7 Days of Metal Gear, Day 1: Metal Gear

December 19, 2013

I know it sounds redundant, but that’s actually the name of the first game: Metal Gear. It’s not Metal Gear Solid, it’s not Metal Gear 1, it’s just Metal Gear.
Metal Gear for the MSX, released in 1987, was the first game that started this amazing, yet convoluted, series, and I’m here to disclose its best features.

PREAMBLE

This game was pretty amazing in his time due to the great combination of action games and stealth, and the great storytelling that put most games in its time to shame. It was also graphically superior to most games found, even for the MSX machine.

And what’s the MSX machine you are asking? well, it’s a home computer popular in Japan, similar to the ZX Spectrum and the Commodore 64. The system ran a modified version of DOS called MSX-DOS, created by Microsoft. It sported a Z80 CPU, up to 512KB of RAM, cartridge slot, floppy disc drive and Hard Disk Drive with up to 4MB of storage. I know it sounds weak by today’s standards, but this machine was really powerful compared to other ones of the era. The machine was manufactured by many different companies, one of them Sony, like the one seen in this picture:

To learn more just go to wikipedia.

It is interesting to mention that part of the popularity of emulating this machine comes directly from the need to play the classic Metal Gear games, they are THAT famous and influential.

There is not much to say about this game in terms of gameplay as it’s pretty simple: you move around avoiding getting seen by the enemy, you fire your guns, and that’s it. Instead of having an angular vision, enemies could only see you if you were directly in front of them, and they could see through the entire screen, so it doesn’t matter how far you are from them, as long as you are in front of them, and no obstacles in the middle, they can see you from a mile away, keep this in mind if you plan on playing the game.

The game is full of items you can use to conquer your goal, such as a scuba suit, a parachute, a cardboard box (which later became the series’ trademark), a compass, an enemy uniform and many others.

You get to fight a lot of bosses, all with their different styles of attack and ways to kill/destroy, such as a stationary Helicopter, two Terminator-like robots, a kid with a machine gun that just blindly fires across the screen, and the last boss fight of the game is pretty awesome. But lets just take a tour of the real jewel in this game, the story, and yes, f-ing spoilers for a 30 year old game coming up.

The game was re-released for mobile phones and later for the PS2 as part of Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence, and later for the PS3 and Vita as part of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, so there’s no excuse to not play it.

STORYLINE

The game starts with Foxhound agent Solid Snake sent to a military facility called Outer Heaven to investigate the mysterious disappearance of another Foxhound agent named Gray Fox, who’s last words before disappearing were “Metal Gear…”. You are commanded by Big Boss, the Foxhound commander, and are guided through your mission by him.

As Solid Snake infiltrates Outer Heaven he makes contact with a few Outer Heaven resistance members, such as Kyle Schneider, Diane and Jennifer. With their help Snake manages to get capture and sent to a cell next to Gray Fox’s. Snake then punches the wall separating his cell and Fox’s and makes contact with him, cause you know, it’s totally easy to break a wall by punching it.

Snake learns the dark secret of Metal Gear from Fox, it’s a nuclear equipped bipedal walking tank created by Dr Petrovich Madnar. Madnar’s daughter, Ellen, was held captive as a way to force Madnar into building Metal Gear.
Snake then sets out to rescue Madnar and his daughter. Madnar then tells Snake how to destroy Metal Gear: he has to plant bombs in the machine’s feet in a specific order.

Snake sets out to destroy Metal Gear but faces many traps in his path, becoming apparent that someone is leaking info about Snake’s presence to the enemy.
Snake finally gets to Metal Gear’s hangar and destroys it before it is completed, also triggering the self destruct sequence of Outer Heaven, so Snake has to hurry and exit the compound before it blows up.

In his way Snake finds himself with none other than his commanding officer Big Boss, who not only is the leader of Foxhound, but is also the leader of Outer Heaven. Big Boss sent Snake, who is a rookie, into this mission thinking he wouldn’t get that far and that he would return home and give out false info about Outer Heaven. Big Boss plans all along was to become the military superiority with Metal Gear, but his plans got blown away by Snake, even though he was a rookie.
Big Boss tries to kill Snake but Snake blows his ass with a few missiles and escapes Outer Heaven safe and sound.

CONCLUSION

There’s not much else to say about a game with a script of about a page, although the story is quite interesting and really ahead of its time.
The game may start out to be a bit hard, and it’s really confusing as you barely get any info on what to do or where to get the next item you need, but with a proper FAQ/Walkthrough and a good emulator or the PS2/PS3/Vita re-release you can have a pretty fun time with this game. You have no reason not to play this game, I really recommend it, I’m gonna give it a score of 8 out of 10.

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