Enemy status refers to various states of alert that affect the behavior of enemy soldiers in the Metal Gear games.

In all Metal Gear games, there are at least two enemy statuses: Normal mode and Alert mode.

  • Normal mode - Situation normal, when the enemy has not detected the player. In this mode, enemies generally patrol along a certain route.
  • Alert mode - In Alert mode, the enemy will converge on the player and attack. The mode is accompanied by an exclamation point appearing above the alerted enemy, a change in background music (BGM), and the jamming of any radar equipment. In some cases, the alert mode will also have enemy soldiers requesting backup to deal with the intruder, which may or may not be granted. Alert mode remains in effect until the enemy either loses sight of the player or is defeated.

Metal Gear

In the original Metal Gear, there are two enemy statuses: Normal mode and Alert mode.

Name Description
Normal mode Situation normal, when the enemy has not detected the player. Enemy soldiers will walk their rounds (patrol routes), checking to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.
Alert mode When the enemy detects the player, they go into Alert mode.
  1. If the symbol for when the player is detected is “!,” only the enemy soldiers on the current screen will attack the player. The player can return to Normal mode by either killing all the enemy soldiers on screen or by moving to a different screen.
  2. If the symbol for when the player is detected is “!!,” or if the player is spotted by a surveillance camera or a sensor, the enemy will receive reinforcements from off the screen. In this case, the enemy will come after the player, even if the player moves to a different screen. To return to Normal mode, kill a certain number of enemy soldiers or enter a different area, such as by getting on an elevator.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake

In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, there are four enemy statuses: Normal mode, Noise mode, Alert mode, and Evasion mode. Metal Gear 2 introduces radar jamming as a feature of Alert mode, and the countdown timer, which determines when the next mode occurs, depending on the player's actions. According to the game plan by Hideo Kojima, the increased amount of enemy statuses compared to the prior game was in an effort to make the infiltration simulation even more realistic.

Name Description
Normal mode (Level 1) This is the normal mode, when the player has avoided detection by enemy soldiers and surveillance cameras. Enemy soldiers will walk their rounds (patrol routes), checking to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary. Various sensors will also be operating, watching for intruders. The radar will be functioning, so read the enemy movements within the radar and proceed in a way that will avoid detection.
Noise mode (Level 1) If the player makes sounds in Normal mode (punching or footsteps), enemy soldiers will stop patrolling and enter Noise mode to investigate the source of the sound. Once they confirm that nothing is out of the ordinary, they will return to their patrol routes and go back to Normal mode.
Alert mode (Level 3) The player will enter into Alert mode if the player is detected by guards or sensors. The BGM will change and the enemy will attack the player, calling for reinforcements. The radar will display the word “Alert” and show how much LIFE the player has left.
Evasion mode (Level 2) If the player is in Alert mode and escapes to a screen where there are no enemies, the player will enter Evasion mode. At this time, the player will have two enemy soldiers following the player in pursuit. They will search for the player in this screen for a set period of time. The radar will display the word “Evasion” and show how much time is left before they give up their pursuit.

Metal Gear Solid and Ghost Babel

Metal Gear Solid and Ghost Babel maintain the enemy statuses from Metal Gear 2, with the former adapting them for the game's 3D environment.

Name Description
Infiltration mode The standard mode when enemy soldiers or surveillance cameras have not discovered Snake. In this mode, enemies generally patrol along a certain route.
Noise mode When the enemy soldiers hear a noise in Infiltration mode, they leave their patrol route and investigate in the direction of the noise. In this mode, the enemy’s field of vision is displayed on the radar as a red cone. If the enemy soldiers search the area where the noise was made and find nothing unusual, they return to their normal patrol routes. The player can intentionally make a noise to lure the enemy soldiers in a particular direction. When the player kills enemies, they might drop an item.
Alert mode When an enemy soldier or a surveillance camera discovers Snake, the game enters Alert mode. In Alert mode, the enemy soldiers call in reinforcements and attack Snake.

If the soldiers lose sight of Snake, the game enters Evasion mode. In this mode, because the enemies already know that Snake is nearby, they don’t enter Noise mode even if a noise is made.

Evasion mode If the enemy soldiers rediscover Snake in Evasion mode, the game reenters Alert mode. However, if the player stays out of sight of the enemy until the counter reaches zero, the game once again enters Infiltration mode, and the enemies quickly return to their patrol routes. In Evasion mode, just as in Infiltration mode, the player can make noise to lure the enemy in a particular direction.

Sons of Liberty, The Twin Snakes, and Metal Gear Acid

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty introduces the Caution mode, which occurs after Evasion mode. The player can also prevent Alert mode after being spotted by preventing the enemy from contacting their HQ by radio. This system is carried over to the remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and the Metal Gear Acid games.

Name Description
Normal mode This is the default state, when the player has not been discovered by enemy soldiers or surveillance cameras. While in Normal mode, enemy soldiers will follow a set patrol route. When a soldier in Normal mode hears a noise or spots something suspicious, such as footprints or bloodstains, he will leave his patrol route and search the surrounding area. If he finds nothing out of the ordinary in the area, the soldier will return to his patrol route.
Alert mode This is the state in which the player has been discovered by enemy soldiers or surveillance cameras. In Alert mode, enemy soldiers call for backup and attack. The player can get out of Alert mode only by eluding the enemy soldiers or defeating a certain number of them.
Evasion mode In this mode, enemy soldiers will search the vicinity after losing sight of the player. When the player eludes the enemy soldiers by hiding under a table or in a locker, the enemy soldiers may perform a “Clearing.” This means that the soldiers will conduct a sweep of the area and “clean out” any spots where they suspect the player may be hiding. When the clearing is complete, or after searching for a certain period of time, the enemy soldiers will switch to Caution mode.
Caution mode In Caution mode, enemy soldiers will be more vigilant than usual in their patrols. In certain cases, extra soldiers may be added to the patrols as well. This mode is automatically triggered if enemy soldiers discover a dead body or upon waking up from a sleeping/unconscious state.

Snake Eater to Peace Walker

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater maintains the enemy statuses from its predecessor, but removes the ability for the player to avoid Alert mode after being spotted. This system carries over to Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

Name Description
Normal mode Occurs when Snake has not been spotted by the enemy. In Normal Mode, enemy soldiers will usually patrol an assigned area (patrol route) and check for any disturbances. Some soldiers will stand in a fixed position and keep a lookout. Enemy soldiers have senses of sight and hearing. If they hear a noise or see something suspicious, they will leave their patrol route and investigate the area. If nothing unusual is found, the soldiers will return to their assigned patrol route. Enemy soldiers have a number of different statuses, each represented by a different mark above the soldier’s head.
Alert mode Occurs when the enemy spots Snake. In Alert Mode, enemy soldiers will call their comrades on the radio and attack. To get out of Alert Mode, Snake must either escape from the enemy or defeat a certain number of them. Once Snake has escaped from the enemy’s line of sight and the number in the Mode Gauge reaches zero, the game will switch to Evasion Mode.
Evasion mode Occurs when the enemy has lost sight of Snake and is actively searching the area for him. In this mode, Snake may be found while hiding in trees, in lockers, or under tables. Once the number in the Mode Gauge reaches zero, the game will switch to Caution Mode.
Caution mode In Caution Mode, enemy soldiers are more vigilant than usual in their patrols. In some locations, the number of soldiers on patrol may be increased. Once the number in the Mode Gauge reaches zero, the game will switch back to Normal Mode.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Due to the more action-focused nature of the game, the enemy status is revamped to a certain degree. Namely, if the player is caught, they are to fight the enemies until all are vanquished.

The ending for the game gives a subtle reference to enemy statuses. In particular, when Sunny accidentally steps on Blade Wolf's tail in shock at George's innuendo, Blade Wolf says "Alert" and then says "Alert... rescinded" before being knocked out by a couple of books falling on him.

Metal Gear Solid V

Both Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain retain many of the enemy statuses of its predecessor.

Name Description
Normal mode The default state, which occurs when Snake has not been detected by the enemy. Many enemies patrol along a fixed path (patrol route), while others remain in one place and keep watch. If there is a disturbance (If they see or hear Snake), they will briefly leave their patrol to investigate, often contacting CP via radio before engaging. If they deem the disturbance to be no threat, they will radio their findings to CP, and then return to their normal patrols. If they find something concerning, they will radio as such to CP, putting the base (and sometimes the surrounding bases) on Alert mode.
Alert mode Occurs when one or more soldiers have noticed something suspicious as a result of Snake's actions. Unlike the other titles in the series, the enemy has not yet spotted you when a base is in Alert mode. Instead, they either suspect or know of your presence in the base. During alert mode, soldiers often conduct searches of certain areas or even the entirety of a base. Alert mode typically lasts about 3 in-game days without any intervention. If the soldiers do not find anything to perpetuate the alert status within that time, the base will return to Normal mode.
Combat mode Occurs when the enemy has discovered Snake and are moving to engage. Reflex Mode is not available during this stage. If Snake sufficiently cripples the enemy during this stage, they will request backup, a request which may be accepted and may be denied. If accepted, approximately five soldiers will shortly arrive from a nearby outpost or base. One can leave combat mode by either hiding from the enemy for a sufficient amount of time, or merely neutralizing all of the enemies at a base (although one should be wary of backup when doing this
Commencing search mode This status is comparable to "Evasion" mode from titles past. Once the player has exited Combat status, the base converts to the "Commencing Search" status. The enemy will often stay put in their positions, while one or two soldiers will actively search Snake's last known position. If nothing of note is found, then a soldier will radio their findings to CP, and the base will then convert into Alert mode. Reflex Mode becomes available again in this mode.

In the first encounter with Metal Gear Sahelanthropus, the mech is shown to have similar modes to Alert Mode, Commencing Search Mode, and Combat Mode, which are indicated by the visor light colors (blue, yellow, and red, respectively).

In both Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, reflex mode is only avaliable when the enemies are doing normal patrol, when the enemies are on alert or when the enemies are searching for you. It is not avaliable while in combat mode because the enemies have already detected you and the whole purpose of reflex mode is to prevent enemies from alerting other enemies about your presence.

See also

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