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Metal Gear Solid, considered by some to be one of the greatest games on the Play Station and by others to be an overrated, convoluted mess (though less so than its sequels), was released in 1998. With its cinematic style and fusion of gripping gameplay with an equally gripping storyline, it shifted the acceptable degree of Story to Gameplay Ratio, perhaps irrevocably, while also single-handedly popularizing the Stealth Based Game.
To many players' surprise, it is not the first game in the popular Metal Gear series: Its predecessors were never released in America, aside from the Nintendo Entertainment System version of the original game, Metal Gear 1987, and its standalone sequel Snakes Revenge, so Metal Gear Solid was the first game in the series that most people played, and the Metal Gear Solid moniker carried on to the rest of the series, aside from a couple of spinoffs.
Basic plot summary: Six years have passed since the fall of Zanzibar Land and the death of Big Boss. Solid Snake, haunted by the death of both Big Boss -- who claimed to be his father -- and best friend Gray Fox at his own hands, has retired from his life as an agent for FOXHOUND, a special operations force for the United States military. His days of running dogs in Alaska are, however, brought to a close when he's kidnapped from his home and brought aboard a submarine beneath the Bering Sea. There, he's greeted by his former superior and "friend," Roy Campbell and the mysterious Dr. Naomi Hunter, who draft him into service once more.
This time, the United States is being held hostage by FOXHOUND itself, which has gone rogue and is being lead by a man who not only looks uncannily like Snake, but is himself called "Liquid Snake". Naturally, Snake's the only one who can stop his deranged doppelgänger and the Five-Bad Band working for him. What follows is a game that loves to break the fourth wall while also telling a surprisingly compelling and serious story about war, morality, and nuclear proliferation.
Upon the advent of the PlayStation, Metal Gear Solid became a huge hit for both its melodramatic and somehow incredibly juicy plot, and its wonderfully satisfying gameplay, which despite being the first 3D game of the series (hence the "Solid" in the title) avoided hitting the Polygon Ceiling.
The game later received a remake for the Game Cube in 2004 titled Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. Tropes specifically for the remake go on the bottom of the page.
The game's story has also been adapted into a graphic novel written by Kris Oprisko, with stylized, sketchy artwork by Ashley Wood that deliberately imitates Yoji Shinkawa's concept art for the game, and the graphic novel itself has been released in a semi-interactive format as Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel on the Play Station Portable. This same graphic novel, along with its sequel, was eventually released on DVD in Japan as Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinee, with full voiceovers from the Japanese cast. There's also a Novelization by Raymond Benson, who has also written book adaptations of James Bond films such as Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, as well as continuation Bond novels based on Ian Fleming's books and novels based on the Splinter Cell series.
Note: this page is for the original PS1 game and its ports and remakes (including The Twin Snakes for the GameCube). For the Game Boy version (which is technically a separate game), see Metal Gear Ghost Babel. For the rest of the series, see the main Metal Gear page.
The original Metal Gear Solid provides the following tropes:
- Abusive Parents: Jossed with: The English version had Liquid mentioning that he wanted revenge on Big Boss because the latter emotionally abused him by claiming that he was always the weaker one, and yet the original Japanese script, the Twin Snakes, and the in-game novel in Metal Gear Solid 2 claimed that his reason for wanting revenge is because he thought Big Boss deliberately chose him to be inferior before birth. That's also not getting into the more recent information that revealed that not only did Big Boss not initially know about the project, but he quit the Patriots as soon as he found out about it out of disgust.
- Action Duo: Snake and Meryl through most of the game. Also, Snake and Otacon in the final car chase if you let Meryl die.
- Action Film Quiet Drama Scene: Lots, sometimes in places that verge on being totally nonsensical. The most egregious of these is when Snake and Meryl stop to talk about love while, for all they know, a nuclear strike is on its way to blow them up real good.
- Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time that David Hayter voiced a character who was the byproduct of a Government-funded supersoldier project.
- Likewise, Liquid's attire resembled that of Colonel Silver. Both characters were also voiced in the Japanese version by Banjo Ginga.
- Alertness Blink: !
- Alternate History: Not much attention is called to this fact since the game, when it came out, took place in the future, but the backstory already calls for several Ruritanias from the Cold War. Just about everything else can be explained away or are the usual sort of fictional liberties, but Zanzibar Land and Outer Heaven stick out.
- Artistic License Biology: Anyone who's passed 10th grade Biology knows that "recessive genes" doesn't mean "inferior genes". Arguably, this was the point--Liquid was raised to believe that he was inferior so that he would resent his brother. Still...you'd think someone smart enough to mastermind a terrorist uprising might find the time to crack open a science book every once in a while.
- It was less that he thought that recessive genes were inferior, but more that he thought Solid Snake was meant to be the better twin. This gave him a major inferiority complex. Doesn't make him any less wrong.
- Liquid knew that "recessive" does not automatically mean "inferior"; It Makes Sense in Context and he is regarding himself as inferior because his so-called "soldier genes" are recessive (he thinks) whilst Snake's were not (they are).
- Badass: Snake, to begin with. But he's far from the only one.
