Snake's Revenge is a stealth action game developed by Konami for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in North America in April 1990 (under the Ultra Games label) and in Europe on March 26, 1992 (under the Konami label). Snake's Revenge was never released in Japan, despite the fact it was developed there. Although it was the only Metal Gear game to have been developed in Japan exclusively for Western releases, it was not the only Konami-made game to undergo this, as Konami had previously done this for licensed titles such as RollerGames or Mission: Impossible. The game was first indicated in 1989 as an upcoming game alongside Mission: Impossible with the Ultra Games promotional pamphlet 10 Ways to Stay Zap Happy, with it being given an ETA of Early Spring of 1990.
It was made as a direct sequel to the NES version of the original Metal Gear. Snake's Revenge was the first game in the Metal Gear series made without the involvement of creator Hideo Kojima, although members of the development team previously worked with Kojima on the original MSX2 version of Metal Gear. It is not part of the series' canon.
The game doesn't have the words "Metal Gear" on its title, but certain publications at the time, such as Nintendo's Top Secrets Passwords guidebook, has the game listed as Snake's Revenge: Metal Gear II.
Snake's Revenge plays essentially like an updated version of the original Metal Gear. Aspects from the MSX2 version of Metal Gear that were missing from the NES version, such as the ability to take rations and ammo by punching enemies or the double exclamation mark alert, were restored in Snake's Revenge. The actual Metal Gear, which was missing in the NES version, makes an appearance along with a new prototype. The game also has more varied locations than the original Metal Gear, such as a jungle, a warehouse, a transport train, and a cargo ship filled with smaller mass-produced Metal Gear units.
The player begins the game armed with a pistol and a knife, which can be equipped and used in place of punching for a quick kill. However, in doing so, the player won't get any rations or ammo from enemies in Infiltration Mode. Many of the weapons from the original game are carried over to Snake's Revenge, as well as new weapons such as a shotgun and a flare gun for visibility in the dark. Promotions are now made by injecting enemy superiors with truth serums in addition to saving POWs. However, two of the series' trademark items do not appear in Snake's Revenge: the cigarettes and the cardboard box.The main addition of Snake's Revenge is the side-scrolling areas between the main overhead areas. Although side-view areas were utilized in the original Metal Gear, they were used only to the extent of accessing an elevator, not in action sequences as is the case with Snake's Revenge. In the side-scrolling areas, the player can swim, jump over booby traps or crouch and crawl to avoid being seen by the enemy. In these areas, the player can only use the knife or handgun and place plastic explosives, which will not trigger an alert in side-scrolling mode.
The transceiver mode was greatly simplified. Whereas the original Metal Gear required the player to memorize each character's frequency, Snake's Revenge has all of Snake's contacts available from the start via a menu. This would later be repeated with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The transceiver is also equipped with a radar which detects the proximity any signal transmitted by an ally, although it is only used twice during the entire game. However, the transceiver is jammed when the game enters Alert Mode and isn't used much as a result. Snake's Revenge is the first Metal Gear game in which the faces of Snake's allies are displayed when they speak.
Whereas the game's packaging illustration depicts Snake in standard military camouflage, for some reason, his in-game sprite in the overhead sequences has him and his FOXHOUND compatriots wearing red, while the side-view sequences has him wearing red.
- Lt. Solid Snake - The main character. In this game, Snake is still working for FOXHOUND, instead of quitting like in later installments. Rather than infiltrating the enemy's complex alone, he leads his own FOXHOUND team and starts the mission with a knife and pistol already in his equipment. He is given the title of Lieutenant and is often called "Lt. Snake" by his peers in the game.
- John Turner - Former United States Navy Intelligence officer working for FOXHOUND. He serves as an infiltration professional in Snake's mission.
- Nick Myer - Former United States Marine and member of FOXHOUND. He serves as the team's firearms and explosive expert.
- Jennifer - Former member of the Resistance force at Outer Heaven. Jennifer once again assumes the role of a double agent. This time, she poses as an intelligence officer within the enemy's ranks.
