[[quoteright:229:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/070_34.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:229:This is Solid Snake! Your reply please...]]

->''"OUTER HEAVEN is the name of heavily armed land in the depth of southern Africa where the dreadful weapon called METAL GEAR is developed. It is the mission of SOLID SNAKE, one of the members of secret army 'FOX HOUND' to sneak into OUTER HEAVEN and destroy METAL GEAR. [[ForGreatJustice GO AHEAD SOLID SNAKE!]]"''
-->-- Game description from the [=MSX2=] version.

The very [[SequelDisplacement first installment]] in the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series. Released in 1987 for the {{MSX}}2 computer platform in Japan and Europe, the original '''''Metal Gear''''' is considered to be one of the earliest examples of the [[StealthBasedGame stealth action game]] genre (although ''Castle Wolfenstein'' for DOS predates ''Metal Gear'' by a good six years, it's not a straight up action game), as well as the first commercially released game by Creator/HideoKojima.

The game came into existence when Kojima's superiors, enamored with Creator/{{Capcom}}'s arcade game ''Commando'' and noticing its success, asked him to create an overhead military shooting game for the [=MSX2=]. However, Kojima quickly discovered that a fast-paced shooter would be impossible on the [=MSX2=], thanks to the system's own hardware limitations that limited the number of sprites that could be grouped together on the same horizontal plane before the sprites would start flickering (a hardware limitation that the [=MSX2=] shared with the NintendoEntertainmentSystem, and which many old-school NES players are familiar with). Kojima then decided to retool the game around ''avoiding'' combat instead, and decided to base the game around stealth and infiltration.

The player controls Solid Snake, a rookie member of special forces group FOXHOUND, who is sent on a mission to infiltrate the fortified state of Outer Heaven and destroy their top-secret weapon Metal Gear, a walking tank capable of launching nuclear missiles from any angle. The game's story is mainly remembered for the plot twist at the end that reveals that [[spoiler:Snake's commanding officer, Big Boss, is the leader of Outer Heaven]], which served as the foundation for future games in the series.

Konami also produced an NES version, which was developed without the involvement of the original team (which would led to Kojima [[DisownedAdaptation disowning]] the NES version in later years). While the plot is the same, the NES version lost a few gameplay elements that affected the overall difficulty: enemy guards no longer drop rations nor ammo when they're punched to death, there's no invincibility window when the player sustains damage (allowing enemies to easily bullrush the player to death in early stages), checkpoints are now based on the player's rank rather the current location, the higher alert mode was removed, (making it easier for players to escape from enemy guards by simply moving to the next screen), and enemy reinforcements now come in single file.

The NES version also replaced a couple of the bosses: namely the actual Metal Gear itself was replaced by a Super Computer that Snake must destroy in its place. The level layout was also changed drastically: Snake begins his mission in a jungle prior to reaching the first base, the enemy transport trucks are now used as a means of getting around (due to the aforementioned lack of checkpoints) instead of setbacks, and the basement floor that connected the first two bases is now a separate building. The soundtrack of the NES version is a mix between rearranged music from the [=MSX2=] version and new themes.

For many years the NES version of ''Metal Gear'' was the only version of the game officially available in North America, since the MSX format was never commercialized in that region. The NES version sold surprisingly well in the U.S. despite the changes made, as players at the time were unaware of the original version. However, the later success of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' would raise mainstream awareness of not only Kojima himself, but also of the [=MSX2=] version and its Japan-only sequel ''VideoGame/MetalGear2SolidSnake''. The two games eventually got a proper worldwide release in 2006, thanks to their inclusion in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3: [[UpdatedRerelease Subsistence]]''.

