Plenty of Snake to go around.

Video game “collection” releases generally serve two purposes. They can be nostalgic throwbacks to fans of a series, and they can introduce players to games they may have missed entirely. When it comes to Metal Gear, I’m in that second camp. This is why, at Konami’s media event in New York City last week, I was looking forward to finally seeing what all this Snake fuss is all about.

Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 is a big collection. Certainly too big to play through at a hands-on media event. The games alone will keep fans busy, whether they’re playing for the first time or using this opportunity to relive previous adventures:

  • Metal Gear (1987)
  • Metal Gear – NES/FC version (1987)
  • Snake’s Revenge (1990)
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990)
  • Metal Gear Solid (1998) with VR Missions/Special Missions
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) – HD Collection version
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004) – HD Collection version

That’s a lot of games, but the content doesn’t end there. If you’re really into Metal Gear lore, you’re getting plenty of bonus items to pore over. There’s a digital soundtrack for Metal Gear Solid. There are digital graphic novels for Metal Gear Solid 1 and 2.

There are screenplays and master books for the two Metal Gear and three Metal Gear Solid games. This content is all easily accessible and fun to read through, and the master books will be especially helpful for newcomers looking for level tips and guides. The content is displayed in book form, which led to a couple of us at the event wondering if KONAMI would make it available in printed form for collectors.

As for the games themselves, this collection is certainly a trip. I spent a little bit of time with a few of them in chronological order, and it felt like a full class in the history of video gaming. This includes the fact that we’re warned some of the content “…may be considered outdated.” I imagine anyone interested in a Metal Gear collection would be more offended by edited content than by that content itself, so this was likely the right way to go. But I do appreciate the warning, as there’s no “may be” about it; it is outdated.

Starting at the beginning, the Metal Gear gameplay is quite charming in its simplicity, taking us back to a time with few colors and fewer enemies on screen at any given time (that’s kind of what led to the whole stealth-based approach, after all). Bullets are slow and easily dodged, and a few punches is all it takes to incapacitate an enemy. The controls threw me a few times, but to be fair, I’d only glanced over an illustrated control guide before beginning. Overall, the puzzles mechanics, stealth “action,” and maze navigation create an engaging experience that sets the series up with plenty of room to grow.

That growth, however, wasn’t always painless. Metal Gear Solid is an example of this. The 3D approach may have been cutting edge at the time, but both the graphics and the gameplay come across now as clunky. It may be an important step in the series, but over the course of my half hour with the collection, this was my least favorite part. I was surprised by the quality of the voice acting, however, so maybe the story would’ve been enough to carry me through.

I didn’t have time to find out because I wanted to get to the HD version of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Although still dated, the visuals and gameplay here are much more in line with modern games. By this point, however, I think I was more impressed by the series’ adherence to formula. You, as Snake, are dropped off in enemy territory. “Here’s your objective. Here’s your radar thing. This is how it works, but it shuts off for some reason if you’re detected. I know, right? And sorry we couldn’t give you any weapons. Hopefully you can find some. Good luck. Don’t get caught! And don’t forget to toss your cigar so we can get its slow-mo glamor shot!”

More importantly, it was fun to see how the stealth mechanics evolved from Metal Gear to Snake Eater. The technology may have changed quite a bit from 1987 to 2004, but the developers were able to create a cohesive (and definitive) gameplay experience across those changes. I enjoyed my hands-on time with (and introduction to) the Metal Gear series, and I’m looking forward to digging deeper into all of it when the Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 releases for Nintendo Switch on October 24th.

Pre-orders are now open in the Nintendo eShop, and more information is available at

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