“Snake? Snake? Snaaaaaake?!”
Metal Gear Solid is one of the best stealth-based videogames of all time. It not only combines solid gameplay and interesting characters, it also brings to life a sweeping, politically intriguing and bombastic storyline that feels as intimate as it is cataclysmically intense. It’s an absolute must-play in the world of videogames.
If you’re in the mood for more espionage or military thrillers, fret not! We’ve gathered together 10 books to check out when you’ve finished playing Metal Gear Solid. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favourites, do comment below and let us know!
Crossfire by JC Pollock
Crossfire is an action-packed novel centering around ex-CIA agent Greg Dillman, who uncovers a plot to assassinate the U.S. President. As he delves deeper, he finds an even more sinister plan at play involving global nuclear war. As a result, Dillman must navigate a treacherous path of double-crosses, assassinations, and intrigue to prevent catastrophe.
The focus on espionage, assassination, and global conspiracy in this book closely aligns with themes in Metal Gear Solid. Dillman’s struggle against a shadowy organization parallels Snake’s battles against various clandestine groups.
The New York trilogy by Paul Auster
The New York trilogy depicts a collection of interrelated detective stories (City of Glass, Ghosts, The Locked Room) which delves into existential themes, as the protagonists struggle with identity, isolation, and obsession in their search for answers. The narrative bends and twists in unexpected ways, blurring the line between reality and fiction.
While not a military thriller, the trilogy’s emphasis on identity, existential crisis, and labyrinthine plots reflect the complex narrative and psychological themes found in Metal Gear Solid.
Genocidal Organ by Project Itoh
In a dystopian future, a veteran intelligence officer is assigned to find the mastermind behind a wave of genocides. The culprit is manipulating entire nations into chaos and war using language as a means for doing so.
The novel’s protagonist must navigate a world of state surveillance, warfare, and philosophical debates to stop him. And it’s this blend of political intrigue, warfare, and thought control that really brings striking parallels to the themes and motifs found in Metal Gear Solid.
Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry
The Joe Ledger series unsurprisingly follows a guy called Joe Ledger, a detective rapidly recruited into a special ops unit that fights terrorist threats of a scientific and supernatural nature.
The stories blend military action, cutting-edge science, and horror together, with Ledger and his team facing everything from bio-engineered plagues to zombies.
The series’ combination of tactical espionage, military technology, and global threats certainly mirrors many of the scenarios and gameplay found in Metal Gear Solid. Ledger’s role as a special operative is also another similarity with Metal Gear’s protagonist, Solid Snake.
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
In this young adult urban fantasy, Clary Fray continues her journey as a Shadowhunter, battling demons and dark forces in an alternate New York City. She must rescue her mother from a deathlike coma and unravel family secrets that link her fate to an ancient battle.
While primarily a fantasy, the secret world of Shadowhunters, intrigue, family secrets, and battles against hidden foes echo some thematic elements of hidden warfare and personal discovery found in Metal Gear Solid. However, the similarities are more thematic and less direct compared to the other novels on this list.
Zero by Ales Kot
Zero is a graphic novel that certainly has a lot of similarities to Metal Gear Solid. The story follows Edward Zero, a professional spy and assassin, as he navigates a complex world of espionage, warfare, and existential threats.
Throughout the series, Zero is forced to confront his past, morality, and the nature of violence itself.
There’s some resonate themes of espionage, warfare, betrayal, not to mention a morally complex protagonist, all of which deeply aligning with key parts of the Metal Gear Solid series.
Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow
Created by Masamune Shirow, this manga follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg law enforcement officer in a future where cybernetic enhancements are the norm.
The story delves into political intrigue, cybercrime, and philosophical questions regarding humanity and identity in a technologically advanced society.
Both Metal Gear Solid and Ghost in the Shell share a deep interest in technology’s role in society, exploring themes of cybernetics, political intrigue, and the philosophical questions about humanity and reality.
The Red Trilogy by Linda Nagata
In this military sci-fi series, Lieutenant James Shelley leads a high-tech squad that are linked through a neural network. When he begins to perceive “The Red,” a mysterious force that pushes him towards specific actions, the series delves into warfare, corporate and political intrigue, as well as existential questions.
The trilogy’s exploration of military technology, conspiracies, and an enigmatic force guiding the protagonist, reflects the themes and ideas inherent in Metal Gear Solid, making it an absolute must-read.
Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy
This series centers around Jack Ryan, a historian-turned-CIA analyst (and later President), as he unravels and combats various international threats. From terrorist plots to nuclear warfare, Ryan’s battles are grounded in political realism and detailed exploration of military technology and strategy.
Both series delve into the world of political intrigue, espionage, and military tactics. The focus on complex geopolitical scenarios, ethical dilemmas, and the blend of technology and strategy aligns with key themes in Metal Gear Solid.
The Gulf War Did Not Take Place by Jean Baudrillard
This philosophical work is a collection of three essays in which Baudrillard argues that the Gulf War was not a “real” war in the traditional sense. Instead, it was a carefully managed media event. Within the work, there are claims that the media’s portrayal of the war created a hyperreal simulation that obscured the actual violence and suffering, transforming the conflict into a sanitized and controlled spectacle.
While not a fictional work like Metal Gear Solid, Baudrillard’s book shares thematic resonance with the video game series. Metal Gear Solid often delves into the idea of blurring reality, simulation, and perception, questioning the nature of warfare in a mediated and technology-driven world. The game’s exploration of misinformation and control certainly aligns with Baudrillard’s philosophical arguments about modern warfare.
These are just a few books that will give you the vibe and feel of Metal Gear Solid. What did you think of the list? Have you read any of these books before? Or are we missing a must-read novel? Comment below and let us know!