Released with the title Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, in Japan and Asia, the game follows Solid Snakes story as he is brought out of retirement. His mission is to infiltrate the Galuade headquarters, to find out information on the new Metal Gear prototype codenamed "Gander" which they had stolen. The headquarters in which Snake has to infiltrate was formerly know as Outer Haven which makes appearances in other metal gear solid titles. The bosses in the game are known as the members of Black Chamber. Hawk, Owl, Bison and Viper, names that all use the same animal motif as FOXHOUND does in Metal Gear Solid.
Many people assumed this game was a prequel to 1998's Metal Gear Solid, but that is incorrect. In the GBC game, Snake meets Mei Ling for the first time over the Codec. However, he also speaks to her for the first time in the PlayStation game, therefore the two games take place in separate continuities. The game does, however, refer to events in Metal Gear 1 and 2, specifically the fortress of Outer Heaven, where Big Boss made his stand. So the Game Boy Color game can be seen as an alternate 'what-if' timeline, where this game takes place at the same time as the PlayStation game did, as Snake is brought out of retirement.
Pulled out of retirement infiltration specialist and ex-Fox-Hound member Solid Snake is sent to Africa under the orders that a new Metal Gear (with the code name Gander) has been hijacked and is being kept in a compound called Galude and guarded by mercenary force Black Chamber under orders by the Gindra Liberation Front 'GLF'.
Snake is assisted with known characters such as Colonel Roy Campbell and Mei Ling as well as new supporting characters lone Delta Force Chris Jenner.
As Snake advances in his mission he will have rescued Metal Gear designer Jimmy Harks, taken down the places power plant, confronted all members of Black Chamber in combat and uncover a story that involves conspiracies and the U.S government's involvement with the GLF.
- Solid Snake - An ex-Fox-Hound mercenary who has been pulled out of retirement in Alaska to investigate the hi-jacking of a Metal Gear over Africa in the state of Galude. He is the main character that the player controls.
- Chris Jenner - A Sergeant from Delta Force who was sent out with her squad to retrieve the missing weapon Gander but was shot down and is the sole survivor and provides information to Snake about the base and what’s currently happening.
- Colonel Roy Campbell - An ex-Fox-Hound commander who has pulled Snake out of retirement after hearing that a Metal Gear has been hijacked and civilian lives are in danger. He provides Snake the mission objectives and general information about the story, current situation, the mission, controls etc.
- Mei Ling - A data analyst who created Snake's Radar System and communication device the Codec. She is also in charge of saving the players game progress and reciting ancient Chinese proverbs.
- Weasel - A weapon specialist who was hired to provide information on the different weapons and items that Snake acquires during the mission. As well as information
- Brian McBride - A Director of Operations at the CIA who provides information about the area of Gindra.
- Jimmy Harks - A young technology expert who was hired to complete construction of Metal Gear but was held in a holding cell after construction was completed.
- Slasher Hawk - An outcast who was raised by Aborigines and uses a boomerang and an owl.
- Marionette Owl - A mercenary who fights in dark rooms and has perfect night vision
- Pyro Bison - A merc who loves his flamethrower. His preferred choice of weapon in battle.
- Black Arts Viper - The leader of Black Chamber who specializes in traps and illusions.
The game plays very similar to the console game of the same name in which the player can:
- Punch to disable guards
- Use of thermal goggles/smoke to help bypass laser systems
- The use of Chaff to disable electronic security systems
As well as features not seen in a 2D Metal Gear game:
- Lean up against walls
- Knock on walls to distract guards
The Japanese release was titled Metal Gear : Ghost Babel but was re-named to Metal Gear Solid in North America.
Completion of all V.R. Missions unlocks a Sound Test Mode.
Completing the main game unlocks a level selection option.
Upon completion of the level selection mode the player will unlock a special mission mode which is like level select but each mission level has 3 different 'missions' which alters the parameters of the level.
- Completing a level where the objectives have been slightly altered
- Collect 4 Fox-Hound emblems in a level
- Don't stop moving or bomb placed inside Snake will detonate