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Metal Gear Solid 2's controls may not seem entirely logical at first, especially not to those who are new to the series. With time, though, the controls will get easier. It just takes practice.

PlayStation 2 Xbox Windows Description
Neutral lstick or Neutral dpad Neutral lstick or Neutral dpad Moves your character around. The further you move the stick, the faster you move. Try not to run on noisy surfaces (like metal grating) - walking slowly will prevent your footsteps from making noise and alerting nearby guards. While crouched, this causes you to crawl.
Neutral rstick Neutral rstick While against a wall, this will pan the camera around.
Cross button A button Crouches/stands up.
Circle button B button Executes a punch combo attack.
Square button X button Fires your current weapon, throws grenades/empty clips, places C4/dirty magazines. See Weapons for more details.
Triangle button Y button Your all-purpose Action button. Climbs ladders, jumps up small ledges (when next to them), and opens lockers and some doors.
R1 button L button Enters First-Person View. During cinemas, this zooms the camera in.
R2 button RT button Hold to open the Weapon Menu. Press to equip/unequip the last weapon you had out.
L1 button With your weapon raised, hold this button to lock on to the nearest enemy. Handy for alert situations, but otherwise it's easier to manually aim.
L2 button LT button Hold to open the Item Menu. Press to equip/unequip the last item you had out.

Unarmed Combat[edit]

You can do quite a lot of damage without weapons. You can choke enemies to knock them out, snap their necks, or just beat them up if you need to make a quick getaway.

PlayStation 2 Xbox Windows Description
Circle button B button (repeatedly): Snake unleashes a three-hit combo. Raiden unleashes a four-hit combo.
Square button X button (repeatedly, while standing still): Grabs a nearby enemy and eventually snaps their neck.
Square button X button (once, while running): Grabs and throws an enemy. Useful for quick getaways, or throwing people over ledges.
Square button X button (hold): Grabs an enemy so you can drag them away. If the enemy is dead or unconscious, this will grab their body to drag around. Grabbing and dropping a body repeatedly may cause it to drop ammo and supplies, but doing this too often to knocked-out enemies will cause them to wake up.