Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

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"The one who survives will inherit the title of Boss. And the one who inherits the title of Boss will face an existence of endless battle."
The Boss

After the release of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and the fanbase's highly polarized reaction to all its changes, Hideo Kojima had his work cut out for him when the time came to make another sequel and reunite the fandom. Needless to say, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, released in late 2004, did the job with flying colors and is still considered by many fans as the best game in the Metal Gear series, even after the release of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

In 1962, Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov, a Soviet scientist who previously defected to the West, is forcibly bought back to the other side of the Iron Curtain in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Two years later, American intelligence learns that Sokolov is being forced to create a secret weapon that could turn the Cold War into a blazing hot one, and a plan is formulated to bring Sokolov back to America, as FOX operative codenamed "Naked Snake" is called into action to rescue him from a Soviet weapons lab. The mission does not go smoothly. During the mission, Snake's lifelong mentor and mother figure, The Boss, announces her own defection to the Soviet Union, abducts Sokolov, and brings her own squad, the Cobra Unit, along for the ride. Worse yet, she also brings two miniature nuclear warheads to sweeten the deal, one of which is promptly used by her new boss, Colonel Volgin, to pulverize the research facility and frame America for the whole ordeal, after the plane Snake used to enter was picked up on radar within Soviet air space. With the United States' reputation on the line and the two nations on the verge of World War Three, Snake is sent back to the Soviet Union to help the FOX unit clear its name by taking out Volgin and his secret weapon, as well as The Boss and her Cobra Unit.

In terms of gameplay and its mechanics, the game puts much more emphasis on survival than previous games, requiring the player to hunt and eat to stay alive, and to heal their wounds manually. The static indoor maps of the previous games have been swapped out in favor of sprawling outdoor environment, requiring the player to make use of camouflage to stay hidden from enemy sentries, or distract them with a variety of tools, from tranquilizer darts to pornographic magazines, in tried and true Metal Gear fashion.

With its much less convoluted story, the game was viewed as a return to form by many. Again, there was a main character switcheroo, but this time for Solid Snake's identical progenitor, Naked Snake, which helped ease the pain. Taking place in the defining years of the Cold War, the plotline embraces every spy movie trope in the book (up to and including a James Bond-esque musical intro sequence). With a truly gutwrenching Twist Ending, plus a few truly tense and memorable boss fights, it's easy to see why many fans still consider this one as one of the best games on the PlayStation 2.

Metal Gear Solid 3 also received an Updated Rerelease a year later with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which featured a new third-person camera system, a brand-new online multiplayer component (shut down a year after its release, unfortunately), as well as ports of the first two games in the Metal Gear series, and additional stages to kid-friendly Crossover minigame starring the monkeys from Ape Escape. Players who preordered Subsistence also received a third disc featuring a three-and-a-half-hour-long movie version of the game, strung together from cutscenes, radio conversations, and gameplay footage. This disc is included in the PAL edition of Subsistence by default, to compensate for how long the PAL conversion took.

The next game in the series, Metal Gear Solid 4, shifted the focus back to Solid Snake, but the game has also spawned a direct sequel in the game Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, continuing the story of Naked Snake as he forms the FOXHOUND unit. Portable Ops, in turn, was followed by Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker a few years later, depicting the rise of Outer Heaven.

A HD version of Metal Gear Solid 3 was released for the Play Station 3 and Xbox 360 in November 2011 as a component of Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection and a remake for the Nintendo 3DS titled Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D was released on February 21, 2012.


