Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops Logo 7265.gif

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, released in 2006 for the PlayStation Portable, is the sequel of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It is also the first canonical Metal Gear game released on a handheld console.

Set six years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3, the game explains how Big Boss formed FOXHOUND.

Portable Ops is considered a mixed bag. It promised multiplayer, which it delivered. It promised to clear up some details about Big Boss, which it did, and it promised more of the series' trademark gameplay, which it delivered. However, the multiplayer element arguably took over the main game and resulted in a diluted single player experience. The additional plot points, while important, did not reveal all that was promised in the trailers, and while it mostly delivered on the gameplay, it did so in a slightly reduced form (albeit still rather versatile and recognizable to fans).

Soon after release, it got a psuedo-expansion pack in the form of Portable Ops Plus, which was mainly a multiplayer-geared release (though it did have a single player mode).

Note: While this game is canon, it is considered an Obvious Beta. Portable Ops was succeeded by Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.


Tropes used in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops include:
  • A Father to His Men: Snake plays this straight, and the Big Bad does a twisted parody of this.
  • And I Must Scream: In the mission where Snake has to do reconnaissance at the Soviet Patrol Base and recover a launch schedule for a stolen American weapon, eavesdropping on the Soviet officer will have him state his fear and desire to flee, but finding himself unable to before questioning what is the power Gene possessed, implying that Gene's Compelling Voice also leaves the soldiers fully aware of emotions such as fear, but completely incapable to reacting to said emotions via methods like fleeing from the peninsula.
  • Art Shift: The cutscenes are similar in style to a black and white graphic novel, except animated, and work surprisingly well in lieu of actual ingame cutscenes. Worked so well, in fact, that the very next PSP Metal Gear game, Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, used this in the majority of their cutscenes, as well.
  • Badass: A lot of the gameplay revolves around this trope, and in universe, Snake's reputation for this allows him to found his own army against Gene.
  • Brick Joke: In an optional radio conversation with EVA in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, she will state that Raikov possessed a weak stomach despite being a big eater, which acted as the reason why he often goes to the bathroom. When recruiting him in Portable Ops, the location you find him at is right in front of a urinal in his cell.
  • Clear My Name: The reason why Naked Snake had to participate in the events of the game in the first place. To put it simply, the US Government thought that Naked Snake was involved in the FOX rebellion because the person who caused it had similar abilities to Snake. the direct instigator was Gene.
  • Completely Missing the Point: In one of Snake's codec calls to Para-Medic, after she explained to him about the lost city of Gold, El Dorado, and similar locations in South America, including Golden Knives, Snake expressed interest in the Golden Knife part... as he would use it to distract the enemy with CQC, causing Para-Medic to exasperatedly state that she didn't mean that. Also was somewhat in-character with Snake, or rather Big Boss's ending speech in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, where he made it clear that he doesn't even care for wealth.
  • Continuity Nod: An optional radio call with Roy Campbell has Snake explaining to Campbell when he is asked about The Boss that she was a true patriot who died for her country, referring to EVA's debriefing tape.
    • Similarly, EVA herself and her MIA fate is referenced (although not by name) by Campbell and Snake in an optional radio call.
    • EVA's call sign when contacted by Snake is "Tatyana", which is the same alias as the one she used when she infiltrated Groznyj Grad as a KGB lover to Volgin.
    • Snake stripping Raikov of his clothes was referenced by Para-Medic, as is her brief witnessing of Naked Snake in the infirmary.
    • Sigint and his UMA Club is referenced by Snake and Sigint
    • Para-Medic's dream of creating a group of parachuting medics was referenced in an optional radio call.
  • Covers Always Lie: Where are the palm trees in the game? Where???
  • Cut Song: When allegations of plagiarism in the series main theme began to surface during the game's production, the game's theme song, "Show Time," which originally included the series main theme, was re-edited so that it didn't. Sadly, this was not a temporary change, and the main theme has never surfaced again, even in the 20th anniversary soundtrack collection. (Also, this is the only game with "Metal Gear Solid" in the title that doesn't have Metal Gear Solid's game over music at all, including the Game Boy Color one, but this is generally viewed as less significant by fans.)
  • Defector From Decadence: It's heavily implied that this was the reason why Naked Snake left the FOX Unit after gaining the title of Big Boss.
  • Disney Death: Subverted: After Snake is forced to battle Elisa/Ursula and Metal Gear RAXA after Gene awakens Ursula's personality with his voice, the damage sustained from the battle resulted in RAXA blowing up before Elisa/Ursula could escape, apparently incinerating her/destroying her. It is later revealed that she survived this, and redeems themselves in spades by blowing up the control panel just before Gene could activate the ICBMG's launch sequence. However, it ends with Gene stabbing her/them in the heart because he moved too fast for her to evade his attack even though she/they could predict his movements, killing her/them off for real.
