Hideo Kojima’s incredible Metal Gear Solid series is known for a lot of things: tense and exciting gameplay. Ornate, sometimes overly elaborate, plot twists and turns. The mixing together of absurdism, conspiracy drama, camp, anime tropes, and political commentary. Cinematic cutscenes and meta-narrative weirdness. All of these things are elements of what make the MGS games so iconic –but what I like most about the MGS games aren’t any of these admittedly awesome characteristics (though they’re all a part of it, obviously). No, for me, it’s what I’ll call the ‘WTF’ factor of the Metal Gear games.
The ‘WTF Factor’ refers to the various scenes and moments fans have seen over the years in these games that, simply put, provoke the response of ‘WTF?!’ from anyone who sees them. Just in case people don’t know what I’m talking about, as well as to commemorate the legacy of Kojima’s run as director of the historic Metal Gear Solid franchise – which will conclude with MGSV: The Phantom Pain, out this September – let’s look back at the top 20 most outrageous, mind-meltingly ‘WTF?’ moments of the entire series.
20. The Outtakes Cutscenes (Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistance)/ The Demo Theater Mode (Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance)
We’ll start with two really ‘WTF’ features of two different Metal Gear games that I actually wish became a mainstay of the MGS series. In the original expansion for MGS2, Substance, you could actually rewatch any cutscene in the game with all of the character models changed out. Want to see Rose play the part of Vamp, or some random NPC play the role of Snake? Let your own imagination/insanity be your guide.
A similar but even better feature was included in the original expansion for Snake Eater, where you could watch dozens of ‘outtakes’ from the game. These were actually just scenes from the actual game rewritten to be much funnier/ seem like outtakes from an actual movie. My favorites include one where Ocelot straight up murders Snake, or when the gun Eva gives Snake turns out to be a fancy lighter.
19. The ‘Revenge of Genolla’ Mission (Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions, 1999)
The game VR Missions was great for a number of reasons: among them, the inclusion of ‘Variety’ mode. That was where the game’s biggest oddball missions were featured, including this hilarious one “The Revenge of Genolla”.
18. The ‘Date with Paz’ Side-Op (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, 2010)
“I love the Beach” is not something I ever though I’d hear Big Boss say. Then again, I also never thought I’d see him chase around a barely of age girl in a bathing suit with a tazer, either.
17. Meryl Gets Possessed/ Psycho Mantis Boss Battle (Metal Gear Solid, 1998)
This happens in MGS1, right after you meet up with Meryl. She starts acting strangely as you approach the boss fight with FOXHOUND operative Psycho Mantis. This happens just before the boss-fight begins, and the entire segment is worth mentioning for all sorts of different kinds of weirdness.
16. Watching TV (MGS4)
MGS4 was arguably the weakest and weirdest of the MGS series – I could have done this entire list of just moments from that game, but I wanted to cover the entire series instead. So for the first big ‘WTF?” moment of MGS4, let’s think back to how the game begins: you’re an unknown character watching strange TV shows and commercials for the first ten minutes or so. It was an interesting way of trying to immerse players in the near-future world of the game, and I would have liked more of this ‘show don’t tell’ approach throughout the entire story. But what’s still confusing to me is why these early glimpses of the game world are so awkward. Like, Tim and Eric level awkward. Even stranger, one of the shows you can watch is a weird interview where both people look and act like they’re messed up on drugs or something. The person being interviewed is fan-favorite David Hayter, voice actor for Solid Snake. It’s nice to see him make a cameo in the game. The only question is: why is any of this happening at all?
15. Snake’s Nightmare (Metal Gear Solid 3, 2004)
If you turn your console off and come back a few hours later when Snake has just been captured in MGS3, when you load the game you’re confronted with this strange minigame. You find out it’s Snake having a terrible nightmare while being confined inside the Groznyj Grad prison.
14.The Who-Done-It Mystery VR Mission (VR: Missions, 1999)
Here’s another really weird one from VR Missions. Snake has to figure out what happened to the guard in the office. Without spoiling it, the ending is really what seals the deal.
