A drum can is a large cylindrical metal container.
In 1964, during Operation Snake Eater, GRU colonel Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin had Dr. Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin imprisoned inside a barrel after suspecting him of being an enemy spy. He proceeded to interrogate Granin by punching the barrel repeatedly using his enhanced strength, ultimately killing the man before he could talk, and sending the barrel crashing into a stack of similar containers.
During the 1980s, Zero Risk Security, as payment for their Walker Gear shipments, was to deliver to SANR (a front company for Cipher, more specifically Skull Face's XOF unit) drum cans contained malachite with trace amounts of uranium, alongside a shielding container with small amounts of yellowcake. This was because of Skull Face's use of Uranium-enriching metallic archaea, which he needed as part of his plans.
In 2014, during Liquid Ocelot's PMC activities in the Middle East, Solid Snake located a drum can while witnessing Johnny Sasaki being caught hiding inside it. After Johnny was discovered defecating inside the drum by a local militiaman, and subsequently chased away, Snake surmised that the drum could make a suitable hiding place, akin to the cardboard box. Hal Emmerich initially expressed confusion as to why Snake would decide to take an object as large as him with him before Snake reminded him that its size was the point to hide in during a sneaking mission.
During the World Marshal Incidents of 2018, the drum cans make could shield the contents from infrared vision, resulting in it being capable of fooling infrared vision from cyborgs and Unmanned Gears and thus allowed people to hide in it.
Behind the scenes
Metal Gear Solid—Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Drum cans first appear in Metal Gear Solid, although they served little purpose besides as a place to hide behind during the Metal Gear REX battle. In the remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, several drum cans are destroyed by machine gun fire from Vulcan Raven's tank while attacking Solid Snake, in redirected cinematics.
Drum cans reappeared in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, in the Strut A Deep Sea Dock. They can temporarily provide cover from Fortune's rail gunfire during Raiden's battle against her, though they will explode shortly thereafter and cause burn damage if the player is nearby. In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, drum cans can be interacted with directly during normal gameplay, and can be employed as a makeshift trap, located in various urban locations. They contain flammable fuel and explode when either shot at, or after sustaining a heavy impact if rolled down a slope or stairway by the player.
The drum can as a usable item is first seen in the Secret Theatre in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. During the short film Metal Gear Raiden: Snake Eraser, Raiden unintentionally time travels into the barrel in which Dr. Granin has been killed, during the assault by Colonel Volgin. After Volgin punches the barrel into a stack of other drums, Raiden is thrown out and then a drum can lands on his head. He then proceeds to run away while inside it, much to Volgin's confusion.
The drum can also appears in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and its expansion, Portable Ops Plus, in the Western Wilderness area. Just like in Metal Gear Solid 3, the drum can can be used as a trap, although unlike the former game, the player cannot actually interact with it in any way other than shooting it.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
- "A standard-issue oil drum.
This one looks pretty beat up, as if it's been subjected to the elements for too long.
With plenty of room for the average adult to hide inside, it can be used as a disguise to fool enemies."
- ―Drum Can description in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the Drum Can is the equivalent of the Cardboard Box used in previous games, allowing the player to hide from patrolling guards. However, the Drum Can is far more durable, as it can protect Snake from stray shots, though it can be pierced by heavier weapons. Like the Cardboard box, the Drum Can is capable of hiding Snake from the Dwarf Gekko's scanner. However, if the Dwarf Gekko happen to collide with the barrel, it will make them suspicious, prompting them to investigate and most often raising an Alert.
In addition to hiding, the Drum Can can be pushed onto its side and rolled into a number of guards to knock them over (although Snake will exit and vomit after rolling too many times). In the E3 2007 gameplay demo, Snake threw up upon ousting two guards with the Drum Can barrel roll. Using the Drum Can to knock away soldiers, after downloading the PlayStation 3 trophy patch, will grant the player the trophy "Drum can addict."
In Metal Gear Online, the Drum Can, along with the ENVG (Enhanced Night Vision Goggles), are items that can be found and later used. The Drum Can is used by and affects the online characters in the same way it does Solid Snake; it can be used for a disguise, the player can push it over and roll into people, and it eventually makes the player throw up.
Drum cans also reappeared in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, going back to their roots of exploding when shot at. This time, however, in addition to stationary drum cans, they are also seen on various tanks during vehicle battles, which can be destroyed in order to temporarily stall the vehicles.
- "Drum Can
A metal barrel used to store oil and other liquids. Its contents are shielded from infrared vision, making it a great place to hide from UGs and cyborgs."
- ―Drum Can description from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
The Drum Can item returns in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, where Raiden can use it in the same way as Snake, including rolling inside it when using Ninja Run with it equiped which also makes him vomit like Snake if done for too long.
Drum cans also appear in Metal Gear Solid V, in both Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain. Like in prior games, they are often used as a trap, with the ones colored red being useful as a trap. Besides this, however, the Nuclear Waste item (used to dispose of a nuclear weapon after development) is represented by a drum can, colored yellow and having a radiation logo on it. Drum cans were also mentioned in the debriefing for Mission 16: Traitors' Caravan, although they are never actually seen by the player.
In other media
In the "Snake Eyes" trailer for Battlefield: Bad Company, a soldier by the name of Sweetwater claims that he saw a guy wearing an eyepatch hiding in a barrel. While the other soldiers Redford and Marlowe debate on how stupid it would be for someone to hide in a barrel "That's just as stupid as hiding in a cardboard box!" and why he would be wearing an eyepatch, a red exclamation mark appears over the barrel with the traditional sound effect, obviously parodying Solid Snake & co. Another soldier, whose name is Haggard, then shoots the barrel with an M203 grenade launcher, apparently sending the barrel's occupant flying, and afterwards, finds the eyepatch and puts it on. At the end, he ends up bumping into Sweetwater because of the blindspot of the eyepatch.
Notes and references
- ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
Kazuhira Miller: It's a metal drum. They must use their color to tell them apart... that one being filled with gasoline. If you shoot that metal drum it'll explode.