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!!This game provides examples of the following tropes:
* AllThereInTheManual: While the backstory is not quite as extensive as its sequels, the Japanese manual for the [=MSX2=] version has character and enemy profiles that reveal details not actually mentioned in the game itself (like Schneider's motivation for leading the Resistance movement), as well as the complete specifications of Metal Gear itself. The manual also implies that, besides the unfinished message by Gray Fox, he also reported the items and weapons locations discovered in building one shortly before his capture. [[http://www.msxnet.org/gtinter/mg1remi/mg1reme.htm An English translation can downloaded here.]]
* AmbidextrousSprite: Played straight when Snake is unarmed, but otherwise averted when he's equipped with a gun. All of the enemy guards and the final boss have different sprites when facing left and right.
* ArtificialStupidity: Guards won't notice you unless you're standing in a straight line directly in front of them. Even if you're standing just inches to their side. Even if you kill another guard in front of them (as long as you're using silenced firearm or punching them).
* BananaRepublic: Outer Heaven.
* BigBad: [[spoiler: Big ''Boss''.]]
* BlindIdiotTranslation: Both, the English [=MSX2=] version and the NES version, have their share of translation hiccups, especially the latter.
* BodyDouble: [[spoiler:The fake Dr. Petrovich in the basement of Building No. 2.]]
* CanonForeigner: Twin Shot, the twin gunners that appear only in the NES version who replace the Hind D boss.
* CharacterizationMarchesOn: Snake is a [[HeroicMime heroic mime]] for most of the game, the enemy leader ([[spoiler:Big Boss]]) is a [[CardCarryingVillain card carrying villain]], and Gray Fox has virtually no presence (he disappears from the remainder of the game as soon as he is rescued). This is particularly egregious, [[GameplayAndStorySegregation considering the sequels made the events of the Outer Heaven mission more epic than what actually occurs in this game.]]
** Gray Fox isn't too useful, even refusing to budge from his prison cell once freed. Later, Snake would claim that Fox was an active participant in the crisis and "showed him the ropes," much like how Snake mentors Raiden in ''Metal Gear Solid 2''.
** [[spoiler: In ''Metal Gear 2'', Schneider reveals to Snake that Outer Heaven was bombed by NATO, along with everybody else involved in the conflict.]] This causes many of Snake's allies to defect to [[spoiler:Big Boss]]' side in the sequel, and [[spoiler:Big Boss]]' personal charisma would become an enduring trait of the character.
** Big Boss is utterly dismissive at the idea of Snake using a cardboard box to hide, which clashes with Big Boss' cardboard obsession in the later prequels.
* ComputerEqualsMonitor and Franks2000InchTV: In the NES version, the "Super Computer" is in fact an oversized personal computer with a keyboard to match. Destroy the giant Zenith TV set, and the global thwart is thwarted.
* CopycatCover: The cover illustration is a blatant trace-over of a publicity still of Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese from ''[[Film/{{Terminator}} The Terminator]]''.
* CutAndPasteEnvironments: All three buildings.
* DirtyCoward: Coward/Dirty Duck hides behind [=POWs=] while fighting Snake. Even his name (both of them) spells it out.
* TheDogWasTheMastermind: When the game was first released, [[spoiler:Big Boss being the mastermind of Outer Heaven was a complete shock and appeared virtually out of nowhere. Although the player could get an early clue should they rescue the one POW in Building 3.]]
* DualBoss: The TX-11 twins, although the game treats their encounter less like a boss battle and more like an obstacle that needs to be dealt with (the boss theme isn't played when they're around, except in the NES version). The Twin Shot boss in the NES version is a more conventional example of this.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: No crawling. No radar. A transceiver that was completely room oriented. A straightforward, simple plot. After playing this, ''Metal Gear 2'' becomes amazing for how much closer it is to the later ''Metal Gear Solid'' games.
* EliteMooks: The jet pack-equipped Flying Army unit that appear on the rooftops of Building No. 1 and No. 2.
* EventFlag: The NES version won't allow you to destroy the supercomputer without first rescuing the doctor.
