"Metal Gear" is a video game which was released in 1987 for the MSX2. It was created by a Japanese man named Hideo Kojima who was working for a games company called Konami. Metal Gear had a storyline which involved a soldier named Solid Snake (the playable character). Snake had to infiltrate an enemy fortress to destroy a dangerous new nuclear weapon called Metal Gear, and put a stop to the terrorists who were threatening to use it. Metal Gear was such a success not only for its enjoyable storyline but also because it brought a new concept to the gaming industry. Instead of just shooting every enemy in sight, as is the aim in "shoot 'em ups", Metal Gear emphasised the importance of sneaking around unseen. Snake was most successful if he could avoid detection and carry out his mission objectives without leaving a trail of blood behind him.
The game's success prompted a sequel which came out in the form of "Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake" in 1990. After this the games faded away for a while along with the consoles they were released for. They became collectors' items and not much else... until at last in 1998 when Kojima-san released another installment in the Metal Gear series, "Metal Gear Solid" for the PlayStation.
Metal Gear Solid was an enormous success worldwide, and many people did not realise it was a sequel. The "Solid" in the title referred not only to Solid Snake, but also to the fact that this was the series' first 3D game in a "solid" environment (and thirdly that it was superior to anything from Squaresoft!). Because MGS was such an incredible winner and sold millions, Kojima-san was begged by fans to continue the series, a feat he pulled off marvellously, releasing game after game, all of which have been widely regarded as masterpieces.
"MGS2: Sons of Liberty" was the direct sequel to MGS and "MGS3: Snake Eater" ended up being a prequel, set in the 1960s with the main character being the father of Solid Snake. Both were released for the PlayStation 2. The next installment in the series, "MGS4: Guns of the Patriots" has been a massive success for the PlayStation 3. "Peace Walker" is the most recent release and there are yet more projects currently in development.
The games are not restricted only to those listed above, but also branch out into sub-games, re-releases and add-ons, with something for almost every console on the market. Most notable extras are the PlayStation Portable games including "MGS: Portable Ops", a new mission in its own right. Others for the PSP include card-based games "Metal Gear Acid" and "Metal Gear Acid 2". The Game Boy Color also had its own game, "Metal Gear: Ghost Babel" and an add-on for the PlayStation "MGS: Special Missions" focused on the training levels of MGS.
Many of the games in the series have been re-released so they can be enjoyed even more. MGS was remade for the Gamecube with enhanced graphics and gameplay, under the title "The Twin Snakes" and both MGS2 and MGS3 came out again with added features under the new titles "Substance" and "Subsistence" respectively. The latter even included the original two Metal Gear games so that finally people could play the first installments in the series without having to track them down second hand, possibly along with working consoles to play them on!
The more recent games have also benefited from online multiplayer modes where gamers across the world can take each other on in a Metal Gear environment. Konami have also been developing games for certain makes of mobile phone and iPod. The series has been a phenomenal success and has delighted millions of gamers worldwide. May it long continue to do so!
The order the games were released, as with many things, does not necessarily make them sequential. It's completely fine to play them all in the order they were released of course, but if you want to play them chronologically, there are currently only eight games to take into consideration and their order and years are shown below:
Details of all the games, in release order, are given below complete with a screenshot. Please note that the cover illustrations are from UK versions. More detail about each game is given on its own page.
Hideo Kojima is most famous for his Metal Gear games but he has also helped produce and direct some other titles including Snatcher, Policenauts, the Zone of the Enders series and the Boktai series. For more information on these games, click here!