is a stealth-action video game directed by Hideo Kojima. The game was developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan and first published by Konami in 1998 for the PlayStation video game console. It is the third canonical title in the Metal Gear series, and the direct sequel to Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. The game implements several cinematic qualities, such as meticulously recreated Hollywood-like cut scenes and top-notch sound design and voice acting.
The story of Metal Gear Solid follows Solid Snake, a retired soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons disposal facility to neutralize the terrorist threat from FOXHOUND, a renegade special forces unit. Snake must liberate two hostages, the head of DARPA and the president of a major arms manufacturer, confront the terrorists, and stop them from launching a nuclear strike.
Metal Gear Solid was well-received, shipping more than six million copies, and scoring an average of 94 out of 100 on the aggregate website Metacritic. The commercial success of the title prompted the release of an expanded version for the PlayStation and PC, titled Metal Gear Solid: Integral; and a remake, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was later released for the Nintendo GameCube. The game has also spawned numerous sequels, prequels, a port of the game to Windows PCs and spin-offs, including several games, a radio drama, comics, and a novel.
Despite a transition to 3D, Metal Gear Solid's gameplay remains similar to its 2D MSX2 predecessor Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. The player must navigate the protagonist, Solid Snake, through the game's areas without being detected by enemies. Detection is triggered by the player moving into an enemy's field of vision and sets off an alarm that draws armed enemies to his location. This also triggers "alert mode" and the player must then hide and remain undetected, at which point “evasion mode” begins and once the counter reaches zero the game returns to "infiltration mode" where enemies are not suspicious of Snake’s presence. The radar cannot be used in alert or evasion mode.
To remain undetected, the player can perform techniques which make use of Solid Snake's abilities and the environment, such as crawling under objects, using boxes as cover, ducking or hiding around walls, and making noise to distract enemies. These are carried out using the third-person camera; which often changes its angle to give the player the best view of the area possible, and an on-screen radar, which displays enemies and their field of vision. Snake can also make use of many items and gadgets, such as infra-red goggles or a cardboard box disguise. The emphasis on stealth promotes a less violent form of gameplay, as fights against large groups of enemies will often result in serious damage for the player.
Intermixed with the player's progress are cut scenes and codec conversations as well as encounters with bosses. To progress, players must discover the weaknesses of each boss to defeat them. Game controls and play strategies can also be accessed via the Codec radio, where advice is delivered from Snake's support team; for example, the support team may chastise Snake for not saving his progress often enough, or explain his combat moves in terms of which buttons to press on the gamepad. The Codec is also used to provide exposition on the game's backstory. Completion of the title provides the player with a statistical summary of their performance, and a "code name" based upon it, typically the name of a common animal.
In a first for the Metal Gear series, a training mode is available in which players can practice hiding techniques, weapons use, and sneaking. In addition to the stealth gameplay, there are set piece sequences that entail firefights between the player and enemies from the third-person and first-person perspectives.
The main antagonist of the game is Liquid Snake, leader of the now-terrorist organization FOXHOUND, and genetic counterpart to Solid Snake. An elite special forces unit, FOX-HOUND contains experts specializing in unique tasks. Members are Revolver Ocelot, a Western-style gunslinger and expert interrogator whose weapon of choice is the Colt Single Action Army; Sniper Wolf, a preternatural sniper; Vulcan Raven, a hulking Alaskan shaman armed with an M61 Vulcan torn from a downed F-16; Psycho Mantis, a psychic profiler and psychokinesis expert; and Decoy Octopus, a master of disguise.
Other characters include Meryl Silverburgh, Roy Campbell's daughter (though this is only revealed in the Otacon ending) and a rookie soldier stationed in Shadow Moses who did not join the revolt; Dr. Hal "Otacon" Emmerich, the lead developer of Metal Gear REX; and the Cyborg Ninja, a mysterious cybernetically-enhanced agent who is neither an ally nor an enemy of Snake but does oppose FOXHOUND.
