“This is Snake.”
The name is Snake. Solid Snake. Unless its Venom Snake, then it’s Big Boss. While the character backstories are as complex as Kerbal Space Program and character timelines as convoluted as a Dr. Who episode, The Metal Gear saga has withstood the test of time, thanks in part to the franchise’s unexpected twists and revelations, cinematic gameplay and impeccable voice acting. The brainchild of renowned creator Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear first appeared in 1987 on the MSX2 Computer, and since has gone from strength to strength, even as the narrative has changed – hosting various sequels and prequels, and numerous cast iterations – The Snakes, Venom Snake, and Big Boss. At one point, there was a sarcastic katana-wielding cyborg ninja. Though that’s a totally different article altogether.
Considered by many as the best Metal Gear game in the series’ history, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, is the latest in Kojima’s extensive lore, winning numerous Game of the Year awards and accolades. An open world action-adventure stealth epic, MGS V puts you in the boots of Big Boss, leader of the Diamond Dogs – a private military group – as you traverse the plains of Afghanistan and jungles of Africa that house Kojima has built.
Innovative mechanics, improvisational gameplay, and X-Com-like resource management only further immerses you into its astonishingly deep open world. But if you don’t pay close attention, this open world can swallow you whole – making you miss the intricate details that may just be staring you in the face, ready to be Fulton-ed away.
Here are 15 awesome things you didn't know you could do in Metal Gear Solid V – cardboard box included.
Oh, and potential spoilers ahead.
15 We Bought A Zoo
While everyone may know about the wolf pup you can raise to become the stone-cold killer D-Dog early in the game, did you know that you can also build your very own animal conservatory?
One of the amazing things about Metal Gear Solid V is the use of the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system. But what you may not know about the Fulton system in MGS V though is that it can be used not only for recruitment of military contractors, but also any animals you come across in the field – provided certain upgrades are met of course.
Once you’ve tranquilized and airlifted your chosen game, they re-appear in a dedicated area in your Mother Base, organized by dietary requirements and even an avian platform.
In total, there are 47 different species to capture, including two Ultra Rare animals, so happy hunting!
14 D Stands For Dung Patties
A particular history story tells of how cities in 19th century battle the environmental disaster of seemingly endless deposits of horse manure with the introduction of personal cars and electric streetcars.
Well, in Metal Gear Solid V, horse manure makes a spectacular comeback. When you have a high enough bond with D-Horse (Diamond Horse, not Dung Horse), you can make D-Horse defecate on command, lending itself to one of the silliest ways to Fulton recruits out of the area of operation.
Simply command D-Horse to discharge on the road and wait for a light vehicle to approach. When one does, the horse dung will cause the vehicle to spin out of control and daze the soldier on board. This gives you ample time to extract them via the Fulton system – all thanks to horse poo.
13 Cardboard Boxes: Not Just For Shipping
When is a box more than a box? When its found in Metal Gear Solid of course!
One of the pillars of the Metal Gear Solid franchise and a fan favourite of the saga is the preposterously versatile cardboard box. Since the original Metal Gear game, it has been a mainstay of the franchise, with its seemingly endless application – from an infiltration aid to an effective hiding place. Well Metal Gear Solid V adds another use for this infinitely purposeful throwaway item – desert sledding.
The pinnacle of tactical espionage operations, simply find your favourite hill in this open-world sandbox, get a running start, dive, and let your cardboard shenanigans take over. While its one way to derive some silliness for a generally stark and dark subject matter game, its an also effective way to travel in the absence of your buddy D-Horse. Provided you’re heading downhill...
12 Bionic Commando
Losing his arm in the aftermath of the Ground Zeroes incident, Venom Snake’s bionic arm goes through various renditions as you progress through the game. And much like Spencer of Bionic Commando fame, this prosthetic arm provides Big Boss with a myriad of uses, none more ridiculous than the non-lethal rocket arm.
A late-game item, the rocket arm requires the necessary research, employing the Bionic and Cybernetics specialists and meet the minimum requirements for R&D, Intel, resources, and GMP. Meeting these prerequisites allows you to detach your bionic arm and aim it towards your enemies, stunning them cold with a fistful of steel. The onboard view allows you to accurately guide your detached arm towards the hapless guards – even as its coming towards their face. The rocket arm can be used on multiple foes providing a hilarious, yet 0% risk tactical weapon to prevent alerts.
