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16 Things The First Metal Gear Solid Doesn’t Outright Tell You

1998’s Metal Gear Solid is widely available via the recently released Master Collection containing it and a number of other essential Metal Gear titles. While this collection isn’t the best way to explore these games, given its lacking features and technical issues, the strengths of these classic titles often outweighs the discomforts of a lackluster release.

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Read More: How To Unlock Metal Gear Solid’s New Game Plus And Best Items

And if you’re new to MGS1 or haven’t played in many years, you might find stepping back in time to the first Metal Gear game to bear the Solid title a little rough. With outdated and clunky controls by today’s standards, it’s easy to get tripped up, especially in a game that demands strict stealth and difficult shootouts to survive.

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But MGS1 is a very learnable game despite its older mechanics, with many techniques that can save you time and keep you alive while making the game more fun in the end.

Runnin’ and gunnin’

In 1998’s MGS1, you press the left-most face button (square on PlayStation, X on Xbox, Y on Switch) to aim your weapon. If you try to move your analog stick, all you’ll do is direct Snake which way to aim.

But lest you think that in 1998 we couldn’t aim and run at the same time! By holding the weapon and crouch button together, you can run and gun. This is really helpful for maintaining mobility during boss fights, and during the famous stairway fight scene later in the game.

To run and gun, start by holding the weapon button down first, then rest the other part of your thumb on the crouch button just below it.

Speaking of aiming accurately…

MGS2 dramatically simplified aiming by allowing the player to use first-person view while shooting. That didn’t exist in MGS1. Luckily, Snake has an auto-aim that triggers when a threat is within a certain range and he’s aiming with the Socom.

The tricky part, of course, is that Snake typically locks onto an enemy moments before they’re within range to spot you. To get around this, observe the radar in the upper right corner to spot an enemy you can’t see on the screen yet. Then, aim your weapon and watch for Snake to lock on to the target before firing.

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Metal Gear Solid VR Missions, the 1999 spin-off included in the Master Collection, provides great practice for this.

You can tactically reload by unequipping and re-equipping your weapons

Tactical reloading, which is when you reload before you’ve fully emptied a magazine of bullets, is standard practice in almost all shooters. But since MGS doesn’t have a “reload button,” you might not think it’s possible.

Unless you’re down to your last magazine, you can tactically reload your weapon by quickly double-tapping R1 on PlayStation, RB on Xbox, and R on Switch.

This also works in MGS2 and 3, but you need to use R2, RT, or ZR, on PS5, Xbox, and Switch, respectively.

Keep Rations equipped to avoid death automatically

While normally you’ll pull up Rations in the menu and consume them with the action button to heal, you can also leave them equipped to heal. While Rations are equipped, if your health reaches zero, the next available Ration will automatically be used to prevent you from dying.

This is very handy during boss fights where you might be too busy moving around and trying to aim, which can make babysitting your health a little tricky.

You don’t have to crawl to mute your footsteps

Early in the game, you’ll encounter special floors that make your footsteps louder. “Master Miller” will call you up to tell you about a technique he calls “Stalking,” which apparently mutes your footsteps on these special floors. However, Snake will state that he can’t do it. But here’s a neat trick: You kinda sorta still can.

While MGS1 doesn’t have any other walking speeds aside from running, crawling, and moving while pressed against a wall, you can sort of fake “Stalking” by tapping the d-pad in slow pulses. On the first press, Snake will move forward; but take your thumb off the d-pad and he’ll stop. Repeat this pattern, and you’ll move silently over loud floors.

It’s not only faster than crawling, but it also allows you to freely aim and fire your weapon should you need to. You can also pass over loud floors by pressing yourself against a wall and moving.

You can’t pet the dogs, but you can get them to pee on you (it’s worth it!)

Around half-way through MGS, you’ll encounter some wolves who are all too eager to fuck your shit up if you’re not around Meryl (or haven’t gotten a unique item from a later boss fight). But if you get them to pee on you instead, you’re safe.

