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March 4, 2003
Metal Gear Solid SUBSTANCE - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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One of the 350+ VR levels.
If you've been visiting this site for some time now you will know just how brilliant Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty is as a game - or rather - a cinematic experience. Indeed, the title was critically applauded for its many brilliances, however the main criticism, which I stand by as well, is that the game included far too many cut scenes, and not enough "substance". Realising this Hideo Kojima, the brains behind the Metal Gear games, has decided to re-visit the title. But rather then just add a couple of new enemies and enhancements to the game Hideo has created an entirely new package, and one that contains much more gameplay then the original ever did.

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Only 8 enemies to kill (with shields).
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is an expanded edition of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty with all-new game modes, hidden characters and storylines. In fact, the storyline remains pretty much the same as the original game (or else we would be playing Metal Gear Solid 3 - which is rumoured to appear at the E3 show in May 2003). The story, for those unaware, is as follows. The game begins with Solid Snake trying to infiltrate a tanker loaded with terrorists to discover if the new Metal Gear prototype, Metal Gear RAY, is onboard. Naturally all is not as it seems as several different groups are trying to take control of the ship, and Metal Gear RAY. After the tanker section the game moves onto a massive oil rig called "Big Shell" where the bulk of the action takes place.

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Collecting the bombs.
One of the biggest complaints about Sons of Liberty was that Solid Snake was only playable for about the first hour of the game, after that you controlled Raiden, a somewhat feminine version of Solid Snake. This game allows you to play as Solid Snake from start to finish, something which gamers have been crying for since Sons of Liberty's release. There are bound to be many more little changes for the main game, but the main game is really only a fraction of this entire package as there are many new features.

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In the suit.
One of the new features, and the one that will have you playing for weeks, if not months, are the 350+ VR missions, which look and act much like the original VR missions in the PSOne games. These will more often then not ask you to kill a certain number of guards, or sneak around to a target. In addition to the VR Missions Konami are adding over 150 Alternate missions which take place in the actual locations of the game but include different scenarios. Little has been seen of these missions yet so their content remains somewhat a mystery.

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Killing one of the VR enemies.
If that isn't enough the game also includes 5 all-new "Snake Tales" side stories. As yet there is little information about this section of the game although it's believed that these missions will offer alternative ways of completing the missions in the main game using Solid Snake, or will include side-stories about what Snake gets up to while you play as Raiden in the original game. American gamers will also be pleased to hear that they will finally be able to play the Boss Survival and Casting Theater modes which were included in the Japanese and European, but not American, versions of Sons of Liberty.

With a month until release Metal Gear Solid SUBSTANCE is shaping up as a stunning package for those disappointed with the amount of gameplay in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. With this game containing the original title, heavily tweaked, as well as a second disc with almost 500 VR and Alternate missions there is little reason not to pick up this title, even if you bought the original. Expect a release in Australia on April 4th.