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Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the seventh main series game of the Metal Gear storyline, launched on the PlayStation 3 in mid 2008.

Nine years have passed since the Shadow Moses Incident. After Big Shell was destroyed, the world descended into near-anarchy: With the entire world's economy dependant on constant, ongoing warfare, the world's war zones are controlled by Private Military Companies, or PMCs for short, fighting proxy wars for the highest bidder. Connected to the 'Sons of the Patriots' network, which allows soldiers to share each others' senses, the PMCs are the pinnacle of military training and efficiency. A world of perpetual war where soldiers will always be needed and have a place, Big Boss' dream... or is it?

Moreover, the PMCs, the FROGS (an elite all-female unit separate from the PMCs), and the Beauty & the Beast Corps (four traumatized women "coping" through the use of cybernetic suits inside custom war machines) are at the beck and call of none other than Revolver Ocelot, who seems to have become possessed by the ghost of Solid Snake's doppelganger, Liquid Snake, and is now plotting to unleash his insurrection and Take Over the World. Solid Snake, whose body is now aging rapidly for unknown reasons, is brought out of self-imposed retirement for one last mission. Snake considers it a 'hired hit.' Otacon considers it their duty. Together, they have one final chance to kill "Liquid Ocelot".

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots features a new camera and aiming system along with a high-tech camouflage suit for Snake and the ability to pick up enemies' weapons. Unusually for a Metal Gear game, Metal Gear Solid 4 doesn't introduce a "conventional" Metal Gear at any point; the Gekkos are explicitly not called Metal Gears, and there's no nuclear threat against the United States for Snake to avert,The nuclear threat is against the Patriots. Much like Metal Gear Solid 2, the Metal Gear is an Arsenal Gear variant called Outer Haven. Like the genetics of Metal Gear Solid and memetics of Metal Gear Solid 2, a major theme of Metal Gear Solid 4 is the unique sense a given human being has about the world around them and how it's lost forever when they die, such as with the Boss and her ideas being grossly misinterpreted by several different groups without her around to set them right.

Showcasing the return or cameo of virtually every major figure of the Metal Gear Solid storyline, Metal Gear Solid 4 tries its best to tie up every loose end from the entire franchise, including the unpopular and confusing ending of Metal Gear Solid 2. How well it succeeds is a matter of debate. All, however, agree on one thing: Metal Gear Solid 4 absolutely ended the saga.


