A compass is a navigational instrument used to determine the direction to go in areas requiring travel. It utilizes magnetics to determine the direction, and generally has the "N" on the rose to give the general sense of direction.
|Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]|
|Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.|
U.S. Army Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND utilized electromagnetic compasses throughout its various missions during the 1990s, of which it was developed as a result of monopole theory so it wouldn't jam in areas such as jungles that jam other compasses.
During the Outer Heaven Uprising in 1995, Outer Heaven personnel utilized compasses when traversing on foot between Building 2 to Building 3, due to a lack of notable landmarks between the 20km stretch of desert between the two locations. Solid Snake, through resistance member Jennifer, managed to procure a compass to cross the distance, in exchange for aiding her in rescuing her brother from Outer Heaven mercenary Dirty Duck.
Behind the scenes
The Compass is an item featured in the original Metal Gear that is required for navigating Desert 2. Equipping it will allow the player to reach Building 3 by heading north, while having it unequipped will result in the game screen looping as the player moves to the next area, preventing any further progress.
Dummied content in Snake's Revenge implied that the Compass would have acted as a usable in-game item at one point.