- Badass Longcoat: Many of the villains are shown wearing longcoats once or twice, but Liquid and Ocelot seem to wear theirs the most.
- Badass Long Hair: Liquid Snake, who's both lovingly over the top and somehow believable.
- Badass Mustache: Revolver Ocelot, who somehow makes the idea of a Russian cowboy torture technician assassin with a giant, conspicuous mustache awesome.
- Badass Normal: Solid Snake and Liquid Snake have none of the superhuman abilities of the (other) FOXHOUND agents present in Shadow Moses. This doesn't prevent either of them from being extremely badass. Justified as they are clones of the legendary soldier Big Boss who is probably the biggest Badass Normal of the entire franchise.
- Back Tracking: Happens a lot, since the game takes place in one very large area. Snake even complains about it. The two most egregious examples are:
- Snake having to fetch a sniper rifle from a very early area so he can fight Sniper Wolf and save Meryl.
- Snake having to return to earlier areas to active the different temperature forms of the PAL key.
- Batman Gambit: Liquid Snake cannot actually launch the nuke because Donald Anderson died prior to giving his code, so he manipulates Solid Snake into using the PAL Key to activate the code to override the nuke's safety precautions instead.
- Though it was technically Mantis who came up with the idea.
- Bland-Name Product: Solid Snake's so-called "smokeless cigarettes" (or "bent cigarettes" in the Japanese version) are specifically mentioned to be "Moslems" in the Japanese version. These were actually featured in Policenauts, where they came in a Marlboro-style red box.
- Blood Knight: The FOXHOUND members involved with the revolt on Shadow Moses match this description, especially Vulcan Raven and Liquid Snake. Solid Snake himself was also heavily implied to be this throughout the game as well (See Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes, below).
- Bluff the Eavesdropper: Liquid and Ocelot discuss their PAL codes and Snake's card key deactivating Metal Gear REX, knowing that Snake is spying on them, to further fool Snake into unwillingly doing their bidding for them. The in-game novelization in the following game, In the Darkness of Shadow Moses: The Unofficial Truth, further emphasizes it, where it is heavily implied that most of the terrorists actually already knew about Ames and the others eavesdropping on them via Snake's Codec, but continued "discussing" their plans in earshot anyways to further deceive them. Otacon somewhat supports this, stating that the grunts claimed that they already input the PAL codes.
- Subverted to an extent in the torture room. Liquid mentions Decoy Octopus and Baker's deaths as well as the DARPA Chief's death by torture right in front of Snake, giving him an opportunity to figure out that the terrorists cannot launch a nuke, which Snake never does. Even many players missed it.
- Bond One-Liner: "That takes care of the cremation."
- Can't You Read the Sign?: The player could invoke this trope by going to one of the armory rooms, and take a smoke directly beneath a very large "No Smoking" sign.
- Catching Some Zs: Sleeping guards.
- Chekhov's Skill: Notably subverted with Nastasha Romanenko. The briefing as well as the first Codec conversation with Nastasha states that she was brought into the mission in order to aid Solid Snake in dismantling a nuclear device should the time come. However, near the end of the game, Liquid Snake wires Meryl to a time bomb which he explicitly states that it is a nuclear device. After defeating Liquid... Snake doesn't receive Nastasha's help at all. In fact, the part of the novel where Snake calls Nastasha after learning that Meryl is alive to have her give instructions to deactivate the nuclear device was actually one thing the novelization improves upon.
- Choke Holds: Snake can sneak up on guards, grab them by the neck, and throttle them unconscious. When they wake up, they're perfectly fine. Handled slightly realistically in that Snake can kill a guard by throttling him until his neck breaks.
- Snake himself gets taken out this way once as well.
- Climax Boss: Metal Gear Rex.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Snake, Meryl, the DARPA Chief and Kenneth Baker are all vindictively tortured by Ocelot. Ocelot is so enthusiastic about it that he accidentally kills the DARPA Chief. Well, "accidentally".
- Copy Protection: Notably, the game requires the player to look on the back of the game case for a Codec frequency (Meryl's) that's required for the game to progress. However, since this frequency is identical for every game, it's not really copy protection so much as the game giving the bird to the Fourth Wall. That, and the game will simply add Meryl's frequency number to the Codec's memory window if the player calls Campbell more than four times.
- Darker and Edgier: This game is definitely darker than the MSX2 games, even Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake. For one thing, unlike the previous two, the main villains actually attempt to launch a nuclear strike via Metal Gear (previously, although TX-55 Metal Gear and Metal Gear D utilized nukes, Big Boss did not issue a nuclear threat or utilize a nuclear strike in either Outer Heaven or Zanzibar Land). Plus, Metal Gear Solid actually utilizes torture this time around (even in Metal Gear, where Snake has to get himself locked up in order to find Gray Fox, he never actually experienced torture during that time).
- Death Seeker: Again, Cyborg Ninja, who just wants one last battle to the death with Solid Snake.
