • Danger with a Deadline: The boss battle against The End can be won without actually fighting him — you have the option of saving during the battle, leaving the game, waiting for a whole week, and then picking up where you left off. The End, who is already well over 100 years old, will die of old age. It's not very sporting or even fun to do, but it works.
  • Death Is the Only Option: The "fight" against The Sorrow (when Snake is at death's door) cannot be won. He is a ghost, so you cannot hurt him no matter what you do. The only way out is to let him kill you at the end of your walk in the river, then use a revival pill to wake up in the "world of the living". Alternately, you can just get on your stomach and wait until you drown, as your head is under the water, then use the pill like normal. Same effect, but much shorter than doing it the normal way, especially if you killed a lot of people before this point. However, you cannot get The Sorrow's camo this way.
  • Deconstruction: The game plays most of the standard Bond movie tropes straight, but the game's twenty minute epilogue manages to completely brutalize how those films usually end. Sure, Snake is a bit sad he had to kill his mentor and maternal figure, but he still managed to save the world, destroy the Shagohod, and get the girl, right? Turns out EVA is a Chinese spy who only didn't kill Snake because she made a promise to The Boss not to. The Boss was actually a Fake Defector who was the United States' Fall Guy. Snake was used to dispose of her and secure the Philosophers' Legacy for the U.S. The entire event inspires Snake's Start of Darkness.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: The Cobras all die by going boom... except The Boss.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The racism of The '60s is briefly touched upon. During a radio conversation, Sigint mentions that before being recruited by Zero, his talents weren't recognized simply because he was black.
  • Demographic-Dissonant Crossover: The Snake Vs. Monkey minigame, which crosses over an E-rated franchise with an M-rated franchise.
  • Denser and Wackier: The Snake vs. Monkey minigame. Yes, in this very grim and violent game about the Cold War, you get to prance around the jungle capturing monkeys, and cartoonish-looking ones at that.
  • Description Porn: Snake does this when EVA hands him the M1911, to the point that he's completely ignores EVA unzipping her jacket to show off her cleavage moments ago (players, however, can get a good look for themselves by pressing the first-person button). He also does this a few times if the player calls Sigint after they get a new gun or camo, or if they're near a vehicle or similarly technical object.
  • Developers' Foresight: See this page.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: This game's version of CQC is considered the most complex version in the series. That said, it's generally considered the most powerful iteration.
  • Disability Immunity: When Ocelot tries to poke Snake in the eye to disorient him, he reflexively does it to the one Ocelot accidentally blinded him in. Snake's only reaction is a sly grin.
  • Disarm, Disassemble, Destroy: The Boss is very good at this, able to field strip an opponent's weapon and discard the pieces, in the heat of combat, in a lot less time than is plausible in some cases. She even does it to Snake in their proper fight, although for gameplay reasons it's limited to just scattering his intact weapon and its ammunition across the battlefield.
  • Disney Villain Death: Volgin initially falls into a ravine thanks to EVA and Snake exploiting the C3-rigged bridge that the former set up earlier to get rid of the Shagohod. Unfortunately for them, he managed to eject the rear part of the Shagohod in order to get back up to the ravine, although on the flip side, the Shagohod's now vulnerable.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In The Ultimate Weapon, Snake and The Boss have a Rock-Paper-Scissors fight, with Snake doing a combination of all three to win. She nukes him at point-blank range, killing the main cast.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The Boss, a powerful female character, has a habit of walking up to men she's angry with and forcibly dismantling their firearms.
    • Snake's "cardboard box" lecture to a thoroughly squicked Sigint:
      Snake: You should come inside the box... Then you'll know what I mean.
      Sigint: Man, I don't wanna know what you mean!
  • Doomed by Canon: Big Boss wears an eyepatch in earlier games, so most players expect him to lose it at some point in the game. The scene where it happens knows this and plays with that expectation horrifyingly.
  • Double Agent: EVA, Ocelot, and The Boss. Bonus points to Ocelot for being a triple agent.
  • Do Wrong, Right: While Snake was impressed by Ocelot's Improbable Aiming Skills, he chews him out and gives him advice on firearms such as not to use techniques on the field that he hadn't practiced let alone even properly existed and most notably to use a revolver instead due to a tic he noticed which would normally damage regular firearms, but would be better with a revolver.
  • Downer Ending: In addition to the game's actual ending, which at best is a very bitter Bittersweet Ending, several of the Secret Theater videos have downer endings as well, though usually they're Played for Laughs:
    • The Beginning is the End: During his insertion jump for operation Virtuous Mission, Snake releases his parachute a little too late and falls down the cliff. Colonel Campbell then informs Snake that he has caused a Time Paradox.
    • Metal Gear Sigint: Sigint upstages Snake, Snake gets bombed by Soviet jets after beating The Boss, isn't able to stop Sigint's make-out with EVA, as he collapses from exhaustion, and is unable to prevent Sigint from receiving the title of "Big Boss" from President Lyndon Johnson, causing a massive time paradox, and changing the series' name:
      Snake: You've gotta be kidding.
    • Gotcha this Time!: Snake slams the C3 explosive onto fuel-tank of the Shagohod too hard, and the timer goes to 0, resulting in a large explosion, killing him.
    • The Ultimate Weapon: The Boss, upset at Snake doing a combined version of all the options of Rock-Paper-Scissors, points a Davy Crocket nuke launcher right in his face, and detonates it, killing the main cast as Major Zero tries to contact Snake.
  • Downloadable Content: There were a few bonus camo patterns available for PS2 owners who had an online connection. The camo patterns can be found on-disc in Subsistence. Unfortunately, a single camo takes up an entire megabyte off the player's memory card.
  • Duel Boss: The Boss. Snake's main mission is to fight and eliminate her, and thus their unavoidable confrontation is hyped up for the entirety of the game. It does not disappoint.
  • Dying Dream: The fight with The Sorrow qualifies as this. Afterwards, Snake wakes up, realizing it was all just a dream. Or was it?

  • Earn Your Title: This game shows how Snake earned the moniker that would stay with him for the rest of his life, by defeating his lifelong mentor, The Boss, and surpassing her in the eyes of his superiors. It also shows why he spends years resenting the title and continuing to go by Snake, and why, by the time of Metal Gear, his use of the title is a big spoiler of his ultimate motivation.
  • Easter Egg: Some cutscenes have moments where you can switch to Snake's point-of-view. Watch the upper-right corner of the screen; when a button prompt appears, pressing the first-person button reveals something completely different going on, invisible from the third-person perspective. There are, however, several scenes where you can go to first-person mode without any prompt appearing. These secret scenes range from very silly to significantly helpful.
    • All the hidden Kerotan dolls. It surprises you the first time you find one- "What is that Kermit-looking thing?" And there are sixty-four of them to find!
  • Escort Mission: Towards the end of the game, an injured EVA becomes the player's charge. She moves slowly, will often start shooting at enemies with an unsuppressed weapon and needs to be constantly fed in order to keep her stamina up. Otherwise, there is moaning and stopping. You can, however, tranquilize her and drag her the whole way.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ocelot is horrified when Volgin decides to launch the nuke at the jungle, claiming that even though their enemies are in there, they're still their comrades. It's actually a hint as to where his true allegiances lie, as he takes issue not with the needless deaths of the Russians, but the fact that the nuclear weapon is American-made.
  • Event Title: "Snake Eater" is the name of the operation where the main act of the game takes place.
  • Exact Words: "You don't have what it takes to kill me." Snake isn't being metaphorical; Ocelot used up all the ammo showing off.
  • Exploding Barrels: Can be found at all the bases except Graniny Gorki.
  • Eye Scream: Double Subverted. The Boss prepares to cut out Snake's eyes in order to clear her name as the spy, but she is stopped at the last second by Tatyana/EVA. Then Snake's right eye is destroyed by a muzzle flash (courtesy Ocelot, albeit accidentally). The prospects of the first half of that scene are quite frightening during the first playthrough, considering Big Boss is well known for having an eyepatch.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The Boss, who seems eerily at peace with the idea of her own demise. It demonstrates how strong her spirit is, as a lesser person would have broken under the strain, while she barely sheds much tears.
  • Face Palm: Snake can be seen doing this in response to some radio calls, usually the ones involving Sigint and/or Para-Medic.
  • Fake Defector: A Deconstructed Character Archetype in the case of The Boss, in that it does not end happily like it does in spy movies. It's an absolutely heartbreaking take, and the outcome is what inspires Big Boss's Start of Darkness.
  • Faking the Dead: A gameplay option. You can use fake death pills to simulate being dead and fool enemy soldiers into leaving you alone or dropping their guard, complete with fake Game Over screen. However, there is a time limit; let the Game Over text change to Time Paradox and the death becomes real.
  • Fan Disservice: Snake can take his shirt off and show off his toned upper body. You also get a chance to see Snake shirtless when he's been captured and being tortured by Volgin, who not only beats him to a bloody pulp but also electrocutes him so much that he pisses himself through the sheer excruciating pain, something Volgin apparently finds amusing and maybe even sexually exciting.
  • Filler: A common criticism of the game is the fact that most of the Cobra fights add nothing to the plot and don't particularly tie into or expand upon any of the game's themes, in spite of being generally well-received mechanically. Mythology Gag is probably the more appropriate trope to describe this.
  • Final Boss Preview: Done twice in the early game. The first is to showcase her CQC abilities to disarm Snake, giving a few injuries and tossing him off the bridge, leading into the cure tutorial for the survival menu. The second was to disarm snake and dismantle the gun for a weaponless section, with her demand for him to go home, which let Snake clue in there was a mole.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Used to contrast The Fury and The Sorrow, whose boss battles occur back-to-back. The Fury is a perpetually angry Badass Normal soldier who tries to mow Snake down with an oversized flamethrower, whereas The Sorrow is an eerily calm ghost/shaman who battles Snake in a river in the middle of a raging rainstorm, and he can't be defeated through traditional combat.
  • Fission Mailed:
    • You can invoke this at any time by taking the Fake Death Pill to trick enemies into thinking you've died, "SNAKE IS DEAD" screen and everything, then take the Revival Pill when the coast is clear. Do note that the effects of the FDP will actually kill you if you don't take the Revival Pill in time.
    • The player just cannot win the battle against The Sorrow no matter how hard they try, but then the player notices the inventory still works and take the Revival Pill just in time. Less obvious and more serious than the one in Metal Gear Solid 2 for it implies all hope seems to be lost at this very moment.
  • Fixed Camera: Snake Eater featured this in keeping with the previous games in the series, but it was very poorly received and criticized for being unsuited to the sprawling, open-ended jungle environments. This prompted its revision in Subsistence to an over-the-shoulder camera more typical for the third person genre. This is the only camera option available in the 3DS remake.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Snake is told at the beginning of Operation Snake Eater that his goal is to kill The Boss. You know what's coming, especially since this Snake goes on to become Big Boss. It's also no surprise that Big Boss loses an eye during his mission.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • EVA's Weapon of Choice, style of using it, and her Cool Bike are all Chinese, as Sigint tells the player if they call him about her. Guess who she's really working for?
