Konami’s Metal Gear has become synonymous with many things over the years, not least of all lengthy character exposition and mind-boggling plots filled with mullets and mechs. However, sandwiched in between the sprawling narrative and dynamic cut-scenes are touches of creator Hideo Kojima’s eccentric fourth-wall breaking shenanigans and scenes that generally will have you staring at the screen in disbelief – or to be less eloquent, those classic ‘WTF’ moments.
Indeed, Metal Gear didn’t earn itself the title of one of gaming’s most esoteric creations without these moments, and we certainly hope they don’t die off anytime soon. Whether it’s swapping controller ports to beat a boss or playing through one of Snake’s freaky nightmares, these scenes have become part and parcel of the stealth-action franchise over the years, even if we don’t always understand their significance at the time.
With the Metal Gear series celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, PSU.com decided to take a walk on the wild side of the series, extolling our top ‘WTF’ moments. Join us now as we select our most memorable picks.
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SNAKE’S NIGHTMARE (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)
This is one of those moments you REALLY didn’t see coming. So, you’ve reached the part in the seminal 60s stealth-‘em-up where Snake is banged up in the cell after getting a pasting from Volgin. He’s badly wounded, fatigued and bloody hungry too, by all accounts. You have to turn the console off for whatever reason, so you save your game and then come back later. Upon loading up your file, you anticipate being taken back to Snake’s cell, only to find you aren’t there. In fact, you aren’t even Snake anymore. Instead, you’re playing as some blade-wielding bloke in a warehouse-like setting, tasked with slicing up legions of demonic-looking foes. Welcome to Snake’s nightmare, ladies and gentlemen, otherwise known as the cancelled Konami project, Guy Savage. While it only lasts a few minutes, its inclusion here is masterful, and takes you completely by surprise – a true ‘WTF’ moment if ever there was one.
“TURN THE GAMES CONSOLE OFF!” (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty)
Once you’ve got over the trauma of controlling a butt-naked Raiden in the guts of Metal Gear Ray, the game really knocks you for six when you receive THAT call from Colonel Campbell. Although you noticed his odd behaviour before, his antics officially make the transition into the realms of ‘WTF’ territory when he asks you to turn the games console off, before proclaiming everything as ‘just a game.’ Raiden, naturally, is bemused by the comments, as is the player, who hopefully doesn’t take Campbell’s advice in shutting off their PS2. From here on out, things get even more absurd, leading Raiden to question what’s real and what isn’t.
PYSCHO MANTIS RETURNS (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
The whiff of nostalgia follows Old Snake around in MGS4 pretty much wherever he goes, from the appearance of crop circles to the full-blown trip to Shadow Moses towards the game’s climax. One that stands out however is the ‘return’ of former Fox Hound minion Psycho Mantis, earning MGS4 a genuine WTF moment. Here, the masked man appears to Snake in vision form after our hero bumps off Screaming Mantis, and proceeds to taunt Snake before demonstrating his amazing powers again. However, Mantis apparently failed to upgrade from his PSone in years gone by, and still thinks we’re employing archaic peripherals such as memory cards and wired controllers. As such, his attempts to shock Snake with his talents fall flat on their arse, prompting Mantis to wither and die (again), presumably of embarrassment.
REVOLVER OCELOT POSSESSED BY LIQUID’S…ARM? (Metal Gear Solid 2)
Liquid Snake was a tenacious bugger, as anyone who has played the original Metal Gear Solid – or indeed the Twin Snakes remake – will recall. Shot at, blown up, squashed in a jeep crash, Snake’s twin brother never knew when to give up ghost, and it was only when FoxDie stepped in that he finally snuffed it. Shocking was then, to see the villain ‘return’ in MGS2, albeit in the most bizarre method possible. With Revolver Ocelot having lost his hand to the Cyborg Ninja in MGS1, the gunslinger opted to get a replacement – in the shape of one of Liquid’s limbs. It was this transplant that facilitated Liquid’s spontaneous return, having possessed Ocelot and revealing himself to a shocked Snake during the Tanker Incident. One second Ocelot is happily chatting, the next he’s squirming in pain, and then switches to that familiar British accent. Of course, there was more to this possession than initially meets the eye (as MGS4 would elaborate on), but back in 2001, it really was a case of “WTF was that about…”
SNAKE DROP-KICKS METAL GEAR REX (Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes)
Yes, you read right. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes if anything will be remembered for its ostentatious, overblown cut-scenes, none of which quite top the moment when Snake decides to go toe-to-toe (quite literally) with Metal Gear Rex. Most of us would probably cack our pants and run for cover when faced with a hulking, nuclear-equipped walking battle tank, but not Snake. Nope, he’s so badass, that he actually runs towards the mechanical monstrosity and proceeds to deliver a swift drop-kick to its impenetrable hide. Quite what Snake was hoping to accomplish here is anyone’s guess, but needless to say this easily wins the award for one of the most ridiculous moments in the series to date.
BIG BOSS RETURNS (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
The decision to resurrect Big Boss for MGS4’s climax proved polarizing among fans to say the least. Still, let’s not get into that now; we’re all about the shock value, and you’d be hard pressed to top this. At this point, it was perceived that Big Boss was killed on that river in Europe, when Ocelot actually burned the corpse of Solidus Snake. But nope, just as Snake falls to the floor after a botched suicide attempt, Big Boss rocks up with the immortal words ‘That’s right…good. It’s not time for you to go – not yet.’ Cue dramatic music, a panning camera and the revelation that the ‘Greatest soldier to have ever lived’ is standing face-to-face with Snake once again. What follows is a lengthy cutscene where the man once known as Naked Snake lays bare the truth behind pretty much everything that has transpired in the Metal Gear lore up to that point.
PLAYING AS RAIDEN (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty)
It’s evident just how crafty the chaps at Konami were when you look back at the events leading up to MGS2’s release back in 2001. Trailers, press events and screens all depicted just one familiar setting – the tanker. Nothing else got a look in back then, and most of us had become well acquainted with Solid Snake targeting enemies in first-person and shooting up magazines and bottles to demonstrate the then-amazing technical capabilities of PS2. However, Konami had a plan – a cunning plan. Much to everyone’s shock, Snake wasn’t the main character in MGS2. Nope, despite making gamers hungry for knowledge after our grizzled hero ostensibly went down with the tanker on that fateful stormy night, we were then plonked in the shoes of a silver-haired newbie named Raiden. No explanation as to what happened to Snake, no sense of cohesion at all in the narrative, just thrown in the deep end. Sure, Raiden was good with a gun and could cartwheel about the place, but all that was on our thoughts at the time was ‘WTF is going on here? Who is this plonker? Where’s Snake?’ Kojima, you sneaky bugger.
THE FURY’S DEATH (Metal Gear Solid 3)
Snake Eater is noted for eschewing the typical long-winded boss death scenes that we all (mostly) know and love, keeping things no nonsense. No philosophical banter and regret, just a few words before the Cobras make an explosive exit – and we mean that literally. However, The Fury’s death was something of an exception. After being severely wounded by Naked Snake, the hot-headed baddie explodes only to materialize as some sort of flaming phantom head, and proceeds to chase Snake out of the battle zone before dissipating. Okay, MGS’s bosses have always proved nothing short of eccentric, but this was one moment where the series seemed to take a near-supernatural route without explanation. Vamp’s apparent immortality was at least explained in MGS4, but here, we were left utterly baffled.
What MGS moments made you go ‘WTF’? Let us know in the comments section below!