Tropes used in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater include:
  • Absolute Cleavage: EVA has no shame whatsoever. The Boss rips open her shirt too, 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.
  • 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. To be fair, Sigint does theorize that Snake may be imagining it somehow.
  • Action Bomb: Every one of the Cobras has a miniature bomb 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.
    • Played straight with the former in the humorous "outtakes" when The Boss suicides off the bridge and screams, "The Joy!" before exploding in mid-air.
  • Action Girl: EVA. The Boss goes all the way into Lady of War.
  • Actor Allusion: Para-Medic calls Naked Snake "a real Captain Nemo" after he states that his name is John Doe. Akio Ohtsuka, the Japanese voice actor of Naked Snake, had previously voiced Captain Nemo in the anime series, Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water.
  • 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.
  • Alternate History: CQC is said to have been invented by Snake and The Boss in the Metal Gear universe. The real thing has its roots somewhat earlier; William Fairbarn and Eric Sykes laid down the basics as "Defendu" in 1926, while the CQC form was being taught to British troops at the start of World War II.
    • Of course, if one calls The Boss at Dremuchij South at the beginning of the Virtuous Mission, she may admit that the CQC that she and Snake developed together was actually derived from her missions in World War II, specifically snatch missions where she had to capture a valuable enemy officer without alerting anyone (meaning, she cannot kill any guards), which indicates that her CQC was actually just another form of the real thing.
  • 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 as well as the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database state that its because he carries a Queen in one of his hip pouches.
  • 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 on one of his limbs, thus forcing him to wear a bandage on the stab wound for the remainder of the game.
  • Anachronism Stew: 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 the WiG is from the early '70s. The XM16E1 is also 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), and 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.
    • Considering also that every other main Metal Gear Solid game takes place Twenty Minutes Into the Future, it could be said that this game is being twenty minutes into the future for the sixties.
    • Another example: 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.
    • There's also the Sabra magazines that Snake can pick up (which weren't even published until about four decades after the events of the game). In the Snake Eater 3D version, the magazines in question were Hooters Japan magazines.
  • And This Is For: A rare villainous use of this trope. Just listen to Volgin's reason for beating up Snake in one of the game's biggest Nightmare Fuel moments, as it pretty much was trying to avenge Raikov being hurt.
    • It is also implied that the Flame Troops at Krasnogorje were 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 were also implied to be doing this to avenge their comrades.
  • Anticlimax Boss: A common complaint leveled at the Shagohod, due to the sheer excitement generated both by Sokolov's championing of the weapon's power and the high-energy chase scene that happens before the player gets to face it head on. It's possible to immobilize it by shooting out the augers (which the player's support team will tell them to do if they happen to call them during the fight), which makes it very easy to simply snipe Volgin.
  • Anti-Poopsocking: 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.
    • One thankfully even appears between the twenty minute ending and equally long epilogue.
    • On the other hand, it punishes spending too long not playing, since the food in Snake's inventory goes bad over time. Though doing so is an easy way to get an extremely cheap stamina kill on The Fear and/or The End.
    • On that subject, Major Zero says that if you want to be a really, REALLY good stealth operative, you'd leave absolutely nothing of yourself behind for enemies to follow. Snake assures him that he does his business where nobody can find it and buries it deeply, but Zero says that's only acceptable as a stopgap measure. "Bag it and bring it with you!" [1]
  • Artifact Title: This game takes place before the implementation of the Metal Gear project, and it features the player (who isn't even named Solid Snake) trying to take down the Shagohod instead. Granted, the Shagohod fulfills pretty much the same purpose as 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...[2]
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Played for laughs. When Sigint brags about his mask being able to blink, he thinks Snake is absurd for asking if it can move its mouth as well.
  • 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 ammo [3] and rocket launchers that nuke small areas aren't exactly ideal for a stealth mission.
  • Badass Boast: Played with. During their second encounter, Snake lectures Ocelot about his poor choice of weaponry, ending it by boldly proclaiming that Ocelot 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 realizes that he forgot to load his revolver.
  • Badass Normal: Naked Snake and his mentor The Boss both qualify, big-time. Most of The Boss's subordinates have bizarre, often horrifying superpowers, but her only skills are the ability to shoot a 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, Naked Snake earns his "Big Boss" title by defeating the Boss and every one of her subordinates despite having no superpowers at all, just good aim and a lot of tenacity.
  • 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 made about Raikov after disguising as him, not to mention the personnel's reaction to Snake disguised as Raikov and Snake, while disguised as Raikov, beating up the personnel and getting away with it, Raikov also is cut from the same cloth.
  • Bag of Holding: While not described directly as such, Naked 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.
  • Big Bad: Colonel Volgin.
  • Book Ends: 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.
  • Break the Cutie: At first, Naked Snake is a dorky if badass soldier. By the end of the game, he's a broken man. There might have been a few players who felt the same way.
  • Call Forward: Probably way too many to list here.
    • A subtle one would be the gunsight on the player's replacement M1911A1, which is the same as Snake's SOCOM in earlier games.
    • It ends the same way as the first game: Ocelot places a secret phone call where he reveals that he's actually a triple agent for the U.S. government.
  • 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. This was fixed in Subsistence, which altered the system to use a mobile, player-controlled third person camera.
  • Car Fu: EVA's utterly ridiculous counter attack 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. Future Magnificent Bastard or not, one has got to feel for the guy.
  • Chekhov's Lipstick 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. Then the player gets to the final battle between Snake and The Boss...which takes place in a field of white flowers.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Used to parody some of the more unrealistic game mechanics. For instance, Snake can find glowcap mushrooms, and call his Mission Control team to discuss its nutritional properties, when Snake starts to wonder if eating the mushrooms would replenish the batteries on his equipment. His Mission Control tells him to believe whatever the hell he wants...and as luck would have it, eating glowcaps does replenish the player's batteries, which Para-Medic assumes is some sort of weird placebo effect.