    • In the same scene where Snake first meets EVA, the former's supposed to be meeting an agent named "ADAM" who never shows up, but Ocelot and his men zero in on the player's hiding place without warning. Guess who Ocelot really is? For bonus points, during your final encounter with him, he introduces himself as Adamska. And then there's his love of American revolvers, a shooting style right out of a western and taking the name of an American wildcat. Guess who has his real loyalties?
    • The Boss when Naked Snake asks her the reason why she defected to the Soviet Union: "I didn't." The one time in the whole game where she is being completely honest and level with him.
    • The game hints at the characteristics of the Cobra Unit in the areas before their boss fights. Snake is attacked by bees before he fights The Pain, Snake moves through The Fear's trap filled arena before he actually needs to fight him, Snake encounters flamethrower mooks before he fights The Fury and so on. The exception is The End, who is introduced just a minute before The Fear but is fought afterwards.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Look carefully at the Ocelot soldiers' bodies right after their first run-in with Snake. Almost all the Ocelots have been knocked unconscious, but one soldier in particular has been tranquilized with a dart, just like in the preceding cutscene.
    • Ocelot's AI during his boss fight is tailored to his in-story personality. He reloads his gun in the open because he simply doesn't think he can be (seriously) harmed (and if you shoot him while he's reloading, he wises up and seeks cover to do so subsequent times), and most of the time he has a chance at hitting Snake with a straight shot, he'll disregard it in favor of a fancier ricochet shot instead.
    • The Sorrow's fight is a Hopeless Boss Fight against a ghost. The game demonstrates this by showing his life meter: it's already empty. You can't kill what's already dead.
    • After Snake has his eye shot out, if you go into first-person mode, the far-right of the screen is darkened and your depth perception is off, forcing you to relearn how to aim. This goes even further in the 3DS version, which forcibly disables the 3D option in first-person view, regardless of your settings.
    • When Snake is discovered by Volgin in Groznyj Grad, he's able to successfully perform a CQC counter on him. The Boss does the same seconds later, hinting at how it can be used against Volgin later on during his boss fight. This might surprise players given that for the most part, CQC hasn't been an ideal strategy to use against any of the previous bosses.
    • Beating Ocelot and Volgin (pre-Shagohod) lethally do not count as kills in the final results, as they survive those fights.note 
    • The Boss will admonish Snake if he dons any ill-fitting or otherwise goofy camouflage options during the Virtuous Mission after expressing her surprise. One such piece, the Monkey Mask from Snake vs. Monkey, will surprise her enough to the point where she will literally leave herself open during her boss fight.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Snake is airdropped into the mission and told by Major Zero that the enemy may be listening to their communications first thing. Zero then gives a detailed briefing, including explicitly stating who Snake is working for, where he is, and what he's doing, over these same comms.
    • This same briefing details the operating procedure that Snake must adhere to by the letter: He must not engage the enemy, and must leave no trace of his presence: no equipment, footprints or even bodily fluids. This has absolutely no bearing on the gameplay, as - except on the highest difficulty, on which the game ends if you're seen by an enemy - Snake is free to shoot his way through hordes of guards and allow himself to be seen by pretty much anyone.
  • Gangsta Style:
    • EVA's preferred method of fire. Her weapon of choice is a Shanxi Type 17, a Chinese copy of the Mauser C96. She relies on an actual method of firing the weapon known as "Bandit Shooting," which involves using the muzzle jump of the gun to create a sweeping effect that is very useful for clearing rooms and helps prevent cases from jamming in the gun. It's only very useful at a maximum range of about five yards, though. The fact her gun and her shooting style are of Chinese origin are your first major clue that she's not actually a Soviet agent, but a Chinese one.
    • Ocelot aims his semi-automatic pistol sideways in the first part of the game.
  • Gaussian Girl: Ocelot sees Snake this way after their initial encounter. Admittedly, he is losing consciousness at the time. Ever since then, Ocelot has become his Stalker with a Crush. Played with jokingly in the Secret Theater film, He's Still Got It, where The End sees EVA like this.
  • Gender Is No Object: Surprisingly, nobody ever gives The Boss any guff for being a woman, despite this taking place in the '60s, long before the glass ceiling disappeared for women in the military (and as far as combat-intensive roles go, that ceiling still hasn't really gone away)—and she's been doing this at least since the '40s. It's possible nobody dares bring it up because she's that good. Her connection to the Philosophers probably doesn't hurt either.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: The true allegiances of characters are actually hinted by their Weapon of Choice. Snake, as The Hero, carries a modified M1911A1. Ocelot switches to the Colt Single Action Army after his Makarov jams and The Boss carries a chopped down variant of the M16, hinting that they are both actually working for the United States. EVA, on the other hand, carries a Chinese copy of the Mauser C-96, a clue that most will miss until the game's ending.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: In order to obtain the EZ Gun on any difficulty above Very Easy, the player has to catch at least one of every 48 plants and animals in a single playthrough. If the player passes one of several points of no return without a certain food, the game needs to be started again, and this includes catching the undetectable Tsuchinoko.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Immediately after praising Snake's Russian with both speaking in English, Sokolov says the name "Shagohod" in Russian. Snake then accepts the rather flowery translation "The Treading Behemoth" as opposed to the more mundane meaning of "Step-Walker."
  • Greater-Scope Villain: By the end of the game, Snake views President Johnson and the entirety of the U.S. government as such, having intentionally sacrificed the life of The Boss so they could pin the nuclear strike on her and label her as a traitor and a war criminal whilst using him as a pawn in their plans.
  • Green Hill Zone: Dremuchij as a whole serves as your practice point before having to maneuver through the much tougher levels.
  • Groin Attack:
    • The game has a surprisingly large amount of groin attacks. For starters, it serves as an auto kill against enemies (or auto-KO, if the player does it unarmed).
    • In the battle with The Sorrow, the ghosts of people who received this at some point have special dialogue. "I'm worthless now!" "Do you know how THIS feels!?"
    • If the player wears the Raikov Mask and the Scientist disguise, as demonstrated in the beginning of this video here, Raikov will look at Snake, then go "Hey!", grab Snake's gonads, unzip his pants, and then hit them hard enough to send Snake flying back.
    • If the player harasses EVA long enough late into the game, she will get fed up and then deliver a swift kick into Snake's crotch that is hard enough to kill him.
    • In the Secret Theater film Cat-like behavior, Ocelot shoots Snake in the groin shortly after Snake says that he doesn't have what it takes to kill him, a shot that was also implied to have killed him.
    • EVA receives a groin attack from Volgin after he discovers she's the KGB spy. The fact that she's a girl mattered little as it hurt her all the same, and was also not intended to be funny.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Why on Earth would you hire soldiers who can't swim to guard a lake?
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The method for defeating The Sorrow is best described as "moon logic." To be specific, the player has to let him kill them, then realize the inventory is still active on the game over screen and use the Revival Pill item that normally wakes the player up from using the Fake Death Pill. Mercifully, if the player goes through this enough times, Zero will just call the player and tell them to do this. It's probably less of a conundrum for those who actually tried using a Fake Death Pill even once beforehand.
    • Want to get the "Markhor" title to unlock the EZ Gun? Better make sure you know exactly where all the food in the game is and not miss a single one.
  • Gun Accessories: Snake has to collect silencers since each has a finite lifespan, and there's also the matter of Ocelot pulling out a clip-on skeleton stock for one of his revolvers, The End's horrible mutant Mosin-Nagant (with a folding stock and pistol grip) and Snake's custom M1911, which has been variously twiddled and re-customized to the point it takes him over a dozen closeup photographs to adequately describe it to Sigint.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: Slow-motion scenes of The Boss firing the Patriot show the bullets tumbling in flight tip over tail pretty much from the moment they exit the barrel. There is absolutely no reason the gun should do that to the bullets, and there would be no practical benefit to be gained from firing bullets that behave like that.
  • Hand Wave: Seemingly in response to criticism of the over-extended and often silly origin stories of the Dead Cell unit in Metal Gear Solid 2, the Cobra Unit and Volgin's powers simply aren't explained. They just have them. The Pain holds a queen bee in his backpack and uses his acrobatics to command the bees by spreading pheromones, while The Phantom Pain reveals that The End and perhaps The Fear owed their powers to the vocal cords parasites.
  • Handshake Refusal: President Johnson awards the Distinguished Service Cross to Snake. He shakes Johnson's hand, but refuses to shake the DCI's hand, because it's believed that the DCI had him kill his mentor to both prevent an international incident and recover a massive sum of money from the Big Bad. The latter is true. In the former instance, it was his predecessor who was actually responsible because he was afraid of her charisma.
  • Have a Nice Death: During the fight with The Boss, if the player was paying attention, they'll remember that she calls in an air strike before the fight begins, ensuring that she'll die. She warns the player to kill her before that happens. If the player fails to kill her in 10 minutes, she'll remark that it's all over and the player will get a cutscene showing both of their demises via MiGs. At least you get to hear the most triumphant rendition of the game's theme song.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Ocelot spends the entire plot jumping between helping and hindering Snake (such as betraying Volgin to help Snake, before trying to crash Snake's plane for a duel to the death). Taken even further when it's revealed he was ADAM, making him a triple agent.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Boss posthumously becomes this. EVA lampshades her tragic fate:
    "In America, she's a soldier with no sense of honor. In Russia, she's a monster who almost unleashed a nuclear catastrophe..."
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The Secret Theater films in Subsistence qualify as such.
  • Historical Domain Character: Lyndon B. Johnson and Nikita Khrushchev. The former in fact presents Big Boss with the Distinguished Service Cross and the title of "Big Boss" at the end.
  • Historical In-Joke: Several relating to 1960s projects and events:
    • If Snake calls Major Zero shortly after arriving in Dremuchij North, during the conversation, Snake will tell Major Zero that the drone he used to infiltrate Tselinoyarsk may need its landing buffer redesigned, as potential pilots will get hurt or killed if they have to use it in its current state. This refers to the real-life reason as to why the project ended up canceled: a launch went awry and crashed midair into the M-21, which killed the drone operator.
    • One of the radio conversations with EVA has her discussing the Katyn Forest massacre with Snake; apparently, in the Metal Gear timeline, Volgin was personally responsible for starting it and most of the actual killings.
    • If one calls Major Zero shortly after meeting up with EVA before infiltrating Groznyj Grad via Tikhogornyj, Zero will be holding back tears in regards to the phrase "I'll be your eyes." This is because this phrase was also used by an American spy who worked within GRU, Oleg Penkovskiy, who was discovered and executed in 1963. Appropriately, his codename was "Hero."