This game uses the following tropes: Edit

  • Absolute Cleavage: Big Mama needs to learn how to button her shirt. Naomi also has an unbuttoned blouse and is clearly not wearing a bra. Believe it or not, the lack of a bra turns out to be important, as when you're trying to track Naomi down when she's being carted off by a bunch of soldiers, you find a discarded bra left behind as one of the soldiers' many fake-outs.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Raiden's heat-sword can carve through war machines and soldiers like they're made of paper.
  • Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Meryl's method of disciplining Johnny is from the "grounds for court martial" school of military discipline; the scene would be off in Moral Event Horizon territory if the genders were reversed. Johnny's status as Butt Monkey is also a contributing factor for why it's "okay" for her to smack him.
  • Actor Allusion: Drebin has too much in common with Smuggler for it to be a coincidence, same voice actor, same appearance and wardrobe, same job description.
  • Age Cut: In the form of a flashback while Big Boss salutes The Boss's grave.
    • Also done in Act 3, fading from a painting of EVA to Big Mama.
  • A God Am I: Liquid Ocelot - the whole point of the Guns of the Patriots.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: The reason why the Patriots are gunning for world domination.
  • AKA-47: Averted; all the guns use their real names, though they tend to avoid using the manufacturer's name: the Springfield Operator is just the "Operator," for example.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Stun Knife, believe it or not, is based a real weapon, The Shocknife. Though, there are some differences (The shocknife is a training weapon with no sharpness to the blade), the basic concept of a knife with an electric shock capability seems less ridiculous.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Frogs, although they're not designed as eye candy as, for once, an all-female group wears decent body-armor. Their stormtrooper helmets are sufficiently intimidating enough that at a distance you wouldn't even notice they're female, if they didn't have high-pitched voices and breasts. There's also the B&Bs, four female soldiers with powerful Powered Armor themed after animals. It's never made entirely clear why they're all women. Wild Mass Guessing ranges from pragmatic explanations (such as merely Author Appeal; Kojima is shameless) to technical justifications, such as women having, on average, lighter frames and lower centers of gravity than men, two things that would come in handy for all the acrobatics they do.
  • Ambiguous Robots: The Geckos appear to be giant organic legs with an AT-ST head on top. They bellow like cattle when entering combat and spew black fluid when "killed".
  • And I Must Scream: Remember how Liquid Snake wanted the corpse of Big Boss as part of his demands at Shadow Moses? It turns out that after your last fight, Zero and the Patriots grabbed Big Boss, chopped off his limbs, stuffed him in a life support machine, and pumped him full of nanomachines to cut his brain off from his body. They left his higher brain functions fully operational.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you get lost within the collapsed building in Act One (which is quite easy to do if you don't know to look for footprints), Otacon will eventually call you up and walk you through how to get out of it, step by step. The Dev Team Thinks of Everything yet again.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: MGS4's answer to virtually every question raised in the series? Nanomachines (or occasionally "AI".)
  • Arms Dealer: The Drebin Network, who are you one stop shop for ammunition, unlocking weapons and porno mags. And its all 100% Patriot free. Not.
  • Artifact Title: The game is more about resolving the ongoing plot than stopping a specific Metal Gear this time around. There is a nuclear launch you're trying to prevent, however, and one specific Metal Gear does turn out to be very important.
    • The closest thing to stopping a specific Metal Gear in the plot is in Act 5 when it turns out that Ocelot plans to overthrow JD and place GW in its place using Outer Haven, which is an Arsenal Gear unit that Ocelot somehow stole between the events of MGS2 and MGS4. It should be noted that Outer Haven is NOT the same Arsenal Gear as the one that crashed into Manhattan.
  • Ate His Gun: Snake does it if you wait long enough at the title screen. Why he would do it takes the whole game to explain.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: A subversion. Ocelot, being Ocelot succeeds in all of his plans. However, it ended up freeing the world from the tyranny of the Patriots. That being said, he is still a diehard believer in Big Boss' equally flawed, "Outer Heaven" philosophy so YMMV.
  • Bad Future: The entire game is, in essence, the Bad Future of the Metal Gear saga. The world's entire economy is based on endless warfare, evil Mega Corps command armies bigger than most countries' militaries, and the world's population is controlled by nanomachines. It Gets Better.
  • Badass: It's an MGS game. What did you expect?
    • Back-to-Back Badasses: Johnny and Meryl get one of these during their Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • Badass Grandpa: Snake, although technically he's really not that old he is physically, so it still applies. And, technically Ocelot as well, even if he's the villain.
    • Badass Mustache: Both Liquid Ocelot and Old Snake. Interesting in that it makes them (along with Snake's premature aging) look more like brothers than they would otherwise (since Liquid now lives in Ocelot's body). This is in part because both Old Snake and Revolver Ocelot were modeled off of Lee Van Cleef, best known from the Dollars Trilogy.
    • Badass Normal: Oddly enough, Johnny qualifies for this trope. He's patently useless in the majority of appearances, but his actions at the end of the game cement his status (considering he was just a normal completely unmodified human soldier).
    • Took a Level In Badass: Whether or not you liked Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2 it cannot be denied that took several levels of Badass between his initial appearance and his arrival in MGS4.
      • Also, Johnny, by the fifth act. Hell, if you think about it, he was kind of a badass all along, since apparently he's the only person in the entire MGS universe not pumped full of magic combat/brain/psychic power/cooking boosting nanomachines. The fact that he's still alive at all, much less made it through several MGS games losing only his dignity, means that he's basically the most naturally competent human being alive..
        • "How the hell did you survive ten years?"
  • Battle Couple: Johnny and Meryl.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Snake in the Briefing to Act 4, having had half his face toasted off.
  • BFG: There's a whole stack of light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles and rocket launchers for Snake to play around with, as well as a motorbike-sized railgun just like the one Fortune used.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the beginning cutscene of Act 3, the player can see multiple posters written in Czech. The translation of the posters state "This area is monitored by industrial camera."
  • Bittersweet Ending: Yes, the Patriots' computer system has been disabled by a large part, cutting down the war economy that has tortured Earth for years. Also, Meryl and Johnny are happily married, and Raiden reconciled and reunited with his family, having learned that Rose's marriage to Roy Campbell is but a hoax and that Raiden's miscarried child is alive and well. However, Otacon lost Naomi, who essentially killed herself out of atonement, and Snake, whose father has come back from the dead, told Snake he respects him, and died, is going to die of rapid aging within six months.
  • Bishonen Line: With a twist, the person going through the line is Ocelot during the final battle on Outer Haven, and the changes are mental rather than physical due to Ocelot shifting personas.
  • Blade Run: Vamp does this to Raiden in their fight in South America at the end of Act II.
  • Book Ends: Saluting the Boss at her grave.
  • Boring but Practical: In tried and true MGS fashion, the Mk. 2 tranquilizer pistol you start the game with is going to be your best friend if you're going for a Pacifist Run - or, in other words, if you want the massive score bonuses at the end of each chapter for never killing any soldiers and never being spotted.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The FROGs appear to have these at the end of Act 3, probably because the "Guns of the Patriots" sequence would be a lot less dramatic if they had to keep stopping to reload.
    • If pay close attention, you will notice the FROGS never all shoot simultaneously which implies when one FROG reloads another immediately takes over. Also the FROGS are also using P90 submachine guns, which have 50 bullets per magazine which combined gives off this effect.
  • By the Power of Greyskull: The Solar Gun. "Sunlight!!"
  • Cacophony Cover-Up: In the first two Acts, it is much easier to sneak past guards because they are too focused fighting the rebels to notice you. Your camo index even artificially rises when there is a lot of commotion around you. This can also work to your disadvantage as wind and explosions can disrupt your Solid Eye information, making it hard to determine enemy positions. This even works against human players in Metal Gear Online.
  • Catapult to Glory: Rat Patrol's answer as to how to penetrate Ocelot's base.
  • Chainmail Bikini: While the FROGs do have fairly consistent body armor, they still seem to have straps under their breasts that emphasize them. Just a little.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Surprisingly, not Ocelot. Unsurprisingly, Naomi. She apparently betrays the good guys and the bad guys multiple times, confusing everyone involved. She must not have gotten all those betrayals out of her system from Metal Gear Solid 1.
  • Cloning Blues: For once, there's no real identity dilemma going on with this trope; now that he's old, we see that Solid Snake is clearly a different man than his father and both he and Liquid realize this. "We're not total copies of our father after all!" Which is not to say that there aren't a lot of other sucky things about being a clone that were forced upon him.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: A mild exmaple, in Snake's octocamo suit. It electrically stimulates his muscles, to keep him at top performance. While it does not enhance him much beyond what he could always do, it does keep him in the game despite his failing body. In Otacon's words, "It's kind of a crutch."
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: Ocelot greatly resembles the late actor Lee Van Cleef. Van Cleef was in two of Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy of which Hideo is a huge fan.
    • Ocelot was originally designed to look like Van Cleef, they just changed his design to make him look unambiguously like Van Cleef. Likewise Snake was (arguably) designed to look like Clint Eastwood from the second installment until this one, where he was also supposedly designed after Van Cleef (hence the Badass Mustache).
  • Continuity Lock Out
  • Continuity Nod: The entire fourth act, including a playable flashback of an area from the first MGS game [with PS 1 graphics, no less] and too many callbacks to mention.
    • The final battle deserves a mention, as the entire battle consists of a battle atop a wrecked Metal Gear of sorts -- Outer Haven being a nuke delivery platform, if not quite wrecked -- complete with flashback segments, background music and health meters that change as the fight changes which game it's referencing, and Liquid Ocelot's final line as a callback to Metal Gear Solid 3.
      • "You're pretty good", which itself is a callback to Ocelot's immediate line to Solid Snake after their first boss battle in Metal Gear Solid.
  • Continuity Porn: The sheer number of continuity nods and shout-outs to past entries, both subtle and blatant, is absolutely ludicrous, reaching all the way back to the MSX games. For example, Liquid's crashed helicopter from the tower fight can be found in a corner.
    • The game doesn't point it out explicitly, but you can notice that Meryl and her Rat Patrol are wearing mass-production versions of Snake's old Sneaking Suit underneath their combat webbing. They have the iconic three dots on the shoulder, with the words "Sneaking Suit" printed underneath.
  • Cool Boat: Ocelot's base is pretty much a boat version of a Base on Wheels, being a new version of Arsenal Gear (a floating fortress so huge it had its own series of giant robots to protect it).
  • Cool Guns: Lots. Perhaps most notably, the use of the XM8 assault rifle and its variants as a weapon of the Rat Patrol and the U.S. military, despite the fact that it'd been canceled prior to the game's development. Pure Rule of Cool in effect.
  • Cool Plane: The Nomad, Snake and Otacon's mobile home/base. The game also has a big thing for coaxial rotor helicopters; usually based on modern ones.
  • Cool Tank: Well, more Cooldozer: Israeli Cat D9R dozers appear several times during the storyline, usually doing something awesome.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Metal Gear REX vs. Metal Gear RAY.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Johnny gives CPR to Meryl's bulletproof vest. The first thing she does is spit up water, but then it goes straight to Clean Pretty Romantic and they kiss.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Liquid runs four of the biggest Private Military Corporations in the world; his armies outnumber the standing forces of most countries and he's making money hand over fist. Apparently this just isn't enough for him, so he tries to take over the system entirely and rule the world.
    • Of course, all of that power and money was never his motive, just a means to his ultimate goal.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: The FROGs suddenly become far stupider and easier to kill in cutscenes, particularly during the last chapter.
    • Also, Snake is sent to kill Liquid, and despite having unavoidably collected an assault rifle and almost certainly owning a sniper rifle, insists on doing it with his sidearm and taking so long about it that Liquid can put his plan into action and incapacitate him. Roughly the same inventory-related Gameplay and Story Segregation happens again later on the Volta, with Snake not thinking to hand his sizeable arsenal of non-ID weapons out to Meryl's team after their own weapons fail, although it could be handwaved as his other weapons not being on the boat (since the M4 and Operator were discarded earlier).
    • Gekko suffer routinely from a combination of this and Mook Chivalry: during gameplay, they're extremely deadly, but in cutscenes they're stunningly dumb and often forget they're armed. The one that chases Snake near the start of the first mission repeatedly has an M2 heavy machine gun pointed directly at him but never fires, while Raiden-versus-Gekko has them attack him one at a time for most of the sequence, and they pause after each attack so he can murder them to death more easily.
  • Darker and Edgier: This is one of the grimmest and most somber of all the Metal Gear Solid games. It occasionally has its iconic, no-fourth-wall humor, but that doesn't change the fact that the protagonist is genuinely and irreversibly dying. The usual comic relief from Snake's support team is all but absent, too.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: The chickens on the Nomad, who do little besides hang out in their cages and lay eggs for Sunny to cook, are named Solid, Liquid and Solidus. Possibly subverted; it's conceivable, maybe even likely, that Sunny named them after the states of matter, not after three of the most deadly men to ever walk the Earth.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: During Raiden and Vamp's fight in South America, Vamp grabs Raiden in a chokehold, which prompts Raiden to quickly drive his sword through both his own and Vamp's body. Then Vamp twists the blade.
  • Description Porn: Drebin spends nearly five minutes going over the statistics of the M4 Custom Carbine.

 Snake: Is the hider CQC-compatible?

Unskippable You mean, can you punch people while holding it? Yes!

  • Defictionalization: Sony released a bluetooth headset styled after Snake's Solid Eye around the game's release, which was even compatible with the game itself and could be used to listen to Codec calls.
  • Degraded Boss: Vamp can still put the hurt on, but he's not nearly as fancy as he was in Metal Gear Solid 2. He doesn't dodge bullets as much or pull any tricks like stabbing your shadow this time. His nearly-limitless regenerative abilities and the loss of his "Queen" have apparently caused him to become a bit of a Death Seeker; he's constantly daring you to kill him off for good, so maybe he's not even really trying.
  • Demonic Spiders: Deliberately invoked in the Gekko, which are semi-sentient walking tanks with extremely flexible organic legs. They do have a couple of exploitable weaknesses (you can tranquilize their organic legs, and a specific weak point on top of the head is vulnerable to any form of gunfire) but if you're not careful, they can kill you with one sweep of their legs. They're also surprisingly agile for creatures so huge, and if they can't chase you, they'll throw grenades at you with their little manipulator arms.
  • Did Not Do the Research: During the finale, Mei Ling and the other Missouri bridge crew are standing right at the windows. Um, that thing behind you is the armoured bridge, Captain, you might want to consider using that.
    • In point of fact, the captain would only give the first order to open fire, and the rest would be under the control of the gun directors.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The FROG/Haven Troopers are the female versions of the Arsenal Tengu from the second game, with the same basic look, nearly the same loadout, and the same role.
  • Doing in the Wizard: A lot of this game debunks previous seemingly-mystical things as merely the products of high technology, including some of Vamp's powers. Psychic powers, at least, do seem to exist in the MGS universe, but as noted below, technology is advancing to the point where the difference between magic and science is starting to get blurry.
  • Dragon Ascendant: After serving as The Dragon under three consecutive Big Bads (and managing to outlive them all), Ocelot finally takes his place as the Big Bad.
  • Driven to Suicide: At the end of the game, Snake puts his gun in his mouth and the camera moves away, then we hear a gunshot. Its subverted though, he did not actually kill himself.
    • It is heavily implied that this was Vamp's main goal now. However, he really can't do it himself because of his rapid healing, requiring someone to find a way to kill him (likely in battle).
    • Also, Naomi.
  • Dying as Yourself: Ocelot's personality returns to normal right before kicking the bucket, as his last words make this very clear.