* TheFaceless: All of Snake's radio contacts are never actually seen in-game with the exception of [[spoiler:Big Boss.]] The Japanese manual for the [=MSX2=] version has illustrations of all the main characters though.
* [[VoiceWithAnInternetConnection Face With an Internet Connection]]: Inverted. The only character whose face we actually see in the transceiver mode is Snake's.
* TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou: Toward the end of the game, [[spoiler: Big Boss calls the player and orders him to turn off the game system.]]
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: Retroactive example: in the sequels, the events of the Outer Heaven Uprising are described to be somewhat epic, but the game itself seems to be lacking in that regard (in fact, the way the events of the game are described in the sequels make it a variation of a [[NoodleIncident noodle incident]]). It's largely for this reason why various fans are constantly demanding remakes of the [=MSX2=] games, this game in particular.
* GuideDangIt: Punching random walls to produce unusual sounds and blow them up? Frustrating, but a staple of games like this. Punching random ''doors'' which previously only opened with keycards so that you can open them? Not so excusable.
** During the early portion of the mission, Big Boss tells the player to contact Schneider whenever a specific item is required in certain locations (such as the first gas-covered room or the first area with an electrified floor). The problem is that Schneider's frequency number is never given by anyone in the game; it's not even listed in the manual. If you play around with the transceiver in a certain area (namely in the corridor with the two security cameras after going through the very first elevator) you will eventually receive an incoming call from Schneider if you set the frequency to a certain number, but players who don't mess around with the transceiver as much are unlikely to ever figure out his number without looking it up secondhand (which is [[spoiler:120.79]]).
** In the NES version, there are two maze areas in which the correct path is never given by any character. The correct path is the same for both mazes, which is: [[spoiler:West, West, North, and West.]]
* HeroicMime: While Snake does have lines of dialogue, most of it is just the same three generic messages: one when he dials a frequency number on his radio, when he obtains a new weapon or item, and finally, one when he is in a moving truck. All of his conversions with the other characters are one-sided and the only time he ever says anything different is when he locates Dr. Petrovich's empty cell in Building No. 1, and when he gives his final mission report in the ending.
* HisNameIs: Schneider's transmission was cut just before he is about to reveal the identity of the Outer Heaven commander.
* HostageSpiritLink: Shoot a [=POW=] and your rank goes down. {{Justified|Trope}} in that your rank is a representation of how many [=POWs=] you've saved anyway.
* HumanShield: Dirty Duck hides behind [=POWs=], and shooting them causes a demotion.
* HumongousMecha: The Metal Gear itself. Absent in the NES version.
* TheKeyIsBehindTheLock: The card key required to access the prison where Gray Fox is being held is inside the prison itself. [[spoiler:This requires Snake to get captured on purpose and breakout from said prison.]]
* LostInTransmission: How the events of Snake's mission starts. Gray Fox's final words in his final transmission before it was cut were the words "Metal Gear..."
* MercyMode: Die enough times and your items and ammo are refilled to maximum.
* [[spoiler:MoleInCharge: Big Boss.]]
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: The cover illustration is a blatant trace-over of a publicity still from ''The Terminator'' featuring Michael Biehn posing as Kyle Reese.
* NoPeripheralVision: The guards literally have no peripheral vision whatsoever. Snake can run alongside them, run past them on the side, and stand next to them as long he wants. They'll never see him unless he's directly in front of one or is already being pursued. The NES version gives enemies better vision, being able to see slightly off what's directly in front of them.
* OneNameOnly: Schneider, Diane, Steve, Jennifer and Dr. Petrovich. Subverted by Elen, whose full name is listed as "Elen Petrovich" [[AllThereInTheManual in the Japanese manual.]]