  • Clark Kenting: EVA's actually 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.
    • There's actually a very good reason for her disguise's success. When EVA's disguised as Tatiana she wears a fairly conservative outfit, buttoned all the way up, and she wears glasses. This somewhat masks her attractiveness and as a result most people's gaze is where it should be, on her face. As EVA, she wears a flight suit with the zipper almost all the way down, exposing her cleavage. Therefore one can assume that if all the soldiers are anything like Snake, their attention will be focused on her chest and not her face, as a result they don't recognise her. Of course the one person who sees through her disguise, that isn't Snake, happens not to be interested in women, or so it is implied.
    • Snake does this no less than twice. First, he must pose as a scientist to infiltrate a small weapons lab. He puts on a lab coat and glasses. The second time, he must pose as a maintenance worker to infiltrate an even larger fortress. Only now, he also has an eye patch, and the enemy knows his face.
      • Humorously, wearing the mask the player gets at the start of the game makes it easier for the enemy to see through both disguises.
  • 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.
  • Cold War: The setting of the game.
  • 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. Raikov is "just that kind of guy", according to EVA.
  • 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.
  • Compensating for Something: The Director's Commentary states that the reason why Volgin deduced "Raikov" was not Raikov is because Raikov and Naked Snake's groin size was different.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Gurlukovich had a throwaway line in Metal Gear Solid 2 that "even the technology that gave birth to these weapons is Russian!" In this game, it is revealsed that the concept of Metal Gear was invented by a Russian scientist, Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin.
    • 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.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The Raikov mask. Radio conversations reveal that it would have been destroyed had it not been for SIGINT insisting they keep it, and in the Virtuous Mission its only real purpose is to disguise Snake's identity during his HALO jump (and even then only when starting the game under certain conditions). Conveniently, Raikov was Colonel Volgin's lover and the mask allowed Snake access to the high security wing of Groznyj Grad.
    • It was implied in a few radio calls that the Raikov mask's original purpose was similar to what it ultimately ended up being used for. Apparently, it was going to be used in a different, previous mission where a CIA agent was to be sent to Tselinoyarsk, pose as a GRU Major (implied to be Major Raikov), and steal some secret documents from within a Soviet installation, but the mission was cancelled before they could put it to use.
  • 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, particularly Snake's pistol, which he takes time out to explain the extreme coolness of.
  • 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.
  • Coup De Grace Cutscene: Cruelly subverted after fighting The Boss. The player is forced to pull the trigger themselves.
  • Cower Power: Sokolov is afraid of everything in the entire universe.
    • Justified, as during the course of the game nearly everyone is trying to kill him or make him build WMDs.
  • Crossover: With, of all things, Ape Escape. Snake returns the favor by appearing in an Ape Escape game released at around the same time.
  • 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.
  • 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 in gameplay.
  • Dan Browned: Most of Sigint's details of weapon history are correct, but there are some glaring mistakes made
    • Sigint claims Germans used captured Mosin-Nagants because of their quality. Germans did use captured Mosin-Nagants over issued rifles, particularly sniper models like they are discussing, but this had nothing to do with the rifle. Snipers preferred captured Mosin-Nagants because Germany had severe optics shortages, with the 1.5 power ZF41 (intended to help normal infantrymen extend their range, not for snipers) being the only one in significant production. Usage by general troops would be a combination of supply logistics and lubrication (German lube had poor performance in cold weather while the Russian stuff did not), not quality.
  • Darker and Edgier: The fact that this is the only Metal Gear game to actually have a nuclear explosion happen without any of the heroes being capable of stopping it, and in fact happens twice, once with the definite villain, and another time with a hero who is technically the antagonist and ultimately ends in tragedy would make Metal Gear Solid 3 qualify as such.
    • Lighter and Softer: On the other hand, the majority of the game is funnier and more cheerful. YMMV.
    • While the series has included button mashing torture sequences in previous games (the original game with Snake being shocked by Ocelot and in the second being choked out by Solidus), the torture event in this game goes more for the nightmare fuel with the audio of someone being pummeled to death (which is probably far more unsettling) and Snake having his eye destroyed by a close-range muzzle flash.
  • Decapitated Army: Subverted; it looks like it's all over when Volgin gets fried by lightning, but shortly after breathing a sigh of relief at the end of the ordeal, Snake and EVA are attacked by more soldiers, leading to a second Rail Shooter section.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: The Cobras all die by going boom... except The Boss.
  • Deja Vu: Invoked when calling Sigint regarding the AP sensor, the motion detector, and the active sonar. See Recycled Script.
  • Description Porn: Snake does this when EVA hands him the M1911. He completely forgot that she unzipped her jacket to show off her cleavage moments ago. 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.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Par for the course in a Metal Gear game, after all. This is the sort of game where, in the ten minutes the player spends with EVA, they can fully explore her medical history...and find out that she has breast implants, which is kind of really weird due to the 1964 setting.
    • During the fight with The Sorrow, every enemy the player killed in the game up until that point will reappear, and their bodies will reflect how they did it: kill a guy with a Groin Attack, and he'll reappear in this fight, clutching his junk and shouting "I'm worthless now!". Where it gets crazy is that the player can kill a guard in the mountain area, let a vulture gnaw on his corpse, then catch and eat the vulture, and the guard'll show up with the vulture perched on his shoulder, shouting "You ate me!".
  • Disney Villain Death: Averted with Volgin: 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 a large part of the Shagohod in order to get back up to the ravine, although on the flipside, the Shagohod's now vulnerable.
  • 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.

