Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
Developer(s) Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (West)
Publisher(s) Konami
Designer(s) Hideo Kojima (producer, writer, director), Tomokazu Fukushima (co-director)
Series Metal Gear
Platform(s) Xbox, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) United States November 5, 2002 (NA)
Japan December 19, 2002 (JP)
European Union March 28, 2003 (EU)
South Korea August 7, 2003 (KR)
Genre(s) Stealth action
Mode(s) Single player
Media/distribution DVD

Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is a video game that was developed and published by Konami for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Windows and first released in 2002. Directed by Hideo Kojima, it is an updated version of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

The game's title comes from Substance, a compilation album by Joy Division (which is said to be one of Kojima's favorite bands).

Sons of Liberty (main game)Edit

Substance contains the complete Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty game (known simply as Sons of Liberty within Substance) with most of the additional features from the Japanese and European versions already integrated and made standard across all regions. Changes made since the North American version of the original MGS2 include the addition of Boss Survival and Casting Theater from the Japanese version, as well the European Extreme difficulty setting from the European release. Other changes made in Sons of Liberty include:

  • The subtitle font in the game has been changed.
  • Replacement of FHM posters and magazines due to expired license.
  • A silencer for the USP handgun will become available to the player during the Tanker Chapter if the player has already cleared the game once.
  • The infrared view of the thermal goggles was changed to properly resemble actual infrared vision.
  • The game's difficulty was toned down slightly in some instances. For example, if the player puts the unconscious guards from the beginning of the Plant Chapter into the lockers near the entrance, then they won't regain consciousness.
  • The player can now choose between the dog tags available from MGS2 and the new dog tags made specifically for Substance when they begin a new game.
  • The player's rank is given after finishing the game along with the clear code.
  • Snake and Raiden now wear sunglasses for every odd-numbered playthrough starting with the third.
  • When Raiden reaches the surface of Arsenal Gear and Solidus Snake shows himself to him, he says "No more games, Raiden" in the original game. This has been fixed to "No more games, Jack" in Substance, since Solidus Snake wouldn't refer to his son by codename (or may not even be aware of his codename).
  • Before Raiden enters the room where bomb disposal expert Peter Stillman is, a noise can be heard, causing Raiden to pause for a moment and equip the SOCOM (if not already selected) obtained from Pliskin.
  • The shaver item, found in Big Shell Strut A, can only be obtained on Hard or higher difficulties now.
  • Small typos such as "Clamore" to "Claymore" mines when Olga contacts Raiden while leading Emma through the Vamp battle filtration chamber have been fixed.


MetalGearSolid2-Substance screenshot2

Solid Snake lurking in the "hold up" game mode

Substance contains nearly 700 new missions in two categories (VR and Alternative), plus various sub-categories. For example, in VR Missions, there is a series of missions based on successful sneaking with or without weaponry (Sneaking Mode), a series of target practices for each weapon (Weapon Mode), and the series of missions which use a first-person view. The player initially play as both: Raiden and Snake in these missions (with Snake's missions being harder of the two). Alternate versions of Snake and Raiden are unlocked as the player complete more missions. In addition to the VR Missions, there are also a set of Alternate Missions set in the main game's environments such as Bomb Disposal missions and Hold-Up missions.

In these missions, the player is graded based on the time of their performance, remaining ammo, and whether enemies were killed or stunned.

During the VR Missions, the background will change depending on the console's internal clock. From 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM, the background will be green, simulating night. While from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, the background will be orange, simulating daylight.

Playable charactersEdit

There are a total of seven playable characters: three versions of Raiden and four of Snake. Initially, only the main versions of Snake and Raiden are available. But as the player completes their missions, the alternative versions of the characters will become available. Differences between characters includes enemy and item placement, as well the weapons that are made available. Since Snake cannot use the H.F. Blade, the set of Weapon Mode missions corresponding to Raiden's H.F. Blade missions are instead named "No Weapon", and Snake must destroy the targets barehanded.

  • Raiden - Raiden, wearing his skull suit from the main game.
  • Raiden (Ninja) - Raiden dressed in the exoskeleton used by the Cyborg Ninja from the original MGS. The only weapon available to him is the High Frequency Blade. As such, he has no "Hold-Up" Missions like the other characters. Available after 50% of Raiden's missions has been completed.
  • Raiden X - Raiden, naked and with no weapon to use (as seen during the Arsenal Gear portion of the main game). Since he cannot use weapons, he only has a single five-part Sneaking Mode mission (humorously named Streaking Mode). Available after all of Raiden's and Ninja Raiden's missions has been completed.
  • Snake - Snake, wearing his sneaking suit from the main game.
  • Pliskin - Snake in his Iroquois Pliskin disguise from the Plant Chapter. Available after completing 50% of Snake's missions.
  • Snake (Tuxedo) - Snake in a tuxedo outfit. Tuxedo Snake also gets his own James Bond-style theme music during Sneaking Mode and Weapon Mode. Available after completing all of Snake's and Pliskin's missions.
  • Snake (MGS1) - Snake wearing his original sneaking suit from the first MGS. Has his radar turned off for most of his missions. Also MGS1 Snake gets his old VR Missions music during Sneaking Mode, Weapon Mode and Variety Mode. He becomes available after completing all of Tuxedo Snake's missions.