  "I'm Liquid's doppelganger... Y-You're just like your father. You're... Pretty Good."

    • The B&B Brigade seem to come to their senses a bit when you defeat their beast forms.
  • Dying for Symbolism: Solid Snake's advanced aging and terminal illness (ending the game knowing he will die in a few months), is used to hammer home the creator's message that the series is a Franchise Zombie.
  • Easter Egg: Tons of 'em; much more than would be productive to list here (though GameFAQs is sure to help you in that department).
  • Elite Mooks: The FROG units under Liquid. They're able to leap about 20 feet in the air and cling to walls (likely why they're called FROGs) and they can hear the noise produced by the Solid Eye in Night Vision mode. They've also got strangling wires they can use to turn around any attempt at CQC you try on them (unless you catch them by surprise). No in-game explanation is given why they're all female, or why the nanomachines inside their bodies immolate them when they die. According to stuff not in game, it's to stop the enemy from capturing their equipment (besides weapons, which normally would be protected with a nanomachine lock. Snake can by pass that.)
  • Enemy Civil War: The first two major areas of the game feature a unique twist for Metal Gear; you're sneaking through a battlefield as two sides shoot at each other. It's possible to get on the good side of the local militia, so they won't go into Alert Mode when they see you, but it still requires you to be careful.
    • And the original Patriots fighting among themselves is the real reason behind the events of the entire series.
  • Enemy Detecting Radar: Tweaked heavily from previous incarnations. When Snake crouches and holds still, a "threat ring" (first used in the MGS game, Portable Ops) appears around him, a sort of wave with spikes depicting nearby enemies. The default mode of his Solid Eye item also detects sounds and other disturbances and puts them on a minimap, but if there's too much wind, gunfire, or interference in the area, its usefulness decreases.
    • Enemy Scan: The Solid Eye also does this. It's a little hard to see unless you're zoomed-in, but you see the emotional state, affiliation, gun type, health and psyche meter of any soldier you look at. It also counts as a justification for some of the acceptable breaks from reality like seeing the names of items floating over them.
      • You can also use the Scanning Plug if you capture a soldier in a CQC hold. It will make every soldier linked to him through SOP flash momentarily, allowing you to see every enemy soldier in the area.
    • Everything Sensor: Scope, IR / NV, threat detector, sound detector, scent detector, object identifier, footprint scanner, emotion sensor...It probably even has one of those things for getting stones out of horses' hooves on it somewhere.
  • Everybody Was CQC Fighting: Between the events of Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4, Big Boss' files were declassified by the Pentagon, and his CQC techniques became widespread enough that practically every soldier in battle at least knows about it. Snake himself learned CQC directly from Big Boss, but refused to use it in the previous games due to his disrespect for him, although in this game he decides to play along with everyone else, while also being grossly dissatisfied with the enemy soldiers' "cookie-cutter imitation" of CQC.
  • Everyone Owns a Mac: Thanks to a Product Placement deal with Apple, almost any computer seen in the game is a Mac: There are two PowerMacs on the Nomad alone (one for Otacon and one for Sunny), Otacon is seen using a MacBook in a few cutscenes, and Snake brings a 30-gigabyte iPod with him onto the mission.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Literally; Kojima thought Drebin was too bland on his own, so he gave him a pet monkey.
  • Evil Brit: After all the intricate power games and misdirections throughout the series, the ultimate Big Bad of the Metal Gear universe (beyond the pettiness of human government), the one responsible for the conspiracy that holds the world in its grasp, is Zero. A British man who took control of the American government. Somehow.
  • Exploding Barrels: Large drums of explodium are present in numerous areas including on the streets of a European city, and despite one character mentioning that oil and biofuel are now as valuable as diamonds.
    • The setting as it's been explored up to this point gives this a justification; it's not that oil and fuel have hit Hubbert's Peak, but that the world devolving into constant conflict in the name of the war economy has simply made it hard to get, along with anything else we take for granted. After all, there hardly seems to be an energy crisis, what with all the stuff requiring fuel working fine, and the PMCs holding down martial law in Prague the Eastern European town would surely need to cart some fuel around for themselves to keep their APCs running.
      • Not to mention the existence of OILIX, which has yet to be retconned or anything aside from possibly Big Mama's comment about how fuel and other commodities have become as rare as diamonds shortly after the chase/crash in Act 3.
  • Expy: "Metal Gear Mk. II," the little robot that Otacon remotely controls to follow Snake around, is imported directly from an older Kojima game, Snatcher. Snatcher's Mk. II was based on the original Metal Gear, so it's a double Expy.
  • Face Heel Revolving Door: For a large portion of the game, it's unclear if Naomi even has a side.
  • Face With An Internet Connection: Averted for the most part with Metal Gear Solid 4's codec: literally half of the storyline-based codec calls (IE, Drebin, Raiden, Meryl/Rat Pt. 1) don't actually show the face of the caller. Only Rosemary, Campbell, and Otacon's faces were actually shown in codec calls, and at least in Otacon's case, it is implied that communications with them were actually utilized via Metal Gear Mk. II/Mk. III.
  • Fan Nickname: "Movie Gear Solid", for its high Story to Gameplay Ratio.
  • Final First Hug: Big Boss hugs Snake like a father before his death.
  • Five-Bad Band: The B&B Corp (aka Snakehound)
  • Five-Man Band: Rat Patrol 01
  • Flirting Under Fire: Johnny admits his crush to Meryl while they're both in the middle of battle, and he even asks her to marry him. Meryl of course comments on his impeccable sense of timing and refuses...and then asks him to marry her instead.
  • Fluorescent Footprints
  • Flynning: In the second fight between Vamp and Raiden, sparks fly as they clash their knives together. Knife fights do not work like that.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • It's very easy to miss, but when "Big Boss"'s body is destroyed by Ocelot in Europe, it zooms in on his eye for a second... his right eye. Big Boss's right eye was shot off, which is why he has the eyepatch there. It makes sense later, though, because it's really Solidus' body.
    • The flowers on the Boss' grave.
    • Meryl's line about Johnny not being a "team player" after it is explained that the nanomachines help the team function as one is foreshadowing to the fact that he doesn't have nanomachines in him.
    • Sunny tells Naomi that her Sunny Side Up eggs are a form a fortune telling (the better the eggs, the better the mission outcome). Throughout the game, it's made clear that she's not very good at cooking eggs. During the montage of everyone battling/struggling during the microwave hallway scene she celebrates because they came out well.
  • Framing Device: As suggested by the post-credits voiceover, which in the Metal Gear Solid series is reserved for information that forces mindblowing recontextualization of the games' plots:

 Otacon: You said it yourself, Snake. There's nothing inside you can pass on to the next generation. No genes, no memes... You're man-made... You're a beast.

Snake: I know... A blue rose. There won't be any happy "Beauty and the Beast" ending for me. What little time I have left will be spent living... As a beast. A shadow of the inside... Of the old age.

Otacon: Exactly. That's why you need me. As a witness.

Snake: A witness?

Otacon: Yeah. Someone on the outside to bear witness to your final days. Someone to pass on your story... Not that I'm the only witness. But I'll remember everything you were... And stick with you to the end.