"You should come inside the box... Then you'll know what I mean."
"Man, I don't wanna know what you mean!"

  • Double Agent: EVA, Ocelot, and The Boss.
    • Bonus points to Ocelot for being a triple agent.
  • Downer Ending: Snake was forced to kill his beloved mentor, because she was a political scapegoat for an accident she couldn't control. 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 begins to silently cry. Starsailor's "Way to Fall" then begins during the credits after this, leaving the player with an even more depressing atmosphere.
    • To put it another way, after the twist, killing the Big Bad seems much less meaningful.
  • Downloadable Content: There were a few bonus camo patterns available for those with an online PS2, and they 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. Not in the least (see Mirror Boss below).
  • 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 Naked 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.
  • Escort Mission: Towards the end of the game, an injured EVA becomes the player's charge. Thankfully not for too long, because she moves slowly, will often start shooting at enemies with an unsuppressed weapon and needs constant feeding to keep the stamina up otherwise there is moaning and stopping.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: Ocelot..
    • Hell, Snake too! The player can even play as him shirtless throughout the entire game!
  • 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 homekin
  • Everything's Worse with Bees: The Pain can control bees. Sure, some of the things he does with the bees, like having them catch or carry grenades or calling up a tommy gun for him 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.
  • Eye Scream: Doubly 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.
    • The prospects of the first half of that scene are quite frightening 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 With An Internet Connection: Mostly averted. The game makes it explicitly clear that 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.
  • Face Palm: Naked Snake emits this in one conversation with Zero. See Is This Thing Still On? below.
  • Fake Defector: Deconstructed with The Boss, in that it does not end happily like it does in spy movies. It's an absolutely heartbreaking take on the trope, and the outcome is what inspires Big Boss' Start of Darkness.
  • Fission Mailed: 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 in order and take the Revive 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.
  • Foe Yay: "What a beautiful body you have."
    • If the player gets the right radio calls, you also learn that Ocelot has a crush on Naked Snake.
  • Foreshadowing: EVA's Weapon of Choice and style of using it are all Chinese, as Sigint tells the player if they call him just after she's introduced. Guess who she's really working for? Also, in the same scene, Snake's supposed to be meeting an agent called "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?
  • Game Breaking Bug: Not a true bug per-say, but once a sniper rifle of any kind is found, if the player zooms in, and while still holding the L1 button, presses the R2 button to activate the weapon selection menu, then releases the L1 button, and then selects either of the handguns, and while still holding the R2 button, presses and holds the R1 button, then engages the fire button, and then releases both the fire button and the R2 button, it is possible to snipe people with a silenced handgun from across the entire map, with literally no margin of error. Granted, the maneuver is not exactly easy to pull off, but once it is mastered, it is literally impossible to miss.
    • It's also possible to pull of this trick with the binoculars the player has from the beginning.
  • Gangsta Style: EVA's preferred method of fire. Justified in that her weapon of choice is a Mauser C96 (a Chinese copy, anyway). 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.
    • Ocelot also holds his semi-automatic pistol sideways and with arms slightly bent in the first part of the game, which Snake uses against him. On Snake's advice that this technique is more suited to a revolver, he switches to one (and later, two.)
  • Gaussian Girl: Ocelot sees Snake this way after their initial encounter. Somewhat justified, since he is losing consciousness at the time. Ever since then, Ocelot has become his Stalker with a Crush. Also, it is played with jokingly in the MGS3 Secret Theater, "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 Sixties, 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 forties. It's possible nobody dares bring it up because she's that good.
    • Though given the fact that The Boss is the daughter of one of the founders of the Philosophers, her aristocratic heritage probably would have given her privileges in the U.S. military that regular women wouldn't have. If the Patriots can make anyone that they want the President of the United States, then the Philosophers should be able to make a female fight on the field of battle. Also given her top secret missions she probably didn't interact much with the average combat GI Joe and probably wouldn't have been bothered by the normal chain of command.
  • 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."
  • 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). Their ghosts also give special dialogue during The Sorrow battle.