- And, to some extent, Sniper Wolf, who is waiting for someone to kill her.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "This is just like one of my Japanese animes!" It is probably a translation oversight. In Japan, anime does not refer specifically to Japanese animation.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Nearly everyone who has read about this game knows about the Psycho Mantis fight. What most don't know is that Kojima actually had a failsafe in the event that the intended solution could not be performed. If you were to get the Codec call giving you the solution and then die without performing it, calling Campbell will result in the failsafe kicking in and the backup plan going into effect, allowing you to still defeat Mantis without having to get on a Play Station with a working second controller port. This does NOT, however, carry over to The Twin Snakes.
- Difficulty by Region: The Japanese version only has two difficulty settings. The default one and an unlockable "No Radar" mode, which is just the same difficulty with the radar turned off. In the English version, the default Japanese mode became Easy mode, while the Normal and Hard modes (along with an unlockable "Extreme" mode) were added. The ranks from the Japanese version of the game are used for Hard in the English version, while the "Big Boss" rank, achieveable only in No Radar mode in the Japanese version, is achievable only in Extreme in the English version.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: That can't be taken the wrong way at all, Revolver Ocelot.
Revolver Ocelot: "I love to reload during a battle. There's nothing like the feeling of slamming a long silver bullet into a well greased chamber."
- Dragon Their Feet: Ocelot just sort of disappears before the final battle with Liquid. However, it turned out that he wasn't really on Liquid's side during The Stinger and he had acquired the test data for Metal Gear REX, and had no more reason to stay.
- Based on Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots, he might actually have wanted Liquid to succeed, since their ultimate goals were similar (basically the same as Big Boss, against the Patriots and for a world of chaos), in which case he performed a Xanatos Gambit since even though Liquid lost, he still got what he needed. Plus you can argue that since he just had his hand cut off, he didn't fight Snake again because he really wasn't in any shape to do so, and not just because he had completed his secret mission.
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: Liquid's goal is to ignite global conflict and plunge the world into perpetual warfare so that soldiers will always have a place and nbe valued for who they are. (Outer) Heaven for soldiers, Hell for everybody else. And even most soldiers would probably be against this; it's really for those Rambo-types who know nothing but war and aren't really able to fit in anywhere else, and again only the most sociopathic of these would sacrifice the welfare of everyone else on the planet to sate their own bloodlust or quench their thirst for purpose.
- Final Speech: Oh so many.
- Fisticuffs Boss: Cyborg Ninja and Liquid Snake.
Cyborg Ninja: At last, we can fight as warriors. Hand-to-hand: it is the basis of all combat. Only a fool trusts his life to a weapon.
- Five-Bad Band / Five-Token Band: FOXHOUND
- Fixed Camera
- Fluorescent Footprints
- Foreshadowing: If Snake manages to survive the third torture session with Ocelot, Ocelot will explain that his plans were to reignite war across the world because he feels that most peoples true natures, feelings, and emotions are suppressed in the current age. Come Metal Gear Solid 4...
- Also, notice how Master Miller is not referred to even once in the briefings, yet ends up joining shortly after Snake arrives on Shadow Moses Island? Turns out there's a really good reason for that.
- Freelook Button
- Freudian Excuse: Liquid's motivation. He believes that he's the "inferior" copy of Big Boss and so hates Solid, the "superior" clone, with a deep passion, as well as their mutual "father" for creating him.
- There's also Psycho Mantis, who began his slow descent into madness when he peered into his father's mind and saw how much he hated Mantis.
- Get On With It Already: Compared to most games, Metal Gear Solid is this. In comparison to the other games in the series, however...
- Hand Cannon: Meryl's long-barreled Desert Eagle. Lampshaded by Snake, if while being somewhat chauvinistic.
Snake: Isn't that a big gun for a girl?
- Hannibal Lecture: Delivered by Liquid to Snake, pointing out that he had only stuck to their current mission because they love the action and violence.
- Hitler Ate Sugar: Discussed in the Novelization, when Otacon insists that Sniper Wolf must be a good person because she likes dogs, Snake points out that Hitler, too, was a dog lover. Not a straight example because Snake (himself a regular musher) is merely refuting Otacon's claim as fallacious rather than demonizing dog ownership.
- They have the same conversation in the game; Snake suggests it might be a case of Stockholm Syndrome instead, since Otacon also mentions that Wolf was the only FOXHOUND member who actually treated him with any sort of decency. The official guide also suggests that she cared for Otacon due to Lima Syndrome.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Gray Fox pays the ultimate price for destroying REX's Radome. Otacon also nearly does this as well by unlocking the gates in the Meryl ending, but it's subverted because the bombing run ended up cancelled by President Sears, Roy Campbell, and Richard Ames.
- Hollywood CB: The Codec.
- Human Mail: You can hide in the cardboard box on a truck to rapidly travel between areas.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: To a lesser extent than later games, but still quite so.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Gray Fox, who clearly wants to die but for some reason needs Snake to do it for him.
- Psycho Mantis and Sniper Wolf also really just want to die, but rather kill as many people as it takes to get someone who can kill them in battle, than to shoot themselves. For no reason at all.
