Throughout the 35-year history of the franchise, Metal Gear has provided its main characters with a whole arsenal of weapons and items. Pistols, shotguns, and official rocket prostheses are just some of the useful (and sometimes outlandish) pieces of equipment that players can use to defeat enemies. When used effectively, these items allow players to remain undetected, achieving the ultimate goal of tactical espionage.
Of the many items found in this series, none is more synonymous with Metal Gear than a cardboard box. The cardboard box, first introduced in Metal Gear in 1987, provided players with fun ways to play with the artificial intelligence of games. What may seem like a useless item for franchising from the outside can actually be a universal tool when it is in the right hands. Here are all the ways players can use a reliable cardboard box to get out of a predicament.
Out of sight, out of mind
Most often, a Metal Gear cardboard box is used to hide the main character. Equipping with a cardboard box covers the entire body of the protagonist, allowing him to slip past enemy patrols. Moving and staying in the way of the guards in a cardboard box will arouse suspicion, although not as strong as moving without it. For example, hiding in a cardboard box in the middle of the enemy base Terrible Hail in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the nearest guards will check what is under the box. Failure to change the position or eliminate the curious guards will lead to the fact that they will discover Snake.
Players can reduce their chances of being discovered by being in a cardboard box, keeping still and staying in corners and places where the box will not interfere. An example of a good place to hide in a cardboard box is the Strut C kitchen in the chapter about plants in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Raiden can equip a cardboard box and easily blend in with the groceries and boxes in the area. Until he gets in the way of enemy patrols, the guards won’t know about his presence.
If it seems to players that bypassing Metal Gear games takes a lot of time, they can equip a cardboard box in certain places and go to another place. Metal Gear Solid allows Solid Snake to travel fast by getting into the back of a truck and equipping a cardboard box. Depending on which box he equips, he can travel to different places. Cardboard box A takes him to the helipad; Cardboard box B takes him to the nuclear warhead storage building; Cardboard box C drops him off at Snowfield.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, moving into the open world, allows players to receive invoices at delivery points in areas of Afghanistan and Africa. By donning a cardboard box and staying in the cargo hold, players can quickly move to any of the previous areas for which they have accounts. Players can also use the cardboard box trick to quickly get to the different pillars of their mother base; only this time they don’t have to collect bills at the delivery point.
Hidden defense and attack
In addition to hiding, cardboard boxes can be used both defensively and offensively. In Metal Gear Solid, Meryl Silverburg’s attack in the wolf cave before the battle with the boss Sniper Wolf and the quick equipping of a cardboard box will make the wolf cub urinate on her. This will allow players to avoid being attacked by wolves until the end of the game while they equip a cardboard box. Another example of the protective capabilities of a cardboard box can be found in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain; where Snake can attach posters with images such as idol girls or Soviet soldiers to scare away enemies. While the enemies are distracted by the posters, Snake can either take them down or jump out of the box and try to escape.
The offensive capabilities of the cardboard box are most evident in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, where several types of boxes allow Snake to fight back against his enemies. There is a Bomb Box that allows Snake to hide explosives inside and detonate it when enemies shoot or explore it. In the cooperative mode of the game there is also a Tank Box — a box in the shape of a tank that shoots grenades from its muzzle. The tank crate also has its own variants, including a Stun Tank Crate and a Smoke Tank Crate, the former firing stun grenades and the latter firing smoke grenades.
A box of Easter eggs
Perhaps because of the comical nature of the cardboard box, the humorous elements of the Metal Gear franchise seem drawn to it. This includes a lot of Easter eggs, ranging from dialogue about the cult status of the box and ending with the restoration of the scale of the player’s psyche in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriots. Metal Gear is full of Easter eggs, and a cardboard box is just one of the many ways players can activate some of them.