    • At one point, Sigint will mention that the Russians trained dogs to plant bombs below enemy tanks during World War II, where while they were successful in training the dogs to do the process itself, they messed up in that they ended up having the dogs bomb their own tanks by mistake, due to their using their own tanks to train the dogs. This actually happened in real life, with the suspected cause being that the Russians and the Germans used different fuel sources for their tanks.
    • If Snake holds a Claymore mine and calls Sigint, he suspects that the ones the player finds were stolen from an American arsenal or from performance trials in Southeast Asia. He then suspects that it won't be long before the Russians make their own version. In real life, the Russians eventually did develop their own directed anti-personnel mine, the MON-50, which shares more than a few similarities to the Claymore.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Krasnogorje, there are anti-aircraft guns on the mountainside. You can actually use them against their own Hinds.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Very apparent, considering the previous games' lip flaps matched up to the English dialogue. It's most noticeable in a scene after the torture sequence, when The Boss talks to Snake in private, her mouth flaps for a couple seconds before we hear a strained "Run."
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Food will instantly restore stamina, can be used mid-combat as a free action, and can be consumed all in one go. Unlike other examples of the trope, some food becomes rotten if left in inventory for too long but can be treated by medicine. This example is most noticeible when dealing with stamina drainers such as leeches or The End.
  • I Call It "Vera": The Fear wields two crossbows he calls the Little Joe and the William Tell.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Boss, though it's because she's under orders from the U.S. government not to kill herself or tell Snake the truth behind her mission. The only way to avert a nuclear war is for Snake to eliminate The Boss. No other course of action will do. She accepts her orders and follows them through to the end, showing a truly unparalleled sense of honor that no other character really lives up to:
    EVA: A lesser woman would have been crushed by such a burden.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Snake probably didn't expect Ocelot to get turned on by his torture session.
  • I Let You Win: Ocelot's excuse every time. Or maybe not an excuse, since he's your CIA contact.
  • I Only Read It For The Articles: invoked After Snake escapes from Groznyj Grad's prison, should he have the magazines on him prior to capture, calling EVA will have her reveal that she knows about the magazines, although she nonetheless promises not to throw anything away, with Snake being unable to explain why he had them. EVA, however, isn't too upset that he has them in themselves, more that he would actually read them during a mission, or that he would use them to distract an enemy, explaining that he should request her help [in distracting the enemy], at least.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Several times, particularly the Russian glowcap conversation, Snake's support team will speak in the background and hope he can't heard them.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Volgin orders The Boss to cut out Snake's eyes to prove her loyalty.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Ocelot, as usual. If the player gets the Single Action Army, this can apply to Snake as well.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Most of Snake's weapons are completely normal (if a bit advanced for their time period). However, you can also throw food and captured animals around. This includes live poisonous snakes. Throwing a king cobra at a GRU soldier is one fun way to creatively get rid of an enemy without wasting a bullet. Or, if you've destroyed the food storage in the area, the soldiers will be starving and will pick up any rotten or poisonous food you throw out for them.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms:
  • Indestructible Edible: CalorieMates(TM), Instant Noodles and Russian Rations do not go stale, though the rations taste horrible.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: Four-fifths of the way through the game Snake gets captured and shot in the eye, permanently blinding him. Thereafter for the rest of the game, if the player enters first-person view mode, the extreme right-hand side of the screen will be darkened and the depth perception will be inaccurate compared to beforehand. This is taken even further in the remake of the game for the 3DS: the 3D effect is disabled when entering first-person view mode after Snake gets shot in the eye.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The EZ Gun, which is either given to you for free by setting the game to "Very Easy" or else by collecting every single living thing in the game (harder than it sounds since there are a few easily missable ones). It's an infinite-use tranquilizer pistol with a suppressor that never wears out, but it gets better: there's a laser sight for greater accuracy, it partially regenerates your stamina and just holding it will keep your camo index at a minimum of 80%, more than enough to freely walk almost anywhere without the enemy seeing you unless they're right on top of you.
    • invoked The Patriot, the uniquely modified XM16E1 The Boss carries, is given to Snake during New Game+ mode. It has a high rate of fire and a Bottomless Magazine thanks to the magazine being shaped like an infinity symbol. When Sigint asks Snake how he got his hands on that when The Boss has the only one of it in existence, Snake tells him not to think about it too much.
  • Informed Equipment: Snake only carries the gun he's currently equipped with no matter what's in his inventory; unsurprising, as his full inventory would barely fit in the back of a pickup truck and he'd look a bit silly with cages containing three live snakes attached to his back. Based on cutscenes, the only weapons Snake needs to complete the game are the Survival Knife, Mk 22, M1911A1 Custom, SVD, Single Action Army, and the RPG-7, all of which he's given in cutscenes if he's not obtained them ingame already.
  • Insistent Terminology: Most people who see CQC in action refer to it as "judo." In the 1960s, judo was an extremely popular buzzword, so even if it's not fully the same thing, it makes sense why everyone would keep saying that.
  • Instant Leech: Just Fall in Water!: Leeches have a nasty habit of clinging to Snake's body if he moves about in water for too long.
  • Invisibility Cloak:
    • The Fear's uniform grants him near-invisibility, at the cost of rapidly depleting his stamina. It doesn't hold up so well under infrared, however. If the player stamina kills him, they can receive his camo. It gives a guaranteed 80% camo index, but drains the player's stamina so fast that it's Awesome, but Impractical.
    • As in the previous games, the player can unlock the stealth camouflage that makes them 100% invisible (95% during alert phase).
  • Interactive Start Up: The left and right analog sticks can be used to change aspects of the opening credits, such as what language the credits are displayed in, what symbols scroll across the screen, and how fast and in which direction they do so.
  • Ironic Name: The Sorrow is always seen with a smile, whereas The Boss, a.k.a. "The Joy", is almost always scowling.
  • Is It Something You Eat?: An interesting subversion; Snake, being a survivalist, will eat anything, flora or fauna. Rather, the question asked to Para-Medic is "How does it taste?" She really calls him out on his stupidity for questioning the taste of a fly agaric mushroom after being explicitly told it would kill him.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: In an optional radio conversation with Zero, Zero will excuse himself after learning that Snake saw the other side during his battle with The Sorrow and talks with Para-Medic about Snake's condition. However, he and Para-Medic are standing a bit too close to the mike, or he forgot to turn it off, causing Snake to hear the entire conversation.
  • It Has Been an Honor: When it seems as though Snake and EVA's WIG is going to be shot down by two MiGs, Snake gives this exchange:
    Snake: You were great, EVA.
    EVA: Huh?
    Snake: Thanks.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Sigint wonders what Granin is thinking trying to design a tank on legs,note  and Snake mocks the addition of a three-round-burst firing mode on the XM16E1.note  Snake also scoffs at Para-Medic's description of an early VCR — though he expresses interest in "movies where you control the characters yourself." On the opposite end, Para-Medic is certain Godzilla will still be popular by 2004,note  and Major Zero states he won't be surprised if 20 more James Bond movies are created.note 
  • It's Raining Men: How Snake enters Tselinoyarsk during the Virtuous Mission and, to a slightly lesser extent, Operation Snake Eater. He parachutes out of the drone upon ejecting in the latter mission.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats:
    • Tiger Stripe camo to some extent, as it actually is the best option in a few areas, while remaining effective but not the best for several more.
    • The Snake camo, which the player gets for stamina-killing The Boss.
  • Jungle Japes: Most of the game, more specifically at the first quarter of the game, during the fights with The Fear and End, and while you're meeting up with/escorting EVA. You also come across the typical jungle animals like snakes, crocodiles, and frogs to further cement this trope.
  • Just Between You and Me: Volgin actually says outright that he's going to explain all his plans to Snake before he kills him, in so many words.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Preferred strategy of The Fury, as well as the mooks who use standard flamethrowers (his uses rocket fuel).
    • Snake can incinerate enemies with the White Phosphorus grenade.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Even before the cruel Twist Ending, it's brought up a lot about whether Snake is, not just physically, but emotionally capable of pulling the trigger on his beloved mentor and substitute mother. When he finally gets to that point, it's clear that he's using every bit of emotional willpower he has to go through with it.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The Boss who still believes to the end that the world can be made into a kinder, gentler place, who in turn turned Snake into another one at the end of the game.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The explanation of why the Patriot has infinite ammo is a particularly amusing example:
    Sigint: ...and it never runs out of ammo?
    Snake: Never.
    Sigint: Why's that?
    Snake: Because the internal feed mechanism is shaped like an infinity symbol.
    Sigint: Ah, I get it. Yep, that'll give you infinite ammo.
  • Large Ham:
    • Volgin is clearly having entirely too much fun in more or less every scene he's in.
    • The Pain spends virtually all of his screen time posturing and posing like a combination between Sentai hero and a pro wrestler; as expected of a guy whose entire thing is using large swarms of hornets to kill people, subtlety isn't exactly his thing.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: When the game was originally announced, Naked Snake being Big Boss was meant to be a spoiler. It took everyone watching about 10 seconds to figure it out once the time period was revealed, though, so Konami quietly stopped acting like it was ever supposed to be a secret.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • In the Japanese version of the game, the comical Non Standard Game Over messages from Colonel Campbell (when he berates you for creating a Time Paradox via killing Ocelot, EVA or Sokolov) is an allusion to Takeshi Aono voicing Doc Emmett Brown in the Japanese dub of the Back to the Future movies. Since Campbell is voiced by Paul Eiding in English, the joke is effectively lost.
    • Like every game since Metal Gear Solid 2, the implications of the Patriots' true name are lost in the English version. "La Li Lu Le Lo" are the missing vowel sounds in Japanese; the point of the name is that it's not technically possible to write or say it in Hiragana (because there's no distinction between "L" and "R" and the string is usually "Ra Ri Ru Re Ro"), so the Patriots censor their name to something that can't be written down or spoken. This is never really gone into in the English version (since English doesn't do that), so it just seems to be meaningless babble.
    • Volgin uses the phrase "Kuwabara, Kuwabara" several times. It's a Japanese expression equivalent to the English "knock on wood" that is believed to ward off lightning. At the end of the game, he refuses to say the phrase, instead mocking the storm, and is promptly struck by lightning.
    • Raikov's name "Raidenovitch" can be read in Japanese as "Raiden No Bitch," meaning "Thunderbolt's Bitch." The impossible-to-translate pun seems basically the only reason for Volgin's once-off nickname. While it means "Son of Raiden" in Russian, it hardly helps since that implies nothing (since Raiden wasn't alive in the '60s, let alone parent someone) ...although Raikov clearly is a Spiritual Successor to him (at least, chronologically in real life).
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: A combination of radio conversations with EVA and The Boss's own admission that she gave birth on the battlefield at Normandy reveal that The Boss is Ocelot's mother. While it is never outright said in Metal Gear Solid 3, if the player talked to the support team throughout the game, this will be pieced together.
  • A MacGuffin Full of Money: The Philosophers' Legacy. Volgin describes the sum on two occasions as "one hundred billion dollars" and "enough to fight the war five times over."
