While it was 1998's Metal Gear Solid that skyrocketed the franchise's popularity and made Hideo Kojima a familiar name among gamers, the Metal Gear series started more than a decade earlier in 1987 on the MSX2 home computer. This debut entry has been played by significantly fewer people, however.

Related: Things That Make No Sense About Metal Gear Solid 2's Story

The following list looks to clear up some of the air surrounding it by revealing ten interesting facts regarding the stealth-action title. While the franchise went through numerous changes and evolutions in its three-decade run, the core stealth mechanics remained the same and the original game is still as recognizable as any Metal Gear title.

10 The Stealth Idea Came From The MSX's Technical Limitations

Metal Gear One 1987 MSX

Hideo Kojima was tasked with making an action game for the MSX home computer. However, this hardware had severe limitations and could not fit many characters on screen at one time.

To remedy this issue, the director decided to make the focus of the game avoiding enemy detection rather than facing opponents head on. Sometimes technical boundaries are just what one needs to find innovation.


9 The Western Release Is Way Different

Metal Gear NES Trucks

When Metal Gear was brought to the west, the localization team made numerous changes to the game. For one, Snake does not sneakily infiltrate Outer Heaven underwater and instead parachutes into a jungle with two other characters.

Related: Things You Never Knew About The Boss From Metal Gear

Funnily enough, these two other comrades are never seen or heard from again. Other than that, the text is host to a slew of translation errors. All of these changes were made without Kojima's involvement.

8 The Original Release Did Not Come To The West Until 2006

Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence

Even though the NES western release of Metal Gear is not faithful to the original Japanese version, fans did not get a chance to officially experience the original version until 2006.

Only when Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, a re-release of Metal Gear Solid 3, came out could someone play the game the way it was originally made. The translation is also significantly better. The only problem is there is no proper instruction manual included, meaning a walkthrough is almost mandatory for beating it.

7 There Is A Choose Your Own Adventure Novel Sequel

Metal Gear Codec MSX

A novelization sequel came out in 1988. This, of course, is non-canon and came in the form of a choose-your-own-adventure book. As such, it takes some funny liberties with the character, portraying Solid Snake as an illustrator.

Knowing what we now know about Snake, it is endlessly amusing to imagine the character trying his hand at visual art. Even back in 1988, it would have been hard to imagine Snake in the profession.

6 Potential And Cancelled Remakes

metal gear remake map photo

During the production of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Hideo Kojima mentioned the possibility of remaking the debut Metal Gear title as a way to bring the franchise full circle. This obviously never happened.

There was also a fan remake under development early last decade that actually had the approval of Konami, but it was eventually canceled. It is a shame it got canceled, because most remakes are struck with cease and desist orders from publishers.

5 There Is An English-Language Novelization

Metal gear novelization

The original game received a novelization in the west. Unfortunately, it is based on the western release. Several other changes were also made to the main story — Snake is named Justin Halley and Big Boss is replaced by two separate characters.

Related: The Best Video Game Novelizations Of The Last Decade

The novel was also meant for a younger reading demographic, so the cover art was changed to remove the gun. Imagining a Metal Gear story geared towards kids is amusing enough on its own.

4 It Has A Non-Canon Video Game Sequel

Snake's revenge copy

Even before Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the debut title received a non-canon sequel. Called Snake's Revenge, it was made entirely without Hideo Kojima's involvement or knowledge.

In fact, it was this game's existence that served as one of the motivators for the series' creator to make the true sequel. Snake's Revenge also only ever game out in the west and has never been re-released.

3 The Cover Art Is A Traced Image Of Michael Biehn

metal gear box art

The cover art has become somewhat iconic, but it looks a little familiar. If Solid Snake looks a lot like Michael Biehn, that's because the image is simply a traced-over still from Terminator.

While one might think this was Hideo Kojima's decision, considering the strong influence film has had on his work, he actually had no power over the art for the first game. Michael Biehn would later have a deeper involvement in gaming as the voice of the protagonist in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.

2 The Great Escape Was A Huge Inspiration

Metal gear gameplay 1987

Hideo Kojima wears his influences on his shoulder. Even back in the late 80s, Hollywood was guiding his creative input. The stealth gameplay and idea of avoiding enemies and escaping come from The Great Escape, a war film starring Steve McQueen.

The movie would also receive direct lip service in Metal Gear Solid 3, where Naked Snake and Major Zero talk about it when discussing the latter character's prior codename, Major Tom.

1 It Was Hideo Kojima's Second Game

metal gear original gameplay

Metal Gear was Hideo Kojima's first game as a director, but even more impressive is knowing it was the second game he ever worked on. The first game was Penguin Adventure, where he is credited as Assistant Designer.

The game is radically different than Metal Gear, though it received critical acclaim. Few people get to become a director of a game so quickly, though it was more common in the industry's earlier days.

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