    • Played slightly straight with Big Boss: After the ICBMG was destroyed, Sokolov attempts to tell Snake that he succeeded, but he doesn't get a response, prompting a worried call on Snake's name from Sokolov, implying that his attempt at destroying the ICBMG may have cost him his life. However, after you see Ocelot murder the DCI, Big Boss and Roy Campbell have a brief phone call about what happened, and you see Big Boss get off of a plane, making it quite clear that he survived. Of course, then again, his survival was also somewhat expected considering the fact that he still has until Zanzibar Land to be "killed", and then Metal Gear Solid 4 to be killed off for real.
  • Disney Villain Death: Skowronski, after Ursula awakens and takes direct psychic control over RAXA, ends up falling "out" of RAXA, and is implied to have been killed as a result.
    • Possibly Cunningham as well, assuming that he wasn't killed by the explosion of his flying platform.
  • Drunk with Power: Colonel Skowronski, who is also earlier drunk for other reasons, ended up hijacking Metal Gear RAXA, and although he missed his intended target, Gene, he starts to become drunk with RAXA's power, claiming that with it, "no one will make an exile of [Skowronski]!" Although it is short lived thanks to it shutting down.
  • Enemy Mine: The recruitment of (Ex)Major Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov essentially amounts to this, as one of the primary reasons why he joined up with Naked Snake, the person he made quite clear that he hated because he killed Colonel Volgin (in case anyone forgot, Volgin was his lover) was to essentially get revenge on Gene and his men that belonged to the former Red Army for locking him up and humiliating him. Of course, one could argue that it also has a slight amount to do with a Heel Face Turn, as another reason was that he wanted to redeem himself in the eyes of the Red Army, since it was his abusive nature that got him exiled and locked up in the first place.
  • Fake Defector: Subverted with the FOX Unit. The CIA intended to have the FOX Unit fake defection to the Soviet Union so they could supply the ICBMG to the Soviets and thus have the CIA maintain all the power it gained during the Cold War. However, this plot was undone by the Pentagon (of whom Cunningham was a plant to), where FOX was to launch the ICBMG at Soviet Russia in order to tarnish the CIA's reputation. It's even further subverted when Gene intended to nuke America with the ICBMG. See Gambit Pileup below.
  • Fan Disservice: Big Boss does wind up naked at one point, but the circumstances and art style drain all the possible Fan Service out of the moment.
  • Flag Bikini: Kind of: The European Versions of Portable Ops and especially Portable Ops Plus have soldiers who wear uniforms that are designed to resemble the flag of each respective country: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Sweden, Greece, Finland, and the Netherlands.
  • Foreshadowing: Gene's speech as well as Elisa's precognition. See Harsher in Hindsight for the former.
    • In-game, if the player decides to unlock Elisa and/or Ursula prior to fighting RAXA either by busting hard on recruiting medics or simply by code, you'll notice that you can't recruit them both simultaneously. This foreshadows the fact that Elisa and Ursula aren't physical twins, but two different personalities of a single girl.
  • Gaiden Game: Notable in that knowledge of this game is not required to enjoy the series, but does tell more of the story, and what it does tell does fill in some blanks that previous games, especially its predecessor, did not address, and even confirms parts of the fourth game.
    • However, it is to be noted that unlike most Gaiden games, Portable Ops was also heavily referenced via the speeches of EVA, Liquid Ocelot, and Big Boss (the latter via flashback) from the use of stills from that game.
  • Gambit Pileup: The CIA, the Pentagon, Gene are all running The Plan against each other, with Snake/Big Boss serving as the Spanner in the Works.
    • And Ocelot is using all the above, Snake included, to fulfill his own Plan.
      • And Zero is in turn using him to take out the Philosophers and found the Patriots in the Boss' memory.
  • Groin Attack: Cunningham places his artificial leg directly on Naked Snake's groin when attempting to extract info from Naked Snake as to where he took the other half of the Philosopher's Legacy.
    • Also, if Snake or another soldier gets into a confrontation with female Soviet officers (and in the case of Portable Ops Plus, female Soviet soldiers) and is in close quarters, they'll subdue Snake/the soldier by kneeing them in the crotch.
  • Guide Dang It: Although for the most part well done, some of the special recruiting missions have proven to be tedious, with Raikov and Sokolov being the only ones who are given any hints at how to recruit them in the actual strategy guide, and even then, only the first part with Sokolov's recruiting missions.
    • Python, too, but the process of recruiting him is extremely easy as it just entails knocking out his stamina.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In-universe, Gene's speech that resulted in most of his men going through mass-riot-suicide, as it turns out, the part about how after the Cold War ends the flames of hatred are fanned even more as well as nuclear stockpiles being stolen from the various superpowers was actually quite correct.
