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I haven't found a really full, let alone factual, history of the Metal Gear saga, and how it started. So with that in mind, I shall expound the true story of Metal Gear.

The first Metal Gear game was released by Hideo Kojima in 1988 for the MSX(a popular japanese computer/console system of the time), and saw huge success in that market. So, it was ported to other platforms, most notable of which was the fledgling Famicom(NES in the states), and brought to the United States by that venue. It was incredibly popular there. The second game, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, was again made for the MSX, but was never ported to the NES and brought to the United States. Metal Gear: Snake's Revenge was an American product, made by a developer at Konami's Ultra Games label, the company who owned the American rights to Metal Gear at the time. To this day, Hideo Kojima, the original creator of the Metal Gear saga, refuses to recognize Snake's Revenge as an entity, let alone a playable game (and I agree, it's horrible). Snake's Revenge was an attempt to cash in on the popular US Metal Gear franchise, since it was quite obvious that the real sequal, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, wasn't going to make it to the Famicom at all.

So, the only way you can really -ever- play the actual sequel to Metal Gear, is to go and get an MSX emulator and go and play Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.

Several years later, Hideo Kojima comes along and says "I wanna make a sequel", and he did. A very good one, and hopefully "MGS2 : Son's of Liberty" will be even better. But only time can tell.

Before the advent of Metal Gear, all action/adventures were quite straightforward: Go Forth, and Let The Trigger Twitching Commence.

And then Metal Gear came. You're still trying to pull the same stunt? You're dead, pal, you're dead.

Metal Gear Solid's subtitle summarises best what the series is all about: "Tactical Espionage Action". The hero of the games, Solid Snake, is a surprisingly realistic action hero: If he takes couple of bullets, he won't be breathing any longer. And his enemies are (more or less) equally mortal - except that they're there in numbers. Alert.

Snake needs to use the trigger, yes, but violence is never the big factor in MG series. The games are actually about sneaking. Snake is a covert operative, not an one-man army. The trick is to stay hidden and kill noiselessly. Thus, the games are extremely tactical. Use eyes, make decision, and run in the shadows.

"Big Boss here. Your mission is to infiltrate! Be careful not to let enemy detect you."

- Big Boss,
Metal Gear (Engrish NES version)

And what's "Metal Gear", then? It's a new generation super weapon. Think of a 'Mech with a nuclear weapon as its heaviest armament. Snake's mission is to destroy it (at least in MG and PS/GB versions of MGS.

Metal Gear, in my opinion, resembles an RPG more than a shoot-em-up game. Metal Gear, in many cases, avoids shooting mass numbers of enemies entirely. I mean, how many shooters have a cardboard box for their hero to hide inside of?

How Metal Gear resembles an RPG
The story of each game in the series directly involves the player. While shooters, have little story, Metal Gear has an evolving story. RPGs tend to have a player follow linear storyline, but with multiple choices on how to get there. Metal Gear follows this idea in that many situations can be handled in multiple ways or routes. Where in a shooter you had the choice of blasting your way in or dying, Metal Gear allows the option of sneaking in, distracting enemies, or quietly disposing of foes. Metal Gear force the player to have a small emotional attachment to Solid Snake and other characters of the game throughout his actions the story. You hate the enemies, even the brand x baddies for their cruel actions towards the hero and his allies.

Like RPGs, Metal Gear has character evolution. Traditionally, role-playing games have a ranking system for characters to progress along as the story continues. Likewise, metal gear has a ranking system where Snake can level up his stats. RPGs have a character's hit points increase, Metal Gear has a growing life bar. RPGs have power levels, Metal Gear has guns. Potions, rations. Level restrictions, key cards. And so on. Certain item in RPGs allow the character progress further into the world they are fighting in. This is mirrored in metal gear with key cards, ropes, and explosives. Having Solid Snake use C4 to blow down a door to the computer room is much less geekier than using a magical elvish item to gain entrance to the cave of wisdom. Barriers, such as a locked door, present a challenge to evolve a character but in a different way. Where in other RPGs a level 10 wizard is the only way to cast a spell to open a door, Metal Gear has Solid Snake hold a level 3 key card to open a door.

