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Metal Gear Solid 2, first hand impressionsComputers&Videogames THANKS!
Today we spent three hours in the company of Metal Gear Solid 2, and we’re bursting to tell you all about it. Click here for the detailed lowdown
The Metal Gear Solid 2 demo that will ship with ZOE next March is at Konami’s UK office, and we’ve been lucky enough to see it in action. Though we were only allowed to watch as a Konami representative played through, we saw absolutely EVERYTHING.
Even the options menu. So if you want to know what it’s all about, bearing in mind that we’re about to shamelessly expose the whole MGS2 demo for you, read on. Read on.
The beginning: It’s night. It’s raining, and the view is taking you over New York’s George Washington bridge. This is the same footage shown at ECTS on the big screen, so you may be familiar with it already. But in high resolution on a Sony Wega television it looks extra special. What takes your breath away is the intelligent direction of the scene – how one moment you’re staring at the structure of the bridge above, then gradually focusing on the bright haze created by car headlights. And then a lone figure, Snake, head down inside a hooded cloak, puffing on a cigarette, kind of conspicuous on such a terrible night.
You’re settling into the moodiness of the scene, then Snake discards the cancer stick, breaks into a run. As he accelerates along the bridge he activates the stealth shield making him invisible excepting the faint outline. The coolest thing about this is that his cloak is suddenly released to go flying off in the stormy wind. It all adds to the drama. Mr Kojima is such a talent that Hollywood would surely be grateful for.
The scene: Snake bungie jumps onto the deck of a cargo ship called the Discovery KNM-3. As he plummets you can see George Washington Bridge through his transparent form. When Snake lands on deck we are informed by the Konami rep that the Dual Shock is rumbling like crazy – Snake’s stealth shield is giving up, causing electrical tendrils to fly all over the place as Snake becomes visible again. It’s time for action.
At first the dialogue between Otacon and Snake is a recap of the mission details. The marines on board are protecting a new amphibious version of Metal Gear, intended to combat the last version of Metal Gear (Rex) whose technology is now widely available on the black market, thanks to that shadiest of characters, Revolver Ocelot. According to Otacon "Every State, group and .com has its own Metal Gear". Snake’s job on the Discovery is simply to sneak into the bridge and find out where the ship is headed. No violence ("We’re not terrorists" says Snake). A clean job, then out of there.
You’re ready to take control, the game shows you the view through Snake’s visor, scanning the ship for patrolling marines. Then you hear the distant sound of helicopters, invisible through th downpour. And from out of the shadows come the terrorists – the guys you’ve seen in all the demos, wearing infrared goggles. It’s a stealth operation for these guys too – they slit throats rather than open fire. Suddenly it’s Snake versus these terrorists who are obviously onboard for the same prize, the new Metal Gear.
The action: Snake is controlled mostly by the left analogue. Just like before, pushing against a vertical surface allows Snake to press his back against it. Basic MGS stuff. The first addition worthy of note is the new attack system. Using the square button Snake can either tap it to perform a Jump Out Shot (with back against the wall), or enter first person mode to take a more accurate shot. To be absolutely accurate, if you Snake is in no danger of being spotted, you can press and hold the square button then release once your aim is steady (This is what Mr Kojima was talking about in the CVG interview in May, where he demonstrated quick-draw or careful aim manoeuvres. Now we’ve seen it in action!). More fun can be had in first-person mode if you chose to punch instead of use a weapon. The ambient noise is also louder when in first-person mode – you’re hearing through Snake’s ears instead of being the distant observer.
Following on from that detail, we can also tell you how to perform a hold up – make a terrorist fear for his life. If Snake gets close to a guy, then points his weapon while in first person mode, the threatened party will raise his hands above his head and start to quiver. From here you can attempt something very funny. Aim the gun at the guy’s crotch or head and he will start wiggling like a worm to loose any items he’s carrying. Supplies such as rations and ammo can be obtained by performing a Hold Up.
Another way of obtaining items from guards is to wait for them to fall unconscious (more on that in a sec) or drop dead. Snake can haul fallen enemies around by their arms or legs, disposing of them into the sea through a small gate on the port or starboard. While he has hold of them, Snake can shake them to make items fall from their pockets.
Now let’s talk about tranquillisers. Snake’s preferred method of downing enemies is to knock them out. A tranquilliser dart, fired from Snake’s Baretta M92F, usually takes about ten seconds to take effect, but if Snake can get them in the head (using the first-person careful aim technique) they go down instantly. When they drop, ‘Zs’ indicate that they’re snoozing soundly. There’s also the classic Metal Gear Solid method of sneaking up from behind and choking the breath out of them. Only now the sound is more like ‘N-n-n-n-n-n-n… urghle’, whereas it used to be ‘Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh…’. If guards are operating in pairs, the partner is sure to come check on his fallen buddy too, giving Snake the chance at another target. Fallen guards are like lifeless dolls, all limbs are supple – legs bend, heads rest awkwardly against railings.
