Solid Snake (ソリッド・スネーク Soriddo Sunēku?) (real name David) is the main protagonist of the Metal Gear series, created by Hideo Kojima. Previously popularized as a character to serve as an antithesis to the cheery and colorful Nintendo-inspired characters that were prevalent in games near the end of the 1990s, Solid Snake is one of the first third-party characters to be featured as a playable fighter in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Brawl, along with Sonic the Hedgehog. He is also the first character from a series with M-Rated entries to be featured in a Super Smash Bros. game. He is also a veteran in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Metal Gear franchise creator, Hideo Kojima, started off his franchise with the first Metal Gear for the MSX2 computer in 1987, as a pastiche of high-profile action movies at the time, such as Lethal Weapon and Escape from New York. Kojima's main character for the game, codenamed Solid Snake, was likewise inspired by the heroes from those action movies, such as Kyle Reese (portrayed by Michael Biehn) from The Terminator, whom Snake's first portrait and the cover art of the original Metal Gear was based on. Snake's name, in fact, was derived from Escape from New York's main character, Snake Pliskin, and his real name, "David" serves as a reference to the astronaut David Bowman from "2001: A Space Oddysey" (whilst simultaneously referring to Dave Forrest, a character from one of Kojima's earlier games, Policenauts.) When Metal Gear was ported to the NES, it sold well enough that Snake subsequently appeared in the sequel, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. The character underwent an eight-year hiatus, until the release of the seminal Metal Gear Solid for Sony PlayStation in 1998, which fully established Solid Snake in his more popular, modern-day character design, which was made by artist, Yoji Shinkawa (see his above artwork). Shinkawa's Snake design features a dark grey bandanna, a consistent "sneaking suit", and the effective voicework of Akio Ohtsuka for Japanese versions and David Hayter for English versions of Metal Gear games as Snake's defining aspects. In terms of physical design, Snake's 3D incarnation was envisioned as having a similar body build to Jean Claude Van Damme and face similar to Christopher Walken.
In the Metal Gear series, the player assumes the role of Solid Snake (or a similar character depending on the game's scenario) as a special-ops agent and spy, tasked to disarm and/or destroy what is usually a new incarnation of the eponymous, bipedal, mechanized, nuclear-based superweapon, Metal Gear. He must always act alone initially in each mission, sneaking and battling his way through enemy compounds, armed with nearly nothing other than his two-way "codec" radio to receive transmissions from his commanding officer and other characters, a pair of binoculars, and as a bonus touch, a pack of cigarettes. His wits must always be sharp for him to rely on as he carries out sabotage-based assignments that seem immensely stacked against him in concept, and he must acquire his own firearms and rations and make use of environmental elements, such as cardboard boxes (one of Snake's borderline-comical trademarks) to advance his various objectives. No mission Snake has ever gone through can be considered routine; each of his missions in the Metal Gear games is rife with all manner of epic drama, intrigue, double-crossings, betrayals, and revelations with wide-ranging implications for everything and everyone in the series.
Snake's story begins as his father, codenamed Naked Snake, operates for the original FOX unit of the U.S. government at the height of the Cold War in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. He is heavily influenced by his mission's revelations, where he finds out just how much he is a subject to the mechanisms of his government. Adding to this turmoil, he is forced to assassinate his beloved mentor, The Boss, as part of a ploy he was a victim of. The mission leaves him mentally angered at his own government so he splits away from the FOX unit. However, he must later deal with the revolt of his former FOX comrades in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, and in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, , with assistance from "Master" Kazuhira Miller, Big Boss forms the mercenary group Militaires Sans Frontieres (a French phrase meaning "Soldiers Without Borders") which would later form the basis for his Outer Heaven army nation. It is during this that he accepts the "Big Boss" codename he once rejected and sows the seeds of "Outer Heaven." Afterwards, he co-founds the FOXHOUND Elite Special Force with Roy Campbell and becomes its commanding officer, "Big Boss". In 1972, Big Boss is put into a coma and becomes part of a cloning project called "Les Enfants Terribles" to produce genetic clones of himself as his "sons". The project succeeds, begetting three "sons": Solid, Liquid and Solidus. One of them would become the FOXHOUND operative codenamed Solid Snake, grown to resemble Big Boss almost identically. A conflict sparks between Big Boss and his former friend and CO, Major Zero, as the two clash over their interpretations of The Boss' last will, which leads to Zero forming the Cipher conspiracy group as his way of carrying out what he believes to be the Boss' will.