13. “Get out of my mind, Liquid!” (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2001)
Oh, don’t think I would or even could forget the myriad of strange moments in MGS2. Here’s one of the first really ‘WTF?’ scenes in the game, at least for your first playthrough. I think a lot of MGS fans had the same reaction when, during the middle of the Tanker mission, Kojima drops some supernatural/ mind transferrence ‘Twilight Zone’ crap out of nowhere into a storyline involving the two most important characters from the last game.
(embedded to start at 21:43)
12. The “Date With Kaz” Side-Op (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, 2010)
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing ‘WTF?’ about being gay. But what is this scene’s purpose? Why is it here? Is it supposed to be funny, or just strange? Because it’s both. I can’t tell what the tone is supposed to be, why Miller is gay all of the sudden, and why this moment is never brought up again in Ground Zeroes.
11. Snake jumps into the ocean to chase after a Metal Gear (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2001)
Ok, now we’re getting into some prime ‘WTF’ territory. Can anybody explain what Snake’s plan was once he hit the water? Or how he survives? Anyone?
(embedded to start at 4:38:50)
10. Trenya the Talking Cat (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, 2010)
The title pretty much says it all. Snake actually has a conversation with a talking cat. To be fair, Trenya is a character from the Monster Hunter series who’s just making a cameo. But for people who didn’t realize that, this was one of the strangest side-ops in a game already chock-full of weirdness.
9. Volgin gets fresh with Snake (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, 2004)
That’s one hell of a way of shaking someone’s hand…
(starts at 0:56)
8. Colonel Goes Insane (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Libery, 2001)
Sons of Liberty was an ahead-of-its-time game that was completely misunderstood. That being said, I can’t exactly blame people for being freakin’ confused – especially when, near the end of the game, Colonel Campbell starts acting insane and saying really surreal, strange, trippy things:
7. The Ending of MGS4 (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, 2008)
When people ask me why I disliked MGS4 so much, oftentimes I’ll just direct them to the agonizingly long and convoluted hour and a half long ending. This game seriously needed an editor, as well as another writer to rewrite some of this dialogue. Ostensibly ‘big’ events like Meryl’s wedding, Snake’s final confrontation with Big Boss, Drebin explaining the entire game, and Raiden being given a new body, are all handled poorly. A lot of these ‘WTF’ moments are intentionally hilarious or strange, but whether or not Kojima realized how crazy this ending was remains to be seen.
(watch at your own risk)
6. Hardcore surgery/ The bomb in Paz’s…uh…well…(Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, 2014)
Maybe just to remind us how ‘WTF’ moments are still a big part of Kojima’s style, he gave us this amazingly insane scene from the closing moments of MGS5 prequel/ 30$ demo Ground Zeroes. After being shown graphic depictions of surgery on Paz’s stomach without the use of anesthesia, we then find out there’s another bomb somewhere…ahem..else in her body. Then, Paz promptly jumps out of the plane where her intimately placed bomb detonates and blows her to bits. You can also find a cassette tape that plays the sound of Skullface putting the bomb into her body. Yeah, it’s super gross.
(WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)
(scene starts at 16:42. Paz jumps at around 23:48)
5. Ocelot Unit’s Secret Signal (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, 2004)
This one is (hopefully) intentionally hilarious. It’s little camp moments like this that make MGS3 one of my favorite games of all time.
4. The relationship between Otacon and his step-sister, EE (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2001)
Otacon and his step-sister EE (Emma Emmerich) have a very strange relationship. Not only did Otacon sleep with EE’s mom, which apparently led Hal’s father to kill himself; EE was also in love with Otacon, which she somewhat admits just dying literally in his arms. This was one of the saddest moments in the entire MGS franchise, which just made its weirdness even weirder.
3. Raiden Stops an Aircraft Carrier-sized Ship with his body…and survives (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, 2008)
Like seriously. WTF. That is the only appropriate response to this cutscene.
2. The Ending of MGS2 (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 2001)
Like I said, I’m actually a fan of MGS2. I’d go so far as to say it’s an underrated game. Many intelligent people online have spent hours dissecting its ending, and explaining what on the surface appears to be absolute gibberish. Yet I’m still posting this as a ‘WTF’ moment, and very high on the list, because everything that happens here appears to be absolute gibberish.
1. The entire plot of MGS4 (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, 2008).
In a word, ‘nanomachines’.
Did I leave any WTF moments out? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.