Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (Microsoft Xbox, 2002)
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|Hideo Kojima's critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid 2 can now be enjoyed on Xbox, with the bonus of two new modes of play as well as other enhancements. The main game follows the story of Solid Snake as he infiltrates an oil tanker to find the whereabouts of a powerful weapons technology. A hallmark of the series is the use of stealth to avoid patrolling guards and to safely make it through areas without detection. Moves include diving somersaults, hanging from ledges, and using disguises as players immerse themselves in fully interactive areas where wet shoes leave behind footprints, puffs of smoke uncover laser beams, and bullets shatter glass. Harry Gregson-Williams, whose previous credits include Armageddon, The Rock, and Enemy of the State, composed the cinematic score that accompanies the action.
One of the two new modes found in the Xbox version is Missions, which offers two distinct styles of play: VR and Alternative. The former follows a similar format to 1999's Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions on the original PlayStation. Players must complete over 350 missions in four different modes: Sneaking, where the object is to either reach an exit without being caught or to eliminate all enemies without detection; Weapon, which tests a player's skill with specific armaments; First-Person View, where the entire mission is played from the character's perspective; and Variety, which offers an assortment of objectives. Alternative Missions, which number over 150, also feature four different modes, including Bomb Disposal, Eliminate, Hold Up, and Photograph.
Bomb Disposal has players deactivating a series of bombs before time expires, Eliminate involves taking out all enemies within the allotted time, Hold Up consists of holding up all enemies without arousing suspicion, and Photograph has players snapping specific pictures within the time limit. The second of the two new modes in Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, Snake Tales, follows Solid Snake as he embarks on five standalone missions taking place within the environments found in Metal Gear Solid 2. Each of the missions is made more difficult by removing the radar display of patrolling guards, requiring players to navigate their surroundings by sight and sound alone. Other features in Substance include a Casting Theater, Boss Survival Mode, and a "European Extreme" difficulty setting previously available only in overseas versions.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, the expanded edition of the game, was released on the original Xbox and Microsoft Windows in addition to the PlayStation 2. The Xbox version was initially released in North America as a timed exclusive for the console on November 5, 2002.
Substance contains several supplemental game modes in addition to the main story mode from the original Sons of Liberty releases. The main game contains all the changes and additions that were made in the Japanese and European versions of the original release (e.g. Boss Survival, Casting Theater, European Extreme), along with further additional changes. Players can now start the main story mode at the Tanker or Plant chapters without the need to answer a questionnaire first. The visual effect for the thermal goggles was also changed in Substance and the FHM-licensed posters that adorned several locations in the original Sons of Liberty version have been replaced with public domain images (these were also replaced in The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2). The Xbox and Windows versions feature slight dialogue changes during certain control explanations in which the term "analog stick" was substituted with "thumbstick" (Microsoft's preferred term). The controls were also slightly altered for the Xbox version, due to its fewer shoulder buttons (clicking on the left thumbstick switches between normal and first-person view, while the Y button serves as a lock-on for the player's aim). The Xbox version has support for 5.1 surround sound.
The primary addition of Substance is the inclusion of an extra missions mode with 350 VR missions set in a computer-constructed environment and 150 "Alternative" missions set in areas from the main story. The player can choose to play these missions as Solid Snake or Raiden, with alternate versions of both characters (in different outfits) becoming available as the player progresses. These missions are divided into eight categories (although not all of them are available to every character): Sneaking, Weapon, First Person View (which simulates a first-person shooter), Variety, Hold Up, Bomb Disposal, Elimination, and Photograph.
The other new addition is "Snake Tales", which is a set of five story-based missions featuring Solid Snake as the player character. These missions are primarily set in the Big Shell and involve characters from the main story in new roles such as Fatman, Emma, Vamp and Solidus Snake, while one mission set in the Tanker has Meryl Silverburgh (from the original Metal Gear Solid) as the main antagonist. These missions, which are unrelated to the main story, have no voice acted cutscenes - instead, the story is told through text in interludes.
|Game||Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance|
|Genre||Stealth, Third Person Shooter|
|Number of Players||1|
|ESRB Rating||M - Mature|
|ESRB Descriptor||Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Violence|
|Game Special Features||
|Game Series||Metal Gear Series|
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