  • Makeup Weapon: The "Kiss of Death" which is based on a KGB-issue 4.5mm single-shot pistol disguised as lipstick. In Tatyana's first appearance during the Virtuous Mission, Volgin forcibly confiscates the kiss of death from her when he notices her reaching for it, thus resulting in them suspecting she was KGB, although Volgin gives it back to her anyway, thinking she'll prove useful. Tatyana is implied to be using one when she attempts to threaten Sokolov into giving up the Shagohod's test data, but it turns out to be ordinary lipstick. She later tries to use the real one from earlier against Volgin, only to have him twist her arm (and the gun's barrel) away before she can trigger it.
  • Male Gaze: During cutscenes between Snake and EVA, switching to first-person view will usually show the player where Snake's attention really is. This is heartwarmingly subverted later on, towards the end of the game.
  • Manly Tears: Snake sheds one manly tear in the final shot, and he's perfectly justified in doing it, as is the player. In an example of Developers' Foresight, if the player switches to first person view during that scene, the screen will be a little blurred. This is because Big Boss's good eye is tearing up.
  • Marked Bullet: Ocelot has one for Snake. It's a blank.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Boss's former codename was "The Joy", ostensibly because she's really only happy when in battle (hence why she's a sourpuss whenever out of combat). There's another phrase, however, that goes: "The greatest joy is the joy of duty," which fits her perfectly.
    • Volgin's fortress is "Groznyj Grad," meaning "Fearsome City."
    • "Snake Eater" is a (usually insulting) nickname for U.S. Green Berets (of which Snake was a member of prior to the game), referring to the fact that survival training doesn't exactly encourage a picky eater. In-universe, it's also a reference to the fact that Snake's mission entails taking out The Boss and her Cobra Unit.
    • The members of Snake's Mission Control all have meaningful codenames:
      • During the Virtuous Mission, Major Zero chooses the codename "Tom" (from Tom, Dick and Harry) after what he thought was the codename of the tunnel that the POWs used to escape from a prison camp in The Great Escape. After the mission goes awry, he learns that "Harry" was the actual escape tunnel, and he decides to revert to being called Major Zero.
      • Para-Medic takes her name from her idea of medics parachuting into battle.
      • Sigint is short for "Signal Intelligence", his specialty. He's also the go-to guy for information on weapons and camo.
    • Subverted to hell and back with the two main characters: "Snake" is the one who ends up tempted and fooled by "EVA's" lies, and "ADAM" ends up playing both of them by posing as Major Ocelot with no one the wiser.
  • Medal of Dishonor: Snake receives the Distinguished Service Cross for killing The Boss. While the medal is genuinely meant to be an award for playing out his part perfectly in the whole thing, Snake has by this point learned the truth behind The Boss' motives, and as such he doesn't see it as an honor in the slightest.
  • Menu Time Lockout:
    • Snake can switch his camo, heal wounds and eat things (all at the same time, if need be) instantly, since all these actions take place in a paused menu.
    • If the player has the game paused during the final boss fight for more than ten minutes, the airstrike that The Boss called in will trigger once they unpause.
  • Military Coup: A large premise of the plot is trying to halt a military coup that is being orchestrated by the Big Bad, Colonel Volgin, in the Soviet Union against Khrushchev as a means to prevent World War III. The stinger reveals that the coup would ultimately be successful anyway, but Volgin's plans for a new war died with him.
  • Mind Screwdriver: Served as the first part of one for Metal Gear Solid 2 with Metal Gear Solid 4 finishing the job. For example, the whole subplot with The Sorrow serves to very neatly retroactively explain why Ocelot could be possessed by Liquid in the second game: because his father was a medium.
  • Mirror Boss: The final fight with The Boss is effectively this. Snake has three basic specialties: stealth, CQC, and guns. The Boss counters with her own powerful machine pistol, is a master martial artist, and wears white camouflage in a field of white flowers that makes her hard to see. If the player finds the black prototype sneaking suit, they can choose to wear it during the battle, mirroring The Boss's white Sneaking Suit. Is it practical? Not really. Does it look cool and symbolic? Yep. Flashbacks in Peace Walker depict Snake wearing the sneaking suit.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Tons of it, although Para-Medic can give a detailed explanation of every animal in the game, and explain that most of the animals that aren't supposed to be there were brought in for testing. Presumably, the misplaced wildlife was scattered all over the place to prevent players of the demo version from guessing where exactly the game takes place.
  • Mood Whiplash: While Metal Gear Solid 3 is the most willfully goofy entry in the series, it also has some dark moments. The use of this is perfectly illustrated in a single scene in which Snake is disguised as Volgin's effeminate boyfriend Raikov, who looks exactly like Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2, and Volgin playfully grabs at his crotch in much the same way President Johnson does to Raiden in the second game. One might think that this is just a Mythology Gag. However, once Volgin realizes the person in question is not actually Raikov, it leads to him pummeling Snake half to death in one of the series' most shocking scenes.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Snake. The player can even play as him shirtless throughout the entire game.
    • Ocelot is a strapping young man with sharp features and a cool, if evil, style.
  • MST3K Mantra: Invoked. Call Sigint during a New Game+ and he's in awe of Snake's new weapons. When he asks Snake where he got them, Snake's response is essentially, "Don't worry about it."
  • Mugged for Disguise: Major Raikov; whether he's killed for it is up to you. In a Mythology Gag, if you do kill him, he'll be naked in The Sorrow's river battle, shamefully clutching his crotch just like Raiden in 2.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Most Metal Gear games involve this to some degree and this one is no exception. Lots of real-world weapons and technology stand side-by-side with terrorists with bizarre superpowers. More tellingly, people don't even bother to explain the superpowers. Everyone's in awe of Volgin's electrical powers, but nobody ever questions it for a moment.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Ask anyone what the most memorable part of the game is, and whilst many will point to the numerous bombastic action sequences, just as many players will point to the ladder. Two solid minutes of Snake climbing a ladder, often regarded as one of the most iconic moments in gaming, primarily due to a vocal-only version of the main theme playing as you climb.
    • In Secret Theatre, Snake and The Boss fight... with Rock–Paper–Scissors. The Boss wins with the Davy Crockett.
    • Plenty of the alternative uses of the game's many, many items. A rotten piece of rat meat can be weaponised to neutralise a guard non-lethally if you so happen to have taken out their supply depot so that all of the guards are starving. Throw it at him and he'll happily eat it, then have a bout of stomach illness.
  • Mundangerous: Get shot a few dozen times with an assault rifle? Just wait a bit and it heals. Fell asleep while climbing a tree? Instant death, regardless of height (many are shorter than some ledges the player can jump off with no damage).
  • Mythology Gag:
    • There are conversations related to the old game mechanics, including one on the silliness of eating food to instantly recover health, and an extended discussion between Snake and Sigint about why Metal Gears wouldn't actually work.
    • Ocelot's boss fight is prefaced with him pulling out two revolvers and saying "This time, I've got twelve shots." As opposed to the six he had in the original Metal Gear Solid.
    • Snake says that he feels he can't help but compare himself negatively to James Bond all the time when explaining to Zero, a huge James Bond fan, why he is disinterested in the franchise. In the original MSX2 version of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Big Boss' appearance was modeled after Sean Connery, who actually played James Bond around the time the game is set.
    • Before the boss fight with The End, EVA talks to Snake to inform him what he is going up against. She asks if he has any experience as a sniper, and Snake says he has in urban and marine environments.
    • The full codenames for both, Naked Snake and The Boss, have the same number of letters as "Solid Snake" and "Big Boss".
  • New Game+: Snake keeps all his gear and camo pickups in a New Game Plus, and can also get several rewards, including Ocelot's Single Action Army and The Boss's Patriot carbine. Weapons found during gameplay are exempt as always, however, which sadly includes The End's tranquilizing sniper rifle. Notably, this is the first Metal Gear Solid game in which you can equip both stealth camouflage and infinite ammo simultaneously, due to the infinite ammo item being a face paint.note 
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: When he tries to interrogate Snake, Volgin thinks he's really after the Philosophers' Legacy, and ends up telling him everything about what and where it is. Ocelot is in the room too, so he learns. And so does EVA, in disguise as Tatyana. And The Boss. And this is after The Boss tells him Snake was trained by her, and simply will not break. Volgin fails to successfully interrogate anyone in the entire game. Given that he's a major sadist, one assumes he loses a certain amount of objectivity.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: President Lyndon B. Johnson and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev aside, two of the attendees at Big Boss's award ceremony (implied to be the CIA Director and a high-ranking member of the DOD) were based on John McCone and Robert McNamara, who were the real-life CIA Director and Secretary of Defense, respectively, during that time period, and had it not been for some retcons in the story, they most likely would have been the exact same people. Likewise, while not actually seen, The Stinger has Ocelot briefly talking to the KGB Chief Director, who is strongly implied to be Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastny (the real-life Chief Director at the time), about the time arriving to overthrow Khrushchev. Semichastny, in real life, was indeed involved in the overthrow of Khrushchev and the installment of Brezhnev.
  • No Fourth Wall: It's a Metal Gear game.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Volgin does this to Snake. It's not pretty.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • As a result of The Boss having to kill The Sorrow, The Joy never smiles throughout the events of Metal Gear Solid 3.note  Conversely, The Sorrow always wears a sinister grin whenever he appears, which essentially makes their original titles into misnomers.
    • Applies to all the Cobras considering The Pain is the loudest and angriest member, The Fury fights you slowly and oppressively in a dark tunnel with a terrifying atmosphere, and The Fear uses bolts that contain very painful poisons. The End meanwhile fights you with a tranquilizer rifle so he will never actually "end" you.
    • Joy, Sorrow, Fury, Pain, End and Fear are the emotions the Cobra Unit feel in battle.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Kill a character that plays a major role in the storyline (Ocelot, Sokolov or EVA), and the game ends with Colonel Campbell chiding Snake for causing a Time Paradox.
  • The Nose Knows: Ocelot realizes that Tatyana/EVA was the spy in their midst by the smell of motorcycle gasoline on her. Earlier, it was her distinct perfume.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: After the hilarious Russian accents in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami went with the Translation Convention route for all characters speaking Russian.
  • Not So Above It All: Sigint is usually the Only Sane Man. However, even he has his quirks, as shown by his bizarre dreams and making a Latex Perfection mask with working eyeballs, but a mouth that never opens.

  • Odd Name Out:
    • Snake ponders why Ocelot, a Russian agent, is named after a North American big cat. He and mission control eventually jot it down to his agility, which turns out to be true. For the hell of it, he even signals his unit once by purring loudly. Turns out he's an American spy planted to help Snake.
    • The End with the rest of the Cobra Unit. All of them have names about the emotions they feel during battle. "End" isn't an emotion.