Metal Gear Solid is set in 2005, where a genetically enhanced next-generation special forces unit commanded by FOXHOUND lead an armed uprising on a remote island in Alaska's Fox Archipelago. This island, codenamed Shadow Moses, is the site of a nuclear weapons disposal facility. The forces that seized this island have acquired the nuclear-capable mecha Metal Gear REX, and are threatening the US government with a nuclear reprisal if they do not receive the remains of the "legendary mercenary" Big Boss within 24 hours.
As the game begins, Solid Snake is dispatched at the request of Colonel Roy Campbell to penetrate the terrorists' defenses and neutralize the threat. Snake is also ordered to locate hostages DARPA Chief Donald Anderson, and ArmsTech president Kenneth Baker. Colonel Campbell's niece, Meryl Silverburgh is also held captive in the facility after refusing to take part in the uprising. Snake enters the facility and locates the DARPA Chief in a cell. He informs Snake of the new Metal Gear REX unit housed at the facility, but then suddenly dies of what appears to be a heart attack. Meryl, who is held in adjoining cell, manages to break out and assists Snake in his escape as enemy soldiers are alerted to his presence. Snake then finds the other hostage, Kenneth Baker. Revolver Ocelot challenges Snake to a gunfight, which is interrupted by a mysterious cyborg ninja who cuts off Ocelot's hand. Baker briefs Snake on the Metal Gear project and, like the DARPA Chief, suddenly dies of a "heart attack".
Snake then contacts Meryl via radio, and agrees to meet her in the base's warhead disposal area on the condition that he contacts Metal Gear's designer, Hal "Otacon" Emmerich. Snake locates Otacon in his lab. The ninja reappears, and Snake realizes that it is actually his former ally Gray Fox, whom he believed killed years earlier. Otacon agrees to aid Snake remotely, using special camouflage to procure information and supplies while he remains invisible. Snake meets with Meryl and agrees for her to accompany him on his mission. Meryl gives Snake a PAL key and they head for the underground base. Part way through the base, Sniper Wolf ambushes them, wounds Meryl, and after a brief duel captures Snake.
While imprisoned, Liquid confirms Snake's suspicion that they are twin brothers. Snake is tortured by Ocelot and the player can choose to give in to this torture, or not. When Snake is taken to his cell, he discovers the body of DARPA Chief Donald Anderson lying in the corner; however, though it was only hours before Snake watched Anderson die in front of him, the body has been decomposing as if he were dead for days. Eventually Snake is able to escape.
As Snake makes his way up the facility's communications tower, he is ambushed by Liquid in an attack helicopter, but swiftly defeats him. As he emerges from the tower onto the snowfield he is confronted once again by Sniper Wolf, and after a second duel he fatally wounds her. Otacon, enamoured with Wolf, is overcome with grief as Snake is forced to execute her. Snake descends into the bowels of the Shadow Moses facility. After defeating Vulcan Raven, the shaman reveals to Snake that the man he watched die was not the DARPA Chief. It was Decoy Octopus. However, Raven leaves the cause of death for Snake to find out. Shortly after, Master Miller calls and reveals that Dr. Naomi Hunter, a support agent, has given Snake the genetically engineered virus "FoxDie" during his mission preparations, and is sending coded messages into the facility. Campbell swiftly orders her arrest. The virus, designed to kill people with particular genetic markers via cardiac arrest, was responsible for the deaths of Octopus and the ArmsTech president. Naomi contacts Snake and confesses that she joined the mission to sabotage it. But upon learning of Snake's own past, she no longer had the heart to kill him directly having reprogrammed the virus.
Infiltrating Metal Gear's hangar, Snake overhears Liquid and Ocelot preparing the launch sequence for Metal Gear REX. Thinking he is deactivating it, using the PAL key, Snake activates Metal Gear REX. Master Miller then reveals himself to be Liquid in disguise. He informs Snake that his entire mission was manipulated by the renegades to allow the launch of the nuclear weapon. Liquid explains that they are the product of the Les Enfants Terribles project, a government sponsored effort to clone Big Boss, that was conducted during the 1970s. Liquid explains that Solid received all of Big Boss' dominant alleles,while he received all the recessive alleles. He also reveals to Snake the government's true reason for sending him in: his FoxDie would kill all the members of FOXHOUND, allowing the government to retrieve REX undamaged.
