Five stories of tactical comedy in Metal Gear Solid 5

Metal Gear Solid V Phantom Pain chopper

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Big Boss may not talk much in Metal Gear Solid V, but if he did, he'd have some stories to tell. We'll be his voice today, then, with some of our favorite, stupidest, funniest moments from all the free-form infiltrating and extracting we've done for the past week. These unexpected narratives caused by systems and simulations bouncing off each other are best thing about MGS V, so keep it going with your stories in the comments.

As always, if you're extra sensitive to spoilers, proceed with caution, but we've kept it really light. We talk vaguely about missions we've done, but not any cutscenes or dialogue or characters other than the well-known ones.

Where eagles dare

By Tim Clark

Before Metal Gear Solid V, this was the greatest shot I’ve ever pulled off in my life: I’m in bed on a Greek holiday (not a euphemism) with my then girlfriend, and we hear the telltale EEEEEE of a mosquito. I react particularly badly to their bites so hate them worse than war. In the halflight it flits over the bed and I throw the book I’m reading—a horror short story collection, as always—at it, making a snapping motion with my hand as the book exits at speed. It slams shut in mid-air and falls back to the bed. “No fucking way”, she says. Excited, I flick through the pages, find the bloody insectoid mulch and grin: “Way.”

Here’s my MGS V shot that’s better: It’s Afghanistan. Broad daylight. I spot the circling silhouette of what I immediately realise is an eagle. It’s a long, long way off and I don’t feel like I’ve got time to pop a Pentazemin to steady Boss’s hand. I need the eagle badly because at that point my offshore menagerie resembled a dilapidated municipal park in which two mangy jackals are the big crowd puller. I swing the tranq sniper in a lazy arc, trying to lead the target, and squeeze the trigger a single time. THWIP. The mighty eagle is a puff of falling feathers. Before you can say 420 blaze it MLG no scope (okay, technically I scoped) I’m jogging across the desert to retrieve my avian prize. And… it’s another raven. Well goddamn. I jam it in my pocket anyway, reasoning that London Zoo wasn’t built on eagles alone. And at least I can say I’ve nailed the company emblem. Remember: when it comes to conflict, logo choice is important.

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A little overprotective

By Tom Marks

I was sneaking through an enemy outpost, silently incapacitating each guard under the watchful eye of my newest buddy, Quiet. They would make fine additions to my totally-not-kidnapped army at Mother Base, but the specialist I really wanted was just ahead. He was the last guard awake and was getting suspicious, so I had to move fast. I turn a corner and sprint straight towards him which, understandably, startles him quite a bit.

The slo-mo kicks in as Reflex Mode begins and I bring the iron sights of my tranquilizer gun up to Big Boss’ one good eye, centering the specialist’s head as the target. But then, quietly off in the distance, I hear a gunshot. Where did that come from? Did I miss a guard? I couldn’t have. I realize there was only one other option, as I notice Quiet’s laser sight trained squarely on the guard I am trying to extract—preferably with his head still on his shoulders.


Everything is still in slow motion as I squeeze the trigger and my target instantly falls asleep. He begins to limply fall towards the ground in a race against Quiet’s pinpoint aim. There is a pregnant pause as I think maybe I prevented the inevitable. I watch his sleeping head explode through the sights of my gun. Captured guard post. Thanks for the backup, Quiet.

This happened while I was streaming on our Twitch channel, the webcam in the top right was my genuine reaction the moment it happened. It was startling.

A Murder of Crows

By Chris Livingston

I’ve only just begun playing Phantom Pain, having spent most of the past two weeks on Mad Max, so I’m still firmly in the You Can Attach Balloons To Everything? phase of the game. After ballooning friendlies, enemies, bears, sheep, and one adorable dog, I naturally became curious as to whether I could attach a balloon to a crow.

Unfortunately, I became curious about this while I was in the middle of a mission. I’d been tasked with rescuing an engineer from a camp, and as night fell I crept past the barricades, marking foes and planning my approach. That’s when a crow flew over my head, and while my first thought was “Why are there only ever crows in games? There are a billion kinds of birds, but in games it’s always crows.” My second thought: “Hey, can I balloon that crow?” The crow landed on some tanks on a raised platform near me, so shot it with the tranq gun and it fell asleep.


Problem: it didn’t fall to the ground, and there didn’t seem to be a way to climb up onto the tanks to attach a balloon. There was no ladder, and nothing adjacent I could use to climb and jump over. I wondered if I could steal a truck, drive it over, and climb on top of it, but I wasn’t sure. The Russian soldier who walked up behind me while I was standing in the middle of the street staring at a sleeping crow wasn’t sure either, but he was pretty sure I shouldn’t be there at all.

The alarm was sounded, and I was ripped up by bullets and forced to dodge mortar rounds. Also, I stopped to mark the crow’s location (with a ‘C’ appropriately enough), and taking the time to do that got me shot up even more. So, I did what any grizzled veteran would do when he’s almost dead because a napping crow distracted him: I called in air support. As the chopper arrived, I noticed with horror that I’d summoned it to the exact spot where the crow was sleeping, so rather than help the chopper fight the Soviets, I just watched worriedly from a distance, hoping my feathered friend wouldn’t get hurt.


The crow was unharmed. The helicopter, however, was completely shot to shit. It limped through the air across the valley and exploded against a cliff as 5,000 BossBux were immediately deducted from my bank account to buy a new chopper. (Also, two of my men were needlessly dead due to my crow fixation. Eh, I’ll just balloon a few more.)

Eventually, I shot everyone dead, and still unable to reach my sleepy crow, I gave up and entered the compound. I suddenly heard “Caw, caw” as two more crows flew over my head. Another chance! As I took aim I heard another sound, the iconic exclamation point sound of a guard spotting you while you shoot darts at crows. Oh, come on. I’m trying to perform important balloon science, here! After killing everyone, I looked around for the crows, and saw one land on top of a pole. I tranq’d it, it flopped to the ground sound asleep, and I finally got my answer. When ‘rescuing’ a sedated crow from a war zone, no balloons are allowed. Big Boss apparently just shoves it in his pocket. I got a ‘C’ on the mission.

The final viscount-down

By James Davenport

There’s a mission in the first half of the game where you’re tasked with tailing a Russian interpreter as he walks around a massive camp between several prisoners. You’re to listen in on his translated interrogations in hopes of singling out a specific viscount. The guy is valuable for a reason I lost between all the acronyms and war monologuing, but none of this mattered after I set off an alert state almost immediately. Doing so starts an indeterminate timer during which the prisoners are killed off one by one. Since I hadn’t tailed the interpreter to each prisoner’s location, I had no idea where the viscount was. I kept searching, figuring the game would tell me if I failed the mission. After two hours of desperate smoking and searching, nothing. I turned off my PC in frustration.

The next day, I finished the mission in ten minutes. (If you don't want it spoiled, stop reading and skip to Sam's story.) After heading to my favorite vantage point, I chanced to look behind me. Just 100 yards north of where I spent most of the previous evening was a shack and two figures. A quick scope informed me that, hoo boy, there he was, the viscount, and guarded by a single soldier. That poor soldier. He was probably the lame duck of the bunch, assigned the easy gig, left on his lonesome in the middle of nowhere. I shot him in the knees and sent the viscount back home via fulton. S-Rank.

Mgs Kneecaps

As it turns out, my video game conditioning worked against me. The viscount might have been dead during my first playthrough, but the biggest revelation was that he wasn’t just spawning in. I thought he’d just apparate when needed, but his character existed in the world persistently through day and night, and he was simply transported between the Jerry shack and interrogation room on a schedule. The problem was I’d interrupted it with an early alert state. Probably that other guy I shot in the knees and left in the road. So, the proclamation holds true: Metal Gear Solid 5 respects a player’s intelligence. Inversely, it also respects a player’s lack of intelligence.

Sorry about the leg

By Samuel Roberts

The goal? Extract an Afrikaans interpreter and send him to Mother Base where he can be brainwashed into joining my cause of extracting bears with tiny balloons and shooting Soviet soldiers in the head for no reason. To get to him, I have to follow a guy who can lead me to his location—I follow him across a dark field and even rescue a prisoner along the way, because I’m just a bloody good guy like that. After sniping a guard in a watchtower with a sniper rifle, I sneak around the back of a well-lit house where the soldier I was following and my target are talking. I dart one in the head then the other in quick succession, then hop over the window to retrieve my target.

I decide to try throwing him out of the window, which is a little brutal but makes a nice thud when they hit the dirt.

D-Dog is in the field with me. He tells me there’s a guy patrolling just outside the front door, so that’s a no go for a silent route. I decide to leave the way I came in, over the window sill, and consider how I can drop my guy over the ledge. I decide to try throwing him out of the window, which is a little brutal but makes a nice thud when they hit the dirt. Sadly, instead of getting him out the building, throwing the interpreter gets the guy jammed on top of a shelf right next to the window. He’s stuck!

Normally in this situation when you want to wake a guy up in MGSV, you just have to melee attack them. Unfortunately, Snake can’t reach the interpreter that high up, so that doesn’t work. The only solution is to wake him up by shooting him with a real bullet. Sadly, I’m only carrying a loud sniper rifle and a grenade launcher, and I neither want to attract the guards’ attention nor blast the interpreter to kingdom come with an explosive. My only choice is to call in a silenced pistol from a supply drop and try shooting the guy in the leg. I head outside and do just that, picking up my pistol and heading back indoors.

I shoot the interpreter in the leg. He wakes up and falls off the top of the shelf immediately, and spots Snake just in time for me to slam him to the ground, knocking him straight out again. I decide to just carry the guy out the front door this time and shoot the nearby guard in the head. I call in a chopper, pile the guy onto it and complete the mission without getting caught. My new recruit may not be walking for a while, but I like that MGSV let me solve my own blunder by shooting someone to wake them up. GOTY.

Share your best stories and mishaps in the comments (link to a screenshot if you like), and we may put them in another article!


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