** ''Metal Gear 2'' gave two of those characters full names, ''Kyle'' Schneider and Dr. Pettrovich ''Madnar'', essentially {{retcon}}ing "Pettrovich" from a surname to a given name. In the re-released versions, Madnar's full name was further changed to Dr. ''Drago'' Pettrovich Madnar (turning "Pettrovich" into a patronymic), while Ellen's surname was officially changed from "Pettrovich" to "Madnar" for consistency.
* OrwellianRetcon: Some of the characters were renamed in the re-released versions of ''Metal Gear'', although the changes were not as extensive as in ''Metal Gear 2''.
** [[BlindIdiotTranslation Shoot Gunner]] become Shotmaker.
** The TX-11 Arnold "cyberoid" became Bloody Brad.
** Coward Duck became Dirty Duck.
** Dr. Petrovich now gives out his full name as Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar.
** Likewise, his daughter Elen became Ellen Madnar.
* PunchPackingPistol: Started the grand tradition of the humble silenced pistol being your most useful weapon. Most of the other weapons in this game tend to be useful in specific situations (mainly boss battles).
* PuzzleBoss: [[spoiler:Metal Gear can only be destroyed by planting 16 explosives on its legs in a specific order. To make things worse, you have to guess where to put the last bomb.]]
* ReformulatedGame: The NES version, which features redesigned level layouts, different music and replaces the Metal Gear battle at the end with a dormant Super Computer.
* {{Ruritania}}: See WhereTheHellIsSpringfield below.
* RushBoss: The Bulldozer.
* ShoutOut: To [[HowardTheDuck Howard the Duck]] of all things. In the early versions, the boss that was later renamed Dirty Duck was known as Coward Duck. Also, a powerful android that was later renamed Bloody Brad was originally known as [[Film/{{Terminator}} Arnold.]]
* StealthBasedGame: One of the very first.
* TakingYouWithMe: The Petrovich [[BodyDouble body double]] attempts to do this to Snake after the latter rescues him, via using a pit trap. It failed, though. [[spoiler:Big Boss also attempts to do this in the final boss fight.]]
* ThreeQuartersView: The overall perspective, which makes Outer Heaven's architecture seem [[FridgeLogic very weird once you think about it.]] Why ''is'' every single wall trapezoidical?
* TreacherousAdvisor: If you don't know who it is, [[LateArrivalSpoiler consider yourself lucky.]]
* TropeCodifier: For the {{stealth based game}} genre.
* TheUnfought: The Metal Gear itself in the NES version.
* UnwinnableByDesign: See HostageSpiritLink or VideoGameCrueltyPunishment concerning demotions. If you get a demotion in some situations, you will not have enough ammo to destroy certain bosses (or even to obtain an item needed to complete the game). This is particularly egregious during the Coward Duck boss battle, where he shields himself with three hostages. Killing all three will demote Snake to the starting rank. There might not even be enough [=POWs=] remaining or available to restore the required four-star rank.
* VideoGameCrueltyPunishment: Killing a single [=POW=] will demote the player to their previous rank. Itís possible for the player to work his way back to his previous rank if there are enough [=POWs=] still left to save, but killing certain [=POWs=] (like Ellen or Jennifer's brother) will make the game {{unwinnable}}.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: In the NES version, Snake is shown parachuting into Outer Heaven with three other soldiers. They are never seen nor mentioned again. These were probably supposed to be Schneider, Diane, and Jennifer, Snake's on-field contacts, likely establishing how they ended up on the field with Snake. However, this is never stated as such and contradicts with the implication that the Resistance movement was operating locally before Snake arrived (with Diane working from her own home with her brother Steve and Jennifer as an inside agent within Outer Heaven's medical staff).
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: Outer Heaven and the Galzburg region are stated to be in South Africa, but it is never actually specified where it is exactly. It should be noted that this is one of the few ''Metal Gear'' games (and certainly the only ''canonical'' installment) to play this straight.
** [[http://webzoom.freewebs.com/outerheavenresistance/Gear%20Site%20pics/Outer%20Heaven%20Map%202%20Redone.JPG Of course, there are persistent fan theories.]]
* WithThisHerring: Your starting equipment is a pack of cigarettes. You need to search for a basic handgun, and make a second search for ammo.
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