Snake destroys Metal Gear REX and is challenged again by Liquid. He fights Liquid atop REX and defeats him after knocking him over the edge. He is then reunited with Meryl or Otacon, depending on the player's actions. They escape, while being chased by Liquid, in a jeep. Liquid dies from the FoxDie virus. Colonel Campbell, briefly ousted from command of the mission, calls off a nuclear airstrike intended to obliterate the evidence of the day's events and officially declares Snake killed in action to stop the US government's search for him in the future.
There are two possible endings, depending on the player's actions during the torture sequence. If the player gives in to the torture, Snake finds Meryl dead and escapes with Otacon. If the player does not give in to the torture, Meryl survives and escapes with Snake while Otacon volunteers to stay behind and sacrifice himself to help Snake and Meryl get out, not knowing that the nuclear strike intended to hit the disposal facility would never come (Meryl surviving is the canon ending).
After the end credits the player finds out Snake is actually genetically inferior to Liquid and has an indeterminate amount of time left before FoxDie kills him. Ocelot is revealed to be a double agent for the President of the United States, George Sears (the third Snake, Solidus). His intention was to obtain Baker's disk containing Metal Gear's specifications and deliver it to the President, and kill whoever knew of his true motives, the reason for his "accidental" killing of the DARPA Chief. The reason why Ocelot kills Anderson goes deeper into the Metal Gear saga.
|Character||Japanese version||English version (pseudonyms in brackets)|
|Solid Snake||Akio Ōtsuka||David Hayter (Sean Barker*)|
|Liquid Snake||Banjo Ginga||Cam Clarke (James Flinders)|
|Meryl Silverburgh||Kyoko Terase||Debi Mae West (Mae Zadler)|
|Naomi Hunter||Hiromi Tsuru||Jennifer Hale (Carren Learning)|
|Hal "Otacon" Emmerich||Hideyuki Tanaka||Christopher Randolph (Christopher Fritz)|
|Roy Campbell||Takeshi Aono||Paul Eiding (Paul Otis)|
|Mei Ling||Houko Kuwashima||Kim Mai Guest (Kim Nguyen)|
|Gray Fox||Kaneto Shiozawa||Greg Eagles (George Byrd)|
|Nastasha Romanenko||Eiko Yamada||Renee Raudman (Renee Collette)|
|Revolver Ocelot||Koji Totani||Patric Zimmerman (Patric Laine)|
|Vulcan Raven||Yukitoshi Hori||Peter Lurie (Chuck Farley)|
|Psycho Mantis||Kazuyuki Sogabe||Doug Stone|
|Sniper Wolf||Naoko Nakamura||Tasia Valenza (Julie Monroe)|
|Donald Anderson||Masaharu Sato||Greg Eagles (George Byrd)|
|Kenneth Baker||Yuzuru Fujimoto||Allan Lurie (Bert Stewart)|
|Jim Houseman||Tomohisa Asō||William Bassett (Fredrick Bloggs)|
|Johnny Sasaki||Naoki Imamura||Dean Scofield (Dino Schofield)|
Kojima originally planned the third Metal Gear game, to be called Metal Gear 3, and to release it for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer in 1994. Conceptual artwork, by illustrator Yoji Shinkawa, of the characters Solid Snake, Meryl Silverburgh, who was also a character in the adventure game Policenauts, and the FOXHOUND team, were included in the Policenauts: Pilot Disk preceding the release of the full 3DO game in 1995. However due to the decline of the 3DO hardware, development of the game shifted to the PlayStation shortly after it was released.
Kojima retitled the game Metal Gear Solid, choosing this over the working title Metal Gear 3. This was due to the fact that he believed that the first two MSX2 games in the series were not very well known. He used the word 'Solid' which was chosen due to the game being the third installment in the series, and because it uses 3D computer graphics. Sequels to this game also use the Metal Gear Solid title, and follow a new numeral progression.