  • For the Evulz: Liquid Ocelot takes a turn towards this in the second half of the game, what with the finger machine gun charades and making "nah nah nah boo boo" gestures at Snake while running away.
  • Gainaxing: In Metal Gear Online, female characters' breasts jiggle with every movement as if they were made of jello.
  • Gambit Roulette: Ocelot's plan, and possibly Big Boss's as well.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Snake's inventory can be up to 70 weapons, but he'll usually stick to the M4 Custom with no mods or the Operator with no silencer in cutscenes, with other weapons rarely acknowledged. Mods do occasionally show up, however. Also, Snake's worsening health in the cutscenes has far less significance once you get to the actual game, except when your Psyche gets too low.
  • Gangsta Style: Justified - the model of gun it's used with is for a tactical purpose!
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: "Bang! Bang!" This one disables entire ARMIES!
  • Going Through the Motions: While the cutscenes themselves are lovingly and intricately motion-captured, the codec animations use a set of pre-determined gestures repeated again and again. It's particularly amusing whenever Otacon pokes the bridge of his nose even when he's not wearing glasses, purely out of habit.
  • Grand Finale: The entire game is this for the Metal Gear saga. Practically every major plot thread is tied up, and every surviving character from the previous games has some role in it. For the game itself, the assault on Outer Haven is the Grand Finale.
  • Groin Attack: You can knock out a male enemy by crushing their balls. Performing it on a FROG trooper, however, turns it into a grope and a very angry FROG trooper.
    • Strangely enough, the Gekkos are apparently vulnerable to groin attacks, as there is a plate right between their legs that states that they shouldn't attack this part.
  • Gun Accessories: A fair percentage of the guns can equip custom parts like flashlights and scopes, using a mounting point-based system with up to five possible accessories on a given gun (barrel, handguard left / right, underbarrel, scope). There's also a fair few weapons with non-detachable scopes. The sheer number of attachments you can stick onto the M4 Custom makes it basically the single best weapon for most players.
  • Gun Porn: If a weapon has appeared in a previous Metal Gear game, but has previously been unavailable to the player, you can damn well bet that it's available in this game.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: The Javelin. The real missile is a self-guided fire-and-forget system while in game it's command guided for its entire course, and when reloading you're supposed to detach the CLU and attach it to the next tube, not throw the entire launcher away.
  • Heal Thyself: Resting in hidden areas in MGS4 restores health. Also, there are at least two iPod songs that specifically increase Old Snake's recovery rate. Those songs are essential for getting One Hundred Percent Completion, as using healing items otherwise lowers one's final score.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Lee Meriwhether, voice of Big Mama once played Catwoman in The Movie of Batman.
    • And The Fury is Big Boss.
    • Drebin apparently pulls double duty selling weapons in New York under the nickname Smuggler.
  • Honest John: Drebin 893 is a deconstruction of the trope. His deals in regards to laundered weapons are actually very beneficial and not rip-offs, and it is hinted that he's the reason Snake is able to use certain weapons (IE: The Milkor MGL-140), and the one line he will not cross is betraying his customers. However, he does have some tendencies of the trope: Namely secretly injecting Snake with transmitters to spy on him, and a FOXDIE base under Patriot orders.
  • How Much More Can They Take: The final battle between Snake and Ocelot.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Unabashedly. You can carry seventy weapons, but only five at a time in the quick-access menu. Taken to the point of intentional parody with the oil drum, which is larger than Snake himself. Supposedly you access this equipment through your Robot Buddy and keep equipped items in your invisible backpack but given the Metal Gears buddies are about half a foot tall and one of the guns is the size of a motorcyle, this really makes no sense whatsoever. There is, however, a downside to carrying too much heavy stuff in your "active" inventory at one time; you get tired quicker and your running speed slows.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Snake fits this, as he cannot die until he completes his mission, in spite it being quite clear he has very little left to live for, is aging so rapidly that he'll die within the year, and will become a literal Person of Mass Destruction within a few months. Of course, the latter turns out to be false.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: As per series tradition, averted with flying colors. Practically everyone in this game practices trigger discipline, even if they're just using their gun to threaten each other. Snake in particular practices incredibly good gun safety much of the time: he carefully engages the safety whenever putting one rifle down, and he's very cautious around new guns; the intro has him very gently testing a fallen rifle with his knife for booby traps (an occasional tactic used by guerrilla fighters) before picking it up; later he field-strips the M4 before actually accepting it.
  • In a World: In the not too distant future.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Snake talks about stopping the "meme." And sure enough, in all but the final level Snake's on a plane.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Although at first glance, this seems to be averted in the ending where FOXALIVE only shut down the Patriots control over all necessities to not place it in a dark age holocaust. However, Drebin mentions that "not everyone is going to be happy with the newfound peace." implying that a war holocaust would still happen, and in fact probably still be the more likely outcome.
  • Infinite Supplies: Drebin can sell you as much ammo as you can pay for. On harder difficulties, however, he doesn't sell nonlethal ammo, which means if you're going for the Big Boss emblem you'll need to actually find tranq ammo and use it sparingly.
  • Infinity-1 Sword: The VSS more than falls into this category; it's a powerful selective-fire sniper weapon that has a scope and an integral silencer that never runs out, and it only requires that you go a little out of your way in act 2 to get it. The P90, M14 EBR and M4 Custom are also candidates, since all three are extremely capable and easy to get hold of, and don't require rare ammo; all three can also be silenced. Unless you're doing a no-kills run, you'll probably be using some combination of the above more often than not.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Barrett M82A2 is one of the most expensive weapons in the game (only the Lethal Joke Item costs more) and it's unlikely you'll get hold of it before Act 4 at the earliest. It's also ridiculously powerful, one-shotting Gekko and demolishing bosses. Heck, even the description says, "Recommended by Hideo Kojima!"
  • Informed Equipment: Otacon's description of the inventory says Snake stores weapons he has equipped but isn't using in his backpack. Snake isn't actually wearing a backpack. He's wearing heavy combat webbing, but unless those pockets are hyper-dimensional, he ain't fitting a rocket launcher in there.
    • Having Metal Gear Mk. II carry all his equipment is a little more logical, except that Mk. II is still pretty tiny, so it can't exactly haul a giant rail gun around whenever Snake isn't using it.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: The mech battle at the end of Act 4. Piloting REX proves why Otacon's design was the most badass weapon ever developed in a semi-realistic setting.
  • Instant Home Delivery: Drebin offers Instant Battlefield Delivery.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Some of the things used to block off routes fall into this category; rubble is often easily low enough to climb over, and it's only not possible to backtrack into Naomi's lab because Snake can't be bothered to climb through the windows.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: It's heavily implied that the reason why Raiden left Rosemary was because he was started to become haunted even further by his Posttraumatic Stress Disorder from his days as a Child Soldier.
  • Jiggle Physics: Several characters, most notably Rose; tilting the Sixaxis during a CODEC call with her makes her breasts bounce. Beyond that, the jiggle is mostly only noticeable during the occasions when the suit-less B&Bs start writhing in agony, which is exactly the one time jiggle physics would be called for. (And they don't even have large breasts.) This is also present in every female character in Metal Gear Online, with boobs that act more like Jell-O.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: A fiendishly complicated one is pulled off by Ocelot, EVA and Naomi in order to destroy the Patriots and revive Big Boss.
  • Knife Nut: Several! Vamp, the "wizard with knives," returns to torment us (and is unsurprisingly good with them in MGO). Raiden uses some knife-fu of his own to face him, but sparingly. Screaming Mantis has six extra cybernetic arms and can throw around knives with all of them.
    • Snake might qualify, if players pay attention to his left hand. He never really puts away that knife of his either. Bonus points for actually using it a couple times in cutscenes too. A bit ironic as well, as he mentioned in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty that he is not a fan of blades.
  • Know When to Fold'Em: In a cutscene during Act 1, when the Middle Eastern militiamen's cavalry arrives in the form of a BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle, one of the Praying Mantis soldiers were seen throwing a smoke grenade while fleeing with his comrades, having evidentially realized that their chances of taking down the militiamen shrank dramatically at that moment and wisely called in a tactical retreat.
  • Kudzu Plot: There are some minor plot details which aren't completely resolved even by the game's conclusion.
    • What caused the diversion in JD's programming that led it to create the War Economy? Did someone hijack or manipulate the system? If so who? Was it a last-minute plot justification Hideo threw in at the last minute?
    • Doctor Pettrovich Madnar, the man who developed the first ever Metal Gear unit, TX-55 (Until it turned out it wasn't the first)), is casually referenced as still being alive, and was even integral to Raiden's survival as a cyborg. How/What. How did he survive multiple rockets to the spine?! How did he escape Zanzibar? Why is Snake not surprised to discover this after Madnar betrayed him at Zanzibar? (It's likely that this plot point at least will be fleshed out in Metal Gear Rising.)
  • Lampshade Hanging: On Shadow Moses, there are a whole stack of conversations with Otacon about sillier aspects of the original game, including trying to fight a tank with hand grenades, fighting an attack helicopter solo, and the fact that the Nikita missile's powerplant and guidance would be so complicated there'd barely be room for a warhead.
    • A subtle one in Act 5, when Meryl asks Johnny why Mantis couldn't control him, and he tells her that he guesses Mantis' control is actually nanomachine hacking, and he has no nanomachines, Meryl asks him if he knew this was going to happen as if she's expecting yet another layer of Xanatos Roulette.
      • Hint: He had no idea. He's just afraid of needles.
  • Large Ham: "Behold! Guns of the Patriots!"
  • Latex Perfection: Somewhat subverted; the mask's lips don't move, Snake's facial structure is roughly recognizable beneath the mask, and the FaceCamo used by Laughing Octopus and Snake is MUCH more advanced than current technology.
  • Laser Hallway: Microwave Hallway.
  • Laser Sight: Useful. You'll need it if you use third person a lot.
  • Laughing Mad: Laughing Octopus. Also Ed when the SOP shut down on him, and pretty much any enemy soldier who is hit with a Yellow Smoke Grenade or a Laughter Emotive Ammo.
  • Legacy Character: Each of the MG games (except the original and MGS3, which was set in the past) had a different Cyborg Ninja. Raiden's the new Cyborg Ninja in this one. He was gearing up towards this by the end of MGS2 anyway, as he had already inherited the Absurdly Sharp Blade.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Tanegashima costs a million Drebin points; for this, you get a muzzle-loading single-shot musket which can only be reloaded standing up. Seems useless, until you realize that firing outdoors has a one-in-three chance of producing a gigantic whirlwind that blankets a massive area with item drops.
  • Let's Play: By Tipping Forties and Chip Cheezum.
  • Life or Limb Decision: Done by Raiden in Act IV, though it was really more of a decision between Snake's life and his limb.
  • Loads And Loads Of Installing: The game uninstalls and reinstalls large amounts of data between each major chapter of the game, which can take up to six minutes at a time, even after the regular 8-minute installation at the very start. This does make the chapters otherwise seamless, though.
    • Possibly justified though, as this game was released in a time when the biggest hard drives PS3s had were 40GB models with 80GB bundles coming soon. If the game installed all of the acts at once, the install data might have been 8GB or more. God help anyone who had a 20GB PlayStation 3 though...
    • Although you do install each act separately, the game does have a loading time after entering and exiting virtually every area. Granted it's only a second or two each time, but it is annoying nonetheless since you have to press the start button after most of the loading times.
  • Lost in Translation: "La Li Lu Le Lo" are "missing" vowel sounds in Japanese; the point of the name is that it's not technically possible to write or say it in Hiragana (because there's no distinction between "L" and "R" and the string is usually "Ra Ri Ru Re Ro"), so the Patriots censor their name to something that can't be written down or spoken. This is never really gone into in the dub (since English doesn't do that), so it just seems to be meaningless babble.
  • Magic From Technology: Otacon invokes Clarke's Third Law during an explanation of Vamp's 'superpowers':

