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Snake's Revenge is an NES-exclusive sequel of the original Metal Gear 1987 that was released in 1990 in North America and Europe. It is probably best known for its apocryphal placement in the Metal Gear canon and its rather interesting development history. Released a few months prior to the Japanese-only MSX2 release of Metal Gear 2 Solid Snake (the canonical sequel), Snake's Revenge was not really a replacement game made for the foreign market, but the first Metal Gear sequel ever made. After the cult success of NES version of Metal Gear, Konami commissioned one of their teams to work on a sequel. Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear, was not a superstar yet and he was not asked to be involved in Snake's Revenge. According to his personal account of the events, Kojima was not planning on developing a sequel and did not know about Snake's Revenge until he met a designer working on the game during a train ride in Tokyo. The designer told Kojima about Snake's Revenge, and then asked Kojima to develop a true Metal Gear sequel, as the designer felt that Snake's Revenge was not an authentic-enough sequel.
Three years after the destruction of the original Metal Gear walking tank, a nameless terrorist organization has managed to obtain mass-produced versions of the very same weapon. Solid Snake is called back into action to infiltrate the enemy base. Rather than going alone this time, Snake is now assisted on-site by two new Fox-Hound members: infiltration pro John Turner and weapons expert Nick Myer. During the course of his mission, Snake comes into contact with a spy inside the enemy base named Jennifer and finds out that the enemy has developed a new Metal Gear model known as the Metal Gear 2. As he ventures deep into the enemy's main headquarters, Snake eventually confronts their leader: his former commanding officer Big Boss, who survived his injuries from his battle with Snake and has become a cyborg. Not exactly the most elaborate story compared to Metal Gear 2 and the later Metal Gear Solid games, but then again, the original Metal Gear didn't exactly have the most complex narrative, either.
The game itself does not deviate much from the original Metal Gear's formula. In some aspects, it's actually a bit more accurate to the original MSX2 version than its NES port. Play mechanics from the original MSX2 version that were missing from the NES port, such as the ability to obtain rations and ammo bonuses by punching guards to death and the high alert phase, were brought back in Snake's Revenge. The main addition to the play mechanics were inclusion of side-scrolling segments in addition to the main overhead stages, in which Snake could crawl and jump, while switching between a knife, a handgun and plastic explosives, much like a stealth-based version of Konami's own Rush N Attack. The knife could also be used during the overhead segments in lieu of Snake's standard punches, allowing the player to kill enemies instantly at close range.
Snake's Revenge features examples of:
- Alternate Continuity: Although, it wasn't intended to be set in one until Metal Gear 2 was made.
- Black Dude Dies First: Inverted. Nick Myer was actually the last of Snake's support team to actually die, which is way late in the game, assuming that John Turner had died.
- Cable Car Action Sequence: The last few buildings prior to reaching the final fortress forces Snake to ride a series of cable-cars to get into places.
- Canon Dis Continuity: Metal Gear 2 was basically made to substitute this game in the canon.
- The Key Is Behind the Lock: The only keycard available that can open the entrance to the first base is inside the base itself. The only way Snake can get inside is by calling John, who will act as a decoy by allowing himself to be captured.
- Mission Control: Averted. Snake's radio contacts consists of two other field agents (Turner and Myer), a double agent in the enemy's main base (Jennifer), and the nameless helicopter pilot who drops him off at the beginning of his mission.
- Mission Pack Sequel: Outside the all-new graphics and the addition of side-view segments, the play mechanics are not that much different from the first game. However, certain elements from the original MSX2 version that were not carried over to the NES port, such as the higher (double exclamation mark) alert phase and the ability to procure ammo and rations by punching guards in stealth mode, has been restored here.
- No Export for You: Inverted. It was developed in Japan, but it was never released there.
- One-Winged Angel: After Big Boss' initial form is defeated, he transforms into a cybernetic behemoth who claims that he has no weak points. It is also to be noted that this is the only Metal Gear game period to utilize this trope (unless one counts Peace Walker transforming into a quadruped as being of that trope).
- Overtook the Manga: Snake's Revenge was made before the Kojima's own MSX2 sequel and takes the game's plot into a different direction that makes both games irreconcilable with each other.
- Reverse Mole: Jennifer ("Your Person") is helping out Snake from inside the enemy's base. Her cover is blown and she is captured by Big Boss just before the final battle.
- Revenge of the Sequel
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: At one point, a captured ally tells Snake via the transceiver that his present area has no enemies or traps. He turns out to be an enemy spy.
- Token Minority: Nick Myer is the only black guy among Snake's support crew.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The side-view segments.
- Was Once a Man: Big Boss wants revenge on Snake for inflicting him with injuries severe enough to force him to become a cyborg.
- What Happened to the Mouse??: The real John Turner is never seen again after Snake defeats his impersonator. He is declared MIA in the ending, so it is left ambiguous whether he was killed or kept alive, or whether there was even a real John Turner to begin with.