Together Retro Game Club: Metal Gear


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Many of our readers will have no doubt played something accredited to Hideo Kojima – whether it is one of the entries in his Metal Gear Solid series, a Zone of the Enders title, Sega CD’s standout Snatcher, or any other number of games that he’s played a prominent role in designing.  Kojima’s first game was the 1987 title Metal Gear, and there are lots of ideas that appeared in his first game that can be traced across his legacy. Metal Gear is out Together Retro title for February.



Metal Gear tells the story of FOXHOUND operative Solid Snake (a character modeled, in part, on Kurt Russell’s Snake in John Carpenter’s Escape from New York), as he tries to break into the Outer Heaven instillation and destroy a nuclear weapon known as Metal Gear.  The plot is uncharacteristically complex for an 8-bit title, but its cast of characters and its twists and turns  is just as much a part of the draw to the game as is the style of stealth gameplay that title introduces.


Like most of the other games bearing the “Metal Gear” label, Kojima’s first game is a blend of action and stealth gameplay.  Players must manage resources, figure out how to get by certain areas without drawing attention, and figure out how and when to engage in combat.


The game was originally designed for the MSX2 and this version has been ported to the “Subsistence” version of Metal Gear Solid 3, which is the version that is also included in the more recent Metal Gear HD Collection and the Metal Gear Legacy Collection. Thus, the game can be accessed on the original hardware or on the PS2, PS3, PS Vita, or Xbox 360.

The game was also notoriously ported to the NES/Famicom (and, subsequently, to the PC and Amiga). This version of the game suffered many changes (additional levels, key changes in existing levels, additional characters, etc.) that Kojima and his team did not approve: he has since disowned this port.


Metal Gear is rightly regarded as a classic for many reasons. In addition to launching a wildly successful career and a wildly successful (and still running) series, it also has been heralded for its innovative design, its handling of stealth, and some of its aesthetic elements. The game saw two direct sequels: Snake’s Revenge (NES) and Metal Gear Solid 2: Solid Snake (MSX2).  The NES game was not done by Kojima and is not considered part of the series’ canon. The second game was done by Kojima and is available on many of the same collections as the original MSX Metal Gear title. Metal Gear would also launch a follow up series in Metal Gear Solid, which debuted on the PlayStation in 1998.


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TheyCallHimBigAl says:

Quick fix: the MSX2 sequel to Metal Gear is Metal Gear 2, not Metal Gear Solid 2. This series has some of the strangest naming conventions of any franchise. Great write up, also.

Pentarou says:

To be excact, the title of the msx2 sequel is ‘metal gear 2: solid snake’. Witch make the title mix-up even more likely…

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