In 1975, Big Boss' MSF group is destroyed in a surprise sneak attack in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes instigated by Skull Face and his XOF strike team and Big Boss is thrown into a nine-year coma. He eventually reawakens from his coma in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, in 1984. During this time, a plan is initiated by Major Zero (now ashamed of the out-of-control Patriots that he'd created) and carried out by Big Boss and Revolver Ocelot, to alter the appearance of an MSF medic into a physically and mentally perfect duplicate of Big Boss called "Venom Snake." Venom allies with Miller and Ocelot, turning Miller's ragtag "Diamond Dogs" mercenary group into a large scale private military force almost rivaling a major country, complete with nuclear weapon development capability. The real Big Boss works in secret to build his Outer Heaven whilst Venom builds up his legend and leads Diamond Dogs to victory, ultimately killing Skull Face and avenging the suffering that Skull Face and Cipher as a whole put Snake and Miller through, although Miller angrily breaks off his friendship with Big Boss upon learning the truth about Boss' deception and learning that the Big Boss he thought he was fighting alongside was a decoy. Feeling abandoned, Miller vows to train both Venom and Solid Snake out of spite so they'll be strong enough to kill Big Boss.
In Metal Gear, set in 1995, Big Boss tasks Solid Snake, then a rookie agent for FOXHOUND, with infiltrating Outer Heaven, a terrorist nation. Snake is to find and rescue Gray Fox, a missing agent, find out what the "Metal Gear" is that Fox mentioned in his last transmission and destroy it. Snake rescues Drago Pettrovich Madnar, the scientist who was forced to build Outer Heaven's Metal Gear TX-55 model, and learns from him of how to destroy it. The mission takes a shocking turn when Snake finds out later that Big Boss is actually the leading man behind Outer Heaven as well as FOXHOUND (in reality, the Big Boss seen during the Outer Heaven Uprising was Venom Snake, Big Boss' "phantom" body double.) Snake, the rookie, was sent in as part of Big Boss' plan to feed false information to the American government and that Big Boss was planning on establishing Outer Heaven as a military power with the aid of Metal Gear. Roy Campbell takes Big Boss' place as commanding officer of FOXHOUND, and on the year of 1999, in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Campbell assigns Snake to infiltrate a heavily fortified base in the nation, Zanzibar Land. Snake's mission is to rescue Kio Marv, a Czechoslovakian biologist and creator of the revolutionary OILIX micro-organism. It is there that Snake learns of the existence of a new model of Metal Gear, codenamed "D", that Zanzibar Land's troops are outfitting it with the nuclear weapons they've stolen from decommission sites and that the previous Metal Gear model's creator, Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar, had willingly helped build this model as revenge for the American science community shunning him. Worse still, Snake's former ally Gray Fox has sided with Zanzibar Land, feeling that as a soldier he can never fit in a normal society. After killing Pettrovich, destroying Metal Gear D and having a final battle with Fox amidst a minefield, Snake learns that Big Boss was in charge of Zanzibar Land, having successfully used Venom Snake as a decoy, and had once more been planning to establish it as a warrior nation where soldiers would always be needed, even going so far as to raising child soldiers to this end. A harrowing battle ensues, ending with Snake seemingly killing Big Boss with a makeshift flamethrower, before escaping Zanzibar Land. Both Solid Snake and Roy Campbell go into retirement after this, with Snake's recurring nightmares about the Outer Heaven battle finally ending. Snake goes into seclusion in Alaska and attempts to live a peaceful, solitary life as a dog sledder.
