A surveillance camera, used aboard the Big Shell.

A surveillance camera, also known as a monitor, is a video camera that is used to remotely monitor an area or building by transmitting recorded images to a central control room.


In military usage, surveillance cameras provide additional security in areas where it may be difficult to position a manned patrol unit, or used in tandem with a patrol to provide extra coverage. If a camera detects an anomaly, an intruder, or a disturbance, an alert is raised from the central control room, and personnel are dispatched to the area to investigate.

A surveillance camera was utilized in the hospital room that Naked Snake was recuperating/imprisoned in during the aftermath of the Virtuous Mission, namely to monitor what he was doing. However, the processing screen was choppy.

Although none were actually seen during the Peace Walker Incident, the surveillance room on the United States missile base in Nicaragua indicated that the U.S. missile base did indeed use them, with Snake using one to locate and converse with Paz Ortega Andrade. In addition, the Mine Base's detention center had security footage panels inside the security room.

The United States Naval Prison Facility in Cuba utilized several surveillance cameras within the Admin building, especially near the entrance to the boiler room.

During the 1980s, the successor PMC to the Militaires Sans Frontières, the Diamond Dogs, included surveillance cameras on the forward operating bases on their Mother Base in the Seychelles near Africa, in an attempt to deter any intruders belonging to any competitors to the Diamond Dogs. The Soviet 40th Army also had plans to implement surveillance cameras around key areas of the Afghanistan region, although they acknowledged that they still had some blind spots that the cameras possessed.

During the Shadow Moses Incident, the surveillance cameras were of the wireless variety, able to transfer data to a command room somewhere on Shadow Moses.

Surveillance cameras may operate continuously or only as required to monitor a particular event. During the Big Shell Incident, a camera of the latter type was set up in the Shell 1 Core of the Big Shell, in order to clear personnel for use of an elevator.

The Eastern European city's station utilized a surveillance camera to verify peoples identities, as evidenced by signs in Czech during Solid Snake's visit to Eastern Europe to locate Big Mama during the Guns of the Patriots Incident.

The gun camera, mounted with a heavy, rapid fire weapon, was also deployed in restricted areas, which automatically fired upon a detected intruder. They often act autonomously and were sometimes deployed within areas of high electronic jamming, in which a central control room couldn't be alerted via wireless data transmission.

Behind the scenes

Surveillance cameras are a recurring element in the Metal Gear series, appearing as a trap in nearly all the games save for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (the security room in the Mine Base nonwithstanding), and Metal Gear Survive.

Although they don't appear in gameplay in Metal Gear Solid 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Peace Walker, and Survive, they are nonetheless alluded to. Specifically:

  • During the flashback to Zero's visit to Snake in the hospital just prior to Operation Snake Eater commencing, the scene is depicted as them being monitored by a surveillance camera, although the footage is shown to be choppy.
  • Aside from Snake having a flashback to spotting a surveillance camera at Shadow Moses, Act 3 alludes to surveillance cameras being present in Eastern Europe via posters found in the beginning of the level.
  • Big Boss utilizes a surveillance room and used one of the surveillance cameras to contact with a then-imprisoned Paz Ortega Andrade.
  • Shortly after the Wardenclyffe Section recovered an MSF survivor's body, Joseph Gruen's meeting with Goodluck was monitored by a surveillance camera, similar to the example in Snake Eater. Also like in Snake Eater, the footage was shown to be choppy.


Cameras have a fairly large blind spot directly underneath them that can be exploited to hide in; if the player presses against the wall and only moves under the camera while the beam is facing the other direction. Using chaff grenades will also disable cameras in the area for a short period of time, allowing them to quickly run past them. Cameras can also be destroyed in the 3D games. In Metal Gear Solid, cameras can be destroyed only by using the Stinger missile launcher or any other explosives (i.e. Nikita or C4). From Metal Gear Solid 2 onward, the player has the ability to shoot out cameras by going into first person view and firing any lethal weapon to disable the camera; tranquilizer rounds will have no effect. Passing through a camera's field of vision will not cause an alert if the player is successfully disguised as an enemy or is using stealth camouflage. If the player manages to shoot out 15 surveillance cameras in the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, they'll gain the trophy called "Bye Bye Big Brother."

In the 2D Metal Gear games, cameras could not be avoided by simply walking under them. The only chance the player has for evasion is to hide behind a wall or equip the cardboard box before it moved over him.

Surveillance cameras also make an appearance in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops in the hospital, research laboratory, warhead storage facility, power plant and silo entrance. However, they are only present in Extreme Mode.

Displays video from previously installed security cameras.
Press the L1 and R1 buttons to switch channels
―Monitor description in Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

A surveillance camera, referred to in-game as "monitor," was also a usable item in the Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence version of Metal Gear Online. Players can also disable the cameras via a combat knife.[1]

In Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, the Déjà Vu" mission has Big Boss spotting a surveillance camera in a manner similar to Metal Gear Solid as one of the objectives.

Surveillance camera.
Camera that monitors a fixed area in a cycle. Sounds an alarm if an intruder enters its visual field.
―Surveillance cam menu description in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Gamescom 2015 Mother Base/FOB gameplay demo.

In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, similar to in the first iteration of Metal Gear Online in Subsistence, the player can install surveillance cameras on Mother Base as one of several security devices as part of the FOB gameplay element. The surveillance camera is considered a Grade 3 rank and costs 200000 GMP to develop.


Notes and references

See also