    • In addition, Volgin will grab Snake (while he is disguised as Raikov) in the 'nads twice before he deduces that he is an imposter, and if the director's commentary is anything to go by, Raikov is probably a victim to this a lot even when he isn't impersonated.
    • 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 Theatre video 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.
  • 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 Recovery 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.
  • 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-customated to the point it takes him over a dozen closeup photographs to adequately describe it to SigInt.
  • 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.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: An in-universe example: after being delivered via a D-21 drone launched from an M-21 carrier, an optional radio conversion has Snake tell his support team about issues with control that could lead to pilots being killed. The real-life M-21 program was cancelled after the drone collided with the mother plane during the fourth launch, killing the drone launch control operator.
  • 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.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Ocelot spends the entire plot jumping between helping and hindering Snake (such as betraying Volgin to help Snake, before trying 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.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The Secret Theatre films qualify as such.
  • 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 the its current state. This refers to the real-life reason as to why the project ended up cancelled: A launch went awry and crashed midair into the M-21, which killed the drone operator.
    • Also, 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 Pentrovski who was executed in 1963 after he was discovered. Appropriately, his codename was "hero," since he was a hero whose name and accomplishments will never be known.
    • 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 differed fuel sources for their tanks.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Krasnogorje, there are anti-aircraft guns on the mountainside. You can actually use them against their own Hinds.
  • 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.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Big Boss probably didn't expect Ocelot to get turned on by his torture session.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Ocelot's rather fond of spinning and juggling the SAA, a gun so notorious for accidental hammer drops that most gunfighters would only load five rounds into it. EVA's comments on the ability to access to foreign weapons in their current location suggest it may be a modern made clone (which may have fixed that), but still very careless.
  • I Let You Win: Young Ocelot's excuse every time. Or maybe not an excuse, since he's your CIA contact.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Ocelot, as usual. If the player gets the Single Action Army, this can apply to Snake as well.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: The Patriot is an M231 FPW with a Beta C-Mag. FPW stands for a"firing port weapon" and the gun was designed to be used in the hull gun ports of Bradley armoured personnel carriers. The Boss has one a decade and a half before it was designed, and with infinite ammo to boot, because she is just that awesome. And because the magazine's feed mechanism is shaped like the infinity symbol.
  • 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.
  • Indestructible Edible: CalorieMates(TM)
  • In the Back: Can be invoked when wearing the Cold War camo. Unlike most examples, however, its completely justified, as the Soviet soldiers would not dare attack the front without hurting their flag, although the back has the American flag, which doesn't have the same exemption.
  • 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.
  • 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 will can receive his camo. It drains the player's stamina so fast, however, that it's Awesome but Impractical.
    • Also, as in the previous games, the player can unlock the stealth camouflage that makes them 100% invisible (95% during alert phase). Unless they're going for the "Foxhound" codename, The Fear's camo becomes totally useless once the player's obtain this item.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: In an optional radio conversation with Zero, Zero will excuse himself after learning that Naked 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 were 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's Raining Men: How Snake entered Tselinoyarsk during the Virtuous Mission and, to a slightly lesser extent, Operation Snake Eater (he parachuted out of the drone upon ejecting in the latter mission)
  • It Will Never Catch On: Sigint wonders what Granin is thinking trying to design a tank on legs, and Snake mocks the addition of a three-round-burst firing mode on the XM16E1. 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, and Major Zero states he won't be surprised if 20 more James Bond movies are created[4]
  • 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).
  • Knight in Sour Armor: The Boss, who in turn turned Naked 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. Here's a video.

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.
  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition: Several, as follows:
    • Metal Gear Solid 3 was later given an Updated Rerelease called Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which, besides making improvements to the main game (most notably adding a much-demanded interactive camera),also included a second disk mainly pertaining to the first version of Metal Gear Online. Of special note though was that the bonus disc also included the first two games in the series.
    • Subsistence itself also came in two versions: the regular, two-disk version, and a Limited Edition which included a third disk called Existence, containing a three-hour movie of Metal Gear Solid 3 created from the game's own cutscenes and playing footage.
    • The Japanese Premium Edition threw in a CD, DVD, two booklets of bonus material and a 1/144 scale painted model of the Shagohod.
  • The Load: Sadly, the usually very combat-capable EVA becomes such an item by the end of the game, more akin to a Damsel in Distress than the Action Girl first seen.
  • Lost in Translation: Like every game since Metal Gear Solid 2, the implications of the Patriots' true name is 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 barely-used nickname.
      • It means "Son of Raiden" in Russian.
  • 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 piece together.
  • A MacGuffin Full of Money: The Philosopher's Legacy.
  • Male Gaze: During cutscenes between Snake and EVA, switching to first-person view will usually show the player where Snake's attention really is.
  • Manly Tears: Big Boss sheds one manly tear in the final shot, and he's perfectly justified in doing it, as is the player.
    • In an example of The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, 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.
  • The Mario: Tiger Stripe camo is effective, but not the best, for a good chunk of areas (it's also the best in a few as well).
    • And the Snake camo, which the player gets for stamina killing The Boss.
  • 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, though she never seems to show it. There's another phrase, however, that goes: "The greatest joy is the joy of duty," which fits her perfectly.
  • Medal of Dishonor: What Snake receives at the end for killing The Boss.
  • 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.
    • Subverted in the final boss fight. If the player has the game paused during the fight for more than ten minutes, the airstrike that The Boss called in will trigger once they unpause.
  • 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. This is heavily justified since Snake is her student. 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.
    • Considering that flashbacks in Peace Walker depict Snake wearing the sneaking suit, it's likely canon.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Tons of it, although justified most of the time, as Para-Medic can give a detailed explaination 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: Metal Gear Solid 3 is the most willfully goofy entry in the series, yet also has the most utterly depressing ending.
  • Mundangerous: Get shot a few dozen times with an assault rifle? Just wait a few wait a bit and it instantly 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) .
  • Mundane Fantastic: Most Metal Gear games involve this trope 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.
  • Mythology Gag: There are conversions related to the old gameplay mechanics, including one on the silliness of eating food to 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 have twelve shots!" As opposed to the six he had in the original Metal Gear Solid.
  • 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' Patriot carbine.
  • 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 Fourth Wall: It's a Metal Gear game. What did you expect?
  • 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. Conversely, The Sorrow always wears a sinister grin whenever he appears, which essentially makes their original titles into misnomers.
  • Odd Name Out: Subverted. 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. Subverted again when it turns out he's an American spy planted to help Snake.
  • Ominous Save Prompt: Inverted. Right before facing The End, Snake's Mission Control will tell him 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, The End will die of old age.
  • 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.
    • Played straight with his deceased father: He is never referred to anything else besides "Volgin's father." However, Volgin's middle name (which doubles as a patronymic name) is "Borisovitch", implying that his name is Boris Volgin.
  • 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 by killing her.
  • Overly Long Gag: The sequence where the player climbs a ladder. For a very, very, very long time. At some point, the theme song starts playing for no apparent reason.
    • Said ladder arguably serves as the game's intermission, splitting the game into two halves.
  • Pacifist Run: If the player does this, the fight with The Sorrow will be much shorter, although the bosses will still explode when they are defeated non-lethally.
    • However, if the player kills people indirectly by drowning them or throwing them off cliffs, they won't get a kill penalty.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: EVA was able to successfully fool the GRU members (except for apparently 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.
  • Peaceful in Death: The Boss. She even orders Snake to pull the trigger.
  • Playing Possum: On his mission, Snake is equipped with a potassium 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 (which plays out his death animation backwards). Of course, trying to pull this trick on The Boss does not amuse her...
  • Post End Game Content: New Game+, the Tuxedo, the Patriot and every unlockable that the player gets by obtaining a specific rank.
  • Press X to Not Die: Used precisely once, and it's inverted: The player has to press the button to end The Boss' life. Tear Jerker doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • Product Placement: The Calorie Mate 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 Calorie Mate and Sabra weren't made until 1983 and March 2000, respectively, and in the case of the former being the chocolate variety, that wasn't even made until later than 1983.
  • Rapid Fire Interrupting: Para-Medic just doesn't let Sigint explain the life medicine to Snake, much to his annoyance.
  • 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 (making it about equivalent to the PSG-1 of the first game in terms of exoticness, even though it's now one of the most common marksman rifles in the world) and the XM16E1 had barely been issued (though there were still 85,000 units ordered the previous year, so there's still some plausibility there).
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Those flying buckets sure do look goofy and impossible, don't they? Wait, those things actually existed in the sixties?[5]
    • And that weird plane at the end, that could never...Oh, wait, that's a real plane.
    • Wow, get a load of The Boss' gun, those spinning bullets are completely stupid and unrealistic and exactly the same sort of thing the weapon's real-life counterpart, the M231, would do if it were shortened to that size (so that it better resembles its real-life namesake, the RMA Patriot), leaving the weapon with practically zero rifling. Of course, when the bullets tumble as much as they do, the weapon's accuracy and penetration suffers greatly...which is why The Boss compensates with More Dakka.
    • Oh wow tumbleweeds during the fight with Ocelot, how cliche.... wait they actually are native to Russia?
  • Recursive Import: Subverted. Metal Gear Solid: Integral and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance had English voice acting with subtitles for their Japanese releases. However, the Subsistence edition of this game kept the Japanese voice acting for its native release, but still added all the other extra features from the European version.
  • Recycled Script: In-Universe, Sigint's explanations for the Active Sonar, the Motion Detector, and the Anti-personnel Sensor were a complete copy of Zero's explanations on the respective items, with Snake remarking on the similarity. Sigint then deduced that Zero most likely read Sigint's notes on the respective devices word for word.
  • Red Herring: Late in the game when Snake is captured by Colonel Volgin, he asks The Boss to cut out his 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.
  • Red Scare: Both played straight (initially) and inverted in this game. Naked 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 revealed that during the week between the Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater, several less stalward 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.
  • 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 trope being used in a time period when the USSR is still around.
  • Retcon: How Naked Snake/Big Boss managed to lose his eye was different than previously stated (in the manual for Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, it mentioned that Big Boss lost his eye while in conflict during the 1980s).
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors: Spoofed in one of the Secret Theater segments.
  • Rule of Funny: Some videos in the Secret Theatre collection included on Subsistence, a major example being "How not to handle C3", pretty have much this as the reason some things work. For instance, no matter how hard the C3 slams into another C3, it won't detonate prematurely as C3 is mechanically and chemically stable.
  • 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. It's also the reason why Big Boss cannot use his right eye anymore.
  • 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.
  • 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?"

