Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake

Originally released for the Japan-exclusive MSX2 in 1990, this sequel is set four years after the Outer Heaven incident. New FOXHOUND commander, Roy Campbell, brings a shell-shocked Solid Snake back from early retirement to infiltrate the military nation Zanzibar Land.


Wireframe of Metal Gear D.
Wireframe of Metal Gear D.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is an espionage top-down action-adventure game developed and published by Konami for the MSX2 (in Japan only) on July 19, 1990. It is the sequel to the 1987 Metal Gear, enhancing the stealth mechanics (including a more realistic field-of-vision for enemies and prone movement).

Set in 1999, four years after a rookie operative of the United States special forces unit FOXHOUND (codenamed "Solid Snake") infiltrated the fortified compound Outer Heaven and destroyed a bi-pedal nuclear-armed tank known as Metal Gear, the game has players reprising the role of Snake, who is brought out of retirement by new FOXHOUND commander Roy Campbell to infiltrate the fortified state of Zanzibar Land, rescue Czech scientist Dr. Kio Marv (who has engineered a genetically-modified oil-producing microbe, called OILIX, to solve a global fuel crisis), and destroy the successor to the original Metal Gear: Metal Gear D.

A modified version of the game was later released for mobile phones in Japan on October 1, 2004, revamping the character designs, adding new game modes, and modifying items and gameplay mechanics. Another modified version was later released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 (alongside the original Metal Gear) as part of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which was later used for the 2011 Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita. This version was the first to be released internationally, including official English translation.


The gameplay of Metal Gear 2 continues on the foundation built by Metal Gear, but with many new additions that add greater depth to the stealth gameplay of its predecessor. For example, guards now gained a 45 degree field of vision which makes stealth gameplay of higher importance. Previously in the original, enemies could only see in straight lines, making for moments where the player could simply sneak by the guards by not walking on the same horizontal or vertical sight line. Guards also do not stay static to one screen and can maneuver onto adjacent screens, making the radar very important. The alert system was also overhauled, as escaping onto another screen did not eliminate the alert phase and required players to truly hide instead of merely moving away from the trouble. Radio conversations were now dynamic, the in-game contacts was raised from four to eight, the Solition radar system which displayed enemy units and key units on a 3x3 grid, and the ability to crawl were all newly implemented features.

Gameplay revolves around non-lethal action and staying hidden. Like the original, the game starts Solid Snake off with no weapons and a pack of cigarettes and leaves the rest in terms of weaponry to be procured later. As such, gameplay is highly a challenge of wits, monitoring unit formations and patterns then moving at the right time to avoid detection.

Despite the transition to 3D, the gameplay of its popular sequel Metal Gear Solid would remain largely identical to the gameplay of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, with Metal Gear Solid even borrowing many of the same set-pieces, boss fights, plot elements and puzzles used in this game.


In the year 1999, rising oil prices have caused the world to look for alternative means of energy in an earth that has successfully thawed through the Cold War. With oil reserves slowly being depleted, one Czech scientist, Dr. Kio Marv, has found the miracle cure to the oil problem in the form of biologically developed algae he dubbed OILIX. This algae had the remarkable ability to produce petroleum-grade hydrocarbons with little expense and effort. Following his demonstration at the World Energy Conference in his home state of Prague, Czech Republic, Marv is kidnapped on his way to the United States by soldiers from Zanzibar Land. Leaders from Zanzibar Land hold the world hostage as it is revealed that the nation had a stockpile of nuclear weapons. Solid Snake, now having gone into retirement after the events of the original Metal Gear, is called out of retirement and returns to FOXHOUND under the leadership of Colonel Roy Campbell. Commencing Operation F014, Snake is again sent in with no weapons and his pack of cigarettes to rescue Dr. Marv.

Initially working his way through the outside of Zanzibar Land, Snake is contacted by Holly White, an undercover CIA agent posing as a journalist who gives him tips on navigating the complex. Snake is also aided by George Kessler, an expert in mercenary knowledge and informing Snake of each of the bosses and tips to overcome the boss, and McDonell "Master" Miller, who gives the player life advice and tips about flora and fauna. When Snake finds Dr. Marv, it is revealed that it is actually a disguised boss Black Ninja, who is actually Kyle Schneider from Metal Gear. After his defeat, Schneider tells Snake where and how to find Dr. Madnar, another character from Metal Gear who was captured along with Marv, and how to traverse through the jungle. When Snake deciphers the tap code by Madnar, Snake learns the leader of Zanzibar Land is none other than Big Boss, who survived his confrontation at Outer Heaven, and that Madnar is again developing a new Metal Gear project. Snake also receives messages from "his number one fan" who gives him tips on certain situations.

