Metal Gear Solid is an action game which features government agent Solid Snake as he tries to re-assume control of a nuclear weapons base from enemies. The game favors stealth over direct fighting. This means that in most of the game's missions, the player must work his way to avoid being caught sight of by the enemies. During the course of the game, Solid Snake has access to various items that can help him achieve his goal. There are also 30 different weapons which can be used for combat. Additionally, the game has a mini map that helps point the location of the enemies. The game also features cinematic cut scenes that help in narrating the story.
In Metal Gear Solid, the core gameplay revolves around stealth. Solid Snake must avoid being scene by the enemies. He can be detected if he moves on the enemies' field of vision. If that happens, the enemy sets an alarm that alerts other enemies to go towards Snake's location. Snake can either combat the enemies or run to a place where he can't be seen. There are many in-game objects that can aid in evading enemies while completing missions. These include hiding in boxes, leaning on walls, etc. Another feature in the game is the codec. The codec lets Snake communicate with various characters in the game.