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In the role of the resourceful commando Solid Snake, players use stealth and smarts to infiltrate an isolated fortress. The mission is to investigate the recent disappearance of a special forces operative. Little is known of the hidden jungle stronghold — aside from the fact that it may house the most destructive weapon ever conceived by humanity. A brief transmission was received just before contact was lost with the missing operative. Only a simple, two-word message made it through: "Metal Gear."
Beginning with little more than a pack of cigarettes and his wits, Solid Snake cautiously approaches the base. He'll need to stay on his toes throughout this long and complicated mission, ready to react quickly and intelligently in any situation. The fortified base is crawling with guards and enemy soldiers, far too many for one man to fight alone. Instead, the hero will be wise to avoid detection as he passes through busy areas, dispatching a few crucial guards when he catches them alone and unaware, saving his unbridled aggression for the tough enemy bosses.
Metal Gear is played from an overhead perspective similar to that of The Legend of Zelda. The enemy base is thoroughly secure and Solid Snake will often need to find coded key cards to gain access to new areas deeper in the complex. At certain points he can use a transceiver to communicate with allies on the outside, but contact is limited. Snake will come across a variety of deadly weapons and useful items as he moves towards his goal, but surreptitiousness remains his greatest survival skill. Why draw attention with noisy gunfire when you can just hide beneath a cardboard box until the guards pass by?
The internationally released Nintendo Entertainment System version of Metal Gear is based on the Japanese-only home computer game designed by Hideo Kojima. For the most part, the NES game remains true to the original, though a few puzzling changes and omissions were made. Kojima was not involved with the console port (nor with its occasionally clumsy English translations). Metal Gear uses a password system to allow players to save Solid Snake's progress through the adventure. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide