Metal Gear Solid is known for its pathos and characters’ long, winding speeches about the futility of life, the dangers of ever-evolving technology and the brutality of war, but it’s also a series filled with wacky shenanigans that wouldn’t be out of place in a loopy or even raunchy comedy flick.
Here are eight times that Metal Gear Solid just went all out weird.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a sequel-prequel deal, with the third game actually being the first one to happen chronologically in the series (think Star Wars prequels), taking place during The Cold War. In Snake Eater you clash with a character who plays a pivotal role in the other games several times, a younger and clean-shaven Revolver Ocelot. If you accidently (or purposely) kill Ocelot, you’re greeted not with the typical SNAKE IS DEAD screen but instead one that says OCELOT IS DEAD and ultimately shifts, letter by letter, into TIME PARADOX, a neat little nod to the game’s narrative placement and players’ awareness of that.
For games that try to ask tough questions about the meaning of life there sure are a lot of crap jokes here. No, really: there’s a guy named Johnny who shows up in nearly every single game who’s best characterized as Dude With Diarrhea, always having to run to the bathroom during an important plot development. To be fair, he transitions from being a one-note joke to a fleshed out character who grows as a person during Metal Gear Solid 4, which is kind of impressive but also still really gross.
Near the end of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty protagonist Raiden gets captured in a scene that mimics Solid Snake’s imprisonment and breakout in the first game. However, unlike Snake, when it comes time to escape Raiden is completely nude, sneaking around super soldiers and performing cartwheels while covering his junk with his hands (or having a well-placed straw cover them for him).
Okay, this one’s a bit confusing but let’s start from the beginning. Liquid Snake, the series’ big baddie, dies at the tail end of the first Metal Gear Solid. Henchman Revolver Ocelot also gets his arm sliced off by a cyber ninja in the same game. With me so far? This is where things get even more, uh, Metal Gear. In the second game, Ocelot gets an arm transplant…from Liquid Snake’s corpse. Said arm goes on to possess Ocelot’s mind and force him to try and take over the world. Twist time! Ocelot is putting on an act, pretending to be possessed by Liquid’s arm in order to lull his enemies into a false sense of security. The kicker? This isn’t even the zaniest or most convoluted bit of Metal Gear Solid’s plot.
While Snake Eater resisted the temptation to wink at fans of the series too much, there was an odd little joke for the many players who just didn’t like playing as Raiden in the second Metal Gear Solid. The ridiculously named Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov not only shares Raiden’s name but looks exactly like him. As Naked Snake you have to knock him out, steal his clothes, and impersonate him to gain access to a restricted area. Why is it necessary for this officer to look like Raiden or for him to grope your crotch if he sees you? I don’t know. I really, really don’t know.
Along with oodles of scat humor, Metal Gear Solid is also pretty raunchy and just plain weird and gross when it comes to its presentation of female characters, letting the player ogle the majority of them or peep on them in states of undress in nearly every game. There’s a (weak) argument to be made that this sexualization somehow ties into the earlier games’ focus on Snake being worried about passing on his genes and the concept of legacy but it’s still pretty skeevy and often random.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a spin-off that focuses on the hack and slash adventures of Raiden, transformed into a cyborg ninja since the events of Sons of Liberty. The fact that Revengeance was developed by Platinum Games instead of Kojima and company shows, with heavy metal blaring as you slice enemies to bits in slow motion and mash buttons during quick time events. Still, somehow that’s not enough to prepare you for the scene with cyborg Raiden trying to disguise himself with a sombrero and poncho. You do you, Raiden. You do you.
For all of Metal Gear Solid’s gags, there is probably none more amusing or well known than the ability to hide from enemies in plain sight with a cardboard box. It doesn’t always work that well but it succinctly sums up Metal Gear’s playful approach to stealth action, giving the player an item that has tactical advantages and that’s use is likely to result in some laughter.
Javy Gwaltney devotes his time to writing about these videogame things when he isn’t teaching or cobbling together a novel. You can follow the trail of pizza crumbs to his Twitter or his website.