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Near the end of the 20th century, a small fortified nation named Outer Heaven (founded by a mysterious war hero whose name and identity are shrouded in secrecy) is threatening the nations of the "West" with the development of a new prototype weapon named Metal Gear, a walking tank which is capable of launching nuclear warheads from anywhere on the globe. As FOX-HOUND's (an elite black ops unit) newest recruit, going by the codename of Solid Snake, your mission is to infiltrate Outer Heaven and rescue your missing comrade, Grey Fox (who was captured after a failed infiltration), while gathering intelligence on Metal Gear.

In order to fulfill this objective, the player must collect various weapons and equipments (including keycards for further access into the fortress), while avoiding visual contact with the enemy. The player must also confront bosses in the form of Outer Heaven's elite mercenary force and rescue hostages hidden within the fortress in order to increase player rank, which gives Snake an extended life bar and increased storage capacity for replenishable items and ammo. The player can use a wireless transceiver to come in touch with their commanding officer, Big Boss, to learn more about their current mission objectives or contact one of the local resistance members operating covertly within the fortress to gain useful tips and insights.


Metal Gear DOS your only means of communication with the outside world: the transceiver
Metal Gear DOS Starting a new game (CGA)
Metal Gear DOS There are numerous guards you fight or sneak past (CGA)
Metal Gear DOS The opening sequence (Hercules Monochrome)

Promo Images

Metal Gear Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "Intruder" -- Working title
  • "メタルギア" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Well, Solid Snake, it’s amazing that you’ve lasted this long! NES Adzuken (854)
Amazing title from Konami, tons of items, weapons & tons of fun killing action! DOS OlSkool_Gamer (102)
Snake's 1st adventure! NES ceibant (12)
A flawed gem is still a gem NES Joakim Kihlman (275)
Addictive game play but requires guides NES Leon Tiggelman (27)

Critic Reviews

TigerChainsaw NES Nov 05, 2021 9 out of 10 90
1UP! NES May 06, 2007 86 out of 100 86
Tilt NES May, 1990 17 out of 20 85
PixlBit NES Jul 24, 2014 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Player One NES Nov, 1990 74 out of 100 74
Jeuxvideo.com NES Aug 23, 2012 13 out of 20 65
Just Games Retro NES Jul 21, 2003 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Retro Game Reviews NES Nov 28, 2015 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 30
The Video Game Critic NES Feb 21, 2005 D 25
Computer Gaming World (CGW) NES Oct, 1988 Unscored Unscored


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The MSX version of this game, together with Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake is featured on the extra disc of the Limited Edition of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.

Cover art

Michael Biehn from The Terminator film, though not authorized, was used as the model for the box illustration. You can find a side by side comparison here.


The in-game dialogue in the NES version of the first game was translated by Konami in Japan, whereas the NES version's instruction manual was written by a writer Konami had in their US division, which were in charge of packaging and distributing their games. Konami of Japan had almost no editorial supervision over what the writer wrote in his manuals. Because of this, the writer would try to make his manuals as "humorous" as possible by taking any liberty with the game's plot. In the manual, the reader is led to believe that a middle-eastern terrorist named Vermon CaTaffy (a play on the name of Muammar Gadaffi most likely), is the bad guy in the game and that Snake's commanding officer is named Commander South. However, no such names are featured in the game's dialogue. In the actual in-game plot, the main villain's identity is intentionally kept a secret to the player because of an eventual plot twist. The writer of the NES manual (intentionally or not) ignored this plot twist by making a made-up villain that's not featured within the game.

Snake's Revenge, the "American" sequel to Metal Gear also suffered from a similar localization treatment. Snake's Revenge continues the plot established in the first Metal Gear for the MSX and NES and even has an appearance by the actual Metal Gear mecha (which was replaced by a Supercomputer in the NES port of the first game). In the in-game plot of Snake's Revenge, the player is sent to neutralize a terrorist group from an undisclosed hostile nation who are developing a new Metal Gear prototype. In the manual, another made-up villain by the writer named Higharolla Kockamamie (a play on the name of Ayatollah Khomeini most likely), is described in the storyline. Snake's Revenge has even more banal attempts at humor, by describing one of the characters to be "related to Ginger from Gilligan's Island".

The writer of KoA's manuals did the same thing with several other Konami games, including The Adventures of Bayou Billy, Contra and Life Force, where liberties were taken with the manual for "humor" without any consideration of what the original designers intended.


The game documentation included a map composed mainly of gameplay screenshots. Upon closer examination, you can tell the screenshots were taken from the original Japanese 8-bit Nes version, thanks to the Japanese character set and some slightly different graphics (such as trucks, etc.) which can cause some confusion in the game.


The NES version of Metal Gear is listed in the 2008 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition as the first game to fully utilize stealth as part of its gameplay.

Storyline differences

In the original Japanese storylines, every Metal Gear game pits you against U.S. Special Forces who have become addicted to war and who decide to start a few of their own. Perhaps because that wouldn't play very well to a domestic audience, Konami of America changed the storyline of the original NES Metal Gear game so that you were up against Third World terrorists. Snake's Revenge, continued this trend with its storyline.

Version differences

The original version of Metal Gear was released for a personal computer known as the MSX in Japan and Europe. The better-known Famicom (NES) version was released in Japan half a year later after the MSX version was released. Hideo Kojima, the game designer who worked on the MSX version, was not directly involved in the NES port and the game's was handled by a different Konami team at Tokyo. As a result, the developers made a few compromises from the original MSX game.

A different intro was added where Snake parachutes into a jungle (instead of the underwater insertion of the original), the areas were rearranged (and a new maze was added) and two of the bosses (the Hind D and the Metal Gear itself) were replaced by different bosses.

The NES version was also poorly reprogrammed and various subtle gameplay aspects were modified. The player's gunshot's range were extended, the jetpack soldiers on the rooftop lost their ability to fly, you cannot leave a door open and switch to the item/weapons screen, the Lv. 3 or "double exclamation mark" Alert mode (where the alarm isn't deactivated until you neutralize all reinforcements) was removed (the alarm can even be turned off by using the binoculars and the soldiers will return to their default positions) and even though the areas were arranged, due to the room oriented nature of the transceiver messages, the developers forgot to move some of the messages along with it (for example, if you call Schneider in the area in front of the room where the gas mask is contained, he will tell you the location of the mine detector due to the fact that the location was originally a minefield in the MSX version). You can even talk to Schneider after his supposed death.

Also, in the NES version, the player never gets to see and fight the actual Metal Gear.

Hideo Kojima was reportedly unhappy with the quality of the NES version.


  • Game Informer Magazine
    • August 2001 (Issue 100) - voted #53 in the Top 100 Games of All Time poll
Information also contributed by Alan Chan, Depeche Mike, Johnny Undaunted, PCGamer77, Sciere, Snake Plissken, and U.J.1

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Contributed to by chirinea (47082), Kartanym (12706) and Zovni (10627)
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