If ever there was a beloved game franchise that really kept us on our toes with a history of moments that really left us literally speechless, shocked in awe or just generally scratching our head, it is of course the brainchild of Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid.
Since the likelihood of a true Metal Gear Solid game is currently sitting very low, we’ve put together a definitive list of our top 10 WTF moments in Metal Gear Solid. Needless to say spoilers ahead for all main Metal Gear Solid entries, but if you’re really yet to partake in some Solid Snake goodness, what are you waiting for? Get out there already and enjoy one of the most complex yet riveting video game sagas around.
Psycho Mantis reads your memory card (MGS1)
Think back to the glorious days of the PlayStation One. Did you like playing Castlevania, Suikoden or Azure Dreams? Then it’s highly likely that when encountering MGS1’s most memorable boss fight in Psycho Mantis, you had enough wits scared out of you to even make the fabled patriots blush. Reading data from your system’s memory card (remember those?), it felt eerily creepy to have your gaming history suddenly read back to you by a gasmask zombie no less.
The crazy calamities didn’t stop there however, with the slightly less conventional Foxhound member taunting you left and right throughout the entire fight sequence. Messing with your head to such an extent that you were required to switch controller ports in order to land a hit. Once discovered, the fight became laughably easy but only after that initial “WTF” moment.
Raiden revealed (MGS2)
So, you’ve finished Metal Gear Solid, you’ve seen the E3 trailer for the second entry in the franchise and maybe you’ve even treated yourself to that fantastic Tanker demo that featured on your PS2 copy of Zone of the Enders. That was the only reason you bought it after all! Imagine your surprise then when launch day for MGS2 finally arrives, only to be greeted by a baby-faced blondie that’s started calling himself snake all of a sudden, how dare he!
This very sequence of events in Metal Gear Solid 2 was one that graced many who were chomping at the bits for Kojima’s long-awaited sequel, making it all the more surprising when it was finally revealed that this second time around, fan-favourite protagonist Solid Snake would be taking a back seat. Fans would gradually warm up to the loved-up rookie in the end, just a shame that the even bigger troll might be the fact that MGS2 in its entirety was nothing more than a simulation!
Recruiting an unexpected guest (PeaceWalker)
The PSP’s under rated Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker is not short of many shocking moments guaranteed to have you scratching your head. Your old master is alive but in computer-form, you have an army without a country and that’s just after working out why such a vital entry in the series had been initially stranded on a portable platform.
As if that wasn’t enough, it really took us by surprise when series creator Hideo Kojima had gone to the effort of hiding himself in the back of a truck, only to be revealed as a recruitable member for your Mother Base. He certainly kept us waiting huh? But it was worth it!
Big boss is alive! (MGS4)
Now I’m man enough to admit that the first time I had the pleasure of completing Metal Gear Solid 4: The Guns of the Patriot I didn’t really have the mental capacity to hold all of that information in my head at once. One thing I did recognise the importance of however, was when the words “Big Boss – Richard Doyle” appeared during the end credits.
Throughout your whole time progressing through MGS4, you as Old Snake are led to believe that the famous solider and war hero Big Boss has been long since dead (you even supposedly see his corpse at one point). We were gobsmacked then by his sudden appearance at the game’s ending graveyard, in a dialogue between father and cloned son that definitely delivered a finite sense of closure for the series. Only in prequel The Phantom Pain, would we learn more of Big Boss’ surprising exploits.
Raiden stops a freighter with just one arm (MGS4)
Not only one of the most “WTF”moments in Metal Gear Solid history, but probably the all-round most badass and epic. Following on from the amazing mech battle between brothers Snake and Liquid, the former finds himself drained of energy as his greatest enemy begins to make his Shadow Moses escape on a freighter.
Finally proving himself as a true forced to be reckoned with, the once pretty-faced blondie slices off his own trapped arm in an attempt to save his former mentor and best friend from being crushed. Wondering why he’s yet to meet his doom, the weakened Old Snake looks up only to find Raiden holding back the hundred-tonne freighter just long enough to motivate his friend to get out of the way and keep fighting. It’s for moments like this that MGS4 remains truly memorable.
The DARPA Chief takes a tumble (MGS1)
Aside from a few weird calls made to your Codec, everything had been pretty conventional in terms of tactical espionage action by the point that you come across the DARPA Chief in the original Metal Gear Solid game. Suddenly like a Randy Orton RKO, his heart attack comes out of nowhere mere seconds before he was about to disclose the location of the PAL key.
Only later would it become clear that the DARPA Chief’s overly dramatic death came about as a result of the FoxDie virus which itself still needed a great deal of explaining. For many, this weird and wacky death signified the moment in the series that meant that all bets were off in terms of what to expect, warming us up for the many “WTF” moments to come.
Returning to Shadow Moses (MGS4)
Just when we promised ourselves that we’d call it a day and wouldn’t sit through another 30 mins of Old Snake smoking at the MGS4 loading screen, we’re told that waiting on the other side of Act 3 is the all too tempting excitement of returning to the setting of the original Metal Gear Solid – Shadow Moses Island.
Unexpected and not present in any of Metal Gear Solid 4’s marketing, once again we got to return to the legendary location. First in the form of a dream sequence reminiscent of the original PlayStation One’s release before finally getting to explore the area freely without any enemies in glorious high definition and detail. A standout point in the MGS series for all hardcore fans.
Fission Mailed (MGS2)
Towards the latter half of the game, the second Metal Gear Solid is in no way short of weird, unsettling and just generally moments that make you say “WTF”. When reality begins to crumble and the realisation of all of your actions up until that point begins to settle in, you yourself as the player like Raiden begin to question your own sanity.
Eventually the in-game fake-outs start to get more intrusive, even resulting in the display of the game over screen which this time boasts the words “Fission Mailed” – further signifying that everything is not quite as it seems. Once Raiden gets around to finding some clothes, a sense of normality starts to return. But nor for long mind you, this is Metal Gear Solid after all.
Two Phantoms (MGSV)
Even if it was released in a somewhat unfinished capacity, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was an incredible experience that seemingly stuck close to realism, give or take a certain ghost child and odd burning man here or there. The only missing fit was of course the game’s wild and wonderful opening sequence which saw Big Boss (or so we thought!) flee from the world’s most unsafe hospital.
One of Metal Gear Solid V’s early requests was to create our own character, a first for Metal Gear Solid which didn’t appear again. Little did we know that what we were actually doing was creating Big Boss’ Phantom, formerly a medic from Ground Zeroes that we had actually been playing as the entire time whilst the real Big Boss went into hiding to fight the real covert war.
This sharp twist of the knife placed the rest of the entire MGS series into a completely different perspective, changing what we thought we knew about the legendary Big Boss and yet still making sense to those with a play history dating way back to the original Metal Gear games. A true “WTF” moment that nobody saw coming.
Valley of the dead (MGS3)
Sometimes the beauty in Metal Gear Solid games can be in figuring out progression by using methods other than those that the game tells you. The Vamp boss fight in MGS4, Meryl’s code on the back of the CD case in MGS1 and of course, walking through the spirit realm – a somewhat valley of the dead – during the franchise’s snake eating entry.
After having just escaped from the clutches of Revolver Ocelot, Naked Snake emerges from the flames only to be greeted by a valley full of the ghosts of those he’s killed as well as spectral cobra unit member the Sorrow. With no cardboard box in sight, Snake’s only option is to drown himself before quickly swallowing that revive pill you had no idea about before. This one had us scratching our head for days.