Metal Gear (NES)
Metal Gear (メタルギア Metaru Gia?) is a stealth action game designed by Hideo Kojima. Metal Gear was developed and first published by Konami in 1987 for the MSX2 home computer and was well-received critically and commercially, but that version was released only in Japan at the time. A different version was released on the NES that has many major changes, which is what this page will now cover.
Why It Sucks
- This port was rushed and released in time for the Japanese 1987 holiday season. It took 'three months for it to complete development.
- Despite being the central feature of the franchise, the Metal Gear mech doesn't appear at all in the game: instead, Snake fights a computer.
- The title screen only stays on for two seconds before the demo starts, making starting the game a pain.
- Bad grammar and dialogue, even for the time, as some characters will say weird things like a guard waking up screaming "I feel asleep!".
- Bad environment design, as you won't be able to pass through empty areas, even though it looks like you would fit.
- All enemies get notified easily when you're near them, no matter how stealthy your approach is, however most (if not, all) enemies will barely notice you if you keep punching them.
- Respawning enemies. While lots of games have this mechanic, here, they respawn every time you leave the area, even if you entered a sub-area like a truck or even if you open the menu to get an item.
- When battling the tank mini-boss, you need exactly eleven mines to destroy it. Don't bother fighting it if you have any less than that. If you leave the area to restock, by the time you return, the tank's health is fully replenished.
- Almost no checkpoints. You can only get checkpoints if you higher rank, but it is quite difficult to gain a higher ranking if you accidentally kill a hostage.
- Enemies can be either extremely slow or so fast that they'll be stuck with you right behind your back.
- Many rooms contain hard to avoid traps that can cause a lot of cheap deaths.
- For some reason, Snake can only equip one item at a time. To pass through a room filled with gas, you have to wear a gas mask. However, entering the room (or any room in general) requires a keycard, and using the keycard means unequipping the gas mask (as if Snake holds the keycard with his teeth). This means that it's nigh impossible to pass through a gas-filled room, without taking some damage.
- Speaking of keycards, there are in total eight of them. And there're no indications on which door will require which card. And near the end of the game, the normally simple task of opening a door becomes an annoying guessing game.
- Some of the things you're required to do in this game are just outright nonsensical. For example, there exist three types of explosive weapons in the game: C4, landmines, and missiles. Only the landmines can be used to damage the tank mini-boss you encounter half-way through the game, the C4 is for blowing up computers and missiles are for signal jammers.
- Bad menu controls.
- Lots of bugs.
- Dialogue is very fast and can be skipped with literally any button, even the D-Pad (you'll probably skip important dialogue by accident as a result).
- Extremely and ridiculously long passwords.
- The box art is traced from a picture of Kyle Reese from The Terminator. This is, however, a flaw also present in the MSX port, as Konami decided to make the cover without Kojima's permission.
- Lack of a mercy invincibility period means you can get killed very easily by enemies if they swarm you.
- Big Boss, the main antagonist, lacks any of the sympathetic qualities that he has in the MSX games. While in the original games Big Boss created Outer Heaven to give refuge for war veterans and children, in the NES versions he created Outer Heaven to impose terror to other countries, bombed civilian aircraft for fun, and wants to launch nukes at Washington, London, Tokyo, Canberra, and Paris.
- A pretty good soundtrack.
- The graphics are equally as good as the MSX version.
- The game uses a passcode system rather than saving like the MSX version. This is a passcode rather than a password, in other words, what the player enters is not a pre-set keyword that does a specific thing, instead of being parsed as program code by the game and generating a game state if valid. Unfortunately, the architecture of the NES is such that the word "fuck" has a tendency to result in interesting game states, and between the FUCKM E1111 11111 11111 11111 code from this game and the equally famous "ENGAGE RIDLEY MOTHER FUCKER" code for Metroid (note: look up what this code does before trying it out), this ensured that vowels would be removed from passcode entry screens for years to come. The European version of Metal Gear for the NES was one of the first games to make this change.
- This game and its NES sequel manuals say that the main antagonists are Vermon CaTaffy and Higharolla Kockamamie. Turns out these are just nicknames for the real main villain, Big Boss, which he masquerades as Commander South also.
- Big Boss' nicknames are actually played on names of controversial figures, Vermon Cataffy on Muammar Gaddafi, Commander South on Oliver North, and Higharolla Kockamamie on Ayatollah Khomeini as well being a play on the word cockamamie.