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Two key new MGS3 features explained

Metal Gear

There’s detail here on the two main new features of Metal Gear Solid 3: the Camouflage Index, and the Close Quaters Combat system. Instead of trying to reword it – I’ll leave you with the full wording of Hideo Kojima himself from the Konami press release:

Director Hideo Kojima has offered a valuable in-sight into Metal Gear Solid 3’s development, and has explained a several new elements within the game’s jungle environment. With Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater removing series hero Solid Snake from the military and scientific bases of past missions, the game’s new jungle setting throws open a wealth of new gameplay opportunities. As such, Kojima-san has taken time from his busy development schedule to outline the game’s new ‘Camouflage Index’ disguise system, the all-new ‘CQC’ close quarter combat mechanism, and has also confirmed that Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater will also boast a revolutionary motion-capture system to ensure the series’ famed animation is as impressive as ever.

The ‘Camouflage Index’ is represented by a numerical percentage to the top-right of the play area. The index is dependent on three factors and determines how visible Snake is to his pursuers. Posture, costume and face paint all have a direct effect on how well Snake blends into his surroundings, with a 100% rating allowing him to stand perfectly still as guards pass within inches of his prone form. Thus, by standing perfectly still, crouching in long grasses, or by lying flat, Snake can improve his ‘Camouflage Index.’ Coupled with one of the game’s additional camouflage outfits, however, and Snake can further blend into the background, with the addition of face paint rendering him virtually invisible within certain scenarios.

The use of the ‘Camouflage Index’ perfectly illustrates the more survival-orientated elements of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. As they control Snake, the player must rely on their wits to evade capture, by switching between fatigue designs ideally suited to blending in with tree bark, fallen leaves, long grass or even the shadowy and darker areas of the jungle. It also ties in beautifully with the team’s innovative new ‘CQC’ combat system, which again marks a new departure for the Metal Gear series.

Developed in association with the series’ military advisor, Motosadi Mori, the ‘CQC’ close quarters combat system sees Snake using hand-to-hand combat to take out his pursuers. Used in conjunction with Snake’s camouflage skills, players now have the option to physically take out the many guards patrolling the game, as opposed to risking discovery using a gun. A full section of offensive moves will be at Snake’s disposal in the final game, but dependent on his environment.

The system can be used to fight multiple adversaries, and allows for hand-to-hand combat or the use of knives or handguns where applicable. The system automatically comes into effect when the player has the gun or knife selected as the default weapon, while Snake’s posture also has an effect on his ability to throw or attack guards. In order to ensure these moves are effected seamlessly and smoothly, Kojima-san and his respected Tokyo-based development team have employed ground-breaking motion-capture systems to ensure the moves and additional animations are faithful to proper military techniques.

One key innovation was the use of a trampoline during the motion-capture sessions, which are used in movies to depict the effects of explosions on unsuspecting victims, yet have never been used in a video game until now. A special device used to control air pressure was used in the filming of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake’s Eater’s animation filming, with the carefully controlled stunts used to blow a stuntman several metres in the air!

In case you didn’t know, Metal Gear Solid 3 is due for an American and Japanese arrival late this year, with the European release set to follow shortly afterwards.

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in June 2002.

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