- Implacable Man: Both Solid and Liquid Snake due to their status as genetically engineered super soldiers. Liquid however deserves special recognition for being shot down, having his Metal Gear blown up under him, beaten senseless, knocked over a forty foot drop, taking multiple gunshot wounds, a car crash and he STILL nearly kills Snake before FOXDIE kicks in... and still survives in spirit thanks to Revolver Ocelot.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Revolver Ocelot, a villainous example. Though wielding a revolver (and never, ever using his other hand to steady it), he's got unerring accuracy, on-par with even Sniper Wolf. He can even ricochet bullets off of walls. When his right hand gets cut off, he just starts shooting with his left instead, without any perceptible drop in accuracy (although the GC version adds a scene where Ocelot tries to twirl his revolver in his left hand and drops it on the floor like a goof).
- Solid Snake is also able to cripple an M 1 A 1 Main Battle Tank by pitching hand grenades perfectly into the open turret hatch (down the main barrel in The Twin Snakes).
- Improbable Piloting Skills: Liquid shoots down two F-16 fighter jets... with a Hind-D.
- Cub Immortality: You can kill every wolf in the canyon area just before Sniper Wolf, except the puppy at the very end who is enamoured with Meryl.
- Informed Attribute: In the original game, Liquid Snake and Solid Snake are supposed to be physically identical; seemingly, Snake's change in hair color was a last-minute one, since Meryl's dialog is that he looks exactly the same as Liquid. This is changed in the GC version; both Campbell and Meryl note their hair color is different.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: Well, it is a Metal Gear game.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: One each in the two communications towers. Tower A has a jammed door that can be opened with C4, but only from the outside for some reason, regardless of the fact that Snake might be carrying enough explosives that, were this a Real Life situation, he could easily vaporize the damn door. Then there's that damaged stairwell in Tower B, which is even worse. It's less than a ten foot drop, but Snake still has to go all the way back up to deal with the stalled elevator and that goddamned Hind.
- In fact, the stairwell situation had to be revised in the Video Game Remake since the new game mechanics would probably allow the player to easily and safely drop to the floor and avoid the Hind fight.
- Ironic Echo: When Liquid is taking off from the Heliport with his Hind, he states that he's leaving to swat some bothersome flies (referring to the F16s that were arriving at Shadow Moses Island), which he managed to do. Later, Snake tells Otacon something similar in the communication tower B, this time in reference to Liquid's Hind.
- It Gets Easier: Snake gives this speech to Meryl.
- Karma Houdini: Ocelot, who is the lone surviving member of FOXHOUND by the end of the game.
- Killed Off for Real: Although most of the bosses have been killed (one before he even got the chance to fight Snake), the person best fitting for this trope is Gray Fox, since he ended up being revived from the last game, and then when doing a Heroic Sacrifice attempt at taking down Metal Gear REX, he ended up squished. If he was left as a bloodstain on the floor, it's pretty evident that he would not return again.
- Laser Sight: Each of your guns have this, but it seems kind of pointless since it's automatic and doesn't give you any kind of benefit.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Sort of: If the player submits to Ocelot's torture instead of withstanding it, and the player escapes from the cell, Snake will end up catching a cold from Johnny Sasaki.
- Lego Genetics: Normal soldier + Big Boss Genes = Mook. The later series includes people saying the whole exercise was pointless.
- Logo Joke: The music that plays during the logo sequence -- just a handful of notes, really -- is a Shout-Out to Policenauts.
- Male Gaze: Meryl has a very distinct walk cycle that gives her away even in disguise, and recognizing it is key to reuniting with her when she's disguised as a soldier. This, of course, means plenty of butt shots. Snake even goes out of his way to compliment Meryl's behind later on.
- May-December Romance: The potential one between Snake and Meryl, big time. In this game, he's thirty-two; she's eighteen.
- Minion Maracas: Solid Snake does this to Otacon while interrogating him about Metal Gear REX, assuming Otacon had full knowledge it was a "nuclear-equipped walking deathmobile" as Snake put it.
- Moon Logic Puzzle: Famously, Meryl's Codec number. Your only clue is that the number is on the back of the CD case (or, as Baker puts it in the GC version "the package"), and you have an item in your inventory that vaguely looks like one, leading many players to search for ways to examine the in-game disc to find the number, or searching high and low around the levels to find what CD case Baker was talking about. Of course, the number is actually printed on the back of the actual game box, where you can see Snake talking to Meryl in the Codec screen.
- Multiple Endings: Whether or not the player succeed in the button mashing torture sequence decides if Meryl joins Snake in the ending scene (and grants the player the infinite bandana for their next playthrough). If the player gives up, Meryl dies, and Otacon joins them instead (giving the player his stealth camouflage). With Meryl appearing again in Metal Gear Solid 4, Meryl's ending has been confirmed as the canonical one, although The Reveal from the alternate ending (Meryl is actually Campbell's illegitimate daughter and not his niece, since he had an affair with his deceased brother's wife) is referenced in Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots.
- Mysterious Informant: Gray Fox, going by the pseudonym "Deepthroat".
- New Game+: Starting a tradition in the series: Depending on which ending you get, you can start a second playthrough with either the stealth camouflage or the infinite bandana. Get both, and on your third playthrough Snake will be wearing a tuxedo, while the Cyborg Ninja will be recolored to resemble Spider-Man.