Tactical, covert operations can be gruelling work. The physical exertion, weighted gear, and perspiring work means taking care of one’s personal hygiene is of utmost importance.
If Big Boss has been out in the field for longer than five in-game days, his declined hygiene will begin to impact his mission effectiveness. Flies start to accumulate around Snake, enemies begin to notice his stench and investigate, and wild animals will thinks Snake is dead.
Keep up the declining hygiene long enough and your comrades begin to comment – most noticeably Ocelot, who delivers perhaps one of the best lines in the game... “Snake... You stink!,” inducing an in-game cutscene where Ocelot douses you with a bucket of water.
For an alternate cutscene, employ Quiet as your buddy during this sequence to unlock a special cutscene – provided your relationship with Quiet is high enough.
10 Hooked On A Feeling
As Metal Gear Solid V is set in the 80s, cassette tapes and the portable walkman play an integral role in the in-game open world. As secret collectibles Big Boss can gather in hidden locations, the cassettes contains important missions and some cassette tapes produce special effects.
"Soldier with Stomachache," for example, eliminates enemy suspicion while near or inside a toilet. Several animal tapes discovered after you Fulton extract the required species will cancel suspicion when played as the enemy approaches your location. There’s even a cassette that will clear the current alert status, provided you’re hidden from sight.
There are 41 music tapes available to be collected to provide your gameplay with a solid 80s soundtrack – remember, there wasn’t Spotify or any streamable music service back then. As well, there’s a dozen cassette tapes that offer up special effects when they’re played through your iDroid or walkman device.
9 Guard Duty
Guards that occupy the Metal Gear universe are curious by nature, but they’re also easily fooled. This means that there are several ways of disposing of guards – with some being absurdly ridiculous and others being down-right genius. Here’s just a few of our favourites.
- If you stun or tranquilize a guard and they fall face down in a puddle, they’ll drown
- Calling a supply drop atop an enemies head knocks them unconscious, perfect for hard to kill enemies
- Throwing unconscious enemies at other enemies stuns them
- Ammo cartridges aren’t just for weapons, you can throw them at enemies’ heads to stun them, this also works with unexploded grenades and even flares
- Distract an enemy with a cardboard box babe poster and utilize some CQC while the guards ogle the pin-up girl
- ROCKET PUNCH!
There are many other ways to impair guards. How many have you found? Comment below.
8 Look At This Photograph
Did that title make you laugh? While that title may be a popular lyric from a certain Canadian rock band (whom we won’t name...), it’s also a unique feature in Metal Gear Solid V.
During moments in in the game in which you’re riding in your support helicopter, notes and photographs can be found attached to your walls. Upon further inspection, the player will notice that these photographs and notes are actually mementos from your adventures in the game. As you delve further into the game, more keepsakes will be added or removed, depending on your style of gameplay.
While they serve no purpose, they serve as nice reminders of your progress throughout the game, as well as the level of intricate detail that Kojima has implanted in the game.
Plus it's always good to look back at the memories you’ve made.
7 A Streetcar Named Fulton
The Fulton recovery system is a versatile tool that provides endless fun for the player as the countless of ways to use it ranges from silly to the absolutely effective. It allows you to send supplies and personnel to your hive of operations, Mother Base, productively improving your GMP. But did you know that the Fulton system also works as a tactical espionage tool?
That’s right, on top of assisting Big Boss with managing and upgrading his resources and personnel, did you know that you can Fulton yourself? Instead of having to traverse to the landing zone at the end of a mission, you can end the mission and directly transport yourself back to Mother Base by simply climbing on top of a cargo container and equipping a Fulton balloon on it.
Though in order to accomplish this feat, you have to upgrade your Fulton system to the appropriate level (Level 2 or higher).
6 Wandering Soldiers
From time to time as you traverse through the MGS V open world, you’ll encounter erratic zombie-like soldiers you’re unable to kill, no matter how hard you try. That’s because they’re former comrades from the Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes prequel.
