MG1 infrared goggles

Infrared goggles, as used in Outer Heaven.

Thermal goggles, sometimes known as infrared goggles, are a type of eyewear that allows the wearer to see heat sources or infrared patterns, respectively.

History and usage

Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

During the 1960s, the Soviets managed to develop a portable version of the passive infrared nightvision device/FLIR system that was recently installed on gunships in the West. They are also confused with the active infra-red nightvision devices (such as the AN-PAS-5). Naked Snake managed to procure some in Tselinoyarsk during both his missions there in 1964. They weighed 1.0 kg (2.2 lbs). Radio support member Sigint was surprised to discover the Soviets' portable version of a passive infrared night vision device, as the U.S. military had just barely managed to install the passive infrared night vision devices on aircraft at that time.

San Hieronymo Incident

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]

During the San Hieronymo Incident, thermal goggles were kept in areas with infrared sensors. Naked Snake and his resistance group later procured/developed and made use of them during their mission to stop Gene's rebellion.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Phantom Pain Incident

See also: Hospital Escape and Phantom Pain Incident

Diamond Dogs soldiers using thermal goggles.

The Diamond Dogs used thermal goggles during their missions in the 1980s, at one point using them to locate Quiet after she arrived at Mother Base, due to cloaking herself.

Outer Heaven Uprising

Main article: Outer Heaven Uprising

Infrared goggles were utilized during the Outer Heaven Uprising, namely to monitor the location of infrared sensors nearby. FOXHOUND operative Solid Snake, during his mission in Outer Heaven, also made use of the infrared goggles to evade them.

Zanzibar Land Disturbance

Main article: Zanzibar Land Disturbance

Zanzibar Land utilized infrared goggles during the Zanzibar Land Disturbance, namely to monitor their various security devices. Solid Snake later managed to procure them and use them for similar purposes.

Shadow Moses Incident

Main article: Shadow Moses Incident

The Sons of Big Boss kept some thermal goggles. Solid Snake later managed to procure some to identify infrared sensors as well as identify enemies utilizing stealth camouflage.

The Manhattan Incident

See also: Tanker Incident and the Big Shell Incident

Solid Snake, during the Tanker Incident in 2007, procured thermal goggles and made use of them during his mission on board the USS Discovery. The goggles utilized a two-dimensional solid projection system that possessed a rate of sixty FPS in real-time. Two years later, the Sons of Liberty utilized infrared goggles during their takeover on the Big Shell. Raiden later managed to procure some. The thermal goggles utilized during the Big Shell Incident had a resolution of 400,000 pixels, which was largely attributed to a two-dimensional solid projection system with outstanding electric charge transfer capability.

Unconfirmed history

The following information has been detailed in official Konami-licensed media, written by various external authors. Its status in the Metal Gear canon is unconfirmed.[?]

During the 2000s, ArmsTech developed their own version of the thermal goggles called the Stealth Vision Mode A. The model contained sensors inside the goggle unit that display heat sources as bright-red sihlouettes, allowing for nighttime operations. Such goggles were also found on Shadow Moses in 2005.[1]

Behind the scenes

The Infrared Goggles or Thermal Goggles are a recurring item in the Metal Gear series. They enable the player to see different objects in the surrounding area depending on their heat signatures.

Thermal goggles are useful for:

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Thermal Goggles function in Metal Gear Solid.

  • Spotting enemies behind walls.
  • Detecting infrared or laser beams.
  • Following footprints.
  • Finding The End in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
  • Finding food (and item boxes).
  • Seeing enemies equipped with stealth camouflage (for example, The Fear in Metal Gear Solid 3).
  • Seeing enemies who are otherwise difficult to see (for example, hiding in bushes).
  • Searching for claymore mines if a mine detector is unavailable.
  • Searching for booby traps.
  • Searching for Indian Gavials and other animals which can be killed/captured for food.

Thermal goggles can be used in conjunction with sniper rifles for greater visual enhancement.

Thermal goggles

Thermal Goggles function in Metal Gear Solid 3.

In Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes the colors used were changed to be more realistic than the original releases of the games (in which the thermal goggles turned everything red). In the PC version of Substance, however, they remained unchanged. In both Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Substance, the coolant spray is shown as a higher temperature than the surrounding area by the thermal goggles (despite the fact that the spray can freeze things on contact). In the Tanker Chapter of the latter game, the goggles are also procured at random at the top of a mast, near the area where Snake fought Olga Gurlukovich.

Thermal goggles as they appear in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake have a similar sprite to the Night Vision Goggles, although they have noticeably larger lenses.

In Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops:

  • Claymores are almost invisible to thermal goggles.
  • The use of thermal goggles is limited by its battery level.
  • Unless the player has acquired them in the Warhead Storage, they must raise their technical level high enough to have them developed for use.
  • This is the best equipment to use against Python to identify him more easily, as he deliberately fills the stage with liquid nitrogen mist to drastically reduce visibility.
Game Item description for Infrared Goggles/Thermal Goggles Icon
Metal Gear Wear these to discover the location of infrared sensors. MG Infrared Goggles
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake Goggles that display heat source patterns visually. Let you see the location of infrared sensors.
Metal Gear Solid Thermal imaging system for night-vision use.
Metal Gear: Ghost Babel Thermal imaging device for use in darkness.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty MGS2 Thermal Goggles
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Mgs3 thermal
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops An optical device that renders targets visible by their heat emissions.
Battery powered.
IMG 1871

The Solid Eye in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has a night vision mode, which serves a similar purpose to the thermal goggles (to an extent).


Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Official Missions Handbook
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