Despite being captured, Snake rescues Holly and finds a note on a carrier pigeon, giving him a radio frequency to contact Marv. Through codec conversations between Madnar and Master Miller, Snake deciphers the message and is tasked to find Gustava Heffner, an StB agent who is Marv's bodyguard. Snake finds Gustava, rescues Madnar, and sets out to find Marv on another part of the island. When crossing a bridge made for one person only, Gray Fox, piloting Metal Gear D, destroys the bridge and kills Gustava who was walking across the bridge. Gustava dies in Snake's arms, thanking him for recognizing her pre StB origin as an Olympic Figure Skater. Having to backtrack around for a new way to get across, Snake gets a hang glider and flies over, and later finds Marv dead in a room along with Madnar nearby. Holly messages Snake and informs him of Madnar's betrayal because of the scientific community's rejection of his theories. Now working voluntarily on Metal Gear, Madnar attempts to choke out Snake, but Snake easily dispatches him and recovers the MSX cartridge with the OILIX formula.

In an act of absolution, Madnar reveals the secret to eliminating Metal Gear D, and Snake is promptly dropped via trapdoor into a chamber where the waiting Metal Gear sits, being piloted by Gray Fox. Using grenades, Snake is able to destroy Metal Gear D, but the ensuing explosion causes all of his equipment to catch fire. Down to his fists, Snake battles Gray Fox in a minefield in a battle of FOXHOUND's two greatest soldiers. Snake wins the battle and Fox reveals to him that he was the number one fan all along and relinquishes the title of Fox to him. Snake recaptures the OILIX cartridge, but is lead by a voice leading him to confront the very much alive Big Boss. For the second time in his life, Snake fights his former commanding officer and through smart use of raiding storage rooms is able to fashion a makeshift flamethrower through a lighter and an aerosol spray can. Snake incinerates Big Boss and definitively kills him for good. With his objective complete, he and Holly find each other and begin to make their escape despite hoards of enemy troops following them. Just when it seems that the two are caught in a dead end and being surrounded by enemy forces, the rescue chopper intended for Snake, delivers a withering amount of gunfire and saves the day. Holly and Snake finally make their way off Zanzibar Land.

Following this, Snake is freed from his nightmares relating to Outer Heaven and re-enters his retirement for the second time.

Weapons and Equipment

Snake encounters and can use many weapons and items on his quest to find Dr. Marv. Below are all usable items that can be found in the game.


Handgun: The standard military issued pistol, modelled after the Beretta, the handgun delivers is the first weapon Snake finds is useful in eliminating enemies from medium to short distances. The handgun can be equipped with a silencer to prevent alerting enemies during usage.

Sub Machine Gun: The sub machine gun can be used to deliver a wave of bullets and can also be equipped with a silencer. The full auto effect does have a drawback of not firing in a straight line, however, the SMG can take out groups of enemies.

Grenade: The grenade is helpful for taking out troops who are on another side of a wall or for fighting someone on a ledge. Grenades detonate on impact and go exactly where the crosshairs are, making them easy to use and easy to predict where they go.

Stinger: An anti-air missile, the stinger is only used for fighting against the Hind. This weapon is aimed through the radar and will strike the location after a few seconds. After the encounter with the Hind, the stinger does not serve a purpose.

RC Missile: These guided missiles can be used to strategically take out foes across the screen through skillful maneuvering.

Plastic Explosive: A potent explosive device, this weapon can be used to take out sections of the wall that are hollow. Enemies can also be lead to them and killed as the plastic explosive is remote detonated, allowing for clever traps to be built.

Mine: A hidden weapon, mines are not seen onscreen and can only be seen by the mine detector and picked up by crouching over the mine. A limit of sixteen mines can be placed and appear on the radar as solid white dots.

Camouflage Mat: Helpful in stealth situations, the camo mat automatically takes the appearance of the surface it is placed on and can allow Snake to crawl under and be hidden from enemy view.

Gas Grenade: This weapon is useful in determining wind direction by watching the direction the gas goes. Unfortunately, it doesn't serve much of a purpose past that.

Mouse: A robotic windup toy, this mouse is useful for distracting enemies and sneaking by them while the mouse occupies the enemy.

Lighter: A regular lighter, it serves no function unless paired with another item.