How Metal Gear is a shooter
There are guns, lots of guns. Although guns increase in power as levels proceed, this happens in most shooters. Also, Snake is a killer, he does this well and there is not an emotional attachment that tears at you when he loses against a boss or even a smaller battle. Instead, you hit continue and make your way back to that point. Although Snake's goal is to avoid contact with enemies, in many cases killing is highly stressed (mostly when you trip an alarm and a swarm of enemies must be disposed of). I think, Metal Gear could best be classified as a "Cool alternative to an RPG". Not to say that Final Fantasy is poorly done, it is great. But, guys play computer games, and Metal Gear is far more macho than Princess Maker 2.

The Story of Metal Gear, Part 1
Mission in Outer Heaven


Metal Gear, along with it's sequels (and prequel) was and still is one of the most innovative games ever created. Hideo Kojima wanted to focus on covert action instead of open assault, and this meant creating a game where the best way to reach the goal is not eliminating the enemy, but avoiding him altogether. He then combined this with a great storyline. Even today this concept remains new, fresh and ultimately more rewarding. The plots are intense and confusing, some actions can only be understood after the game is completed, thereby increasing the replay value of the games. So, surprised it remained unnoded, I present to you the story of Metal Gear, part two of the Metal Gear Big Boss Trilogy (even though it was the first Metal Gear to be released).

Metal Gear:

The armed fortress of Outer Heaven, situated 200km north of Salzburg, deep in South Africa, was taken over by a group of mercenaries in the late 1990s. Top secret information was intercepted revealing that a Top Secret weapon capable of changing the face of land-warfare as we know it was being developed in Outer Heaven. So the hi-tech informal squad Fox-Hound was ordered to infiltrate and reconnoiter the fortress. They sent their best man, an agent named Grey Fox, on the mission that was called INTRUDE N313, but a few days later, the contact with Grey Fox broke down after a short, incomplete message:

...metal gear...

Still in need to find out more facts, Foxhound sent out a second man, operating under the code name Solid Snake. He infiltrated Outer Heaven, contacting resistance members such as Schneider, Jennifer and Diane. With their help, he rescued the captive Grey Fox and learned about the nuclear-weapon mounting heavy walking tank called Metal Gear, which would confer military superiority to Outer Heaven.

Snake also rescued an Eastern scientist, Dr. Petrovich Madnar, the developer of Metal Gear, kidnapped by the enemy and used to upgrade the base defenses with modern technology. After finding his daughter Ellen, Petrovich revealed the weaknesses of Metal Gear, telling Snake how to destroy it.

But the closer Snake came to the truth, the more difficult it became, as if someone revealed all his actions to the enemy. In the midst of the escalating battle, the leader of the resistance, Schneider, fell into the hands of the enemy, and Snake himself was injured through the deadly battles with Outer Heaven's best mercenaries. But Snake's indomitable spirit lead him to the 100th floor basement of the secret base where Metal Gear was developed. Evading the powerful defense system that wipes out all intruders, Snake ultimately succeeded in destroying Metal Gear.

Snake tried to escape from Outer Heaven upon completing the mission, but was confronted by Foxhound commander-in-chief Big Boss, who laughed at the astounded Snake and told him of the truth about his mission: While serving as the commander-in-chief of Foxhound, Big Boss also ran a mercenary dispatch company utilizing his connections and capital gained as a merc. He was planning to build this company a larger military establishment and he built Outer Heaven as its base. His purpose for sending the rookie Snake to Outer Heaven was to cause disinformation in the west.

But, Big Boss miscalculated, as he never expected Snake to make it this far... Having lost Metal Gear, Big Boss activated the self-destruct-system of the underground base. While the countdown to destruction continued, a battle between two men commenced -- free of idelogy and politics...

The armed fortress nation, Outer Heaven, collapsed. The impenetrable fortress made from the best military technology and occupied by the toughest mercenaries burned in flames. And when the dust cleared, only Snake remained in what used to be Outer Heaven.

Official Metal Gear Games List:
Metal Gear - Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
Metal Gear Solid (see also Twin Snakes) - Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Substance) - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Subsistance)
(Metal Gear: Ghost Babel) - (Metal Gear: AC!D) - (Metal Gear: AC!D 2)

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