TGS 2001 Fall: New Metal Gear Solid 2 trailer and impressions

Konami releases a new trailer and shows a new playable demo at the Tokyo Game Show.

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Today at the Tokyo Game Show, Konami revealed what is perhaps the last bit of Metal Gear Solid 2 that we'll see before the game's release next month. Treating the crowds to both a new playable demo and a lengthy trailer video, it seems the publisher is trying to make the month of downtime as painless as possible for the game's hungry fans. Nearly tipping the publisher's hand, the video released today showcased a few more of the game's characters and further hinted at their possible motivations and affiliations. A few new faces were shown in motion for the first time, and the roles of some familiar ones were expanded. In typical Konami fashion, however, pretty much everything was left just ambiguous enough.

The new trailer starts out with several panning shots of a marine compound, which resembles a sort of elaborate oil rig. After a series of long shots, the sun is shown rising beyond the compound, and the scene changes. This is where a green parrot comes into the equation--it is shown flying around the compound for a few seconds, and then, later, we're treated to a shot of it in its cage. Later still, we see the same bird flying onto the hand of Otacon, who's dressed in a bloodied lab coat and is standing in some kind of office. The significance of the bird and its relationship to Otacon are, as I'm sure you can imagine, still open to debate.

The trailer, in any event, doesn't focus on the parrot a great deal after those first few seconds. The montage of action sequences that follows the slower-paced opening, rather, makes up the meat of the trailer. Many characters that we're already familiar with make appearances, and some newer faces are allowed to step into the forefront. Ocelot and the cyborg ninja, for starters, are shown going at it, along with a gang of Ocelot's men. The ninja (with a less menacing face mask, this time around), is shown parrying a series of gunshots shot at him by his assailants, much to Ocelot's chagrin. Also, remember that vampire guy from the E3 trailer? We see a good bit of him in this video--specifically, we see him bashing some poor soul's face into a wall. He's also shown sitting on the surface of a small pool in the lotus position, after which he stands and flits about it on his feet. Konami's calling him Vamp, which would explain the teeth. Whether this is some kind of internal moniker or his actual in-game name is yet to be determined--for what it's worth, the character art that Kojima and company displayed while addressing showgoers this afternoon had his name listed as such.

A young girl by the name of Ema (according, again, to the labeled character art displayed during Kojima's presentation) appeared in a couple of scenes. Her tone while she spoke was notably dejected, and every shot she was in focused on her face, so her relationship to any of the other characters remains a mystery. Of the new characters revealed, though, two in particular were most intriguing. One is a deathly grim man in some kind of tube-laden exosuit who wears an eye patch, and the other is a similarly shadowy character in a dark uniform who's wearing a sort of diving mask. It is, of course, possible that they may be the same man, sans the mask and so on. Kojima and company, during their address, showed a portrait of the masked man, though his name wasn't revealed. They did allude to his role of antagonist being an especially large one, so we'll leave you to speculate. The logical (and tempting) conclusion is that these men are indeed one--none other than Solidus, the third of Big Boss' genetic progeny. If the trailer is any indication, the eye patch/exosuit guy is likely some kind of key player; all the shots he's in paint him to be a particularly menacing foe, twirling machine guns and all.

Other highlights in the video include a sequence of Snake being assaulted by a group of those assault-rifle- and ninja-sword-wielding commandos from the E3 trailer, a woman in camouflage (possibly Olga?) standing in a hallway in a kind of dreamlike state, and a shot of Snake diving into the ocean in pursuit of the retreating Metal Gear Ray.

The new playable demo shown here at TGS isn't much different than the one released with Zone of the Enders earlier this year. In fact, all that was added were a few new items and a new environment within the ship--the engine room. The new items were as follows: a set of thermo-goggles, which allow you to see warm bodies in the dark and shoot them very effectively, and a digital camera for taking pictures.

The ship's engine room provides a nice playground to use these items in. Basically, it's the most gratuitously multileveled environment thus far seen in Metal Gear Solid 2, making it the ideal place for the game's shimmying elements. While there are stairs leading from one level to the other, the fact that there are guards posted on most landings makes it that much more effective to drop onto them from above. You'll also often be able to spy guards on remote landings, though the low levels of light will make pinpointing their exact locations a bit difficult. This is where the thermo-goggles come in--flip them on, and you'll have a nice orange silhouette to fire upon. In any event, once you're done horsing around with guards, you'll eventually make your way into one of two passages. One of them leads to a door that's rigged with explosives (which Otacon warns you about), and the other leads to a dark corner, with an especially foreboding shadow cast on its wall--one that looks strikingly like Vulcan Raven. Get close enough, and a short cutscene will play out, depicting a look of frightened surprise on Snake's countenance. If you're sensitive about spoilers and that sort of thing, please refrain from reading the next line and proceed to the next paragraph. Anyway, if you turn the corner, you'll indeed come face-to-face with the source of the shadow: a tiny figurine of the noble, presumably deceased warrior, its huge shadow courtesy of the powerful lantern placed directly behind it. Rewarding you for your bravery is a clip of USP ammo sitting atop a nearby crate.

In any event, the demo ended for us when we deliberately triggered the plastique-rigged door, despite Otacon's best advice. Admittedly, the playable portion of Konami's most recent serving of Metal Gear was lacking when compared with the trailer. The huge amounts of playability in Snake's smallest step, though, give us much faith in the depth of the final product. Shooting things with thermal vision is fun, as is capturing the images of pinups hidden throughout the engine room. In any event, this will likely be one of the last pieces of new information released by Konami until the game is nearly ready to hit shelves.

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