It is arguably the best game ever made, and undoubtedly the most hyped game ever to hit store shelves. Therefore, it is only logical that fans of Hideo Kojima's amazingly popular Metal Gear Solid series be treated to even more Solid Snake action. Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 is a Playstation 2 exclusive package to tide over PS2 fans until Substance releases early next year. Document, while not a stand-alone game, is a full feature title that breaks down every aspect of Metal Gear Solid 2, from concept art to original storyboards. There are a total of 8 different sections to Document, ranging from Character Design, Mechanical Design, Level Design, Cutscenes, Programming, Sound, Game Design and Script. On top of that there are also four more features further breaking down the game's development, including a timeline of development, detailed staffing lists including everyone on the Metal Gear team, as well as additional footage of the game in its early stages and all the research that took place before design began.
The first chapter of Document breaks down all the characters in the game, both big and small, showing concept art as well as the final 3D models used in the game. Viewers can check out Raiden, Snake, Pliskin, Campbell, Rose, Otacon, Ocelot, Solidus, Fatman, Olga, Sergei, Fortune, Scott Dolph, Richard Ames, President Johnson, as well as the Navy Seal teams and, of course, the Ninja. Viewers will be able to add various attire to the models to create different looks, including outfits and accessories not found in the game, such as cool sunglasses. This section also breaks down all the concept art used to create the characters, highlighting some of the designers' better work. Perhaps the coolest part of this section is the cel shaded model of Mei Ling that Kojima used to demonstrate the character modeling to students at Konami's training facilities.
When looking at character models, there is a tie in feature that will allow you quick access to related character features. For instance, when looking at Solid Snake's 3D model, you can toggle over to check out his concept art as well as add new items.
Mechanical Design/ Background
Almost identical to character design is the mechanical design section of Document. Here Konami breaks down all the background objects in the game, which basically means everything besides the characters. Viewers will be able to check out in more detail the cooler in game objects, such as the Harrier, the Kasatka chopper, Arsenal Gear, the Cypher, and of course, Metal Gear Ray. Surprisingly, gamers can also check out some unique renderings of some MGS objects, such as the Hind-D, the M1A1 tank, and Metal Gear Rex, done in high-res through the MGS2 engine. On top of that, you can see a lot of content that was intended to make the game but was later cut out, such as the infamous Osprey, the Vertical Take Off and Landing plane.
The Background section is basically the same thing, only this time highlighting the actual locations in the game, such as Strut A- Pump Room, etc. There are a total of 54 locations, broken down into 10 locations from inside Arsenal, 16 from the tanker chapter, and 28 from the plant chapter. The arsenal section also shows locales in New York City, such as Federal Hall and the George Washington Bridge. Perhaps most notable about this section is the inclusion of the scene that was deleted shortly after September 11th, 2001, which shows a destroyed New York City as seen from the World Trade Center.
This is by far the coolest part of Document. Here you can watch over 130 scenes from the game, with the ability to pause them at any point. You can then move the camera angle around to view the scene from any angle in real time. You can then begin playing the scene again from the new vantage point, giving viewers a totally new experience with any scene. You can also move any scene forward frame by frame to catch anything you may have missed the first time you played through.
This section breaks down all major areas of programming, showing page upon page of detailed and technical notes on program management, showing how the team tackled concepts like AI management and more.
The sound section of Document lets you listen to all 29 tracks from the game, including all major boss fight songs and the main theme. Many tracks also have 5 separate themes to accommodate all the various modes encountered in the game, such as sneaking, detection, alert, evasion and caution.
This section is pretty useless unless one is proficient in reading Japanese. This section breaks down all of Hideo Kojima's personal game notes, which discuss everything from the platform the game was made on (Playstation 2) to the various elements the game included.
This section breaks down every word from the game, broken up into their respective scenes. While this might sound boring, one has to note that this section also includes designer notes, indicating the tone they wanted to relay in the game, and how they wanted the voice actors to portray themselves in any given scene. For those having a hard time understanding the complex story line of MGS2, this is a must see.
This section breaks down the staff, from the head honcho, Kojima, all the way down to the junior designers. This section lets you know who, in particular, was responsible for each aspect of the game, such as enemy AI, enemy design, etc.
Chronicle breaks down the timeline of development, showing what stages of the game were completed at what time, giving viewers a feel for how a game is put together on a grand scale.
This section is another gold mine of cool features. Here you can see all the promo trailers that were used to hype the game, including the famous E3 2000 trailer. In addition, you can see home movies of Hideo Kojima receiving word that MGS2 was set for Gold Mastering, and the celebration that ensued shortly thereafter. In addition viewers can check out up to 10 more scenes never seen before, including insider demos shown to Sony Execs.
This last section shows all the various items in the game, such as the ammo boxes, rations, and of course the infamous dirty magazines. In addition, gamers can check out the various promotional items released before, during and after the release of the game, such as action figures and posters.
Overall, Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 is a hefty DVD set that any fan of Metal Gear Solid would be crazy not to pick up. With all the extra features and never before seen footage, there is enough material here to keep fans entertained for hours. Unlike other games that show a few outtakes and behind the scenes footage, Document takes you much farther, showing you every aspect of the game. Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 will release at the end of the month with a price tag of $19.99.
9/18/2002 Ryan Hartmann