The development for Metal Gear Solid began in mid-1995 with the intention of creating the "best PlayStation game ever". Developers aimed for accuracy and realism while making the game enjoyable and tense. In the early stages of development, a SWAT team educated the creators with a demonstration of vehicles, weapons and explosives. Hideo Kojima, the director, stated that "if the player isn't tricked into believing that the world is real, then there's no point in making the game". To fulfill this, adjustments were made to every detail, such as individually designed desks.
Hideo Kojima created the characters of Metal Gear Solid. Modifications and mechanics were made by conceptual artist Yoji Shinkawa. The characters were completed by polygonal artists using pencil drawings and clay models by Shinkawa. Kojima wanted greater interaction with objects and the environment, such as allowing the player to hide bodies in a storage compartment. Additionally, he wanted "a full orchestra right next to the player"; a system which made modifications such as tempo and texture to the currently playing track, instead of switching to another pre-recorded track. Although these features could not be achieved, they were implemented in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
Metal Gear Solid was revealed to the public at the E3 gaming event in 1997 as a short video. It was later playable for the first time at the Tokyo Game Show in 1998 and officially released the same year in Japan with an extensive promotional campaign. Television and magazine advertisements, in-store samples, and demo give-aways contributed to a total of US$8 million in promotional costs. An estimated 12 million demos for the game were distributed during 1998.
The Japanese PlayStation version of Metal Gear Solid, as well as Integral, had been reissued twice: once under The Best range and second time as a PSone Books title. Likewise, the American and European versions of Metal Gear Solid were reissued under the "Greatest Hits" and "Platinum" ranges respectively. The game is included in the Japanese Metal Gear Solid: 20th Anniversary Collection set and in the American Essential Collection set. The game is available in Japan on the PlayStation Store for download on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable.
Released on June 25, 1999 for the PlayStation in Japan, Metal Gear Solid: Integral is an expanded version of the original game based on the North American localization, substituting the original Japanese voices with the English dub, while offering a choice between Japanese and English captions, which adds further additional features and an extra disc of virtual reality training missions dubbed the "VR Disc". Added to the main game are an alternate sneaking suit outfit for Meryl that complements Snake's tuxedo and the red-colored Ninja, a "Very Easy" difficulty setting featuring a new weapon, an MP5 rifle with infinite ammo, a Codec frequency with staff commentary, a first-person view mode, an option for alternate patrol routes for enemies and a downloadable PocketStation minigame.
The "VR Disc" features over 300 missions testing the player's sneaking and fighting skills, as well as less conventional tests, such as murder mysteries, battling giant genome soldiers, and three missions where the player controls the Cyborg Ninja. Special features includes trailers for Metal Gear Solid, a preview artwork of Metal Gear RAY from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and a "photoshoot" mode to take pictures of Mei Ling and Naomi. The VR Disc from Integral was released as a separate product outside of Japan — in North America as Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions (September 23, 1999) and in Europe as Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions (October 29, 1999). The European version (Special Missions) requires the player to boot a copy of the original Metal Gear Solid before playing the game, a requirement that was unnecessary in the American VR Missions and Japanese VR Disc. Because of the different hardware and emulation profile, it is due to this disc swapping requirement that renders Special Missions unplayable on pre-SCPH-70000 PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3 consoles.
A PC port of Integral was also released in Europe and North America in late 2000 with PocketStation support removed. Scoring 83 in Metacritic's aggregate, the game was criticized for "graphic glitches", the aged nature of the port, and being essentially identical to the PlayStation version.