  • Heel Face Turn: Elisa definitely qualifies. Heck, she does it both times (although one time was completely against her will, as Gene was starting to forcibly awaken her other personality half.), and later does it with her other half/twin sister. Raikov also technically counts, namely in regards to allying with Naked Snake (in the last game he appeared in, he was an enemy. Of course, considering what Naked Snake did in Metal Gear Solid 3, he probably does still view him as his enemy, and probably would fight against him had it not been for the fact that they had a common enemy), though also due to the fact that he wished to redeem himself in the Soviet Army's eyes (they exiled him to the San Hieronymo Peninsula due to the fact that he abused Soviet Soldiers, as well as Volgin's death).
    • Python has a Heel Face Turn if he is fought non-lethally in the battle with him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Two. Both are Tearjerkers.
  • Insistent Terminology: Big Boss is still uncomfortable with the title of Big Boss at the beginning and still insists on being called Snake, but by the end of the game, it becomes something of a term of endearment by his men, which is fully realized in the sequel.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Big Boss aided the Soviet soldiers in their time of need, especially when it became apparent that Gene was seemingly going to launch a nuke at Russia. The Soviet soldiers repaid Big Boss handsomely by helping him destroy the ICBMG before it could be launched into America.
  • Laughing Mad: Cunningham laughs rather insanely when trying to use his Davy Crockett on the base in a failed attempt to bring Big Boss down with him.
    • Also, Skowronski really begins to lose it after Big Boss met him, causing Big Boss to shoot the lock out of his cage to spare him of his desperate rantings and manic laughter.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The ICBMG combines the best of the Cruise (pinpoint accuracy in hitting the targets) and Ballistic variants (virtually impossible to intercept once launched) of Nuclear Missiles, and has none of the worst aspects.
  • Lost Forever: When you get the rescue Raikov mission, if you wait too long, you'll fail the mission before you even attempt it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Cunningham establishes that he was this before the boss battle with him, but just before the battle with Gene, he explains that he knew the truth all along and used the circumstances to his advantage.
  • Mega Manning: Variation: Defeating the boss characters under certain circumstances (and especially via draining their stamina for most of them) results in the bosses being recruited to your side, which also means that you can use their weapons (take note, however, that their weapons are usable only by them). Python just needs stamina depletion to join. Null requires beating him twice and doing a new save file (and unlike most boss characters, it doesn't require stamina-kills), Cunningham requires both stamina depletion AND battling him before January 1st, 1971, and Gene requires that you stamina deplete him and have recruited 200 soldiers under your belt. In order, their exclusive weapons that can be used only by them are LN (Liquid Nitrogen) grenade, Machete, Laser (from his flying platform), and Bowie Infinity knives.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Cunningham's reasons for defecting from the CIA to the Pentagon, and thus trying to have FOX and Gene launch a nuke against Russia, as well as presumably wipe out both FOX and the Russians on the peninsula with a Soviet Davy Crockett, stemmed from the fact that the CIA pretty much forced him into a desk job after he ended up having his leg amputated, and it is also implied that their role in The Boss's defection also had him similarly sore with the government group he worked for.
    • Also the real reason why the Soviet soldiers are serving Gene and FOX after they usurped the command chain even though they obviously don't completely trust either him or his unit (Not Brainwashing): The Soviet personnel, despite working in harsh conditions and losing many of their men either to Malaria or during their allied battles with FARC against the Colombian government, and having little food and laboring under intense weather all so they could accomplish their mission directives for the Soviet government, and weren't even allowed to tell their families due to its top secret nature, ended up being cast aside (in Jonathan's words, "stabbin [the personnel] in the back!") after a regime change and the SALT talks between Brezhnev and Nixon, with all communications and supply transports either being cut or diverted, and they were forced to remain on the peninsula instead of returning back to Russia so that in the event the missile base was discovered, the Soviets would come up with the "convenient" coverstory of it being done by Renegade Russians.
  • No Hero to His Valet: Roy Campbell has a brief moment of feeling like this when he first meets Big Boss.
  • Noodle Incident: The last mission that Snake and Python had together essentially amounted to this: Nothing much is actually revealed other than it taking place in Vietnam (presumably north Vietnam), it occurring around 1960/1961, and Python apparently ended up with a serious enough injury that Snake was led to believe that Python had died.
    • Given the history and what was going on around that time period (as well as Cunningham's reference to the CIA operations in North Vietnam), it can be assumed that it was in reference to the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups project.
  • No Smoking: Despite Naked Snake/Big Boss having a thing for Cigars, Snake does not smoke even once in this game. He does, however, briefly mention wanting a Cigar to Ocelot during the recruitment mission for him late in the game.
  • Oh Crap: Cunningham's reaction when he realizes, while threatening Snake and his men to make Snake reveal where he knew where he hid the other half of the Philosophers' Legacy (something Snake genuinely doesn't even know, as he never had it), that he implied that he was actually working for the Pentagon and that they were involved in the mission as well.