VR MissionsEdit

A set of missions taking place in a virtual environment. Over 350 missions are available in this mode.

  • Sneaking Mode - Proceed to the goal without being discovered. Player can choose between No Weapon or Eliminate All (in which the goal appears after neutralizing the enemy) modes.
  • Weapon Mode - Destroy all targets with the chosen weapon. Extra points are awarded based on the player's accuracy.
  • Variety Mode - Miscellaneous missions with various objectives, including a night mission, a sniper mission and a Zako Survival mission in which the player must fight against a barrage of enemy soldiers from the game (zako being the Japanese word for small fry and a Japanese video game term for non-boss enemies) and in turn face off against the massive soldier/monster-hybrid, Gurlugon.

Alternative MissionsEdit

Missions that places in actual stages from the main game. 150 in all.

  • Bomb Disposal Mode - Find the bombs in the given area under the time limit and use the coolant to freeze them. Some bombs have a proximity sensor that will detonate if the player gets too close.
  • Elimination Mode - Neutralize all enemy soldiers to unlock the goal.
  • Hold Up Mode - Put all the enemies in a hold up to unlock the goal. The mission will end if the player is discovered or if an enemy is killed.
  • Photograph Mode - Take specific photographs of objects or people under the time limit. Points are awarded based on the accuracy of the picture.

Snake TalesEdit

The Snake Tales are a series of non-canonical stories set in the main game's environments (primarily in the Big Shell), where the player controls Solid Snake wearing one of various alternate costumes. Due to the low production values of these missions, no voiceovers are featured. Instead, the storyline is narrated through on-screen text during key parts of each mission. There are five Snake Tales in all (A Wrongdoing, Big Shell Evil, Confidential Legacy, Dead Man's Whispers and External Gazer). In one of these missions (Confidential Legacy), Snake confronts Meryl (the heroine of Metal Gear Solid) as the boss in the Tanker stage instead of Olga like in the main game. Some of these missions have more than one possible outcome depending on the player's performance.

Here's a brief overview of each of the Snake Tales featured:

  • A Wrongdoing - Snake cooperates with Ames in order to save the U.S. President (among other hostages) from Fatman.
  • Big Shell Evil - Under Otacon's request, Snake aids Emma in order to escape from a Russian drug cartel.
  • Confidential Legacy - Snake infiltrates an oil tanker seized by Sergei Gurlukovich and his men to track down Meryl.
  • Dead Man's Whisper - Posing as Iroquois Pliskin, Snake (under orders from Scott Dolph) must prevent Vamp from assasinating a Navy commander.
  • External Gazer - While on a mission to take a photograph of the elusive Gurlugon, Snake is visited by alternate versions of his friends and foes from parallel worlds and must stop Solidus from destroying the world.

Upon completing all Snake Tales missions, the player will start out with a M9 upon second playthrough, allowing for alternate endings with the bosses.

Snake Tales Quotes Edit

External Gazer:

Rose: Jack, do you remember what day tommorrow is?

Raiden: March 21st, why?

Rose: We'll talk about it tommorrow.

Raiden: Why would you call me today about something you want to discuss tommorrow?

Rose: Alright I'll tell you. I'm carrying.... I think I'm gaining weight!

Raiden: I haven't noticed

Rose: I have, I think my shirt is getting too tight.

Raiden: Why don't you start working out with me?

Rose: Alright, let's go running tommorrow.

Release informationEdit

The PlayStation 2 and Windows versions of the game were held back for five months after the Xbox version's release in North America as a result to an exclusivity contract between Konami and Microsoft, due to Konami's early agreement to provide an exclusive Metal Gear game for the Xbox (initially titled Metal Gear Solid X). In contrast, the European release of all three versions were given virtually simultaneous releases. The Xbox and Windows version were not released in Japan.

The Microsoft Windows version is criticized for having extremely difficult default controls. Although they can be changed before the game is launched, the lack of mouse support and an awkward control scheme results in many players having to use a joypad to play the game properly. Although two patches have been released for the game, none address the control issues.

The PlayStation 2 release featured a skateboarding minigame built around the game engine from Konami's Evolution Skateboarding. In it, the player can skate as Snake or Raiden in two different sections of the Big Shell. Like the Tony Hawk series or most skateboarding games, a set of goals can be completed in each section in a limited amount of time (i.e: achieving a high score, destroying all the cyphers, ect.).

The European PlayStation 2 release also included The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2, and therefore could be considered by some to be the definitive release of Metal Gear Solid 2.

Some copies of the Japanese PlayStation 2 release that were ordered through Konami's Japanese shopping website (Konamistyle) came with an "Ultimate Sorter" that contains placeholders for all three MGS2 releases (the original, Document and Substance) and their manuals, as well as a bonus CD soundtrack. There were two versions of the Ultimate Sorter released: a white version and a black version. The soundtrack that came with each version was different. The White version of the soundtrack contained primarily remixed music from the main game, while the Black version contained music from Substance's additional game modes. Of the two, the black version is considered to be rarer.

Easter EggsEdit

The player can unlock all playable characters in Missions by entering the Konami Code as a username: UUDDLRLRBA. An alternative method is to have a save file from The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 with all five VR Missions cleared.

External linksEdit

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