 Snake: So it's technology, then, not magic?

Otacon: With technology this advanced, who can tell the difference?

  • The Magic Goes Away: There's a noticeable transition in the series between characters who have clearly supernatural abilities like the Cobras to characters who have nothing technology doesn't give them, like the B & B Corps. Vamp seems to be the transition between the two personified, with supernatural healing that is nonetheless augmented by technology, and Charles Atlas Superpowers that let him dodge bullets through practiced skills with added technology to let him run up walls (though his ability to run on water and swim in the Life Reaction Pool isn't explained). His presence in this game next to the all-tech B & B Corps creates a sense that the magic-users are the old guard, on the way out and being replaced by something new.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Like you wouldn't believe.
    • Let's see... first, there's the obvious Liquid Ocelot controlling several PMCs from behind the scene while the Patriots run the American side of things, along with several other PMCs. Then, it turns out that Patriots don't really exist and are, in fact, a self-perpetuating set of non-sapient AIs routinely continuing obsolete orders set up by Zero after he lost faith in humanity. It also turns out even later that Liquid Ocelot, who supposedly is trying to take Big Boss's place in legend and Zero's in power, and who it is said again and again is Ocelot's body taken over by Liquid's arm, is actually Ocelot pretending to be Liquid mind-controlling Ocelot. And it turns out this was all part of a plan by Ocelot and EVA to remove the Patriots from power and rescue Big Boss from his artificially induced coma. It works.
    • A more local, less-convoluted Man Behind The Man reveals that the psychic commander of the B&Bs, Screaming Mantis, is herself the puppet of the psychic influence of an older Mantis.
  • May-December Romance: Campbell and Rose. Needless to say, it disgusts both Meryl and Raiden. It's to make sure the Patriots aren't going to go after Rose's kid.
  • Meaningful Name: Not a character but rather a level - the first two acts of the game are called 'Liquid Sun' and 'Solid Sun' so it seems logical to call the third act 'Third Sun' but it's also a hint that the chapter revolves around the third of Big Boss's clones, Solidus Snake. Of course, the player doesn't realise this until the end of the game.
  • Mechanical Monster: The Gekko are as much life-form as machine; they're about as smart as an animal, make appropriate sounds when they're in distress, and, of course, have organic legs. They also follow the basic use of the Mechanical Monster trope in that they are much more dangerous and intimidating than a simple robot would be.
  • Men Can't Keep House: A Running Gag is that Sunny always burns eggs she tries to fry in a pan, which Snake and Otacon are then reluctant to eat. When Otacon hassles Snake about hurting Sunny's feelings for rejecting to eat her eggs, Snake quips back that Otacon should teach Sunny to cook. Otacon protests that he knows nothing about cooking. Naomi finally teachs Sunny how to fry eggs without burning them.
  • Meta Casting: Both Akio Ohtsuka (Snake's Japanese voice actor) and his father, Chikao Ohtsuka, happened to be accomplished voice actors in their own right, so the latter was a perfect fit for Big Boss in the Japanese dub.
  • Mind Rape: On a New Game Plus, you can purchase ammunition that influences the emotions of the soldiers you shoot. You can cause them to become enraged, terrified, sad, or hysterical (mimicking the emotions of the B&Bs.)
  • Mind Screwdriver: This game more or less makes sense out of pretty much everything that happened, especially in the ending, of Metal Gear Solid 2.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Used frequently in Act 1 under the name "petrol bomb" (which is the technical name for them).
  • Monster Clown: Not in Guns of the Patriots itself, but the add on Metal Gear Online invokes the trope with the "Clown" facepaint (note, the point of Metal Gear Online is to fight against other soldiers resulting in either the soldiers being killed or knocked unconscious).
  • Mood Whiplash: Be it the entire game, coming after the often light-hearted and goofy MGS3, the scene where after a big, serious fight scene Ocelot and Snake re-enact the "FoxDie" scene from the original and then Ocelot runs away giggling while Snake falls over, or the disturbing use of Zero, previously a frequent source of light-hearted humour.
  • Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: You can hardly get any more morally ambiguous than Doctor Naomi Hunter. In the first game she was tricked into becoming a pawn for the Patriots, but in MGS4, she's completely aware of what she's doing, but we never learn what it exactly was she was trying to do until right after FOXALIVE spreads throughout the Patriots A Is and takes them offline.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the Nostalgia Level, if you mess with the camera so it's over Snake's head, he'll comment that it's "just like the old days!" He has the same comment if you equip the SOCOM.
    • The Solar Gun, when fully charged, can take out Vamp in one hit. This is because it's from the Boktai/Lunar Knights games, where the weapon is designed to kill vampires.
    • Ed and Jonathan, Meryl's two squad mates in Rat Patrol 01, are named after the protagonists of Policenauts, Kojima's previous game where Meryl first appeared.
  • Nausea Fuel: In-universe, Snake's Codec call to Otacon while hiding in a trash can/dumpster. When Otacon asks Snake how he knows how it is where the household dumps their waste, Snake explains in full, such as it smelling bad from last nights leftovers from dinner, as well as bugs crawling around his face, apparently roaches, a lot of them, as well as something crawling up his leg, leaving Otacon completely grossed out by the end. When questioned by Otacon whether he even feels sick from this, Snake mentions that he's perfectly willing to even crawl into a toilet as long as it at least allows him to hide from the enemy effectively.
  • New Game+: Everything you got in previous playthroughs is available as soon as Snake finds the Mk. II. There are also unlockable rewards for completing the game in certain ways.
  • New Media Are Evil: The Patriot are all for perpetuating the constant state of war globally, using those terrible first person shooters to indoctrinate people as soldiers.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Given Fortune and now Raiden, we can safely say you can gain superpowers in the MGS universe just by really, really wanting to have them.
  • Nintendo Hard: To get the best goodies and the "Big Boss" emblem, you need to beat the game in 5 hours, without dying (you can save-scum, though), causing no alerts, and using only non-lethal weaponry (except against robots), on the hardest possible difficulty level, using no healing items. You can try to lay down to recharge slightly in a few missions, but good freaking luck getting through the rail shooter missions in one piece, especially the one in Europe. For extra annoyance, you can't purchase any non-lethal ammo from Drebin on the hardest difficulty mode, too. Yikes.
    • If one is careful to meet the proper prerequisites on prior play throughs, this becomes much easier. Healing music tracks for the iPod can greatly speed up Snake's health recovery time without counting as "healing items" for score purposes. The Solar Gun, normally Awesome but Impractical for its (literally) flashy use, becomes a godsend for rail shooting segments, where its noticability is a non-issue.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The "Middle East" is somewhere in Maghreb (possibly Morocco, as seen in the credits), "Eastern Europe" is quite obviously Prague, Czech Republic and "South America" is somewhat less obviously Peru, but the countries are never named (outside of the credits). The only location explicitly stated matter-of-factly is the fictional Shadow Moses Island, the only new section of which is the interior of a Japanese steel mill.
  • No Fourth Wall: It got to the point of Lampshade Hanging: during Act 4, Otacon calls Snake and tells him to put in disc 2. Then he remembers that, because the game is on a dual-layer Blu-ray disc, there is no disc 2 (Snake tells Otacon to stop fooling around, while players freak out due to the exact location of this conversation). Then, when Psycho Mantis shows up again, he tries to pull the same tricks. However, he can't read your memory since the PlayStation 3 doesn't have a memory card, and he can only make the controller vibrate if the player is using the Dualshock 3. And again in the previous boss fight, where the Colonel recommends using the same tricks against a different psychic boss, only to have them all shot down. The Colonel even nonchalantly explains to Rose that they beat Psycho Mantis with controller-based tactics.
    • If you remembered MGS1 and try to switch controllers again, Snake calls Otacon and tells him he can't move. Then Otacon berates Snake and the player for thinking the same tricks would actually work again.
    • The first cardboard box you see has "No place for Hideo" printed on it, which was a throwback to when Hideo claimed he wasn't working on Metal Gear anymore.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ocelot to Snake at the end of Act 3. Snake gets his own back at Ocelot later at the end of Act 5, however.
  • Non-Lethal KO: The Shotgun's non lethal rounds aren't tranquillisers. They are described as vortex ring rounds.
  • Nostalgia Level: The entire fourth act, plus at least one Nostalgia 'Boss Fight in Act 5. In the fourth act, Snake returns to Shadow Moses, the setting of Metal Gear Solid. He even has a dream before getting there where the player plays a portion of the original game, and when you die in Act 4, the original death/theme music plays from the original game.
    • The aforementioned boss fight, on the other hand, was intended as a callback to the Liquid fight in MGS1, except instead of fighting with Liquid on top of the ruins of Metal Gear Rex, you're fighting with Liquid Ocelot on top of the ruins of Outer Haven. The fight goes through all four MGS games phase-by-phase, changing Ocelot's fighting style, life bar and background music to match each game, until the very end where the fight boils down to two old men throwing very slow haymakers at one another.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Both played straight and averted. The Praying Mantis and Pieuvre Armement troops themselves do not have a British or French accent, respectively. However, the female PA Announcers for each of them do possess a pretty articulate accent representing each PMC's nationalities. Also, the Middle Eastern soldiers seemed to speak with a slight accent (at the very least, they sounded deeper and more gruff than the other characters).
  • Not So Different: Briefly discussed by Drebin at the end. He tells Otacon that the United Nations will now likely play an important role in stabilizing the world in the coming years, now that the Patriots' demise has caused a massive political vacuum. He cynically notes that, as a giant political body committed to uniting the world under one government, the UN really isn't that different from the Patriots.
  • One Last Smoke: Big Boss has his last cigar lit by Old Snake as he sits dying near The Boss's grave.