  • Old Save Bonus: Sort of. If you start up Subsistence (or the HD Edition, which has almost all of the features of Subsistence) and select "I like MGS3!", you'll unlock several custom camouflage options that are normally New Game+ rewards which grant you some sweet bonus abilities, like a uniform that keeps suppressors from wearing out or a facepaint that lets you breathe underwater. You get bonus gear no matter the answer, but "I like MGS3!" gets you more stuff that you'll probably find more useful than what the other answers would have given you.
  • Ominous Save Prompt: Inverted. Right before facing The End, Para-Medic will tell Snake not to save his game in the middle of battle, since saving equates to falling asleep in this game. If the player still decides to save and load the game three days later, The End shoots Snake in the neck with a tranquilizer dart and carries him all the way back to the lab. If the player waits a week before playing again, however, The End will die of old age.
  • One Dose Fits All: The game features a tranquillizer pistol, with which enemies can be dispatched non-lethally. Tranquilizer darts will be equally effective on any regular enemy regardless of size, provided they are not wearing full body armor. Bosses can also be defeated non-lethally, but rather than knocking them out with a single dart to the head, they instead have a "stamina" bar, much like their regular health meter, which depletes the more they get hit by tranquilizer darts. However, this stamina bar is based not on the enemy's size, physical fitness or constitution, but rather simply scales up linearly as part of the game's difficulty curve, in the interests of gameplay rather than realism.
  • Only a Lighter: One of the gag reels from the Secret Theater, in which Snake gushes over his new custom M1911... only for him to pull the trigger and find out it's a lighter.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Almost everyone. Inverted in Volgin's case; Sokolov claims that "you in the West know him as 'Thunderbolt'," but aside from Sokolov and Zero, the latter in an optional radio conversation during the Virtuous Mission, nobody else ever calls Volgin by that name - Snake even responds to this claim with "never heard of him".
    • Played straight with Volgin's deceased father: He's never referred to anything else besides "Volgin's father." However, Volgin's middle name, which in Russian doubles as a patronymic name, is "Borisovitch", implying that his name was Boris Volgin.
    • The Boss has a similar case to Volgin. While her real name isn't revealed, it's claimed at various points that she has two other nicknames - "The Joy" being her actual codename among the Cobras, and "Voyevoda" as a nickname the Russians gave to her - which are never mentioned again outside of the cutscenes/radio conversations they're mentioned in (and one Secret Theater video in the Subsistence re-release).
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Ocelot regards Snake this way, even saying at one point: "Don't you die on me yet." The Boss also keeps Snake alive long enough for him to fulfill his mission of killing her.
  • Opponent Instruction: After first encountering and fighting Major Ocelot, Naked Snake can't help but give the latter some pointers on his gun handling (as Ocelot is focusing far more on style than utility at this point in time), most notably recommending that Ocelot replace his automatic pistol with a revolver, seeing as it's more appropriate for Ocelot's instinctive recoil reduction technique. Amusingly, you can call Para-Medic after this, where she'll outright question why Snake is giving pointers to an enemy - and even though he doesn't have a real answer, he continues doing it anyway the next time they fight, when Ocelot gets his hands on the flashiest-looking revolver he could find and then fails to account for its lower capacity.
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: Unidentified Mysterious Animals (UMAs).
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Shagohod is a colossal screaming dragon made of steel, but a dragon nevertheless.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: There are a lot of creative ways to defeat some of the bosses in the game. Some methods are even necessary for players embarking on a pacifist run:
    • There are lots of ways to deal with Ocelot during the duel with him. You can shoot beehives to force him to leave cover and get a shot at him. He will accuse you of playing dirty if you do this, for some reason. You can also shoot his hat off of his head, which stops him for a while until he can put it back on, giving you a free shot.
    • If The Fear's stamina is half-depleted, he will start hunting for food. The player can then throw poisoned or rotten food at him, further depleting his stamina, and leaving him vulnerable for a few more shots. Conveniently, the area is full of poisonous dart frogs and mushrooms, which you can collect during your first pass through the area before fighting him.
    • One of the things which make the boss fight with The End so entertaining for players is the immense variety of ways you can fight him. It's actually easier, in fact, not to try to beat him at his own game; except for his scope lens reflecting sunlight and a noisy parrot companion, it is seriously difficult to find him if you just keep looking through a scope, more so when doing so while he's already shooting at you. You can: track his footprints down with the thermal goggles and follow him around the battlefield; capture his parrot, which you can follow back to him; use the Directional Mic to listen for his heartbeat; among other strategies. Or if the whole thing is just too frustrating, you can actually use the Konami Code to show his location on the map. Or advance the internal clock of your console by seven or more days, resulting in him dying of old age.
    • For a non-boss variant (as well as a Call-Back to MGS1), there are several ways to escape your prison cell after Volgin's torture. If you caught the Easter Egg during the torture scene and saw The Sorrow holding up a chalkboard with a radio frequency written on it, you can use that to open the cell door. One very elaborate method of escape can be initiated by throwing the food you're given back at the guard. After doing this three times, a cutscene will ensue, which ends with the guard giving Snake back his cigarettes, which turn out to be the Cig-Spray tranquilizer gas weapon. You can then use that to incapacitate the guard as he walks in front of the cell door, opening it for you. Another method weaponizes an Easter Egg: going into view mode in the uniform menu and spinning around for long enough will cause Snake to vomit when the game is unpaused, and the guard will stupidly open the cell to investigate.
    • As opposed to just mowing him down with your guns, there are lots of other tactics which can be used against Volgin in the first fight with him. CQC is surprisingly effective against him, although you have to time your approach or risk getting damaged. Wearing the Raikov mask will disorient him for a second, allowing you a free shot, although this only works once. Throwing a tree frog at him also has the same effect. A more bizarre yet viable tactic is throwing a Russian Glowcap mushroom near him, which results in the mushroom absorbing all of his electrical attacks. One mushroom can only absorb one attack, however.
  • Overly Long Gag: The sequence where the player climbs a ladder. For a very long time (about two minutes, in fact). Admittedly, Snake is actually climbing up a mountain. At some point, a vocal variation of the theme song starts playing for no apparent reason. Said ladder serves as the game's intermission, splitting the game into two halves.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • EVA's able to successfully fool the GRU members, except for The Boss, while acting as a former KGB officer by putting on glasses, slightly changing her hairstyle, and wearing a Soviet officer's outfit. The director's commentary even lampshades this fact.
    • When Snake puts on the scientist or technician disguises, he still wears his bandana. Soldiers are fooled, but run into another scientist/techie and they'll see right through it.
    • Snake manages to disguise himself exceptionally well as Raikov, to the extent that, in Zero's words, not even his own mother would tell them apart, but Volgin saw through the disguise after grabbing Snake's crotch. Later on, the player can gain a free hit on Volgin simply by putting on the Raikov mask in front of him.
  • Peaceful in Death: The Boss. She even orders Snake to pull the trigger.
  • Playing Possum: On his mission, Snake is equipped with a fake death pill in case he gets caught, which drops his vital functions down to almost nothing. When the coast is clear, he can bite down on the Revival Pill embedded in his tooth to get back into action. Of course, trying to pull this trick on The Boss does not amuse her. And if you remain "dead" for too long (if the words "Snake Is Dead" change completely into "Time Paradox"), it's Game Over.
  • Point of No Return: There are certain circumstances in the game that result in you being unable to backtrack to earlier areas. Once you’re thrown in the cavern after the Ocelot battle you can’t return to the previous jungle areas, and the cave itself has a steep slope that prevents you from backtracking it as well. You’re also sealed off once you reach Groznyj Grad, preventing you from going back to the mountain areas.
  • Post-End Game Content: New Game+, the Tuxedo, the Patriot and every unlockable that the player gets by obtaining a specific rank or collecting something.
  • Power Glows: Since these mushrooms glow, that means eating them should recharges the batteries, right?
  • Press X to Die: You can use the fake death pill to fake your death and throw off an enemy pursuit. You can take a revival pill to return to action once the coast is clear. If you wait a while, however, Snake will die for real.
  • Press X to Not Die: Used precisely once, and it's inverted: The player has to press the button to end The Boss' life.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Solid Snake returns as the playable character in the Snake vs. Monkey minigame.
  • Product Placement: The CalorieMate and the Sabra magazine are available, although the latter item is simply mentioned to be a book. Both of those are also anachronisms as the CalorieMate and Sabra weren't made until 1983 and March 2000, respectively, and in the case of the former being the chocolate variety in the original version, which didn't exist until 1993, and changed to maple in the HD Edition, which didn't exist until 2009.
  • Quicksand Sucks: The bottomless mud pits that prominently appear in Dremuchij Swampland, and a couple of later areas. They behave much similar to quicksand, causing you to slowly sink and eventually drown if you're not quick to get out.
  • Rapid-Fire Interrupting: Para-Medic doesn't let Sigint explain the life medicine to Snake, much to his chagrin.
  • Rare Guns: Only about 3,600 Stoner 63 weapon systems were produced in total. In 1964-rare terms, the SVD had only just begun serial production and the XM16E1 had barely been issued.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • Those flying buckets sure do look goofy and impossible, don't they? Wait, those things actually existed in the sixties?note 
    • Oh wow, tumbleweeds during the fight with Ocelot, how cliché... wait, they actually are native to Russia?
    • And that weird plane at the end, that could never—Oh, wait, that's a real plane.
  • Recycled Script:invoked Sigint's explanations for the active sonar, the motion detector, and the anti-personnel sensor are a complete copy of Zero's explanations of the respective items, with Snake remarking on the similarity. Sigint then deduces that Zero most likely read his notes of the respective devices word for word.
  • Red Herring:
    • Late in the game, when Snake is captured by Colonel Volgin, Volgin asks The Boss to cut out Snake's eyes. Since Snake is Big Boss, we know that eventually he loses his eye. However, he actually loses his eye a few minutes later trying to protect EVA.
    • Toyed with in terms of how Ocelot discovers EVA is Tatyana. Early on, he notes that EVA is wearing perfume, and later does the same to "Tatyana". When EVA is captured after Snake plants the charges on the Shagohod's fuel tanks, Ocelot reveals that he actually figured her out due to Tatyana smelling of motorcycle fuel. Another red herring in this case is that the camera focuses twice on the scuff marks on EVA's boots, when it's not even what gives her away as Tatyana.
  • Red Scare: Snake and Zero were almost executed, the former while hospitalized, because the government felt that they were involved in The Boss's defection, and an optional radio conversion reveals that during the week between the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater, several less stalwart key government members were placed under house arrest due to The Boss's defection, fearing that they'd follow her example. Likewise, over on the Red end, Volgin attempts to justify his actions by claiming that spies are everywhere, and that his job is to root them out and then kill them. Of course, the former was actually all just an act due to their intention of getting the Philosophers' Legacy that went sour.
  • Regenerating Health: Snake's health bar will slowly recover to the full length, being only effective outside of combat. If there's a red section, that represents injuries that won't heal unless they're treated - these injuries also recover over time but at an even slower rate. In contrast, the stamina bar will slowly drain.
  • Regional Bonus: The European version of the game featured a boss battle mode, demo theatre, some extra facepaint patterns based on international flags, two new Snake vs. Monkey levels, and the "European Extreme" difficulty setting. The default European version of Subsistence was the three-disc pre-order version of the North American release.
  • Renegade Russian: Volgin and co. are a rare example of this being used in a time period when the USSR was still around.
  • Resting Recovery: After meeting with Eva, Para-Medic will tell you about sleeping. When you save the game and quit, you'll sleep, and regain stamina naturally.
  • Retcon:
    • How Naked Snake/Big Boss managed to lose his right eye was different than previously stated. In the manual for Metal Gear 2, it mentioned that Big Boss lost his eye while in combat during the 1980s.
    • Ocelot, under the possession of Liquid, said in MGS2 that Big Boss was in his late fifties when Solid, Liquid, and Solidus were born. He was 39 in Peace Walker, meaning that he is 29 in this game, and was in his late 30s when the sons of Big Boss were born in 1972.
  • Right Through His Pants: During the ending, EVA and Snake share a romantic moment, only for Snake to wake up while still wearing his pants and shoes.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Spoofed in one of the Secret Theater segments.
  • Rule of Cool:
    • Sigint outright states that the reason he based the EZ Gun on the Liberator was purely because the Liberator looked cool to him.
    • Deconstructed. The eponymous bipedal tanks exist entirely due to this. In a conversation with Snake, Sigint details the reasons why this would be pointless as well as a bad idea.
    • During Snake and Ocelot's final showdown, Ocelot draws a revolver he must know is empty. And EVA throws Snake "her" revolver, which she must also know is empty. Snake may not realize this, so it makes sense he'd try to fire it, but why does Ocelot fan through his own revolver's magazine in tandem with him? Because that looks cool.
  • Rule of Funny: Some videos in the Secret Theater included in Subsistence. For instance, in "How not to handle C3", no matter how hard the C3 slams into another C3, it won't detonate prematurely as C3 is mechanically and chemically stable. When Snake slams the C3 into the other, the timer trips to 0. That sets off the C3, not the impact.
  • Running Gag: Snake's desire to eat everything and Para-Medic's disgusted reactions.
  • Russian Roulette: Ocelot's favorite method of intimidating his foes, complete with juggling three Single Action Armies. Surprisingly, The Boss snatches the loaded gun and shoots the bullet before Tatyana can come to harm from this. It's also the reason why Big Boss cannot use his right eye anymore.
  • Samus Is a Girl: When talking to Para-Medic about Ocelot being the son of a "legendary hero" and how he was born in the middle of a battlefield. Snake assumes that said legendary hero is a man. Turns out that Ocelot's mother and the hero are the same person. Specifically, The Boss.
  • Saved by Canon: You get a Non Standard Game Over if you kill Ocelot at any point, due to creating a Time Paradox if you do so, as he's involved in the plot in the future. Weirdly, this also applies to EVA, as killing her will also cause a paradox, yet this is the first time we've met her. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots reveals why: She's the surrogate mother of Solid and Liquid.
  • Say My Name: The Cobras shout their names before dying in a massive explosion, except for The Sorrow, who's already dead, and The Boss, who is killed with a gunshot to the head. She does do it in one of the Secret Theatre films, except she uses her previous codename, The Joy.
  • Schizo Tech: Averted. Unlike Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain, which have outrageously advanced tech for the decade they take place in, all the tech in Snake Eater is reasonably accurate, if farfetched. Even the floating platforms and handheld nuclear launchers are based on real prototypes from the era, and the game spends a lot of time laying the groundwork for how the Shagohod uses contemporary rocket technology to function.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • The team dialogue for the scientist camo. Guess what usually happens next:
      Major Zero: It won't do you any good to go around the jungle wearing a scientist disguise.
      Para-Medic: No one would be that stupid.
      Major Zero: If they did, they'd have to be a fool. *snicker*' No, more than a fool—a complete dumbass. Don't you think so, Snake?
    • The player may be tempted to attack Ocelot after he's knocked out early in the game. Killing him results in a Game Over.
  • Schrödinger's Gun:
    • The Flame Troops will always be present at Krasnogorje, but the actual reason for why they are present depends on how many of their men the player killed. Sigint will explain if the player got too trigger happy, they want revenge on Snake for his killing a lot of their soldiers. If not, they are only there because Volgin ordered them to as revenge for Snake killing off The Pain, The Fear, and The End.
    • The bullet in the duel near the end of the game is different depending on the player's actions: if Snake or Ocelot fires at the other, the bullet was a blank. If Snake picks the right gun but then fires at the wall (and, presumably, if he didn't fire at all), the bullet was real.
  • Secret Test of Character: Twice! The End won't kill the player because he wants them to surpass him, and The Boss spares Snake's life at the beginning of Operation Snake Eater, telling him to either toughen up or go home.
  • Self-Deprecation: The game features an extended lambasting of the somewhat whimsical design of the entire Metal Gear concept in general, with the military expert Sigint explicitly pointing out that putting a tank on legs rather than treads makes little logical sense.
  • Serious Business: In one of the hilarious outttakes, The Boss takes rock, paper, scissors a wee bit too far.
  • Sexposition: At several points you can press a button to stare at EVA's breasts while she exposits. This is actually significant — the last time it happens, you find that Snake is for once looking her in the eyes, showing he's come to respect, admire, and perhaps even love her.
  • Shared Family Quirks: It's revealed that Snake shares his future sons' love for cardboard boxes.
  • Shoot the Dog: Near the very end, when Snake has to finish off The Boss. Made even worse by the fact that the player has to pull the trigger. If the player doesn't pull the trigger after a while, it will happen automatically.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Everything that occurs only served to further the actions of the corrupt, with The Boss forever known after this as a traitor, and Big Boss is left broken by the end, leading to his inevitable Face–Heel Turn.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The shotgun is a near game breaker up close, but its power fades over range.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The theme song of the game, "Snake Eater", is rife with allusions and parodies of '60s spy movies, with a female lead singer, a Title Drop, and plenty of jazzy swing.
    • Obvious cases are Snake berating overly complicated survival knives (Rambo), Zero's love of James Bond movies and Para-Medic's B-movie obsession.
    • In one sequence, Snake flees Ocelot and his men and jumps out of a high storm drain. This is lifted directly from The Fugitive.
    • Want to know what the trophy/achievement for CQC-interrogating a soldier is called in Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection? "Tell Me Where the Bomb is!"
    • In the intro for Snake vs. Monkey, Snake asks Colonel Campbell if Sam or Gabe can go on the mission instead of him, referring to the main protagonists of Splinter Cell and Syphon Filter, respectively.
    • Colonel Volgin sounds very similar to "Colonel Vogel", as in the Nazi Colonel from Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. Just like Colonel Vogel, he ends up falling into a ravine while inside of a tank, although to be fair for Volgin, it wasn't completely his fault, as he was forced to fall in due to EVA rigging the bridge with C3 and Snake blowing it up. Unlike Vogel, however, Volgin does actually manage to get back up.
    • In Snake Eater 3D, the magazines are from Hooters.
    • In an optional cutscene,note  EVA will inspect Snake's body in order to remove a transmitter. Every now and then, in a manner somewhat similar to the Austin Powers franchise, it cuts to EVA and Snake's shadows on the wall doing things that make it look like they're... wrestling.
    • "Way to Fall", the song that plays during the credits, has clear allusions to "It's a Long Road", another heartbreaking guitar ballad of loss and betrayal, played over the credits of First Blood.
    • If the player contacts Major Zero while wearing the crocodile cap, Para-Medic brings up The Alligator People:
      Para-Medic: "The Alligator People." It's a science fiction movie. You've never heard of it?
      Snake: No.
      Para-Medic: Oh... well you should see it sometime. It's about this guy who gets hurt in a car accident and tries to heal his wounds by injecting himself with a crocodile serum, but then his head turns into a crocodile head. You look just like him with that mask on. That's awesome.
      Snake: Right...
    • The crocodile cap itself is probably a reference to Octopussy, which sees James Bond infiltrate an island occupied by smugglers by swimming there in a submersible crocodile.
    • During the Virtuous Mission, Major Zero instead goes by the callsign "Major Tom", providing two references: one, which Zero himself mentions when Snake asks about it, to The Great Escape, where "Tom" was one of the holes the group of allied POWs use to escape from a German POW camp. The other reference comes earlier, when Snake calls him on the radio and asks, "Can you hear me, Major Tom?"
    • Not only is Godzilla named-dropped by Para-Medic, but the game uses the obscure Davy Crockett portable nuclear launcher used in King Kong vs. Godzilla.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Mk22 tranquilizer gun isn't flashy, but it's very accurate and great for head shots during a Pacifist Run. It's also surprisingly satisfying to use in boss fights, especially for the different camos the bosses drop if you beat them non-lethally.
  • Skippable Boss:
    • It's possible to snipe The End in the head long before the player has to fight him. However, the player will have to fight the Ocelot Unit again. Alternatively, the player can save the game during the battle, then wait seven days before playing again (or, if they don't want to wait that long, simply fiddle around a bit with the console's internal clock) causing him to die of old age off-screen.
    • The Sorrow. During the fight with The Sorrow, the player can simply lay down so Snake's head is under the water and wait until he "drowns". This will skip straight to the end of the scene where the player can use the revival pill and wake up. However, the player won't receive his Spirit camo if this method is used. Alternately, the fight can be shortened dramatically by laying down and then simply swimming the whole way through, which is significantly faster than wading through the water and avoids the Sorrow's own attacks.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Snake outdoes his son by smoking the one thing cooler than a cigarette: a cigar. When The Boss complains, he'll mention that she used to smoke, and she'll actually bring up several uses a cigar would have, such as a torch or to remove leeches. She'll still be a spoilsport and order him not to smoke on duty.
  • Sniping Mission: When fighting The End, the only way to stop him without cheating outrageously is to beat him at his own game; run around like an idiot with no camouflage and the player will be blown off their feet before they even see him. And unlike most video game snipers, he does not give away his position with a laser beam (though he does have an extremely shiny scope). It takes most first-time players hours to wear him down, but it feels awesome when they do.
  • Soft Reset: Aside from game overs, there's no menu option to quit. Instead, hold all four shoulder buttons and press start and select at the same time.
  • Something Else Also Rises: When Snake and EVA are kissing, the fire starts burning brighter.
  • Soviet Superscience: The Shagohod, the predecessor to the Metal Gear weapons, as well as the basic designs for Metal Gear itself, were developed by Sokolov and Granin, respectively. In addition to the giant robots of doom, the hover platforms, planes, and weaponry are extremely advanced for the time period and most of the characters marvel at some of their capabilities.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Pain, The Fear, The End, The Fury, The Sorrow and The Boss (a.k.a. The Joy).