You can Fulton them back to Mother Base, but they’re hard to capture – as tend to dart off erratically when you get too close, making tranquilizers or CQC stun attacks nearly impossible. To circumvent this problem, you can approach them in your trusty cardboard box or play the “Love Deterrence” cassette to lure them into submission.
Once you have captured one, head back to Mother Base. If you’ve unlocked the Medical Platform on base, go to the third floor deck and locate the automatic opening door that unlocks to trigger a secret cutscene featuring another comrade from your Peace Walker days.
5 Super Soaker
Perhaps one of the silliest weapons Big Boss can unlock and equip is the water pistol, though it is capable of delivering fantastic in-game fun. Oh and it does have some mission-orientated uses as well.
The perfect weapon to cool off with in the desert sun (it won’t replace a proper shower though), the water pistol can be used in a variety of ways during a mission to assist Snake in accomplishing his goals.
It can be used to temporarily stun enemies when shot in the head, allowing the player to get in close for a CQC stun attack. Employable as water warfare, devastating your enemies’ electronics and communications systems or extinguishing fire to douse any light sources during a night op. It can even be used to clean up blood stains, ensuring you leave no trace behind during any messy encounters.
Just don’t try to use it on the Man on Fire...
4 Devil May Cry
While the title may have demonic connotations, it bares no reference to the hack-and-slash franchise of the same name. Rather, referring to a secret character transformation that may occur depending on the player’s gameplay style.
If you’ve seen the screenshots of a bloodied Snake with an elongated horn-like shrapnel protruding from his forehead, this is the transformation of the character into “Demon Snake.” This occurs when the player performs a lot of cruel or immoral acts such as killing too many enemies, harming hostages or prisoners of war, and developing a nuclear weapon.
Demon status physically alters Snake, leaving him covered in Shakespearean bloodstains, no matter how much he showers or tries to wash it away. Your outfits get affected too, as any camouflage or outfits you wear also appears stained in blood.
There are ways to counter this alteration to your character, but the transformation will unlock unique conversations on Mother Base.
3 Amazon Prime: Metal Gear Style
I like big maps and I cannot lie. Apparently, so does Kojima, as his open-world is a hive of enemy bases, camps, and Mother Base. This, at times, becomes a tedious task as Snake will have to wait for transport pick-up to get from Point A to Point B. To bypass this monotonous exercise, an in-game fast travel system has been secretly hidden away into the gameplay.
Simply find a Delivery Point, which will contain a collectible invoice that will unlock a fast travel point, allowing you to travel to any other platform where you’ve previously picked up an invoice.
To perform this on Mother Base and its hive of platforms, simply locate the orange delivery point on your platform, nestle into your box and choose your desired destination. In the open world, collecting all the invoices unlocks a new item – your very own invulnerable, weather-resistant cardboard box!
2 Let Them Eat Cake
Birthdays are special occasions. While they’re gentle reminders that you’re a year older, they also serve as a day of celebration, surrounded by friends and loved ones, dining on good food and toasting with fine refreshments.
Well your in-game experience shouldn’t be no different and Kojima takes this into account when he crafted this immersive world. When you start the game, Metal Gear Solid V prompts the player to input their birthday. While it may seem like a generic task you’re asked to do, it triggers a special cutscene when you play the game on your birthday. If your birthday has just passed or you simply can’t wait until your actual birthday comes around, you can always fast forward your console’s clock to the appropriate day.
1 O Captain! My Captain!
For those who didn’t know, Metal Gear Solid V is Kojima’s grand opus to the Metal Gear saga, a farewell to arms if you will. Fitting then that the game would debut to critical acclaim.
A tenure that lasted nearly 30 years, it was announced in 2015 that Kojima was leaving Japanese video game develop Konami after a tumultuous final year and falling out between both parties. Well Kojima didn’t fully leave Konami without a special hidden cameo Easter Egg for players to find.
In "Side Op 112," you’re implanted in Afghanistan where you are tasked with rescuing a “critical VIP” who was a member of the staff “on Mother Base 9 years back.” Once you infiltrate the base and reach the prisoner, a special cutscene plays out revealing that the “critical VIP” is none other than Kojima himself, complete with his signature glasses.
Kojima’s character is S+ rank, specializing in Intel and R&D skills. Appropriate.