   Big Boss: "This is good...isn't it?"

  • One-Scene Wonder: Cut out all her exposition, and Big Mama really only has one big scene in the whole game. That said, it was a pretty cool scene, and it's a pity she didn't get more.
  • One-Sided Arm Wrestling: Meryl beats a teammate easily in arm wrestling, as a Funny Background Event while Drebin speaks to Otacon at Meryl's wedding.
  • One-Woman Wail: The game's "Love Theme", as linked to above.
  • Overly Long Gag: The soldiers cock their guns and point them at Ocelot's boat! Gasp! Then...The soldiers cock their guns and point them at Ocelot's boat! Gasp! Then...Repeat so many times you start to wonder if this is how the series is going to end.
  • Pacifist Run: You receive a lower score at the end if you kill everything, and no-kill runs are required to unlock special weapons and certain Emblems.
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish: It's possible to make out the password Johnny keys in to shut off the laser grid as an all-lowercase "meryl (something)," presumably "meryl silverburgh."
  • Pet Peeve Trope: Hideo Kojima really hates changing discs in the middle of a game, as is evidenced by an in-universe codec conversation celebrating Blu-Ray.
  • Playing Gertrude: David Hayter's performance as Old Snake is a voice-acting example. After spending years voicing a thirty-something Snake, his performance in MGS4 makes Snake's accelerated aging very believable.
  • Playing Possum: Snake can now play dead, either by lying down and relaxing his body, or remaining motionless after being knocked over by an attack. Enemies who are actively searching for him will check bodies though, giving them a little kick as they pass by, so this ability is mostly useful when Snake wants to be overlooked during a larger battle between PMCs forces and their enemies, where no one has time to check the bodies anyway. Alternatively, if Snake lies down among a bunch of already present bodies, patroling soldiers might simply consider him another corpse on the pile.
  • Playing with Syringes: Vamp, it turns out, was an experiment by Patriots developed out of the very same nanomachines Naomi developed for Metal Gear Solid and it is this which allows him his Healing Factor. Also, it is revealed that Naomi has a lesser version of this, which keeps her cancer under control. Somewhat Narmified by the fact that as soon as she suppresses her nanomachines, she dies.
  • Potty Failure: Next generation technology means the series' running (ew...) gag of people wetting themselves can be one-upped with a scene of a man soiling himself! Um, thanks Kojima.
  • Precision F-Strike: Laughing Octopus delivers quite possibly the first f-bomb in the entire franchise (or at the very least the first f-bomb to make it past localization in the English version), which makes it just that much more unsettling.
    • During Snake and Otacon's discussion of the tank battle in MGS1:

 Otacon: ...Now I know it. You're nuts! Single-handedly taking out a tank? That's crazy! You're insane!

Old Snake: (annoyed) Otacon, is this your idea of a compliment?

Otacon: Yes! You're the toughest, craziest, most hardcore badass on the planet. You're...the shit!

 "Say 'Good night!'" Pieuvre Armement soldier, just before pulling the trigger and executing a rebel soldier after the latter was captured.