  • Stalker with a Crush: Ocelot's obsessive pursuit of Snake is almost certainly as a result of this.
  • Start of Darkness: This game is one for everyone: Thanks to this incident, Naked Snake became Big Boss, and, along with Zero, Signit, Para-Medic, EVA, and Ocelot, formed the Patriots and gives grief to the world for the next fifty years.
  • Stat Grinding: A subtle example, Snake's health slightly increases after he recovers from big injuries.
  • The Stinger: Typical for a Metal Gear game. Ocelot talks with the KGB's Chief Director and states that Volgin's coup successfully ousted Khrushchev and that no American technology could be salvaged from the ruins of Groznyj Grad, which The Boss annihilated prior to her death. After putting the phone down, Ocelot then calls the CIA Director and mocks the obliviousness of the Russians to the fact that he's actually a triple agent for the CIA. He also reveals himself as ADAM, whom Snake was supposed to meet in the latter's mission, and states that America successfully secured what EVA thought she had retrieved for the Chinese, including a large share of the Philosophers' Legacy.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: The Updated Re-release Subsistence came packaged with two bonus discs which included (among other things) an option to watch a "film" version of the game, consisting of the numerous cutscenes in the game spliced together, with additional footage to bridge the gaps between them. Hideo Kojima explained in the game's manual that this feature was offered for the benefit of players who might not have the free time to play through the entire game, but nevertheless wanted to experience its story.
  • Straight Gay: Colonel Volgin comes across as extensively macho, so his little affair with Raikov (who is also an example, to an extent at least) might be a bit of a surprise.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Snake has this when it comes to mud. It also means Indian gavials can instantly kill the player by knocking them on their ass in the wrong place.
  • Super Window Jump: Snake can use this as an alternate escape route to escape the Ocelot Unit at Rassvet. However, the shattering glass will alert troops, so a better idea would be to punch out the glass before sunrise. Snake can also somersault though select windows in Granin's lab.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Snake finally surpasses The Boss in a final confrontation where he had ten minutes to defeat her or else the area would be napalmed. For his efforts, Snake is awarded the title of Big Boss showing that, in the U.S. government's eyes, he had surpassed his mentor.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: In the Krasnogorje Mountaintop area, you'll come across a lot of ointment and bandages laying around. This will be useful in treating the burns you'll undoubtedly get during your fight with The Fury shortly after.
  • Sympathetic Murder Back Story: The game is the story of Big Boss's Start of Darkness, where he's manipulated into killing his mentor and mother figure, as part of her and the Philosophers' Zero-Approval Gambit.
  • Tail Slap: Indian Gavials will do this to Snake if he wanders too close to one.
  • Take That!: One radio conversation with Sigint about the Survival Knife will have Sigint lament that Snake didn't take the knife he made for him with a hollowed out grip and a compass in the pommel. Snake points out that such a knife is useless in a fight, as the hollowed out grip unbalances the knife and makes it more brittle.
  • Taking the Bullet: Naked Snake, when he was being tortured by Volgin, ends up counting the bullet chambers as Ocelot decides to play his version of Russian Roulette with Tatyana when deducing that the latter's the spy, and flings himself at Ocelot to deflect the bullet away from Tatyana. It worked, but in the process, he received muzzle burn near his right eye, costing him the use of his right eye.
  • Take Your Time: Sort of. You start out Operation Snake Eater being informed that USA and Russia are on the brink of nuclear conflict, which implies that this is an urgent mission that must be completed as soon as possible. That doesn’t stop you from taking the time to goof around in the jungle, raid as many warehouses as you can, and sample every animal you come across without Mission Control getting on your ass about it. Para-Medic also states that saving and exiting is the equivalent to sleeping in-game, so you can turn off the game and come back after a while with no changes other than your food expiring. One boss will even die of old age if you come back after too long.
  • Tech Demo Game: The 3DS remake was this for the 3DS, starting out as a literal tech demo called "The Naked Sample" before being completely remade.
  • Temporal Paradox: Killing EVA or Ocelot causes a Time Paradox. The standard Game Over screen also shifts to "Time Paradox" if the player wait a while. This is because Naked Snake is Big Boss. The HD Collection has an trophy/achievement for killing Ocelot (thus killing the man behind almost everything in the series) called "Problem Solved, Series Over".
  • Tempting Fate:
    Colonel Volgin: "Who's afraid of a little thunder?"
    • Sigint mocks the idea of "walking tanks" in a radio conversation. He later ends up becoming the DARPA Chief.
    • During his first encounter with Snake, Ocelot and his men mock his CQC pose. They immediately regret it as Snake wipes the floor with them in less than two minutes.
  • Theme Music Withholding: The classic theme is heard only in the final moments of the end credits.
  • Theme Naming: The Cobra Unit each use emotions as their codenames. A radio conversion with Sigint reveals that they name themselves after what they feel in battle. Some are easy to figure out (The Fury, The Sorrow, and The Joy), while others are a little trippy ("The End" is supposedly because of the oblivion of sleep, but "The End" is a pretty good name for a sniper in general, considering how lethal they are to enemy soldiers). The Fear promises to scare the player, but his antics reveal that his combat style is pretty cowardly itself, hiding and poisoning them (going with his "spider" theme). The Pain can obviously cause a lot of pain with his bees, and once he pulls off the mask, the player will see that he's in quite a lot of it himself.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When calling EVA after escaping the prison, should the player have magazines up to their capture, EVA will state that Snake could have asked for her help. She meant in regards to distracting the enemy, but the way she said it made it seem as though she would prefer for him to ask her to seduce him instead of reading magazines.
  • Third Is 3D: An odd variation: while not true for the original release, it does hold true for the Nintendo 3DS remake.
  • Title Drop:
    • The words "Metal Gear Solid 3" is seen on Snake's helmet during the HALO jump in the beginning of the HD Edition.
    • The bulk of the game takes place during Operation Snake Eater, a name chosen because Snake is taking on The Boss and her Cobra Unit, not to mention the fact that actual cobras also eat other snakes.
  • Together in Death: After killing The Boss, there's a hidden scene where the player will see her ghost standing next to The Sorrow.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Tsuchinoko. A one-of-a-kind incredibly rare and hard-to-find mythical snake that you can eat to restore full stamina... which nobody ever does, because keeping it in your inventory until the end of the game unlocks the infinity facepaint, and your Mission Control will hate your guts if you eat it.
  • Translation Convention: Snake and Sokolov talk for a short time at the beginning. Sokolov seems to have some sort of British accent, which is strange for a Russian scientist, until he compliments Snake on his excellent Russian. Throughout the rest of the game, the characters are assumed to be talking to each other in Russian, with only Granin exhibiting a noticeable Russian accent, presumably either because he's drunk and is slurring his speech, or is actually speaking English in the scene in which he appears.
  • Truth in Television:
    • During the Virtuous Mission briefing, when Zero mentions that the Turkey Deal was actually misinformation, he explains that the nukes in Turkey were obsolete, and they were planning to get rid of them anyway. This part was actually quite true, as the nukes had been obsolete, both in lifeline as well as the fact that America had updated nuclear submarines patrolling Turkey.
    • An optional conversion with Zero has him remarking that the U.S. government is currently at DEFCON 2 because of the failure of the Virtuous Mission. The penultimate protocol before a nuclear war is indeed DEFCON 2 (DEFCON 1 is nuclear armageddon, contrary to some mediums claiming it to be DEFCON 5).
  • Tsuchinoko: You can catch one if you're lucky. The team congratulates you when you do and you get an achievement in the HD Edition.
  • Twist Ending: The Boss never actually defected to the Soviet Union — her mission was originally to retrieve the Philosopher's Legacy. However, after Volgin fired his nuke, she and the Cobra Unit willingly took the fall and let Snake kill them in order to prevent a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: Snake can knock out Major Raikov and undress him to steal his outfit and assume his identity. Snake can also just kill him for it, before or after, in which case he will be one of the dead enemies that haunt Snake in The Sorrow's river battle. He will actually be naked and covering himself in the same manner Raiden did in Sons of Liberty.
  • Unexpected Genre Change:
    • The Guy Savage minigame, which the player can play by saving the game in the jail cell and reloading. It isn't included in the HD Edition though, because the minigame was actually a demo for a game was in development at the time but was soon cancelled.
    • From stealth to rail shooter, near the game's end.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • The Pain attacks with a swarm of bees in water-filled caverns. And since everyone knows bees hate water, you can actually toss grenades into the water to splash him.
    • You have to open a locked door. How do you do it? Disguise yourself as a scientist, and knock.
    • The Fear constantly uses up all of his stamina to turn invisible and jump around. He replenishes it by finding food on the battlefield. Thus, Snake can leave his rotten or spoiled food around for The Fear to find and actually poison him with it.
    • You can defeat The End by sniping him the first time he appears in a cutscene, thus skipping his entire boss fight. Barring that, you can also skip the fight entirely by just saving the game and leaving it alone for a week. Since The End is over 100 years old, he'll actually die waiting for Snake to show up again.
    • You just ingested rotten food and don't have digestive medicine to counteract it, so what do you do? Well, just go to the Medical screen and start spinning Snake around until he gets dizzy and pukes it out.
    • The Fake Death Pill has several uses. Many enemies will reveal their positions, expose vulnerabilities or unlock doors to see what the hell happened if Snake just suddenly "dies" right in front of them. It's also the only way to pass one particular boss fight.
  • Updated Re-release: Besides the aforementioned Subsistence re-release, there is also the HD Edition, which is based off the former but lacks a few features, such as the Secret Theater, the Existence disc, Metal Gear Online, Snake vs. Monkey and the Guy Savage minigame, to name but a few. The 3DS version adds in crouch walking and proper third-person shooting as introduced in Metal Gear Solid 4, the ability to create camo patterns using the camera and scattered Yoshi dolls, but is otherwise similar to Subsistence.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: If the player defeats The End non-lethally, they get his sniper rifle, the Mosin Nagant. If the player defeats the other bosses non-lethally (specifically The Pain, The Fear, The Fury, Volgin, and The Boss), they will receive their camouflage that includes their abilities (The Pain's camouflage allows for Snake to manipulate the bees, The Fear's camouflage significantly boosts his camo at the cost of stamina, The Fury's Camo allows for Snake to survive fire and explosions, lessening the damage of the former, Volgin's camouflage allows Snake to keep Soviets from firing at him when facing them, and The Boss's camo basically yields a decent camo in most areas (although not to the extent of The Fear's Camo), The End's abilities of regenerating under sunlight as well as 100% camouflage under grassy and mossy areas also qualify (although that only necessitates holding up The End thrice), and technically, The Sorrow's camouflage (which allows Snake's footsteps to be silent and drain stamina of the enemy when holding them up) can be unlocked by defeating him, should Snake end up reaching the end of the path.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • It's entirely possible to beat the game without killing anyone, with one exception: the game still forces the player to pull the trigger on The Boss.