- Big Boss - Snake's former commander, who turned against him in Outer Heaven. In the Snake's Revenge storyline, Big Boss suffered great injuries from his battle with Snake, resulting in Big Boss being turned into a cyborg.
- The Pilot - An unnamed helicopter pilot and the only one of Snake's radio contacts who does not appear listed in the call list. He only calls whenever Snake needs the assistance of his helicopter. He appears during the Game Over, providing the player with the passwords, and before inputting a password at the start of the game as well.
Three years after the events of Operation Intrude N313, the United States Government discovers that a hostile nation in the Middle East may have obtained plans for Metal Gear and are secretly constructing weapons of mass-destruction. Solid Snake, the FOXHOUND operative responsible for the downfall of Outer Heaven, is recruited to lead a three men team consisting of himself and fellow operatives John Turner and Nick Myer, on a mission to infiltrate the enemy's base. The codename of the mission is Operation 747.
For a full summary of Operation 747, see here.
Packaging and instruction manual
One aspect of the game which has affected people's perception of Snake's Revenge is the storyline as depicted by the game's packaging and instruction manual. At the time of its release, Konami of America/Ultra Games (the game's publisher) had a habit of not taking their games seriously. This was reflected by the humorous tone of their packaging and instruction manuals, which made several jokes and puns at the expense of the game and paid little or no respect toward the game designers' original intentions.
Snake's Revenge was no exception. In both the packaging and manual, the main villain's name, which is actually kept a secret in the game until the end, is given as Higharolla Kockamamie, a play on Ayatollah Khomeini, and one of the main characters (Jennifer) is described as possibly being related to "Ginger from Gilligan's Island." In addition, the main enemy fortification is referred to as "Fortress Fanatic," and that it is located in Ishkabibil, Teristan. None of these terms or jokes actually appear within the game itself.
Finally, the packaging attempts to explain why the game is titled Snake's Revenge.
After the success the NES version of Metal Gear had in the Western market, especially in North America where it sold over a million copies, Konami commissioned the development of a sequel for the NES made specifically with the Western market in mind without the consent of Hideo Kojima.
Kojima, who was not planning on making a sequel to Metal Gear, was unaware of the development of the game until he ran into a member of the Snake's Revenge development staff during a train ride in Tokyo. The developer told Kojima about the game. He then requested Kojima to develop a true sequel. By the end of the train ride, Kojima had already developed the basic storyline for the entire game. The very next day, he went to his boss at Konami with a game plan, and was given the go-ahead to make Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, then exclusively for the MSX2, which was released in 1990.
As a result, the canonical Metal Gear 2 was released exclusively in Japan for the MSX2, while Snake's Revenge became the Metal Gear sequel for the North American and European market, although Metal Gear 2 would see an official release in the English market 16 years later as a component of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence.
From Hideo Kojima
When interviewed by Steven Kent in 1999, Kojima stated that he enjoyed Snake's Revenge and that he thought it was "faithful to the Metal Gear concept", although during the 2009 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, he stated that Snake's Revenge was a "crap game." However, he later stated in an interview with Nintendo Power that he doesn't consider it to be a "bad game."
As part of the series' 25th Anniversary, Snake's Revenge, alongside the rest of the Metal Gear games in existence (minus Metal Gear 2, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker), was playable at the retro area of the Penny Arcade Expo and Eurogamer Expo in 2012.
Tiger LCD handheld
A handheld electronic game based on Snake's Revenge was released in 1990 by Tiger Electronics. The game was released under Tiger's "Game Talk" lineup, due to the fact that it featured a voice-based navigation system in which the player is given spoken hints and messages through the radio. Gameplay is similar to other handheld games, playing more like an action game with exploration elements and, naturally, completely discarding the stealth elements. The player gets to fight against enemy soldiers, grenadiers and tanks using a machine gun, grenades and missiles respectively. The player can also open doors and passages using plastic explosives and keycards. In later stages, the player will fight against mass-produced Metal Gear 1 units. In the eighth and final stage, the player will fight against Metal Gear 2.