- And in the Integral version, Meryl gets to wear Snake's sneaking suit.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Thanks to Liquid's Batman Gambit, Snake accidentally activates Metal Gear instead of deactivating it.
- No Fair Cheating: "And don't even think about using autofire. I'll know." He shoots you if you do.
- No Fourth Wall: And how! The characters react to the music, tell you to check the back of the game's case for certain information, are familiar with the game's control scheme, manipulate the controller's vibration function a few times, and even react if you have the sound set to mono. The most famous examples are Psycho Mantis' boss battle (where he reads your memory card and makes it look like your TV turned off, among other things) and when Ocelot warns you not to cheat a button-mashing sequence with and autofire controller, adding "there are no continues, my friend" (there aren't, if you die in that section).
- Nonstandard Game Over: "There are no continues, my friend." If you don't submit or survive the torture session with Ocelot, this line becomes literal: you can't continue, and you have to load the game from your last save file (if you didn't save).
- No OSHA Compliance: Shouldn't the blast furnace have at least a railing next to it? The walkways above it do but not the floor that's even closer to the molten metal.
- Not His Sled: Adapting the famous Psycho Mantis boss battle and its memory card reading controller-port-switching gimmicks into comic book form would have been incredibly challenging and awkward, so instead the writers redid the sequence for the graphic novel version, where Master Miller arrives at the nick of time to take out Mantis, and he and Snake go to REX's hangar where they're ambushed by Liquid and Ocelot... but then Snake notices that Ocelot has both his arms left, and figures out that it's all an illusion set up by Mantis.
- The novelization does something similar to the above: Snake apparently blacks out, only for Master Miller to arrive to help Snake, they then leave the Commander's room... only to end up in an amusement park that Solid Snake apparently spent time at as a child when he wasn't being trained in military school. Miller disappears, he's alone in the carnival at night, Meryl apparently goes nuts on the rides, and then he finds the funhouse mirrors where Otacon, Meryl, and even Big Boss are trapped in the reflections. Otacon and Meryl are trying to get Snake to help them out, but Big Boss is resigned to his fate, although he does beg for Snake to input the detonation codes or something bad's going to happen to him. Snake doesn't know and Big Boss's face melts.
- Not So Different: Liquid Snake and Psycho Mantis's speeches indicate that Snake is just as much of a bloodthirsty psychopath, or even more of one, than themselves. See Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes, Psycho for Hire, and Blood Knight for more information.
- Pacifist Run: While low kill runs are possible, this is the only Metal Gear Solid game where it's impossible to get no kills, since there's no mechanism for non-lethally dealing with bosses and several combat encounters can't be beaten without casualties.
- Painting the Fourth Wall: In an optional Codec call, Master Miller gives Snake advice on how to move silently on noisy surfaces by sneaking. Snake responds that he simply can't do it, because Snake doesn't have a sneaking move in the game to begin with. This call was changed in the GC version to reflect the new control scheme.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Retroactively subverted. In Metal Gear Solid, the player is led to assume that all Liquid had to do to pass off as Master Miller was changing his accent slightly, wearing his hair slightly differently, and putting on shades, and Snake totally fell for it, with Liquid even taunting Snake about his "flawless" disguise (which Snake could still somehow see over his Codec). However, in the re-released versions of Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake, Master Miller's portrait was updated to resemble Liquid's disguise, and in Peace Walker, not only do they have Miller look almost exactly like Liquid with shades, they even had the voice actor for him voice him in a similar manner to how Liquid spoke when he posed as Miller.
- Parachute in a Tree: A parachute in a tree, sans passenger, is how Solid Snake can learn that Liquid is alive after his helicopter was blown up. Snake believes it was left there intentionally as a coded threat by Liquid.
- Passive Rescue: When Snake's captured, Otacon gives him some ketchup, which he can use to pretend to be dead and make Johnny Sasaki open the door to investigate.
- Pet the Dog: Pointed out by Otacon, when he believes Sniper Wolf isn't evil because she loves dogs. Snake doesn't like it.
- Politically-Correct History: In-universe example: When Naomi mentions that her Japanese-born uncle used to work for the FBI in the fifties, Master Miller grows suspicious of her story, knowing that J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI at the time, was extremely racist and would have never allowed a Japanese man in the bureau.
- Post End Game Content: The Stealth Camo and the Infinity Bandana, depending on the ending. Get both endings in one save and you get the tuxedo, and Cyborg Ninja will wear a Spider-Man costume.
- The Power of Legacy: Snake, at the end, refrains from telling Naomi that Grey Fox had confessed to killing her parents.
- Production Throwback: Clips from Policenauts (or Zone of the Enders, if you're playing the GameCube version) are used when Otacon talks about his fondness of anime.
- Psycho for Hire: The majority of the FOXHOUND unit qualifies as such in addition to their Blood Knight status. To a lesser, but still notable, extent, Solid Snake himself qualifies, as Liquid Snake specifically told Solid Snake when atop Metal Gear REX's ruins that he, Snake, enjoys all the killing, and Meryl mentioned something quite similar when they met in the bathroom (basically she deduced from Solid Snake's status that Solid Snake most likely felt alive when he saw everyone dying around him, that he enjoyed war and didn't want it to go away).
- Rape as Drama: Implied near the end of the game:
Meryl: I didn't give in to the torture.
Meryl: And things even worse than that.
- Recursive Import: The Japanese Integral version has the extra difficulty settings and English voice acting.
- Recurring Riff: Da-da da da-da! Although it's mostly just a Leitmotif for this game in particular, it proved popular enough to be used on Game Over screens for every game with Metal Gear Solid in the title since (except Portable Ops).
- Rescue Introduction: Snake meeting Otacon when he rescues him from the Cyborg Ninja.
- Retcon: Solid Snake and Roy Campbell stated that Big Boss told Snake that he was his father back in Zanzibar Land, or at least implied it. This conversation was not in Metal Gear 2.
- Also, Metal Gear 2 hinted in both its manual as well as the beginning prologue after the main menu that the entire world had disarmed most of its nuclear weapons by this point, and the only country to hold nuclear weapons was none other than Zanzibar Land. Turns out that wasn't the case at all in this game, where at LEAST 20,000 nuclear weapons still exist in 1998 (the time the game was released).
- Ring Out Boss: Liquid Snake can only be defeated by being kicked off the Metal Gear.
- Rules Lawyer: Implied to be the reason why the U.S. Government and Military were able to get away with conducting the Genome Soldier project despite the fact that what they were doing was illegal under International Law.
- Ruritania: Not to the extent of the first two games to be sure, but still to a small extent. The Fox Archipelago does in fact exist, but there's no such island as "Shadow Moses Island." However, Shadow Moses may just be the name of the military base (and top secret black project) located there.
- Say My Name: Quite often. "Snake? What's happening, Snake? Snake? SNAAAAAAAAKE!!!"
- Likewise, when during Gray Fox's Heroic Sacrifice Snake does this. "FOOOOX!"
- Liquid does this at the conclusion of the Hind D boss fight, though in a more dramatic and less annoying fashion.
- ... And also when losing the fist fight against Solid Snake.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: A mundane example, and more egrarious for it- the Cargo elevator in Tower B has a weight limit of 5 people...and most elevators that are not expected to carry military equipment or supplies, or heavy nuclear materials, have a much higher weight limit than that, usually around a dozen people. In other words, weakest lift ever.
- Screw Destiny: Exactly what is written inside Snake's mind. No matter how people around him say about the inherent killer instinct in his gene, he still fights to defy it with his own free will. That mindset also inspires the natural courage in Meryl to live.
- Serendipity Writes the Plot: A proper boss fight between Snake and Decoy Octopus was planned for the game, but the concept had to be scrapped due to the PlayStation's technical limitations, leaving Octopus as The Unfought who gets unceremoniously killed by FOXDIE while in disguise as the DARPA Chief. The concept was eventually resurrected three games later in Metal Gear Solid 4 for the Laughing Octopus boss fight.
- Series Continuity Error: Metal Gear 2 was originally said to take place three years after the events of the first Metal Gear. However, the plot summary in this game state that the Zanzibar Land mission occurred four years after Outer Heaven. Note that even the Metal Gear 2 manual was a bit inconsistent about the timeline of the Outer Heaven mission.
- Shirtless Scene: Several. Notably, at the end of the game, during the second-to-last battle with Liquid both he and Snake are shirtless. Especially blatant since Liquid takes your shirt off before the fight for absolutely no reason.
- Snake's Sneaking Suit is thick enough to stave off Arctic temperatures and is covered in grenades and a battle harness. Liquid likely would have been at a seriously disadvantage had he tried to fight Snake in what is essentially a light armor.
- Shout-Out: The freight elevator is a near duplicate of the one in Akira, even leading to a sub-zero basement area.
- Revolver Ocelot is also an explicit Shout-Out to Spaghetti Westerns, even down to his look modeled after actor Lee Van Cleef.
- There's also Snake himself, who, besides the initial Shout Outs made in the previous games, also takes his real name from David Bowman, of all people.
- Hal is a Shout-Out to 2001, Emmerich is a shout out to Roland Emmerich, and Otacon is an explicit Shout-Out to Otakon, the Otaku Convention (which, according to his bio, he regularly attends!)
- Speaking of 2001, Snake and Otacon share a 2001 joke when Snake reveals his name to be Dave. Snake himself wonders if they should go on a space adventure.
- The Meryl ending has a shout out of its own. Snake still announces his real name as "David" to Meryl, who calls him "Dave", referencing Kojima's previous game Policenauts which had a similar character named Meryl who was partnered with a guy named Dave Forrester.
- "I'm going to send you a love letter, Snake. Do you know what that is? It's a bullet straight from my gun."
- Sinister Silhouettes: FOXHOUND are shown as such during the Briefing mode.
- Smoking Is Cool: Solid Snake loves to smoke up so much, he was willing to smuggle his cigarettes onto the mission by swallowing a whole pack and then regurgitating it, after taking a shot that supressed his stomach acids (although Snake wasn't quite willing to go that far in the novelization, where he steals a pack of cigarettes on-site and spends the rest of the book complaining about the flavor). He can even use them to detect laser traps.