Cigarettes: Snake's lucky charm, cigarettes can detect lasers when thermal goggles are not in the inventory. However, use of cigarettes will slowly deplete Snake's health. Using cigarettes and tuning the codec to 140.07 allows the player to cycle randomly through the background music of the game.

Bandanna: A Subsistence only bonus, the bandanna grants Snake infinite ammo with any weapon armed.

Night Vision Goggles: Necessary for dark rooms and corridors, these goggles can illuminate even the darkest of locations.

Gas Mask: This mask doubles the oxygen count when Snake enters rooms that have gas flowing in and slows the depletion of oxygen as well. Useful when no obvious door away from the gas is present or when traversing across gas-filled rooms.

Body Armor: An important item, body armor halves the damage taken by bullets and is very useful against bosses and tight corridors where avoiding bullets is not easy.

Mine Detector: Shows all maps in the vicinity on the map as solid white dots, which can then be defused by crouching over the mines.

Hang Glider: Needed to get to the other side of Zanzibarland and can only be used at a high altitude. It serves no battle purpose.

Cardboard Box: A Metal Gear signature, the cardboard box, with the destination going to Zanzibarland, can be used not only for sneaking purposes but for transport purposes by posing as materials.

Bucket: A container large enough to hold Snake, the bucket works similar to the cardboard box.

Cold Medicine: A good counter for the common cold, Snake can use cold medicine to prevent him from sneezing and alerting enemy forces.

Cassette Tape: A tape that has the Zanzibarland national anthem, the tape can be played and stop all forces onscreen as they pay tribute to their nation.

Egg: An egg taken from the biology lab, the egg will contain a snake or an owl which affect the gameplay differently.

Brooch: Gustava's personal item with the Zanzibarland logo embedded in it, the brooch can be altered physically with certain applications of temperature.

IC Cards (1-9, Red, Blue, Green): IC Cards are needed in exploring Zanzibarland and unlocking doors to continue the operation. Color cards are master cards of certain IC cards and make cycling through the keycards easier.

Cartridge: Master copy of Dr. Marv's OILIX formula placed within the MSX cart.

Rations (B1-B3): A military standby, rations can restore health and when equipped, Snake will automatically use them if he about to die. Each ration has a different package of food and can be used in game for different effects.

Spray: A typical aerosol can, it serves no function unless paired with another item.


Metal Gear 2 was released in Japan on the MSX2 home computer system on July 19, 1990. With the MSX2 never truly breaking out of its Japan and European market, Metal Gear 2 saw a mobile phone adaptation developed for Japan. Fans would not see an official North American released until 15 years later when Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake was released on the PlayStation 2 bundled with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. This edition carries many of the gameplay changes such as the new portraits, renamed characters, gameplay tweaks, a boss survival mode after completing the game once, and a new easy difficulty for beginners.

The re-release of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake with updates was released for the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on March 30th, 2010.


1. "Theme of Solid Snake" – 3:17

2. "Zanzibar Breeze" – 3:06

3. "A Notice" – 0:12

4. "First Instruction" – 0:54

5. "Frequency 140.85" – 2:50

6. "Level 3 Warning" – 1:14

7. "Return to Dust" – 2:47

8. "Killers" – 1:37

9. "Tears" – 3:15

10. "The Front Line" – 2:08

11. "Chasing the Green Beret" – 0:27

12. "Shallow" – 0:53

13. "Battle Against Time" – 1:15

14. "Advance Immediately" – 2:07

15. "Mechanic" – 1:10

16. "Imminent" – 1:50

17. "Night Fall" – 1:40

18. "Level 1 Warning" – 2:17

19. "An Advance" – 1:39

20. "Reprieve of the Doctor" – 1:28

21. "Natasha's Death" – 2:21

22. "Zanzibarland National Anthem" – 0:16

23. "Swing, Swing ~ "A" Jam Blues" – 1:31

24. "Zanzibarland National Anthem Part 2" – 0:16

25. "Under the Cloud of Darkness" – 1:26

26. "Fight Into Enemy Territory" – 0:50

27. "Infiltration" – 1:31

28. "In Security" – 1:15

29. "Wavelet" – 2:22

30. "Big Boss" – 1:02

31. "Spiral" – 1:32

32. "Escape" – 1:57

33. "Return" – 2:19

34. "Red Sun" – 3:11

35. "Farewell" – 1:51

36. "After Image" – 0:07

37. "Disposable Life" – 0:11