Cunningham: You're lying! You know where you're hiding it! The Pentagon told me...
Snake: The Pentagon?!

(Cunningham gapes at the realization of what he said)

  • Old Save Bonus: You can unlock secret characters (namely Teliko, Venus, and Zero) for a second play-through by having save files in your Memory Stick from the three previous Metal Gear games for the PSP (those being both Metal Gear Acid games and the Digital Graphic Novel), although they're also available via passwords.
  • Pet the Dog: Apparently, Gene generated mind shielding to prevent even Ursula from reading in what his true plans were, and only let it down when it seemed as though she died, presumably to avoid the risk of her revolting. The fact that he would do this to prevent her from revolting despite his demonstrating that he is more than capable of defeating her anyways due to his speed if they did end up fighting implies that he may not have wished to kill her.
  • Plot Twist: Although it has several twists left and right, arguably the biggest one to deserve a mention on here is Volgin launching a nuke towards the Sokolov Research Facility being revealed to have been intended all along by a single deviously cunning strategist, whose identity is revealed in Peace Walker.
  • Renegade Russian: Subverted with the Soviet soldiers on the San Hieronymo Peninsula: They were doing exactly what the Soviet government told them to do on the San Hieronymo Peninsula (build a missile base), and carried on with the top-secret mission while suffering all the while specifically because they thought doing the mission under the Soviet government would greatly benefit Russia. However, when Detente came, and the Soviet Union experienced a policy shift, the Soviet government screwed them over, cancelling all shipments and cutting all communications with them, not even allowing them to come home specifically because they wanted to make it seem as though the Soviet soldiers were of this trope in case the missile base was ever discovered.
  • Reassigned to the San Hieronymo Peninsula: This is the reason for Raikov's presence on the San Hieronymo Peninsula.
    • Reassignment Backfire: If the player recruits him, he'll also have a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the Soviets, although it is not revealed whether the Soviets did accept him back, or if they decided to keep him exiled anyways.
  • Retcon: Sokolov didn't die in Snake Eater, and Gray Fox's backstory was changed even further than what was done in the first Metal Gear Solid.
  • Shirtless Scene: Big Boss twice. First time at the beginning, then totally naked, albeit briefly, later on.
    • And again at the very end.
  • Start of Darkness: Here's where Big Boss's disillusionment with the shabby and disgusting treatment of soldiers by their ungrateful governments really starts to solidify.
  • Taking the Bullet: Jonathan does this with Big Boss when the latter is fired at during a mass-hysteria riot incited by Gene, resulting in both a chest and a head wound, making his death inevitable.
  • Taking You with Me: Cunningham attempts to do this to Naked Snake after the latter defeated him and refused his offer to get on the chopper to go home to allow the Pentagon to continue their conspiracy... by attempting to launch a Soviet-made Davy Crockett at Naked Snake, the weapon originally intended to be launched after Gene launched the ICBMG at Russia. However, he wasn't able to go through with it thanks to his hovercraft exploding seconds before he could push the trigger, and it lands with Snake.
  • The Rival: Gene sees Snake as one.
  • Timed Mission: Towards the end, when you are infiltrating the Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • True Companions: Snake's own recruited troops repay his loyalty as their commander by rescuing him from captivity around the midpoint of the game, and it's quite clear he feels the same.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: Colonel Skowronski's mannerisms when he first appears imply that he was heavily drinking. If Para-Medic's altitude-amplified hangover radio call is anything to go by, then possibly all of the Soviet personnel on the Soviet Missile Base in Colombia (FOX too, although they technically aren't Russian by birth or by nationality) are as well. It's kinda hard to blame them when they had been betrayed by their own country.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Subverted. The San Hieronymo Pennisula exists in the real world, and a map is in-game to show you where.
    • It's the Magdalena River basin in Colombia, for those interested.
  • You Have Failed Me...: Averted. At one point, scaffolding fell down, with Gene and Ursula having predicted that it would collapse and promptly warning Cunningham to stay still. The soldier apologizes for the blunder. Gene's response is to tell him to stand still, as well as demand that medics arrive to retrieve him due to the soldier's wounded status, and then promptly apologize (in his hypnotic voice) for working the soldiers too hard.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Gene has his men commit mass-riot suicide at the assembly plant after the ICBMG is completed.
  • You Monster!: Skowronski calls Python this after his attempt to kill Python failed due to Python's ice abilities. Python did not react well to the statement ("You try to kill a man, and then call him "monster?" Such crude behavior!" (proceeds to freeze Skowronski's gun, and his arm in the process.))