- Sympathetic Murder Backstory: Snake is tormented by his murder of Big Boss and especially Gray Fox. Significantly, it's when he describes to Naomi how his murder of Gray Fox was done with professionalism and with no hatred, and that they loved beating each other to death ("like a sport"), that Naomi begins to realize that Snake is an Anti-Hero rather than a villain.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Psycho Mantis had his powers fully awaken after he accidentally read his father's mind and thought his father would kill him, resulting in the destruction of his entire village.
- Treacherous Advisor: More than one. Like everything else in the series, it gets complicated.
- Truth in Television: Psycho Mantis was recruited by the KGB and the FBI during the Cold War due to his psychic abilities. In real life, during the Cold War, both the East and the West were studying psychic abilities, and the FBI has been known to consult psychics for its harder to solve cases.
- Also, Otacon mentioned that the stealth camouflage devices were prototypes. At the time that the game was made, the U.S. military was actually researching ways to implement stealth into the battlefield.
- Unexplained Recovery:
- Liquid Snake does this a ridiculous number of times.
- Meryl is this too. She was able to move freely despite being shot multiple times.
- The Unfought: Decoy Octopus. Snake, or rather, the bioweapon virus that Snake was unknowingly carrying inside, killed him in the first 10 minutes.
- Updated Rerelease: Metal Gear Solid: Integral, which came out in Japan only for the PS1, although it did served as the basis for the PC release. It was mainly a Recursive Import of the English version, but with a couple of additional game modes (Very Easy mode, First Person View Mode), new Codec frequencies, and an alternate costume for Meryl in addition to the ones for Snake and the Ninja. However, the real meat of the game came with the third disc containing over 300 VR training missions, which was sold by itself as a literal Mission Pack Sequel in the overseas market.
- On the other hand, this version severely gimped the No Fourth Wall aspect of the Psycho Mantis fight, as a good number of compatible games mentioned by Mantis in the original Japanese version were cut out, due to using the English voice acting as the base for the Integral version, and those cut games were only released in Japan. The most notable victims of this were Mantis' mentions of Policenauts and Tokimeki Memorial, as well as the special message from Kojima triggered when having save data from both Snatcher and Policenauts.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can refuse to save your progress again and again rapidly and make Mei Ling so mad that she refuses to talk to you.
- Video Game 3D Leap
- Warrior Heaven: It turns out this is Liquid Snake's ultimate goal, along with his whole "let's cure the Genome soldiers of their random genetic diseases" thing and his desire to off Snake.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Liquid barely qualifies, as his main motivation for his actions against the United States Government is that he wants soldiers to truly be respected and not be tools to be disposed of by the government via hypocritical political policies, and he needed Big Boss's remains to cure the Genome soldiers as they are succumbing to an unknown illness.
- Also, Ocelot. His main motivation for wanting a world filled with strife is explained as him wanting people to have the ability to actually voice their true emotions and viewpoints, something he knows the current age forbids. The fact that Liquid Ocelot states something similar in Metal Gear Solid 4 implies that for once, he actually was being honest about his goals that time. This explaination requires a lot of work and luck to get, though, as it can only be accessed after surviving the third torture round.
Revolver Ocelot: You're a soldier. You should understand. You and I can't continue to live in a world like this. We need tension...conflict. The world today has become too soft. We're living in an age where true feelings are suppressed. So we're going to shake things up a bit. We'll create a world dripping with tension... ...a world filled with greed and suspicion, bravery and cowardice. You want the same thing that we do. Liquid Snake is the one. He is an incredible man. He is the man who can really make it happen.
- Wham! Episode: The entire third act. Everything after you beat Raven is pretty much a twist out of nowhere.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Nastasha Romanenko.
- What the Hell, Hero?: One of Naomi's reasons for injecting Solid Snake with FOXDIE (besides Just Following Orders) essentially amounted to this in regards to what Snake indirectly had her adoptive older brother, Gray Fox, endure after the fight in Zanzibar Land.
- Also Liquid and Psycho Mantis's Not So Different Speeches.
- If the player submits to the torture, Revolver Ocelot will actually tell off Snake for endangering Meryl to him.
- Why Am I Ticking?: After escaping from the torture room, Snake will recover his equipment. Unfortunately for him, he also has an extra gift among his belongings from Ocelot: A ticking time bomb. Luckily, if the player doesn't notice it quickly enough, Deepthroat will let them know via Codec. It's not the only time this happens, either, as a timer bomb can also be found in the drainage ditch, which Snake can dispose of with ease, and it has even less time before it detonates.
- Worth Living For: Living in this case as opposed to merely surviving, when Snake finds out he's going to die anyway.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: After the re-released versions of Metal Gear 2, as well as Peace Walker, Liquid Snake's disguising himself as Miller is closer to this trope. More obviously Decoy Octopus, as not only is he capable of matching a person exactly (hence his codename), but he can even use their blood with his own just to ensure he doesn't get caught.
- With This Herring: This mission is On Site Procurement, except for cigarettes.
- Worthy Opponent: Ocelot and Snake are this against each other.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: What's that? You figured out that Liquid shouldn't be able to launch the nuke because they killed the DARPA Chief, and the Chief you talked to was Decoy Octopus in disguise? Well too bad; you've gotta use the PAL card to activate Metal Gear whether you like it or not.