    • If you decided to play the Nice Guy, you can feed good condition food to enemy soldiers. Their reaction upon eating it on site will have them comment it tasted good.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The more people the player kills, the longer their fight with The Sorrow will be.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • Eating Russian glowcaps recharges your batteries. This is even considered ridiculous in-game; Para-Medic and Sigint lampshade how that can't be possible.
    • If Snake is on fire, equipping a cardboard box will put the flames out. Seriously. The cardboard box also makes Snake immune to fire on the ground, which makes most of the fight against The Fury a joke. It can't stand up to a direct hit from The Fury's flamethrower, though; the force of the blast knocks the box off of Snake.
    • Deliberately drowning Snake to escape The Sorrow faster. This does not net you the Spirit camo, though.
    • The most dangerous weapon to use against The Boss isn't a gun; it's the non-lethal Cig Spray. You remember, that thing you picked up at Graniny Gorki hours ago and never bothered using? It works with Snake's CQC combo, and The Boss can't disarm you. It can hit The Boss while she's on the ground, and can even hit her out of her shooting and walking animations. This can be used to exploit the game's programming, too. The Boss won't shoot when she's within CQC range. As long as you stay close and know how to consistently counter her grabs, she'll be finished in about two minutes. This turns one of the best and most dramatic fights in the entire series into little more than a high-stakes game of tag.
    • The Torch, of all things, works almost as well on The Boss as the Cig Spray. Apparently, she can't see a huge, fiery stick despite it being a dead giveaway to Snake's position. It has a longer reach than the Cig Spray and can hit her out of animations, but its combo does less damage and can't touch The Boss while she's grounded. She can also disarm you, which is the biggest problem. However, it's surprisingly easy to beat The Boss - non-lethally - with a stick.
  • Visual Pun: You see that stamina-killing ladder? You know who's climbing it up? Yes. Snakes and Ladders.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: The game makes it explicitly clear that, unlike previous Metal Gear games, Snake's contacts on the radio cannot actually see Snake, and the "faces" communicating with him are actually just photographs similar to a slide projector. However, in quite a few spots, they can tell what Snake's up to before he even says anything. EVA even freaks out if Snake calls her wearing the Raikov mask, somehow mistaking him for the real Raikov despite only being able to hear his unaltered voice.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • Eating too much rotten or poisonous food will cause Snake's stomach to heave it all up, which is exactly what tends to happen in real life.
    • In the boss battle against Volgin, taking a solid uppercut from him will have Snake sent skyward at least a story high, and when he comes down, he'll vomit from the sheer pain.
    • Going into view mode when changing your outfits and spinning around for long enough causes a funny Easter Egg where Snake vomits out of dizziness once gameplay resumes. Doubles as an Outside-the-Box Tactic when this technique can be used to trick a guard into opening your prison cell door.
  • Walk It Off: Snake recovers health automatically, depending on how much stamina he has, but first he has to heal his wounds through impromptu surgery to recover to full health. Although rations no longer heal Snake, he can take some Life Medicine to instantly heal himself (at the cost of a penalty to his final ranking). Conveniently, taking and healing wounds also increases Snake's maximum health in the long run.
  • Weapon of Choice: EVA uses a Chinese copy of a Mauser C96 pistol. Ocelot starts out using a Makarov, but taking Snake's advice about using a revolver to better match his shooting style, switches to a Colt Single Action Army, one of the most distinctly American sidearms ever. The Boss uses a heavily modified M-16 with the barrel cut down. For all three characters, the weapon they use is a clue to their real allegiances. Yes, even The Boss.
  • Wham Line: The point at which the Twist Ending is revealed is in EVA's closing monologue, while she explains the truth about what the Boss did:
    EVA: Snake, listen to me. She didn't betray the United States. No... Far from it. She was a hero who died for her country. She carried out her mission knowing full well what was going to happen. Self-sacrifice... Because that was her duty.
  • What an Idiot!: In-universe example: if the player interrogates a certain guard at Graniny Gorki, the guard will state "The isolation cell guard... what an idiot!" which is obviously referring to the amount of easy escapes regarding scientists that end up in an isolation cell.
  • What Could Have Been: An in-universe example: Rassvet was originally going to have a factory built in the area (explaining the half-completed structure's origins), but the Kremlin at some point decided to reorganize Tselinoyarsk into a secret military center and a research facility (Groznyj Grad and Graniny Gorki, respectively), thus cancelling the construction plans of the factory. A similar story exists for the Graniny Gorki lab: it was originally built as a prison, but at some point, it was converted into a research lab instead (which explains the presence of prison cells in the eastern portion of its basement).
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: Assigning three spies named ADAM, EVA and Snake to a sensitive espionage mission? Yeah, that seems like a pretty big risk. In a subversion, though, Snake is the only completely trustworthy agent of the three.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • An optional conversion with Para-Medic will have Snake explain why he recommended Ocelot use a revolver instead of a semi-auto. Snake doesn't really have an answer when Para-Medic responds by asking him why he was giving combat tips to his enemy.
    • Attacking EVA while escorting her will invoke this from the entirety of Mission Control.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • If the player calls The Boss wearing the Ga-Ko camo, she berates them.
    • Bypassing The End via the internal clock trick will have Snake regretfully explain that fighting him was the old man's dying wish and that he feels like he disappointed him by not granting him that wish.
    • Try starting a New Game+, wearing the tuxedo and calling The Boss, and be prepared to be berated.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Tselinoyarsk is explicitly stated to be within the Soviet Union, and it's implied to be bordering Pakistan in the beginning. Also, a map during the briefing at the beginning of the Virtuous Mission shows the Eastern Bloc and zooms in on the specific area where Tselinoyarsk is at. Word of God also stated that the entry route for the Virtuous Mission was west of China and north of Southeast Asia. There is a fan theory that it is also the location of Zanzibar Land in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.
  • White Shirt of Death: Snake will fight The Boss who's wearing the white sneaking suit she dons since the main act started. The Final Battle even happens on a field of white flowers. After her death, said flowers become red.
  • Whole Costume Reference: The style of Snake's fatigues strongly resemble the ones worn by Olga Gurlukovich in the Plant Chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The plot is lifted from Crossfire by J. C. Pollock, about a Soviet scientist who attempts to defect, but a special forces extraction mission fails and a week later a second mission is attempted (other elements were used in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake).
  • Why Am I Ticking?: TNT is normally used to destroy food storage and armory sheds, and even the Hind parked at the Bolshaya Past base. With the Infinity Face Paint, however, you can afford to experiment. TNT can be set almost anywhere to create distractions and chain reactions. This includes attaching TNT on guards' backs. You have to sneak up on them, but they'll never notice they've been rigged. Cue as many explosive shenanigans as you want.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snake is terrified of the undead and ghosts. Just mentioning Dracula gives him nightmares. It can be inferred, then, that facing all those ghosts of the men he's killed really was the worst possible thing Snake could encounter.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Played straight in almost every other cutscene in the whole game. The pre-boss-fight cutscenes usually feature Snake creeping around, gun and knife at the ready, only for the boss to announce themselves and give Snake a monologue about his upcoming demise. Snake never takes the opportunity to just shoot them. Even if he's supposed to be "playing fair" and not firing first, The Fear opens their battle by shooting him in the leg with a poisoned crossbow bolt.
    • Volgin's first action upon realizing that Snake's most likely going to win is to order Ocelot to shoot Snake. Ocelot refuses, and he implies that the reason why he won't shoot him is because The Boss made him promise to neither kill Snake, nor aid in his death. Later The Boss made EVA make the same promise.
  • With This Herring: Being the first game chronologically in the series, Metal Gear Solid 3 gives this one a proper explanation: Snake's presence in Russia is already a violation of international law, so he can't leave any evidence of his presence, which is why Snake begins the mission with minimal equipment, hence his codename, and has to procure his equipment on-site, a tradition which both the FOX and FOXHOUND units would later uphold for all their sneaking missions.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Or your stamina will suffer for it.
  • Worst Aid:
    • Burning leeches off with a cigar in real life makes them vomit into the wound, increasing the risk of infection.
    • The game doesn't care what order you perform medical tasks, or whether you attempt to perform a completely pointless bit of medication. This can lead to you disinfecting a wound after stitching and bandaging it up, stitching up a bullet hole before removing the bullet, or using your knife on a deep cut.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • The End consistently refuses to kill Snake for good, because he wants him to prove his worth by out-sniping him. Instead, The End uses harmless tranquilizer darts, and shows genuine disappointment in Snake should he ever pass out in the middle of the fight.
    • The Boss takes it even further than that, calling in an airstrike that will kill them both in ten minutes, thus giving Snake a time limit to complete his mission, which is to kill her. She seems eerily at peace with the prospect of her own death, even smiling as she tells him: "Let's make this the greatest ten minutes of our lives, Jack."
    • Ocelot does this, challenging Snake a number of times and coming away even more impressed every time. The final fight is a variation of Russian Roulette (one bullet, two guns, and they shoot at each other). No matter the outcome, Ocelot just laughs and jumps out of the plane, confident that he'll see Snake again. In fact, in most of the scene's variations, it is revealed that the bullet Ocelot has been carrying on a chain around his neck with the express purpose of defeating Big Boss is a blank.
  • X-Ray Sparks: In the torture sequence, Snake's skeleton is sometimes shown as he is repeatedly electrocuted by Volgin. Unlike most examples of this, this one is not even Played for Laughs in the least bit.
  • You Bastard!: Thought it was funny to shoot a man in the balls or slit a bunch of throats? Now face their specters in the river of the dead. There's also a few times in the game when a radio conversation mentions whether or not the player has gone on a killing spree.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Surprisingly averted in regards to Ocelot and his unit at the end of the Virtuous Mission. Considering how they technically failed to capture Sokolov, since The Boss and her Cobra Unit is literally the only reason they even captured him in the first place, you'd think Volgin would have his unit executed. Instead, he is seen talking with Ocelot celebrating the overall success over their capture of the Shagohod and Sokolov without even a hint at wanting to punish Ocelot for the blunder.
    • It's heavily implied from a radio conversion with EVA that the reason why Johnny was unwilling to let Snake escape from the prison is because Volgin would have executed him if he either had Snake escape or if Snake died in the cell before Volgin could continue torturing him.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Snake gains the title of Big Boss after killing The Boss.
  • You Monster!: EVA says this to Volgin during his torture of Sokolov.
  • Youngest Child Wins: This is referenced in an optional radio conversation with Major Zero regarding Raikov.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: The Boss and, to a lesser extent, Ocelot.

Son... you've got a way to fall...


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Metal Gear Solid 3, MGS 3


MGS3: Snake Eater

This Secret Theatre scene (called "The Ultimate Weapon") has Snake and The Boss engage in a casual game of Rock-Paper Scissors. Things quickly go awry when... wait... why does she have a gun?!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / MundaneMadeAwesome

Media sources: