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Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (commonly abbreviated to MPO) is a stealth action game directed by Masahiro Yamamoto and produced by Noriaki Okamura and series creator Hideo Kojima. Portable Ops was developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami in 2006 for the PlayStation Portable.[1] It is the fourth Metal Gear title for the PSP and the first one to retain the series' action-based gameplay.[2] It was also the first game to utilize graphic novel inspired cutscenes.[3]

Set in 1970 in South America, six years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3, the game follows the exploits of Big Boss after his former unit, FOX, goes renegade. The game also chronicles the eventual founding of FOXHOUND, as well as the inspiration of the military state Outer Heaven.[3][4]

According to Kojima, Portable Ops's official abbreviation, MPO, was intended to stand for "Metal Gear People Online," paralleling how Metal Gear Online was abbreviated MGO.[5]


Metal Gear chronology
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (1964)
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops* (1970)
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (1974)
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (1975)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (1984)
Metal Gear (1995)
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1999)
Metal Gear Solid (The Twin Snakes) (2005)
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2007/2009)
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2014)
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance* (2018)

Six years after the events of Operation Snake Eater, Naked Snake's former team, FOX, has broken their allegiance with the CIA and gone renegade. Snake himself is also targeted by the FOX unit, which sent renegade FOX unit soldiers to attack and capture him. Snake is tortured and interrogated by one of the members of FOX, Lieutenant Cunningham, who's trying to locate the whereabouts of the missing half of the Philosophers' Legacy, with the United States Government having already acquired the other half of the Legacy from the Soviet Union at the conclusion of Operation Snake Eater. Snake is imprisoned in a cell next to Roy Campbell, the sole survivor of an American Green Beret team sent in to investigate the base. Snake learns through Campbell that they're on the San Hieronymo Peninsula, the site of an abandoned Soviet missile silo in Colombia.

The two escape and Snake makes his way to a communications base, where he attempts to contact his old CO, Major Zero. Instead, he is greeted by his old FOX comrades Para-Medic and Sigint, who reveal that Snake and Zero are being accused of instigating the revolt and that the only way for Snake to clear their name is to find and apprehend the leader of the rebellion, Gene. To complicate matters, Gene has also convinced most of the Russian soldiers stationed on the base to join their side by simply taking over the chain of command of a former Red Army unit, that was secretly stationed inside the Colombian territory. In order to complete his mission, Snake must persuade enemy soldiers to join his ranks.

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident


Character English Voice Actor Japanese Voice Actor
Naked Snake David Hayter Akio Ōtsuka
Roy Campbell David Agranov (credited as Dave Agranov) Toshio Furukawa
Gene Steven Blum (credited as Steve Blum) Norio Wakamoto
Cunningham Noah Nelson Daisuke Gōri
Null Larc Spies Jun Fukuyama
Python Dwight Schultz Yusaku Yara
Elisa and Ursula Tara Strong Saori Gotō
Sokolov Brian Cummings Naoki Tatsuta
Ocelot Josh Keaton Takumi Yamazaki
Major Zero Jim Piddock Banjō Ginga
Para-Medic Heather Halley Houko Kuwashima
Sigint James C. Mathis III (credited as James Mathis) Keiji Fujiwara
EVA Vanessa Marshall Misa Watanabe
Raikov Charlie Schlatter Kenyu Horiuchi
Colonel Skowronski Nick Jameson Tetsu Inada
Jonathan Robin Atkin Downes Takahiro Fujimoto
Teliko Kari Wahlgren Yūko Nagashima
Venus Kathryn Fiore Rika Komatsu
CIA Director Jesse Corti Masaharu Satō
FOX Soldiers Mikey Kelley
Quinton Flynn
Takahiko Sakaguma
Soviet engineers Crawford Wilson Takeshi Mori
Soviet Soldiers Jeremy Jackson
Roger Craig Smith (credited as Roger C. Smith)
Male Soviet scientists Adam Zolotin Takahiro Fujimoto
Female Soviet scientists Paula Tiso
Male Soviet officers Crispin Freeman
Robin Atkin Downes
Naoki Imamura
Female Soviet officers Elizabeth Ward Land
Jill Talley
High Official Richard Doyle
Commander John Rubinstein
Intercom Roger Craig Smith (credited as Roger C. Smith)


Unlike the previous games on the PSP, Metal Gear Acid and Metal Gear Acid 2, which were turn-based tactical games with stealth elements, Portable Ops retains the action-based gameplay of the console iterations, drawing heavily from Metal Gear Solid 3 and utilizing the camera system from Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.[6]

The main addition of Portable Ops is the Comrade System.[7] Instead of the solo missions from previous games, Portable Ops uses a squad-based approach, with Naked Snake having to recruit allies to form a team of trained specialists.[8][9] Before each mission, the player must compose a four-man squad. The squad is then sent into battle.[9][10] Each member of Snake's squad has their own strengths and weaknesses.[9][7] While some units are best utilized on the battlefield, others may specialize in producing items, healing allies, or providing intel for each of the game's maps.[10][7]


Portable Ops' weapon/item equipping system.

During gameplay, the player controls only one squad member at a time.[7] Squad members not in use will hide themselves inside a cardboard box, and can be swapped into play when the player-controlled character finds a hiding spot, where they can hide in their own cardboard box. The player uses a different weapon/item equipping system.

Characters who are killed in combat are eliminated from the player's squad permanently unless they are unique characters such as Snake.[9][10] Unique characters also include teammates that are bosses or supporting characters in the story.[9] If a unique character's health is reduced to zero, they are sent to the infirmary, in order to recover.[9] The player can also abort the mission.[11]

A variety of methods can be employed to expand one's squad.[12] If an enemy is tranquilized or stunned, they can be dragged to a waiting vehicle and captured.[3][12] After a period of game time, the captured soldier will become a member of Snake's squad.[12] Also, enemies can be dragged to an ally waiting in a cardboard box, where, through the use of a transeceiver frequency, they will be ordered to transport the enemy for the player, saving stamina.[12] Alternately, by accessing the PSP in certain hotspots using the system's Wi-Fi feature, soldiers and even special bonus characters can be recruited.[8][12] The PSP GPS Receiver can also be used for a similar effect.[9][12] Because some of the player's recruits include former enemy soldiers, they can walk among the enemy undetected as long as the player avoids doing anything suspicious.[12]

Another new feature is the surround indicator added to the game's HUD.[7][13] Similar to the radar in previous games, the surround indicator allows the player to determine the relative proximity of enemies by the noise they make.[13] The surround indicator is composed of two circles; the outer circle displays noises made by enemies and the inner circle displays noises made by the player.[13][14]

The game also contains a Wi-Fi-enabled multiplayer mode, which is an expansion of the Metal Gear Online mode from Subsistence.[8][15] One's performance in Online Mode may affect their performance in the single player campaign; the player can recruit and trade soldiers from defeated opponents or vice versa.[6][9] Additionally, certain multiplayer options result in recruits being removed from one's single player roster permanently.[10] In contrast to the console games in the series, the cutscenes are not rendered using the in-game engine. Instead, they are presented using an animated comic style consisting of hand drawn artwork by artist Ashley Wood.[8] This style was previously used in Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel.[2][4] The game features voice acting, consisting of returning cast members from Metal Gear Solid 3 and new actors.[1][16] However, the number of cutscenes and in-game voice sections are minimal due to the PSP's UMD storage capacity constrains.[9]


Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops was officially announced by Konami at E3 2006.[17] Konami stated that the game would be set after Metal Gear Solid 3 but before Metal Gear, would feature online play, and would be released in late 2006.[17][18] A trailer for the game was released as well.[19] Finally, it was revealed that the game would take place in 1970 and would feature Big Boss as the main character.[17]


Naked Snake in Portable Ops.

In late August, Konami released more details about the game. They stated that the game would feature an online mode and a single-player mode that continued the canon Metal Gear story, unlike the previous PSP Metal Gear games Metal Gear Acid and Metal Gear Acid 2. As the player progressed through the game, Big Boss could recruit other characters to assist him. Each character would have attributes that set them apart from others, such as one excelling in a variety of combat skills. The game would feature FOX and expand on Para-Medic, Sigint, and Major Zero, with their respective voice actors returning. Artist Ashley Wood would be illustrating the game's cutscenes. Finally, they stated that the gameplay would be more akin to the Metal Gear Solid games than the Acid games.[20][21]

In addition to the regular trailers, a special trailer known as The Missing Link was released that stated that Portable Ops would explain the reasons why Big Boss formed FOXHOUND, how Big Boss formed Outer Heaven, and why he'd turn against the world he once saved. The trailer also stated that not only would it continue the story of Metal Gear Solid 3, but it also would set the stage for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (MGS4). Kojima echoed similar sentiments in his various commentaries.[5]

The game was directed by Masahiro Yamamoto and scripted by light novelist Gakuto Mikumo, while Kojima served as producer and general manager. In a press release, Kojima stated that Portable Ops's story was connected to that of MGS4, and that its completion was necessary for finalizing MGS4's story, expressing that changes in one would potentially require changes in the other.[22]

In late November 2006, Ryan Payton stated that Kojima Productions developed the game with a brand new game engine based on the Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence engine. He also stated that the game would feature CQC and the ability to use enemies as shields and that the game would receive a sequel if the game's response was good. Payton reiterated that playing Portable Ops was essential in order to understand Metal Gear Solid 4's story. Finally, he stated that the game wouldn't receive a PlayStation 2 port if it sold poorly.[23]

In the European version of the game, extra spy missions were included along with a Boss Rush mode.


Main article: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Original Soundtrack

Portable Ops also comes with a complete score done by Norihiko Hibino, Takahiro Izutani, Yoshitaka Suzuki, Kazuma Hinnouchi, Nobuko Toda and Akihiro Honda while Kazuma Hinnouchi, Nobuko Toda and Akihiro Honda who composed the ending theme- "Calling to the Night" but was arranged by Norihiko Hibino. The ending theme's vocals are provided by Natasha Farrow, and lyrics by Nobuko Toda. Harry Gregson-Williams was unable to help compose the game's music due to schedule conflicts with Tony Scott's film Déjà Vu and Kojima's Metal Gear Solid 4.

Bundles and Limited Editions

Name Region Image Contents
Premium Package* Japan Metal-gear-solid-portable-ops-limited-edition-camouflage-color-psp-premium-package
  • Game
  • Camo-colored PSP
  • Beige carry case with the Portable Ops logo
  • Serial number card
  • Three logo based pins**
KonamiStyle Package* Japan Metal-gear-solid-portable-ops-limited-edition-camouflage-color-psp-konamistyle-package
  • Game
  • Camo-colored PSP
  • Carry case made from genuine snakeskin
  • Serial number card
  • Three logo based pins**
  • Snakeskin patterned container
  • Stamped form about the diamond python

*Final cover art not depicted.

**The logos have Big Boss, a Soviet soldier, and a FOX agent saluting.

Portable Ops Plus

Main article: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus

On July 17, 2007, Konami announced Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus, a stand-alone expansion of the original game, focused on online play. Among its new features, the expansion includes new characters, new missions, tutorials for beginners, as well as a new single-player mode called "Infinity Mission."

In Japan, Portable Ops Plus was released on September 20, 2007 in two formats: the expansion on its own and as a deluxe package that includes the original game and the expansion. The North American version was released on November 13, 2007 and the European version was released on March 28, 2008.

The server for online play has been closed for both Portable Ops and Portable Ops Plus.


In 2007, Portable Ops was included in the Japanese Metal Gear 20th Anniversary: Metal Gear Solid Collection to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Metal Gear series.

In Europe and the UK, Portable Ops was released as double pack set along with another Konami labelled game which are either Silent Hill: Origins or Coded Arms.


Portable Ops received very positive reviews from critics. Metacritic gave the game a metascore of 87,[24] while GameRankings gave the game an average of 86.95% based on 60 reviews.[25] IGN gave Portable Ops a 9 out 10 saying "Portable Ops literally stretches the system to its limits, perhaps farther than any other game to date, making this title a must have for PSP owners."[9] GameSpot gave Portable Ops a 9 out of 10. They praised the game for its story, open-ended gameplay, multiplayer options, presentation, graphics, sound, music, speech, and replay value. They criticized the game for its lack of 3D cutscenes, full speech, blood effects and its complicated control scheme.[6]

Series hallmarks omitted

Portable Ops is one of the only canonical installments in the series to omit certain features commonly associated with the 3D Metal Gear Solid games, and in some cases, the series as a whole:

  • The player character does not have the option to smoke a cigarette or cigar (or a similar device in the case of The Phantom Pain), either during gameplay or in cutscenes; Naked Snake does, however, briefly mention ordering a cigar during a certain recruiting sidequest.
  • There is no infinity bandana, or similar special items. However, unused data as well as various hacks indicated that the infinity bandana was intended to be implemented into the game.[26] Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes also omits this feature.
  • The support characters do not shout the player character's name during a Game Over.
  • There is no camera item, either as part of the story or as an unlockable Easter egg. The expansion Portable Ops Plus, however, does include the ability to take pictures in online mode.
  • There is no mandatory battle against a group of enemy soldiers.
  • The Tuxedo, or a similar suit, is not an unlockable/playable outfit. Ground Zeroes also lacks the Tuxedo/a similar suit, and was not initially included in The Phantom Pain until an update, although a similar outfit known as the Jacket was used instead.
  • It is also the only Big Boss-era game to not have at least one ending timeline, as Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Ground Zeroes have one timeline, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has a timeline that first plays after completing the first ending and is slightly modified after completing the second ending to accommodate Big Boss's Outer Heaven Uprising and Miller's death in 2005, and The Phantom Pain has the timeline split into two after completing the Truth mission.

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Tech Info/Credits - GameSpot
  2. ^ a b E3 06: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops First Look - GameSpot
  3. ^ a b c Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops - PlayStation Portable - IGN
  4. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Preview - IGN
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b c Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Review - GameSpot
  7. ^ a b c d e MGS: Portable Ops Plus Review -
  8. ^ a b c d Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Company Line - GameSpot
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Review - PlayStation Portable Review at IGN
  10. ^ a b c d Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops -- Recruiting An Army, Part 2 - IGN
  11. ^ PSP Review - Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops -- Recruiting An Army, Part 1 -IGN
  13. ^ a b c Post-TGS analysis: Why Portable Ops won Best in Show
  14. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops PSP
  15. ^ E3 06: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Multiplayer Hands-On - GameSpot
  16. ^ GC 2006: Portable Ops Reconnaissance Info - IGN
  17. ^ a b c E3 2006: Eyes-On Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops - IGN
  18. ^ E3 2006: MGS Portable Ops Announced - IGN
  19. ^ Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops trailer (E3 2006) - YouTube
  20. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Update: Mission Parameters Revealed - GameSpot
  21. ^ GameSpy: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Details Revealed - Page 1
  22. ^ Portable Ops Tied to MGS4 (2006-09-25). Retrieved on 2009-08-15.
  23. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Reader Q&A Interview -
  24. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops for PSP Reviews - Metacritic
  25. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops for PSP - GameRankings
  26. ^

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See also