  • Product Placement: The iPod and MacBook, Playboy, Regain, PlayStation 3, and even Assassin's Creed are all prominently promoted in the game. Sunny can be seen playing with a PSP during the briefings, as well (and the game she's playing is the first one Kojima ever made). Apparently RedBull was also planned to be used, but was replaced with fictional "Narc Cola".
    • Bland-Name Product: "Narc" is the shortened name of one of the skills in online. You can actually find this alot in online only maps, all of them taking off ether references, thunderbolt coffee In case you cant tell, it's referencing volgin from the third game, and then general product tags in the mall area.
  • Private Military Contractors: One of the themes in the game.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Liquid Ocelot's mannerisms in the second half suggest he is this. See For the Evulz for more details.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Gekko in the basement of Shadow Moses.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: When using weapon-mounted flashlights, Snake only turns them on for a seemingly-useless split second rather than keeping them on as with MGS2's USP taclight. This is actually how you're supposed to use a flashlight; it's called "light discipline" and prevents you screwing up your night vision or giving your enemy a nice bright target to shoot at.
    • This is situational. Inside a building, a light is almost always on. Outside, it is never on unless you hear or see something that needs to be revealed NOW.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Ocelot's "Liquid Ocelot" persona was created because Koji Totani, Revolver Ocelot's Japanese voice actor, died prior to the production of the game, resulting in the recasting to Banjo Ginga (the Japanese voice of Liquid Snake) for the role.
    • Bizarrely, the English dub went with Patric Zimmerman (Ocelot) voicing Liquid Ocelot, despite that Cam Clarke (Liquid) had voiced the Liquid Ocelot persona already in MGS2. Perhaps they were worried that nine hours of Cam Clarke overacting would turn the disc into a giant slice of salami.
      • Possibly a Woolseyism applied to literary devices; the fact that Liquid spoke with his own voice in Sons of Liberty but always sounds like Ocelot in Guns of the Patriots is a giant hint that it's Ocelot all along, to the point where many players aren't surprised at all.
  • Redshirt Army: The US Army/Marine Corps task force ( though they later fend off a horde of FROG units).
    • The rebel militia in the Middle East in the beginning of the game. They have a tendency to get mowed down in droves, both in-cutscene and out.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: In the Japanese version, Big Boss is voiced by Chikao Ohtsuka and Solid Snake is voiced by Akio Ohtsuka, the father and the son, respectively. Word of God stated that this was deliberately invoked because they weren't on speaking terms prior to this.
  • Respawning Enemies: A subtler version than you'll usually notice. Enemies will enter battlegrounds by hopping over fences, cliffs and whatnot to replace their dead comrades. This means that between rebels and PM Cs there will be effectively limitless fighting unless you intervene, and sometimes even then. One incentive for a Pacifist Run is that tranquilized enemies are not replaced.
  • Retcon: This game does a lot of them. Not only does the story develop in a way which invalidates many plot points in earlier games, but it also retcons it's own continuity for the ending.
  • Revision: MGS4 does this to all the previous games, providing backstory that links Snake Eater with the more distantly connected Metal Gear Solid and Sons of Liberty. See Mind Screwdriver for more details.
  • Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Reason: Johnny Sasaki turns out to be immune to the nasty side effects that arise when the nanomachines are shut down by the Big Bad, and this later allows him to have a Big Damn Hero moment in rescuing Meryl, all because he never got the nanomachine injections in the first place. Meryl asks him how he knew something like Liquid's hijacking of the system would happen, and Johnny says he didn't. He was just so afraid of needles he avoided all the mandatory injections.
  • Sanity Has Advantages: The four B&Bs are all psychologically damaged. Rose the therapist points out that this probably doesn't help their combat abilities and that only a Complete Monster would put such broken people on the front line, especially since they'll eventually break down completely and be useless. Snake agrees on all points, but he also notes that it's to his advantage if they're not fighting at their full combat effectiveness.
  • Say My Name:
    • The series' use of it is inverted near the end of Guns of the Patriots when the scarabs start piling on Snake: "OOOTACOOOOOOON!" Inverted both for Snake being the one to use it, and it being a genuinely tense and dramatic moment instead of meme-fuel.
    • Snake screams Otacon's name again earlierwhen he gets half of his face burned very badly.
    • This qualifies as a CMOA during the final duel when after Snake takes an absolutely brutal beating at the hands of Liquid Ocelot he turns the fight around by breaking his enemy's fingers. As Snake rises he screams his rival's name with a cry of rage and frustration, to be answered in kind as the camera spins. And they they really start beating the hell out of each other.
  • Serious Business: Metal Gear Online is arguably more in-depth than other games that have multiplayer, in that matches are not randomly made from a set of pre-established rules, you create a character with their own name (you don't use your PSN name) and each game can be tweaked greatly to the host's choosing. There are even "official" matches -- Tournament and Survival, which award players in-game points they can use to customize their character. Consequently, there is still a decently sized community that plays the game, even 3 years after its release. However, some people will deliberately lag the game...and recently have even gone so far as using a Direct Denial of Service attack to force other players off PSN.
  • Show Within a Show: Upon starting a new game, players will see a variety of expensive, live-action short clips from television shows that (more or less) take place within the MGS universe, followed by advertisements for various PMCs. They include a grotesque cooking show, a "paid programming" segment advertising a workout regiment with nanomachine enhancement, a Discovery Channel-like show about Octopi and so forth. The most memorable of them all is David Hayter (playing himself!) being interviewed by a bizarre talk show host played by Lee Merriweather.
  • Shout-Out: To all sorts of stuff. A few examples below:
    • Drebin's name comes from the protagonist of The Naked Gun. This is because he sells "naked guns" without ID Locks on them.
    • The Precision F-Strike that Laughing Octopus uses ("It's all so FUCKING HYSTERICAL!") is a shout-out to Road to Perdition
    • The Rat Patrol refers to the old show of the same name, a group of soldiers who would patrol the desert.
    • Kill enough guys with a knife, and you unlock Altaïr's outfit from Assassin's Creed. This isn't the only time MGS references Assassin's Creed, either; they do it again in Peace Walker with the Assassin's Straw Box. Hideo Kojima apparently loves Assassin's Creed.
    • Also, some bonus weapons in a second playthrough have either grenades that emit colored smoke that causes a victim to emit an emotion relating to the color of the smoke, or shoot the enemy with a special type of ammo that has them undergoing a certain emotion, depending on the ammo's color, when shot with it. The yellow smoke grenades/yellow ammunition behave in a very similar fashion to a certain trademark toxin used by The Joker.
      • Speaking of Batman-related references, Snake and several of Liquid Ocelot's PM Cs having to inject themselves with syringes in order to suppress their nanomachines enough to not be driven insane by the hacking of SOP or their nanos malfunctioning/being manipulated and driving them insane is similar to the Fear Toxin vaccine, as well as Batman, Rachel, and Lieutenant Gordon's use of the vaccination when infected with fear toxin in Batman Begins.
    • Also, after Liquid Ocelot's failed attempt at hijacking the SOP system in the Middle East causes all SOP-linked soldiers in the area to experience uncontrolled emotions boiling up relating to their participation in the battlefield, the Rat Patrol member Ed is seen laughing maniacally. This isn't the only "Ed" who often laughed maniacally.
  • Sidequest: It's possible to help out the militia forces in most areas of the first two acts, though it's not that clear how or if the militia can win the battle in a given location.
  • Significant Anagram: Turns out Meryl's group, Rat Pt. 01, is actually an anagram of "PatR10t" (Patriot), indicating that their true benefactors were the Patriots, but they never actually knew this.
  • Sleep It Off: Your health will regenerate at a very slow rate over time, but if you want to recharge fast, find a nice, shady spot out of the sun and just lie down. As long as there aren't any nearby explosions driving your stress meter up, anyway.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Okay, it's pretty cool to see Snake light up in the beginning (he even has a storage container for half-finished cigarettes!) but this trope becomes cruelly subverted as it goes on; a guy who's coughing up his lungs, sucking on an oxygen mask, and still keeps asking for a light is not cool.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: You can pick which songs you want playing in the background with the game's iPod. This means you can have this song playing during tense, life-threatening situations.
  • The Stinger: "Wait, why does Big Boss have a credited voice actor?..."
  • Story to Gameplay Ratio: Nine hours of cutscenes. Fortunately, they're almost all skippable.
    • Unfortunately, skipping all but a few will rob you of the free Drebin Points you could otherwise gain through flashbacks.
  • Swiss Army Gun: True to its example in the Real Life section of the trope page, the M4 Custom that Snake aquires early in the game can be configured with Gun Accessories to function as an Assault Rifle, Sniper Weapon, Shotgun, Grenade Launcher, or Flashlight. Other guns have their own options, but the M4 Custom has more accessories available than any other single weapon in the game.
  • Talking to Himself: Averted. Big Boss, who is normally voiced by David Hayter, is instead voiced by Richard Doyle in his scene with Old Snake.
    • Similarly averted in the Japanese version, where Big Boss, who is normally voiced by Akio Ohtsuka, is instead voiced by his father Chikao Ohtsuka.
  • Tech Marches On: Repeatedly lampshaded. Apparently, everything really was canonically blocky back in Metal Gear Solid, as shown in the flashbacks and MGS1 mask (it's a replica of the polygon model of Snake's head from the first game).
    • In-universe, as well. Otacon uses one of his remote robots to interface with a computer in the Nostalgia Level and complains that it's ten years out of date.
    • "Stealth" technology that made Snake and his enemies invisible in previous games is now considered outmoded because it doesn't hide you from infrared sensors, and Gekko and other unmanned weapons all use infrared sensor technology now. Snake has upgraded to an "OctoCamo" system that mimics an octopus' instant-camouflage abilities and blocks your heat signature. Unfortunately, one of your enemies also uses OctoCamo, which means you can't use the standard tactic of sniffing out the invisible enemy by using IR Goggles any more.
    • Early in the series, military-grade nanotechnology is highly experimental and only used by few. By the time of MGS 4 pretty much all the armies in the world use it, and if the live action mock ads are canon, then it's so freely available that people use nanites in diet and fitness programs.
  • Temporal Paradox: Otacon tells you to go and find Metal Gear Mark II on a Codec interface with "Metal Gear Mk. II" written in the bottom corner.
  • Title Drop: Ocelot's plan is called "Guns of the Patriots," referring to the nanomachine "System" used to control the world's small arms.
  • That Man Is Dead: Raiden tells Snake as much when the latter refers to him as Jack. Considering how eerily peaceful and quiet his voice now is, it's not hard to imagine you're talking to a dead man.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. You actually have a therapist as one of your two radio contacts. She mostly just gives you advice on what actions you can take within the game to increase your Psyche meter and keep stress levels down, rather than give REAL advice, but considering Gameplay and Story Segregation, this is probably for the best. Her presence is also justified in another way, because therapy for combat veterans is a growing, highly necessary field.
