Today marks the release of the latest Metal Gear Solid game (or, to be more accurate, the slightly skimpy prologue to the latest Metal Gear Solid game) so it’s time to delve into some facts about one of the most iconic titles of the Playstation era.
Metal Gear Solid not only pushed the entire video game medium forward in a big way, but it’s a game packed full of secrets and oddities. Really, I could probably fill out three or four full articles if I ran down every Metal Gear Solid Easter egg, but for now we’ll start with these 15 tidbits about Solid Snake’s most iconic adventure…
1) Snake is an badass combination of three amazing men. Solid Snake is a mash-up of three of the raddest dudes ever to grace the silver screen. It’s fairly obvious Snake, with his gruff line delivery, mullet and eventual eye-patch was inspired by Snake Plissken, played by Kurt Russell, but apparently Russell alone wasn’t enough awesome inspiration. No, according to Kojima, Snake’s design is based on the body of Jean Claude Van-Damme and the face of Christopher Walken. Holy s–t, now I want a CGI Jean Claude Van-Damme/Christopher Walken/Kurt Russell hybrid to be edited in as the protagonist of every action movie ever.
Admit it, you now totally want to bone Snake.
2) Metal Gear Solid was originally going to be on the 3DO. Metal Gear Solid was initially being developed for the 3DO under the title Metal Gear 3. Imagine what a different gaming landscape we might have today if the Playstation’s most acclaimed title had gone to the 3DO instead.
3) The developers designed the levels out of Lego. 3D games were still a relatively new phenomenon when Metal Gear Solid was in development, so in order to get their heads around 3D game design, the game’s developers built many of the levels out of Lego beforehand.
4) Most of the game’s credited voice actors are pseudonyms. With the exception of David Hayter (the voice of Snake) most of Metal Gear Solid’s voice credits are fakes. Unlike the majority of games at the time, MGS used actual professional voice actors, but unfortunately the game didn’t have the support of the Screen Actor’s Guild, so the actors’ real names couldn’t be used. The actors’ real names would later appear in the Gamecube remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.
5) There are multiple ways to see Meryl pantsless. Okay, most people know about one way to see Meryl in her underpants — after you discover he dressed as a soldier, rush into the bathroom where she’s changing for some hot 32-bit butt cheeks. There’s another way though! At one point fairly early in the game you’ll be crawling through the ventilation shafts, and you’ll be able to look down into a cell and see Meryl exercising. Okay, fine, nice little Easter egg. Ah, but if you crawl out of the shaft, then back in and check on Meryl again, she’ll be doing a different exercise. Do this four times and she’ll be, uh, exercising without her pants on. You know, as one does.
Think that butt could use a few more polys.
6) You can also totally creep Meryl out if you want. So, was running into the bathroom like a goober when she was changing not enough for you? Well, after the proceeding cutscene, if you go into first person mode and stare Meryl directly in the face she’ll start to blush. Literally — her character model will get redder and redder. Oh, also, if you punch Meryl, she’ll hit you back, which actually depletes your life. Do this enough and Meryl can kill you, at which point she’ll cry out in remorse. Kojima has some strange issues with women is what I’m saying.
Yes…yes we do [stares for 10 more minutes].
7) The Meryl stuff was originally going to be even more troubling. Speaking of which, Meryl was originally going to be a pre-teen character inspired by Natalie Portman’s character in Leon: The Professional. So, did they change this because all the sexual stuff would have been totally gross if Meryl was 12? Nope! She was aged up because the weapon she carried, a Desert Eagle, couldn’t possibly be used by a young girl. That’s kind of Metal Gear in a nutshell, isn’t it? Weird and icky? That’s fine, but get the gun minutia right.
8) The Johnny Sasaki character is based on a real guy who worked on the game. So, starting in Metal Gear Solid (and in almost every Metal Gear game that’s come after) you meet a guy named Johnny. Johnny is usually a bit dim, prone to getting knocked out and, well, there’s really no delicate way to say this — usually has a case of the poops. Well, turns out Johnny Sasaki as he’s known in Metal Gear Solid, is based on Hideki Sasaki, one of the 3D character designers who worked on MGS. Hideki Sasaki was a bit of a slacker (and apparently s–t his pants a lot?) so the other guys working on Metal Gear Solid decided to stick it to him in the game itself, and they’ve kept doing it ever since. So yeah, don’t let Hideo Kojima catch you slacking off on the Internet during work hours, because he will never…let…it…go.
Johnny’s ass-picious introduction.
9) Speaking of Johnny, you can catch his case of the s–ts. One of the less obvious side effects of submitting to Revolver Ocelot’s torture is that you will catch Johnny’s “cold” later in the game. I put cold in quotation marks, because while Snake describes it as a cold, the virus seems to have a very different effect on Johnny. In other words, Snake is probably sneaking around with a full load in his pants for the rest of the game, but just doesn’t want to mention it around Naomi and Mei Ling. This is also probably the real reason Meryl doesn’t leave with you at the end.
10) Metal Gear Solid is packed with Kubrick references. Metal Gear Solid contains a ton of movie references, but the guy the game seems to be particularly obsessed with is Stanley Kubrick. For instance, Snake’s real name is Dave and Otacon’s is Hal, a reference to Dave and the murderous computer Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. In addition to that, Kojima has said the scene where Meryl is shot by a sniper multiple times is a reference to Full Metal Jacket and Ocelot’s line about riding a nuke all the way into history could be a reference to Doctor Strangelove.
11) There’s also a reference to the director of Independence Day. Otocon’s first name may be Hal, but his last name is Emmerich, a reference to Roland Emmerich, the director of movies such as Independence Day, 2012 and 10,000 BC. Kojima is apparently a big fan of Emmerich, which…kind of explains a lot of about Metal Gear’s cutscenes.
12) The game continues Konami’s moai obsession. Metal Gear Solid may not seem to have much in common with Konami’s classic 8 and 16-bit output, but it does continue those games’ weird obsession with giant stone Easter Island heads.
13) There’s an alternate way to beat Psycho Mantis. As anyone who’s played Metal Gear Solid knows, the only way to beat Psycho Mantis is to get up, unplug your controller and put it in the second controller port. Or is it? If you die even after Campbell tells you about switching the controller ports, then contact him again, he’ll ask if your second controller port isn’t working, then direct you to destroy the faces of two statues as an alternative method of breaking Mantis’ mind control.
14) You’d better not play the game on a mono TV. The kind of fourth wall breaking mentioned in the above fact is pretty common in Metal Gear Solid, the most over the top instance being late in the game when fighting Liquid Snake and the Hind D. Campbell tells you to pinpoint the direction the helicopter is coming from by listening to the sound of the rotor blades, but if you set the game to mono Campbell, Naomi and Mei Ling spend a good minute making you feel like an asshole for owning a mono TV.
15) The game is haunted. Hidden somewhere in Metal Gear Solid is a camera. If you find it and beat the game, you can start the game again with the camera and go on a ghost hunt that feels like it would be more at home in Konami’s Silent Hill series. The faces of most of the game’s creators are hidden throughout the game, but capturing images of all 42 ghosts will cost you — it takes a whopping six Playstation memory cards to store all the images.
Kojima will never stop haunting this series.
So there you have it, hopefully a few of those facts made an exclamation point appear over your heads. What about you folks? What are some of your favorite odd or memorable Metal Gear Solid moments?
Thanks as always to Joel Stice for lending me the Fascinating Facts format!