A remake of Metal Gear Solid, titled Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, was developed by Silicon Knights under the supervision of Hideo Kojima and released for the Nintendo GameCube in North America, Japan, and Europe in March 2004. While Twin Snakes was largely developed at Silicon Knights, its cut scenes were developed in-house at Konami and directed by Japanese film director Ryuhei Kitamura, reflecting his dynamic signature style, utilizing bullet time photography and choreographed gunplay extensively. While the storyline and settings of the game were unchanged, a variety of gameplay features from Sons of Liberty were added such as the first person aiming and hanging from bars on walls. Another change in the English voice acting was the reduction of Mei Ling's, Naomi's and Nastasha's accents, as well as the recasting of the Ninja from Greg Eagles, who reprised the role of the DARPA chief, to Rob Paulsen. The graphics were also updated.
Metal Gear Solid was a commercial success, shipping over 6 million copies worldwide. Upon release, it was one of the most rented games, and topped sales charts in the United Kingdom.
The game was generally well received by the media and some of the most prominent gaming critics. Users and critics of GamePro gave it an average score of 4.8 out of 5 calling it "this season's top offering [game] and one game no self-respecting gamer should be without". However they criticized the frame rate, saying it "occasionally stalls the eye-catching graphics" and "Especially annoying are instances where you zoom in with binoculars or the rifle scope", and also the interruptions of "advice from your team", in the early parts of the game, calling it an "annoyance". GameSpot also criticized this, saying "It needlessly interrupts the game". They also criticized how easy it is for the player to avoid being seen, the game's short length, and called it "more of a work of art than ... an actual game". Further criticism came from the website Adrenaline Vault, which said it had "some serious...flaws" which "made it a complete disappointment". It received an Excellence Award for Interactive Art at the 1998 Japan Media Arts Festival. NGamer said "It's like playing a big budget action blockbuster, only better". Gaming website IGN said it came "closer to perfection than any other game in PlayStation's action genre" and called it "Beautiful, engrossing, and innovative...in every conceivable category".
Metal Gear Solid is often recognized for popularizing the stealth game genre. The idea of the player being unarmed and having to avoid being seen by enemies rather than fight them has been used in many games since. It is also sometimes acclaimed as being a film as much as a game due to the lengthy cut scenes and complicated storyline. Entertainment Weekly said it "broke new ground with...movie-style production...and stealth-driven gameplay, which encouraged...hiding in boxes and crawling across floors". GameTrailers said it "invented the stealth game" and called it "captivating, inventive and gritty". The game is often considered one of the best games for the PlayStation, and has featured in best video games lists by GameFAQs, Game Rankings, Japanese magazine Famitsu, Entertainment Weekly, Game Informer, GamePro, Electronic Gaming Monthly and GameTrailers. However, its placing in these lists is inconsistent, ranging from 2nd to 50th.
In 2002 IGN's editors ranked it as the best PlayStation game ever. Writer for the site David Smith said that just the demo for the game had "more gameplay [in it] than in most finished titles". They also gave it the "Best Ending" and "Best Villain" awards. In 2005, in placing it 19th on their list of "Top 100 Games", they said that it was "a game that truly felt like a movie", that the fights were "unique and innovative", and that it was "the founder of the stealth genre".
Guinness World Records awarded Metal Gear Solid with a record for the "Most Innovative Use of a Video Game Controller" for the boss fight with Psycho Mantis in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008 edition.
In September 2004, IDW Publications began publishing a series of Metal Gear Solid comics, written by Kris Oprisko and illustrated by Ashley Wood. As of 2006, 12 issues have been published, fully covering the Metal Gear Solid storyline.
The comic was adapted into a PSP game titled Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel (Metal Gear Solid: Bande Dessinée in Japan). It features visual enhancements and two interactive modes designed to give further insight into the publication. Upon viewing the pages, the player can open a "scanning" interface to search for characters and items in a three dimensional view. Discoveries are added to a database which can be traded with other players via Wi-Fi. The "mission mode" allows the player to add collected information into a library. This information must be properly connected to complete a mission. Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel was released in North America on June 13, 2006, Japan on September 21 and the PAL region on September 22. In 2006, the game received IGN's award for Best Use of Sound on the PSP. A DVD-Video version is included with its sequel (Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinée), which was released in Japan on June 12, 2008. The DVD version features full voice acting.