  • Those Two Guys: The only really important members of the Rat Patrol are Meryl and Akiba. The other two barely get any lines.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The Sasaki family. Throughout the series, they've been limited to Butt Monkeys who's butts have been monkeyed with. Suddenly at the end of the third act, Johnny turns into an actual character and even gets a happy ending as opposed to the usual Sasaki fate of being beaten up or spending their final appearance locked in a toilet.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted when Raiden throws his katana at Vamp, and at close range too, but Vamp dodges it.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Raiden, who was created as a loser in MGS2.
    • Though this uprgrade is most likely an entire different form of Take That to players.
    • And later, Johnny "Akiba" Sasaki, too, after the Diabolus Ex Machina that sent everything to hell in the hands of Ocelot.
  • Toilet Humor: Johnny (a.k.a. Akiba) continues his long-running streak as the franchise's resident bowel-issue-ridden Butt Monkey, starting with his very first appearance in the game, where a sentry finds him in the middle of dropping a deuce in a metal barrel. In the very same act, he flat-out craps his pants in the middle of a firefight. Stunningly, even this becomes a plot point in the end: Johnny was never imbued with any nanomachines, so he remained excempt from the System...and his bowel movements were left uncontrolled, as such.
  • Tongue-Tied: While it's not very explicitly shown, the Patriots' nanomachines also make sure that no-one under their monitoring can even say the word "Patriots", which instead comes out as the nonsensical "La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo", five syllables that are impossible to say or write in japanese (a trait that wound up Lost in Translation).
  • Too Awesome to Use: Chaff grenades. The fact that there's many more unmanned weapons in this game, especially in later chapters, makes them doubly useful. Naturally, you'll be likely to only find three of them over a normal playthrough.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Deliberately. The trailers featured cutscenes from the later game mocked up in parts of the Middle East setting, to make the multiple enviroments a surprise. The first major cutscene trailer (featuring the bit where Snake meets the Mark II and gets his weapons and eyepatch) is generally similar but entirely different in all the little details. It showed off Snake getting and customizing the M4 Carbine (something he'd get from someone else entirely) and lighting a cigarette on a nearby piece of smoldering wood. Funnily enough, even though he doesn't do that in the actual game, you can still see the smoldering wood right next to him.
  • Translation Convention: Heavily implied if not outright spoken. No matter where in the world you are, be it the Middle East, South America, or somewhere in Eastern Europe, everyone not only speaks English, but speaks it in the same accent. (Well, kind of: The Praying Mantis PMC PA announcer and the Pieuvre Armement PMC PA announcer spoke with, respectively, a British and French accent, and the Middle Eastern soldiers are possibly speaking with a Middle Eastern accent.).
    • Averted with the Pieuvre Armement PMC TV ad, the female announcer for it is clearly speaking in French.
  • Trick Boss: Vamp would be this unless you use the syringe given to you by Naomi to end his nanomachine-enhanced regeneration.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: Well, all of the MGS games are set in more futuristic versions of the present day (excluding prequels set in the sixties, but even those were pretty futuristic, for the sixties). This one explicitly starts off with the words, "In the not too distant future..." We see what looks like your standard Middle East conflict between two groups and then HOLY CRAP GIANT ROBOTS ARE STEPPING ON PEOPLE!
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Surprisingly often. Naomi's escape in Act 2 mixes Zombie Apocalypse and turret gunplay and there's more on-rails shooter stuff with EVA again in Eastern Europe (albeit you're limited to one-handed firearms), mecha combat in Shadow Moses - REX versus RAY, and, as if that wasn't enough, the final battle with Ocelot is an arcade-style fighting game.
    • Speaking of Shadow Moses Island, there's Snake's "dream". You get to replay the first area of the original MGS. The exact same area with the exact same gameplay, same graphics, same controls, everything.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Raiden's Heroic Sacrifice to save Snake on Shadow Moses is given a very definitive air of finality, as he cries out for Rose and remembers their first date as he is being crushed beneath the charging Outer Haven ship, complete with a sad piano interlude and a fade to black as his cyborg body shuts down. Which makes it really jarring when Snake and Otacon are seen not 10 minutes later chatting fairly nonchalantly about the fact that he survived.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted hard, even though this game has just about the strongest justification to use this trope of any video game ever made.
    • The game's chronological predecessor, Metal Gear Solid 2, used the same explanation for why you can't use enemy equipment: They're all using lockout technology that prevents unregistered users from using the gun. In Metal Gear Solid 4, however, early into the game we meet Drebin, the gun launderer, who happily removes those locks, and gives us credit at his store for every spare gun we pick up off of enemies.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Snake, in the plan to destroy the Patriots. He delivers Naomi's virus to the GW server room thinking it's only going to release Liquid's control of the System, when it's actually designed to wipe out the Patriots altogether.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The first two major areas of the game have a unique twist for the MGS series: You're sneaking through a battlefield between opposing factions, either of which will shoot you if they see you running around. But if you help out the locals against the mercenaries, the locals will take a shine to you, accept food from you, and compliment you when you shoot a PMC mercenary. It's particularly heartwarming if you help them push through one area and clear out all enemies, because they'll cheer and yell "We did it! Yeah!"
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: As per usual, although touch a FROG the wrong way, and she will fight back.
  • Visual Pun: When Jonathan (The Big Guy) gets up from his couch, we see an exclamation point shaved in his head in the form of his mowhawk. The "!" sound plays.
  • Wallpaper Camouflage
  • War for Fun and Profit: The "War Economy" featured in this game is an extreme case: The entire world economy is dependant on war, wether it's the PMCs who fight to make a living, arms dealers who keep them supplied, or gun launderers like Drebin, who all make their daily bread on war. And it's portrayed realistically; as investing in war doesn't create new resources, the world is falling ever deeper into a depression where "oil and gasoline are as precious as diamonds." Drebin remarks that if the situation continues, eventually everyone on Earth is going to be a green-collar worker in one way or another - but if war were to simply disappear overnight, all those investments would become worthless and a massive economic collapse would ensue. Which is exactly what happens with Liquid takes over Sons of the Patriots. It's pretty much the Aesop Hideo Kojima is trying to convey: war isn't about right and wrong, it just is.
  • Warrior Heaven: Big Boss and Liquid Snake try to make this ideal on Earth by making the world into "Outer Heaven," a world where warriors will always be needed, honored and respected, although it appears that Big Boss' true motive may have been to create a world free from the Patriots... that was certainly why Liquid Ocelot claimed to have had Outer Haven, at least.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Gekko can be tranquilized.
  • A Wizard Did It: Nanomachines for everything.
  • Weapon, Jr.: At the end of the game, Raiden meets his son who uses a toy sword to perform the same moves he does.
  • Weddings for Everyone: You are cordially invited to the Silverburgh - Sasaki nuptials.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Ocelot and Naomi.
  • We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future: Nanomachines are used to treat all sorts of illnesses.
  • What Could Have Been: The game would have originally been closer to an average war game than use the standard Metal Gear formula, with enemies, upon spotting you, simply shouting at you in order to invoke psychological warfare.
    • Recently, it was revealed that Metal Gear Online (at least the Arcade Equivalent) would have had three additional maps, the first being "Desert Duel," the second being... a map that seems to be based on the Town area from Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops that is currently unnamed at the moment, and the third is "Lethal Leviathan," in which its name and the objects in the background imply that it was based on either Outer Haven from the game itself or Arsenal Gear from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The first and second were definitely in beta level when they were cut. However, the Lethal Leviathan's detail suggests that it was cut way late into development.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: An apple falls from (Old) Snake's pocket and rolls towards EVA, who picks it up. Later she hands the same apple to Adam (aka Ocelot), who crushes it and throws it away.
    • Which is even cooler if you've played to the end of Metal Gear Solid 3.
  • What the Hell, Player?: If you kill a very large amount of people in a single Act, you will suddenly get a flashback of Liquid Snake taunting Solid Snake, saying "You enjoy all the killing, that's why!" which will cause Snake to vomit and lose some of his psyche.
    • Par for the course in this series, Otacon will also be disgusted with you if you kill any of the wolves in Shadow Moses, or let Meryl die in combat. "You're no hero!", indeed.
  • White-Haired Pretty Girl: Sunny Gurlukovich and Laughing Octopus.
  • With This Herring: Defying past games' convention, Snake now picks up the AK-102 assault rifle at the start of the first act, and then gains the obligatory pistol and tranquilizer gun afterwards, instead of the other way around as in the past.
  • Writer Revolt: When the game was first announced without Hideo Kojima as director, major fan backlash ensued, up to and including fans sending death threats to Konami if Kojima wasn't allowed to lead the project. In actuality, Kojima was simply dead tired of the series, and when he was dragged kicking and screaming into Metal Gear Solid 4 and told to tie up all the loose ends in the series, he made his attitude perfectly clear: In the game, virtually every character in the series is old and dying, the identity of The Patriots turns out to be a massive anti-climax, and many of the previously enigmatic loose ends are tied up with Techno Babble just to get it over and done with, along with a lot of in-game comments hinting that the series should really just finish for good this time. These include, but aren't limited to:
    • Naomi discussing how 'the game has to end' while images of the Metal Gear series's title screens flash subliminally.
    • Snake being chased by a tank called an 'MGS',[1] with lots of shouting about how they have to 'shake off that MGS'.
    • Otacon commenting about how the next-gen version of Shadow Moses is indication that it's 'not so bad getting old' (i.e. the old games should just be allowed to be what they are) and telling Snake at the end that he will always remember 'what you were' (i.e. what you were back before Kojima was forced to throw in his artistic integrity). It's kind of a depressing game.
    • The potshots taken at gamers during the Eastern Europe section by way of Big Mama, too.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: The Patriots are behind everything, but we don't even hear them speak like we did in Metal Gear Solid 2. We know what they are, technically, but they're still a faceless, voiceless organization. There's a reason why their leader is called "JD." It's short for "John Doe."
  • Zombie Apocalypse: One of Liquid Ocelot's tests in messing around with the System that influences all nano-enhanced soldiers more or less results in this; if you use the Solid Eye, you can see that the soldiers in the area are experiencing emotional highs (overwhelming anger, sadness, and fear) far beyond normal limits. In fact, they're brain-damaged; they now no longer feel pain and stumble toward your escape vehicle grasping onto it in crowds, clambering onto it while moaning and hitting you in a very zombie-like manner, very similar to scenes in some zombie movies.

This is good, isn't it?

Notes

  1. (Which in this case is a "Mobile Gun System")

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