Editor's note: This is a fantastic overview of the Metal Gear series that goes a long way to explaining its lasting appeal, and also provides an easy introduction to the uninitiated. I just wish the first two games weren't so hard. -mossy_11
Had a good game of Splinter Cell, Thief, Assassin's Creed, Hitman or Tenchu lately? If so, you owe a fair amount to producer Hideo Kojima for spearheading the development of the 'stealth/espionage' video game genre in his acclaimed Metal Gear series.
Chances are you have played, seen, or at least heard of the 3D Metal Gear Solid instalments on the PlayStation systems (the first two rank highly in best-selling lists), but you are unlikely to have played Kojima's original MSX2 creations, unless you live in Japan.
In the original Metal Gear you play as Solid Snake, a special forces operative assigned to infiltrate the military base/state 'Outer Heaven' in order to liberate your comrades and eliminate the enemy weapon, Metal Gear -- a giant, walking, nuke-firing Mecha -- which always seems to be in the wrong hands. The first game in the series establishes a recurring theme of the series: a mission undertaken by one barehanded agent -- you heard right, if you want a gun, you better try and find one. Via radio and radar assistance, you must avoid detection by carefully sneaking through various corridors and floors in order to guide Snake towards completing his mission.