In Metal Gear Solid, Snake is called out of retirement from Alaska by Campbell to battle FOXHOUND, which has now gone rogue and has seized the nuclear weapons disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island with the aid of Genome Soldiers (genetically enhanced soldiers imbued with Big Boss' DNA to a certain extent,) threatening the U.S. with a nuclear strike unless they acquire Big Boss' remains. Campbell also asks Snake a somewhat personal favor: to save his "niece" (in reality his daughter) Meryl Silverburgh, a rookie soldier who was stationed on the island at the time. Snake must infiltrate the island and defeat each rogue FOXHOUND member one-by-one, and, with the aid of the naive but regretful Hal "Otacon" Emmerich, he sabotages the Metal Gear REX model at Shadow Moses. Along the way, Snake unexpectedly reunites with Gray Fox, alive but now encased in a cybernetic exoskeleton, utterly insane and hell bent on fighting him to the death once more. Snake later finds that the leading man behind this plot is an operative codenamed Liquid Snake, who is Solid Snake's genetic twin, and Solid Snake learns of his clone heritage. Snake also learns of a retrovirus named FOXDIE, and that it was secretly planted into him by Naomi Hunter, one of Snake's own support teams. Naomi had done so out of revenge for Snake practically crippling her adoptive older brother, Gray Fox, although she later reconfigures it after having witnessed Snake's actions and personality mid-mission. Solid survives while Liquid dies, and the mission is complete. Depending on the player's actions, Snake leaves Shadow Moses, either with Meryl, or Otacon in tow. After the mission's end, Snake teams up with Otacon and the two form a strong friendship.
In 2007, starting off the events of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Snake, working with Otacon as part of the anti-Metal Gear group "Philanthropy", is sent to infiltrate the US Discovery, an oil tanker secretly housing a new model of Metal Gear, codenamed "RAY." Ironically, RAY was designed as an anti-Metal Gear weapon designed to combat the bootleg REXs that had cropped up around the globe after Revolver Ocelot had sold the REX blueprints on the black market. It is during his infiltration of the tanker that he discovers that Liquid Snake "lived on" in Revolver Ocelot's recently transplanted arm (the arm that was transplanted was Liquid's). The mission goes dreadfully wrong when Ocelot successfully steals RAY, sinks the Discovery and frames Snake and Otacon for terrorist acts aboard the ship. Snake survives and gets involved in the immensely intricate and complex scenarios that occur throughout the rest of the game in 2009, taking place on the Big Shell, an environmental cleanup facility built to remove the spilled oil from the Discovery's sinking. During the "Plant" chapter, he serves as a mentor to supposed FOXHOUND "rookie" agent Raiden. It is during these series of events that a third clone of Big Boss is revealed as Solidus Snake, who is a mixture of dominant and recessive genes, thus being considered a genetic bridge between the recessive Solid Snake and the dominant Liquid Snake. Unlike Solid and Liquid, who were made to be soldiers, Solidus was instead made President of the United States, albeit as a puppet of the shadowy organization known only as "The Patriots", who control the US government and seek to further control human freedom. After his term as president ended, Solidus went underground to rebel against the Patriots. Eventually, the mission leads every major player onto the gargantuan battleship "Arsenal Gear", and it is revealed that Ocelot was a Patriot spy, the events of Big Shell were merely the Patriots' recreation of the Shadow Moses incident to serve their own purposes, and that Raiden, far from being a rookie, was an emotionally broken child soldier who fought in the Liberian Civil War and had suppressed his childhood memories up until this mission. Although Liquid again possesses Ocelot, escapes with the Marine-built RAY and crashes Arsenal Gear into Manhattan, Snake places a tracking device on Liquid's RAY and secures a disc containing information on the Patriots, although it turns out to be a dead end.