In 2004, the game was remade for the Game Cube as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, co-developed by Canadian developer Silicon Knights, developers of the highly acclaimed Game Cube title Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. For the most part, the game was identical, with virtually the same level design and plot, but with a signifigant visual overhaul to bring the game's visuals up to the same standard as Metal Gear Solid 2. However, the dialogue, while almost entirely the same, was completely re-voiced (all of the original voice actors appear to reprise their roles in The Twin Snakes, along with Rob Paulsen, taking the mantle of the Cyborg Ninja instead of Greg Eagles, who voiced both the Ninja and Donald Anderson in the original), with the foreign accents of two characters (one of whom was American anyway and the other raised by an American) being lost (a trait that was carried on when both characters reappeared in Metal Gear Solid 4). Game mechanics from Metal Gear Solid 2 were added, such as tranquilizer guns, and all the references to Policenauts were changed to Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner.
Somewhat conspicuously, both the cinematics and music were completely redone, with mixed results. While the new soundtrack is sometimes considered to be superior to the original, the new cinematics have often been derided for their over-the-top (even by Metal Gear standards) style and blatant use of Bullet Time in imitation of the then popular Matrix movies and Max Payne games. Kitamura claimed in an interview that the cutscenes were initially to be redone to look exactly like their PS 1 counterparts, but Kojima had asked for them to be done in the manner seen in the final version.
Because of the aforementioned, The Twin Snakes continues to divide opinions to this day on whether it's a fantastic upgrade to an already-spectacular game, or a mockery of the original masterpiece.
The Twin Snakes provides examples of:
- Almost Kiss: Between Snake and Meryl on top of Metal Gear REX after the second-to-last fight with Liquid; they get interrupted by a Codec call from Otacon. This near-kiss was not present in the original version.
- Back Tracking: Averted slightly in The Twin Snakes, where during the first fight with Sniper Wolf, Snake only has to go back a fraction of the distance he did in the original Metal Gear Solid to get an adequate sniper rifle (more specifically, a tranquilizer based PSG-1).
- Also, when you get to the part where you must insert the PAL key at room temperature, then cold, then hot, there's two tubes around that area to shorten the distance.
- Bullet Time: See Cutscene Power to the Max.
- The Cameo / Creator Allusion: In The Twin Snakes, you may notice that the magazines centerfold has Alexandra Roivas on it. There's a reason other than a simple cameo. The game she starred in, Eternal Darkness, was developed by Silicon Knights, the same company that also developed The Twin Snakes. Other references to the former game include the tilting room trick during the fight against Psycho Mantis.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: Very conspicuously. Infamously, in the ending cutscene for the boss battle with the Hind D, Snake leaps onto an incoming missile and jumps off of it to shoot the Hind D with his own missile in mid air. This is one of the reasons why opinions about this game is mixed.
- Ironically, the same cutscene development also downplayed some of Snake's abilities. For instance, in the original game, Snake was knocked back by the tank's cannon, he managed to recover mid air and land on the ground safely. In The Twin Snakes, Snake is knocked back by the tank's cannon, hits the cargo door before collapsing, and attempts to avoid the fuel barrels near him before the tank could blast them, only to fail.
- Doing It for the Art: David Hayter gave up half of his paycheck so that the entire cast of the original game could be reunited to reprise their roles in The Twin Snakes.
- Pacifist Run: Doable this time thanks to the inclusion of non-lethal weapons such as the tranquilizer firing M9 and the inclusion of the stamina meter for the bosses.
- Playing Against Type: Rob Paulsen plays Gray Fox. Knowing Paulsen's usual roles as comedic characters, his playing as Gray Fox, as well as doing it roughly in-character due to Gray Fox being a very serious character can come off as a shock.
- Retcon: Although some script changes from the original game were debatable (as apparently some of the original dialogue were actually Woolseyisms), the ending narration definitely qualifies, as it was changed the date of the expected removal of all nuclear weapons and the date that, as of that time, 20,000 nukes still exist from 2001 and 1998 to 2007 and 2003, respectively.
- Serendipity Writes the Plot: David Hayter has mentioned in an interview that the reason why the dialogue had to be re-recorded for The Twin Snakes was because all the original dialogue was recorded in an apartment that had been converted into a recording studio. With the GameCube's much improved sound card, the player would have heard the traffic outside.
- Some of the voice clips still needed to be re-recorded, since they made reference to specific controls and button functions of the PS1 controller. It wouldn't have made much sense to hear Ocelot say the "press the circle button repeatedly" in a GameCube game.
- Video Game Caring Potential: The Twin Snakes carries over the non-lethal weaponry of Metal Gear Solid 2 and actively encourages the player not to kill their enemies, even rewarding them for it.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Sniper Wolf's wolfdogs can be killed, including the puppy.
- You can shoot Sniper Wolf's corpse.
- Video Game Remake:
- Weapon for Intimidation: There are three weapons (a grenade launcher, a missile launcher and a guided missile launcher) which aren't particularly useful for general combat, but can easily scare almost any enemies into dropping items.