Stealth: You need to work much harder to keep Snake from being discovered. Just like in the first game Snake can knock on walls to attract attention. Now he can also toss spent bullet magazines. But this level of detail also works against him. For instance guards can trace Snake from the footprints he leaves – it’s raining outside so Snake leaves a watery trail for a while when he enters indoors.
A great detail is the way Snake gets injured in such a way that he begins to bleed, dropping blood splats on the floor. This only happens if he’s caught in sustained gunfire, but it’s a threat to his health in two ways: guards can track Snake using the trail of blood, and the bleeding saps Snake’s health. The way to put a stop to it is to apply a bandage. Rations also heal him up, but you don’t want to waste those.
Looking on the bright side of stealth again, Snake has this a couple of new manoeuvres which, combined, allow for an impressive performance. Snake can hang from ledges to escape being seen. Do this by pressing the triangle button. But the greatest option available, while hanging, is to drop down onto the head of an enemy. While hanging Snake can peer below him using first-person mode. When the enemy is directly beneath him Snake can drop down, by pressing X, onto their head, knocking them out. Snake can’t hang around waiting for this opportunity all day, however. If his grip starts to tire he’ll hop right back over the railing, so you need to be sure he isn’t doing this when there are guards waiting.
That girl: Her name is Olga Gurlokovich, a terrorist from Russia. This is Snake’s nemesis for the demo version of MGS2, and she’s a real live wire. A twisted one at that. "I have nothing except The Unit" she tells Snake, "I grew up on the battlefield. Conflict and victory were my parents". She’s the daughter of the terrorist ringleader behind the assault on Discovery, a tough guy who reveals that Olga is pregnant when pleading with her to give up the duel with Snake, since her mission is already accomplished. No dice. The confrontation takes place on the ship’s deck, amid crates etc. Olga’s favourite hiding place is behind a stack of goods protected by a tarpaulin that is flapping in the violent wind.
This face off makes for tremendous action. Olga cartwheels to dodge bullets and, at one stage, fires at the ties holding the tarpaulin to make it flap around even more. If Snake gets time to aim he can fire at the fastenings too to loose the sheet altogether.
Assorted cool stuff: We’ve covered most of the action-oriented elements now. Let’s see what else we missed… Crazy detail. Stuff like being able to fire at anything and watch bullets/darts take effect. Snake can set fire extinguishers off with bullets, cause plasma screen TVs to malfunction (the image of Metal Gear Ray gradually disappearing from an expanding black circle from where the bullet hit). If Snake shoots a magazine the paper gets tattered, if Snake shoots a bottle it shatters and the contents spill out.
The cardboard box is back, as you know, but Snake must be careful not to hide using a waterlogged container in a dry room else this is considered suspicious by patrolling guards. It’s really horrible when Snake gets discovered, guards open fire and you see blood splats from underneath. Also, if Snake or anyone else takes a bullet near a wall, you can see blood splats hit the surface. More detail is evident the whole time as reflections can be seen on deck of Snake or his enemy
What else… what else… ah, Snake has this new gadget called the Anti-personnel Sensor, which, when equipped, allows the player to detect the presence of enemies unseen through vibrations on the Dual Shock. This is also a permanent indication of Snake’s level of calmness, just like when using the Sniper rifle in Metal Gear Solid, you can feel Snake’s heartbeat. Tense or what.
And finally...: If you need any more proof of how thorough Kojima and team has been in the presentation of MGS2, you can use both analogue sticks to change views of Otacon and Snake while they are talking to each other.
We’ll leave you with the full list of actions that Konami showed us from the options menu, each of which has a brief ‘movie clip’ to show you how to play the game.
Corner view mode 1
Corner view mode 2
1st person view attack
Punch in 1st person
Strafe in 1st person
[open] Watertight door
Knock on wall
Enemy passing ny
Avoid Clearing 1
Avoid Clearing 2
Jump out shot
Jump down from hanging
Take Hostage (other enemies will hesitate to shoot)
Attack by Rolling
Threaten for Item
Monday, 18 December 2000
... "Snake begins to bleed, dropping blood splats on the floor"... "to fire at anything and watch bullets/darts take effect"... "the Anti-personnel Sensor, which, when equipped, allows the player to detect the presence of enemies unseen through vibrations on the Dual Shock"...
... what could i say?. I\'m in love with this game
[Edited by Falgarok on 12-18-2000 at 05:43 PM]