The PlayStation 3 game, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, features an aged Snake, now identified as Old Snake by the game. Advanced cellular degeneration caused by the cloning process used to create him, as well as specifically crafted "terminator genes" within his biology has aged him prematurely, as part of a scheme by Snake's creators to prevent Big Boss' genes from being used by enemy forces. In the game, he wears a sneaking suit outfitted with "Octocamo" technology, which allows him to blend with his environment, and later obtains a face mask which alters his appearance (allowing the player to use his younger look during gameplay as well and disguise Snake as other characters and even his original polygonal model from MGS1.) This new character design is based upon actor Lee Van Cleef. According to Ryan Payton of Konami, Guns of the Patriots is the final canonical Metal Gear game to feature Solid Snake as the main character. Kojima himself has stated that the series will continue, but does not want the character to be handled by anyone else. As a result, later Metal Gear games focus mostly on Big Boss (Apart from Rising: Revengeance which focuses instead on Raiden.) In MGS4, Old Snake attempts to put a stop to a violent insurrection being planned by Liquid Ocelot (Revolver Ocelot having been completely possessed by the right arm and spirit of Liquid Snake, having had it grafted there after losing his own right arm to Gray Fox nine years prior) whilst also trying to solve the mystery of the mysterious Patriots and put an end to their control of human freedoms. As he and Otacon are considered terrorists and have prices on their heads, Snake has nothing left to lose and is hired by Roy Campbell as a glorified hitman, sent to kill Liquid. Snake is once more assisted in his mission by Otacon, as well as Sunny Gurlukovich, the smart but shy and socially awkward daughter of Olga Gurlukovich, a Russian soldier that Snake encountered in MGS2. At the end of the game, Snake finally helps end the Patriots and unexpectedly reconciles with his reborn but short-lived father Big Boss, who after explaining his and his allies' part in forming the Patriots and putting an end to a now vegetative Zero, allows himself to die of exposure to the FOXDIE virus within Snake, though not before asking Snake to instead live the remainder of his short life in peace as "David", the man. Snake does so, even giving up his cigarette smoking habit, with Otacon and Sunny accompanying him in his remaining days.
Solid Snake, in his less-aged incarnation, has made many non-canonical game appearances, perhaps even more times than in canonical Metal Gear games. In addition to several supplemental and enhanced titles that have accompanied the "main" games (including bonus skateboarding segments for Snake to partake in), Snake has appeared in several alternate reality Metal Gear games, including a Game Boy Color Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (marketed as "Metal Gear Solid" in the US,) and in the card-based Metal Gear Ac!d series for PSP. Solid Snake has also appeared as a playable character in two fighting games involving characters from other franchises. The first is Hudson Soft's DreamMix TV World Fighters, involving characters such as Bomberman and Optimus Prime from the Transformers franchise. The second is the Wii fighting game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, alongside famous Nintendo characters such as Mario and Pikachu. His inclusion in the game generated an immense outburst across the game industry. Metal Gear Solid is also parodied in Ape Escape 3 for the PS2 in the minigame Metal Gear Solid: Snake Escape, where Solid Snake has been captured and the player must control a monkey to rescue him.
A popular rumor claims that during development of the Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metal Gear series creator Hideo Kojima "practically begged" Sakurai to include the third-party character, Snake, in the game as a playable fighter, but the addition was not viable because development of Melee was too far in. As a result, no mention of Metal Gear reposes in the game whatsoever. What would eventually happen is that Snake would become a playable third-party character in Melee's follow-up, Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
As a playable character
Snake makes his debut in the Smash series as a playable character in Brawl, announced via a surprise teaser shown after the first trailer for the game. Attempting to recreate Snake's tactical method of fighting utilizing cunning and modern warfare in the Metal Gear games themselves, Snake enters the fray as a predominantly defensive strategic character with a high emphasis on set-ups and controlling the fight. Much of Snake's moves utilize firepower of some sort; in fact, all three of Snake's smash attacks use some sort of weapon rather than a hand to hand move, relegating his actual CQC (Close Quarters Combat) moves to his tilt moves and aerials. Furthermore, two out of three of these smash attacks are indirect in nature. Combined with his B button abilities of similar nature, such as planting a remote detonated C4 mine and the deceptively high power of his hand to hand moves, Snake is perhaps one of the most unique characters in the game with his high emphasis on tactical fighting. Snake is also one of the heavier characters in the game in both speed and durability, although his impressive recovery ability thanks to his Cypher move and his fast tumble roll dash move can make him deceptively quick when the need arises.