    • Admit it, you took your knife to Ocelot after he was knocked out in the cutscene.
  • 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.
  • Serious Business: Boss takes Rock, Paper, Scissors a wee bit too far methinks.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: Many, in optional radio conversions. 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 codec for "Snake vs Monkey," Snake asks the colonel if Sam or Gabe can go on the mission instead of him, referring to 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.
    • Snake says that he feels he can't stop comparing himself to Bond all the time. In Metal Gear 2, Big Boss appearance was modeled after Sean Connery, who actually played James Bond around the time the game is set.
  • 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 wait seven days and let him die of old age.
    • The Sorrow as well. During the fight with The Sorrow, the player can simply lay down so Snake's head is under the water and wait until he "drown". 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.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Naked 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.
  • 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, 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 Big Boss.
  • Stat Grinding: A subtle example, Snake's health slighty increases after he recovers from big injuries.
  • Invisible to Gaydar: Considering this is one of the most Ho Yay-laden video game franchises out there, it should come as no surprise. Colonel Volgin in particular 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. There's also Ocelot, whose raging man-crush on Naked Snake only begins to take form in this game, and carries on through the rest of the series.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Snake has this when it comes to mud. Normally justified in that by the time his head goes under, he'll likely be too far from solid ground to pull himself out, but it also means Indian gavials can instantly kill the player by knocking them on their ass in the wrong place.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Naked Snake finally surpasses his former mentor The Boss in a final confrontation where he had ten minutes to defeat her or else the area would be napalmed. Amazingly Snake is able to actually defeat her despite earlier not even being able to harm her in hand to hand combat, for the first time in the game Snake can actually counter his mentor's CQC attacks and respond in kind showing a vast degree of improvement in his skills from earlier in the game when she handed his ass to him. For his efforts Snake is awarded the title of Big Boss showing that in the U.S Military's eyes he had surpassed his mentor.
  • Sympathetic Murder Backstory: 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 Philosopher's Zero-Approval Gambit.
  • 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.
  • 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. Colonel Campbell warns Big Boss of causing a Time Paradox if he kills either EVA, Ocelot or Sokolov.
    • The HD Collection has an trophy/acheivement for killing Ocelot (thus killing the man behind almost everything in the series) called "Problem Solved, Series Over".
    • Zero's statements about James Bond are something of a paradox themselves; 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. Though given he's such a Bond fan he might be referring to gadgets from the novels.
      • Bond in the novel rarely used gadgets though, and they tended to be no more extreme than what was saw in From Russia With Love.
      • Given that Goldfinger, which was the beginning of gadget use in the Bond films, came out a few weeks after the end of the game, it's possible that Zero saw a pre-release version or something.
  • Tempting Fate:

Colonel Volgin: "Who's afraid of a little thunder?"

  • 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 Singit 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.
  • Title Drop: 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.
  • Too Dumb to Live: There's an easy trick to beating The Fear with a stamina kill; he'll pick up any food left lying around the arena when his stamina runs low as a priority rather than killing one of the critters himself. This means discarding spoiled food will result in him eating it, damaging his stamina even more, and making him the easiest Cobra to defeat by far. Also, The Fear tested his weapons on rabbits, which also now have an immunity to his Cobalt Blue Tarantula venom. The same rabbits are also conveniently in the same area as where The Fear is fought.
    • The Pain is a good runner-up in this category. What is the one weakness of his bees/hornets? Water. Where, of all places, does he decide to fight Snake? In a cave full of water, of course! I mean, come on What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
    • Also, The End keeps falling asleep in the middle of the battle, which makes beating him considerably easier. Although it is because he's old, it can be questioned why a man of his age goes to the battlefield in the first place.
    • The Fury gets special mention for using a flamethrower in an underground tunnel filled with water pipes that can be shot at to put out the flames.
      • It's also implied that the Cobra Unit may have had their own reasons for fighting Snake as a means of testing him, as they only seem to follow The Boss's commands, and EVA implies that some of these commands may also be beyond even Colonel Volgin's knowledge, which may explain why they attempted to fight Snake in areas that might be disadvantageous for themselves.
  • 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 anyways, 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.
    • Also a case of Shown Their Work: 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).
  • Unexpected Genre Change: From stealth to rail shooter, near the game's end.
    • And even more egregiously, the Snake's Nightmare minigame, which the player can play by saving the game in the jail cell and reloading.
  • 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.
    • And in that case, they'll be crying as they do it.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: See all those helpless scientists, mechanics, and cute animals? They're all killable. Snake can also throw poisonous or spoiled food items to hungry enemies, which has the expected effect.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: The more people the player kills, the longer their fight with The Sorrow will be.
    • Also, although the Flame Troops will still be present at Krasnogorje, 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 men. If not, they are only there because Volgin ordered them to as revenge for Snake killing off The Pain, The Fear, and The End.
  • 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.
  • 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: To an extent, with the original trailer for the 3DS version shown at E3 2010[6] It showcased some significantly improved graphics, an updated sneaking suit design, and new set-pieces showing off the 3D capabilities of the console. Unfortunately, Snake Eater 3D is more of a straight port with some new features.
    • Also, during the torture sequence, there was going to be various button prompts that would have Snake struggle and swear, but the concept was ultimately cut.
    • 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 Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: A long and otherwise uneventful ladder climb is livened up by a reprise of the game's main theme.
    • In Secret Theatre, Snake and The Boss fight...with Rock-Paper-Scissors. The Boss wins with the Davy Crockett.
  • 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.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Par for the course, as far as the Metal Gear series goes at least. Try starting a New Game+, wearing the tuxedo and calling The Boss, and be prepared to be berated.
    • If the player calls her wearing the Ga-Ko camo, she will give the player the exact same conversation. I guess a tuxedo on a sneaking mission is just as silly as camouflage covered in pictures of bright yellow ducks.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: To the rest of the series.
  • 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.
    • Considering that one of Big Boss's defining traits later on is his tendency to spare his enemies and show mercy instead of killing them, this could count as Fridge Brilliance.
    • Then again, it may only be vampires that he's afraid of. He didn't seem to react much in regards to zombies when Para-Medic explained what zombies are to Snake, and he didn't seem too fearful about the Spirit camo, either. In either case, it's also ironic as "zombie" is the Voodoo religion's word for "snake."
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Inverted in the fight against Volgin: 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 make the same promise that she made EVA promise later (that they neither kill nor aid in killing Snake).
  • 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, including discarded American weapons or remnants thereof (or even fecal matter), which is why Snake begins the mission with minimal equipment (hence his codename, Naked Snake) 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.
  • Worst Aid: Burning leeches off with a cigar in real life makes them vomit into the wound, increasing the risk of infection.
  • 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 best ten minutes of our lives, Jack."
    • Ocelot does this as well, 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.
  • 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...: It's heavily implied from a radio conversion with EVA that the reason why Johnny was unwilling to let Naked Snake escape from the prison is because Volgin would have executed him if he either had Naked Snake escape or if Snake died in the cell before Volgin could continue torturing him.
    • 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.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Naked Snake gains the title of "Boss" (or rather, Big Boss), after killing The Boss (though this probably isn't the standard procedure for the promotion).
  • You Monster!: EVA says this to Volgin during his torture of Sokolov.
  • Youngest Child Wins: The trope is referenced in an optional radio conversation with Major Zero regarding Raikov.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: The Boss and, to a lesser extent, Ocelot.
  1. It should be noted that this is exactly what snipers and anyone who does SERE is expected to do. Pity the poor sod who catches one of these guys and has to search his pack.
  2. unless one counts Liquid Ocelot's plan to fire a nuclear warhead at a satellite to stop the Patriots in that game as being nuclear threat.
  3. and even make Snake scream like a warrior!
  4. Quantum of Solace was No. 22, and two had been released by the time the game was set, with Goldfinger being released about two weeks after the end of Operation Snake Eater.
  5. Though granted, they didn't actually work all that well.
  6. Although, technically, The Naked Sample demo is actually entirely different from the actually 3DS game.