Last year while spending the holiday with my family I began a tradition. The night before Thanksgiving last year I stayed up all night to beat Goonies 2. This year I decided to keep with the tradition and try to beat another game in one day. This year I choose the interesting NES title, Metal Gear.
Ah Metal Gear. One of the most popular game title lines in video games, and also the most confusing. Even the original NES title is a hot mess. The true original Metal Gear was only released for the MSX2 in 1987 is was the originator of the stealth adventure genre of gaming where the main character has to sneak around and cannot simply stand and fight.
However the US version of Metal Gear is a bastardization of stealth and action. I’m just guessing, but I think Ultra Games (which BTW is really Konami) thought the idea of sneaking around would not go over well with Americans and decided they needed to add more fighting into the game. What you end up with the American version of Metal Gear is a very strange game. On one hand you still can sneak around to avoid combat, but you can also “run and gun” quite a bit more. You also get some more Japanese to US translation gold. This would be my personal favorite:
You also end up with an extremely cryptic game style where you end up spending more time finding equipment and guessing on how to beat the game than you to playing. As a middle school kid I had no chance, literally ZERO chance at beating this game. No map, no clues on where to go, and the thought of I don’t have to take out every person on the screen added up to a game I couldn’t even hope of beating.
Armed with 32 years of knowledge and a burning desire to avenge my childhood. I sat down and settled in for what was going to be a long night. At 11:57 I finally achieved victory, beating Metal Gear
You’ll have to forgive the quality of the video. Being at my parents I didn’t have access to a real camera or tripod, and my usual director of photography had fallen asleep. Here are a couple more videos from the game:
Reflecting on this game a bit I found a new appreciation for it. Sure it’s not the easiest game to figure out, yes the translation is awful, and yes more often than not you end up dying due to bad game design but at the same time this was the bleeding edge of game design. They were marching into previously unknown territory and the end result is a difficult but enjoyable game. My only real pet peeve is Metal Gear is not in the game. You not only never get to see it but you never get to fight it which I think is a real cop out.