It’s Monday, and that means Metal Gear!
Snake’s Revenge (NES, 1990, Konami)
Snake’s Revenge is the red-headed step-child of the Metal Gear series. The game was produced with the American and European markets that had received the poorly translated abomination of the first Metal Gear for NES in mind, and was released in those regions in 1990 and 1991 respectively. Series director, producer, and writer Hideo Kojima had absolutely nothing to do with Snake’s Revenge and was actually completely ignorant about its existence until he was approached by several staff members of Konami who had worked on the title. It was these staff members who pressed for Kojima to produce an actual Metal Gear sequel, after they heard that he was conceptualizing a possible sequel.
Upon the release of Kojima’s Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which was exclusively in the Japanse market for the MSX2 and MSX2+, Snake’s Revenge would be scrapped from the Metal Gear canon forever. This essentially made Snake’s Revenge (which isn’t even a subtitle, but rather the game’s full title) a standalone title that plays more like a Contra clone, another one of Konami’s claims to fame in the late-1980s/early-1990s, than an actual Metal Gear sequel.
That isn’t to say that the stealth aspects of the original title are gone, but there is more of an emphasis on the action, regardless of if there is an “infiltration phase” and a separate “combat/alert phase”. The player starts with weapons in their inventory and since the combat is less of an inconvenience, there isn’t really a downside to engaging in combat more frequently than in the previous title, which would punish you drastically for being spotted by an enemy.
Snake’s Revenge is set just three years following the conclusion of the NES release of Metal Gear. This time, FOXHOUND has discovered, in a clear homage to the Gulf War and other Middle Eastern conflicts, that a rogue nation in the Middle East has intercepted the plans to Metal Gear. “Lieutenant” Solid Snake must infiltrate their stronghold and stop them from producing their own Metal Gear before it’s too late for the Western world. I put “Lieutenant” in quotation marks because Solid Snake’s rank is never revealed in the canonical Metal Gear titles, and in my opinion, makes Solid Snake’s title seem even campier than it already is with a Solid in front of it.
Lt. Solid Snake befriends two other soldiers, John and Nick. John gets captured in order to help Lt. Solid Snake, has a man posing as him that Lt. Solid Snake must defeat, and eventually gets declared M.I.A. by the American Government by the end of the game. Nick is mortally wounded and dies towards the end of the game. Jennifer, a spy among the ranks of the enemy, assists Lt. Solid Snake, but is also eventually captured.
The leader of the rogue nation reveals himself as Big Boss, who was supposedly killed at the end of both the MSX2 and NES releases of Metal Gear, and Lt. Solid Snake defeats him and Metal Gear 2, much in the same way that he defeated both Big Boss and Metal Gear in the previous title.
The U.N. declares a “World Peace Day” in celebration and the credits roll.
Hideo Kojima didn’t even consider working on a true sequel to Metal Gear until one of his junior developers who had been working on Snake’s Revenge approached him and asked for a canonical sequel written and directed by Kojima-san. Kojima has also referred to both the NES version of Metal Gear and Snake’s Revenge as a “stain” on his career, “bad game(s)”, as well as stating that the infiltration portions of both games are “maddeningly difficult” even for the Metal Gear creator himself!
If you get a chance, and you consider yourself a Metal Gear fan, you should definitely try out Snake’s Revenge. I warn you that it can be a testing experience. Maybe someday the alternate reality version of Solid Snake, Lt. Solid Snake, will make a humorous re-entry into the world or a cameo appearance in a canonical Metal Gear title, although I think that a Snatcher remake, reboot, or sequel of some sort is probably more feasible than a Snake’s Revenge tie-in from Konami or Kojima.