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Friday, 23 March, 2001, 11:55 GMT
Solid 2 well in the Zone
Metal Gear Solid 2
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sure to make bestseller of Zone of the Enders
David Gibbon is moved to tears by the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo inside Zone of the Enders.

The marketing of a game can often make or break a product - with literally millions spent on triple A titles.

But the real ultimate campaign is where you can guarantee a best seller by spending very little.

Few firms have the genius to do this, but Konami's creative minds have and now ZOE is certain to race to number one on its release.

And if it does not, then I'll do a bungee jump.

The reason behind all this certainty is down to a bundled demo that comes packaged with Zone of the Enders and it's called...Metal Gear Solid 2.

Unless you don't normally take an interest in gaming, you'll know that this single title has been requested more times than re-runs of Faulty Towers on BBC One.

Zone of the Enders
Zone of the Enders: Above average space shoot-em-up
Everyone who owns a PS2 wants this game - but as it is not coming out until at least the end of this year, Konami have cleverly bunged a playable demo of it with ZOE for two reasons.

One - they want to keep gamers thinking of the title and tease them until its launch. But, more importantly, they want to make sure ZOE sells like hot cakes and this really is the ultimate way of doing that.

So, this review is going to take a look at both games. Let's kick off with the real reason you're buying this game - yes, Metal Gear Solid 2.

When you load this up on your PS2, you will be well and truly knocked out by the stunning visuals.

Like the original, they are the most atmospheric you are ever likely to experience in a video game, but, more than before, it now feels as if you're playing inside a blockbuster movie.


Once you play, you'll soon find yourself crying with sheer joy

Producer and director of the game, Hideo Kojima, said in a press conference that the game is influenced by film - and from the moment you begin to play it is easy to see how true this is.

The camera angles are fantastic, moving in with close-ups when the action intensifies - and cut scenes have been directed with great care and thought.

The plot behind the game is that a robot called Metal Gear Rex has been manufactured - and those terrorists want it for themselves.

Solid Snake, the main guy from the original, returns in an attempt to stop them - and this - as you may already have guessed - is where you come in.

One of the nicest improvements to the game over the last version is the easiness in which you can now line up your targets.

A quick press of the right shoulder button on the PS2 gamepad and you can look right through the eyes of Solid Snake himself - and quite literally eye up everything that is going on around you.

Terrorists

When playing the original, one of the most dangerous situations was sneaking around corners to spot what was going on.

There was no way of peeping around corners - without guards actually spotting you - but the developers have thoughtfully introduced this to make things a little better.

Pressing the L2 or R2 button will make Snake lean around the corner - and if he needs to fire some ammo, pressing the appropriate button will see him fire some rounds then quickly get back to peeping around the corner again.

An area that was really admired in the original Metal Gear Solid is the intelligence of the terrorists. Spot you smoking and they come a running, for example.

But MGS 2 completely overhauls this and makes it a million times more sophisticated.

If the terrorists spot you now, they actually radio your whereabouts to their pals and then turn up in numbers to try and catch you. But, thankfully, there are also more places to hide - and if you do then the search is soon over.

Survivors

But what of Zone of the Enders? Set in the remote reaches of the solar system in the 22nd century, your job - as youth Leo Stenbuck - is to pilot the colossal robot, mech warrior Jehuty.

Fight enemies that are blocking your path and complete objectives to progress through the game - you get the picture.

Combining strategy with action packed gameplay, you collect survivors from each stage while taking out baddies using various methods.

You can perform a dash attack, burst attack which is more powerful, grab and throw when enemies are close by and you can even choose to escape if things are getting hectic.

Overall, then, while ZOE is an above-average, space shoot-em-up, Mechwarrior kind of game, there's no doubt that the playable demo of MGS 2 is the main reason this will be bought.

And once you play, you'll soon find yourself crying with sheer joy as you become in awe of this wonderful masterpiece.

Zone of the Enders (complete with demo of Metal Gear Solid 2) is published by Konami for PlayStation.

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