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Getting them to pee on you is a little awkward. You’ll need to be navigating the area with Meryl and then, uh, you’ll need to hit her. Naturally, she’ll get mad and will direct the wolves to attack you. Simply equip a cardboard box before they get to you, and they will pee on you instead. Now, anytime you’re wearing that box, the dogs won’t attack you.

You can fast travel via cardboard box!

A cute internal game mechanic lets you easily move between three different areas on Shadow Moses Island. To do this, you’ll need to equip a cardboard box in a truck. We cover how this works and where to find the boxes in our dedicated guide on MGS1’s fast travel system.

You can attach C4 to a guard’s back

This one’s overkill for sure, but it’s damn fun. Sneak up behind a guard while you have C4 equipped and hit the weapon button. If you’re close enough, Snake will attach a C4 charge on the guard. You can detonate this charge whenever you want, as the guard is walking around. It’s a good idea to do so while they’re near other guards so you can take multiple forces out at once.

You can’t strangle an opponent if you’re also moving

If you’re trying to put your enemy in a chokehold but keep knocking them over instead, it’s because you haven’t stopped moving. Before you hit the weapon button while unarmed, be sure to stop moving entirely. If you’re running up to an enemy, the timing will be tricky, but it’s totally a learnable mechanic.

You can also knock guards out for a (mostly) non-lethal run

When you have an enemy in a chokehold, you can rapidly tap the weapon button to break their neck. You’ll get a lower rating at the end of the game if you kill too many guards, though. So, instead of killing a guard, you can knock them out by tapping the weapon button every time they start squirming while in a chokehold. Do this enough times and they’ll drop with stars over their head.

You should take that as your invitation to get out of the area, however, as unconscious guards wake up rather quickly in MGS1.

You can’t get a 100-percent no-kill run in MGS1 due to certain scripted sequences, but practicing techniques like this will help out your score at the end of the game.

You can peek out from corners

Any time you’re in first-person view, you can press L1/R1 on PlayStation, LB/RB on Xbox, or L/R on Switch to lean from side to side. This is an easy way to peer around a corner without exposing yourself as easily.

Use the Codec frequently

There’s a ton of stuff packed into the Codec calls— everything from weapon trivia, history lessons, philosophy, and even background information on specific bosses if you call during a fight. You might also learn a few handy gameplay tips as well.

You can cheese the Ninja boss fight with Chaff Grenades

Gray Fox sure as heck wants you to hurt him, but if you’re struggling to keep up with his demands for melee combat, you could try chucking chaff grenades to gum up his cybernetic suit. Unless you have the bandana (which grants infinite ammo and can be unlocked at the end of the game), you’ll be limited as to how many chaff grenades you can carry during the fight.

If a particular phase of the Ninja battle is giving you a hard time, you should definitely save the chaff grenades for those tricky parts.

Don’t miss out on certain items!

Many items are given to you in MGS1. Others, however, are easily missed. Here are some items you’ll definitely want to snag in case you weren’t aware:

Thermal Goggles (reveals characters wearing stealth camo, claymore mines, and motion-sensing lasers): Found in the open room in the Tank Hangar OR in Nuclear Warhead Storage Building B2 behind a Level 6 Key door.Gas Mask (slows down how much O2 you lose in areas with gas): Found in Nuclear Warhead Storage Building B2 behind a Level 3 Key door.Body Armor (reduces how much damage you take): Found in Nuclear Warhead Storage Building B2 behind a Level 6 Key door OR in the first floor of the Blast Furnace.Camera (takes pictures): Found in the Tank Hangar B2 South Armory behind a Level 2 Key door.

Post-game codenames explained

At the end of the game, you’ll be given a codename. Your name is based on a variety of factors including how many enemies you killed, how many Rations you used, your full play time, how many times you were spotted, and the difficulty level.

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