Although Snake uses a large amount of explosive firepower, he predictably has no traditional firearms, such as handguns and rifles, which he regularly makes use of in the Metal Gear games themselves. This is presumably due to Super Smash Bros. Brawl's emphasis on being friendly to almost all age groups, and thus the use of common guns would possibly raise the rating of the game. As is, many of Snake's current moves do have a real-world counterpart, such as traditional grenades and the R.P.G. However, these are treated in a bit more of a comical and lighthearted fashion here. Snake's character brings a high amount of Easter eggs and homages to his game series with him, from saying "Tasty" when eating food akin to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, to his down throw, resembling the sleeper/neck breaker hold featured in all the Metal Gear Solid games to date, among other things. His rather unorthodox stealth tactic of hiding within a cardboard box also makes an appearance as Snake's taunt. Like Luigi's "kick" taunt, the cardboard box can deal damage. All of his taunts make Snake wear the cardboard box, but he uses a different way of putting it on for each of his three taunts. Snake can also call one of his affiliates via the Codec, much like in the Metal Gear games, as a secret taunt, only possible on the Shadow Moses Island stage. Each character, including Snake himself (if two or more players are using him), has a distinct conversation and the original voice actors for Solid Snake, Colonel Roy Campbell, Hal "Otacon" Emmerich, and Mei-Ling reprise their roles. There's even one instance of a surprise guest appearing within the Codec.
- A former member of FOXHOUND with an IQ of 180 and mastery of six languages. He's an infiltration specialist whose ability to carry out missions under any conditions has made him a legend. He's saved the world three times from the threat of bipedal, nuclear-armed mechs called Metal Gear. Currently he's working with the anti-Metal Gear group known as Philanthropy.
- Metal Gear
- Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Snake, along with the entire Metal Gear universe, was cut in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. However, Snake was mentioned during the 50 Fact Extravaganza when Palutena's Guidance was being compared to the Codec Conversations.
As a playable character
Snake returns as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, retaining his design from Brawl. His home stage, Shadow Moses Island, returns as well. However, while his Codec Conversations returned, no new ones were created.
- Snake is the first third-party character to be confirmed as a playable character in the Smash Bros. franchise.
- Ironically, he's also the first and so far only third-party character to be previously cut from the roster.
- Snake's relevancy to the Nintendo legacy involves mainly his United States and European Nintendo Entertainment System adaptation of Metal Gear and its Western fandom, being the first unique military tactical stealth action adventure game to the West, alongside its popular sibling action platformer military shooter series Contra.
- Solid Snake himself wears a teal colored bandana. It's Naked Snake, aka Big Boss, who wore the dark green bandana that Snake is seen wearing in Brawl and Ultimate. However, the Bandana item in Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2 (which gives Snake infinite ammo) is also dark green. They might have let Snake wear that bandana to explain why he has infinite ammo during battle. It would not be the first time such an explanation is used in the Metal Gear universe.
- Another interesting Naked Snake characteristic is that Solid Snake never had a full beard as he does in Brawl, only stubble at most. It was Naked Snake and Venom Snake who had the full beard. Furthermore, not only do Snake's alternates wear camouflage from Metal Gear Solid 3, but some (such as the fire camouflage) are outfits taken directly from the Cobra unit and other Metal Gear Solid 3 bosses under special conditions.
- His throws are also reminiscent of the CQC (Close Quarters Combat) moves used by Big Boss, his mentor, The Boss, and his body double, Venom Snake. In Metal Gear Solid 4, Snake explains that while he did indeed know CQC, having been taught it by Big Boss himself, he chose not to use it on later missions out of disdain for Big Boss, who he believed to be a traitor. Snake ended up having to lift his ban after the events of "Operation Snake Eater" were declassified and made available to the general public leading to several other PMCs imitating the style after reading about it, with Snake lifting his own ban due to wanting to show up their "cookie cutter imitation" of CQC with the legitimate moves he learnt from Big Boss himself.
- Taking many of the similarities listed above, many have come to the conclusion that this incarnation of "Snake" in Brawl is actually a mixture of both Solid and Naked Snake.
- Snake, along with Donkey Kong, Mario and Pac-Man are the only characters to appear on MSX computer games.
- Snake, along with Cloud Strife and Bayonetta are the only third-party characters whose games weren't on Sega consoles, while the latter being co-owned by both said former home console distributor company and Nintendo.
- Snake and Cloud are also the only third-party fighters who are famously known in their classic PlayStation incarnations at most part, while Cloud has his current Advent Children outfit along with it, unless Snake’s fellow Konami fighter Richter Belmont count as one.
- During an interview in March 2014, Kojima voiced about wanting Snake to return in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, but found it unlikely to happen. 
- Snake is one of the only three characters in the Super Smash Bros. series to come from an M-rated series, with the other characters being Bayonetta, who is a downloadable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Ren Amamiya, who is a downloadable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.