The body count soars during this running battle, and indeed the death toll throughout the whole level is massive, even by CoD standards. The guy demonstrating the game clearly knew the stage like the back of his hand, and yet it still seemed like a marathon of bullet-based murder. If he wasn't reloading, he was shooting someone in the head or through a flimsy wall; if he wasn't doing that, he was ripping open a chest with a combat knife. And while Roach must take a good 20 to 30 scalps during this interlude alone, the gangsters also claim a prize: late in the fight, a report over the intercom informs us that Meat has just become Dead Meat.
As Soap extracts a location from Faust (who's probably had his balls burnt off by now), the action takes on a new vertical element: as the gunfight rages on, Roach and the surviving members of Task Force 141 must head deeper into the heart of the favelas, climbing through the housing blocks that line the hills of Rio. All the while Soap, and another colleague named Ghost, is shouting out desperate reports on where to find Rojas. Eventually we catch sight of the man himself: a slippery bugger with a backpack, clambering over the roof of an apartment. Roach has a clear line of sight, but an on-screen icon tells us that he's not allowed to shoot; Soap needs this one alive... if only for the time being.
All the time that this is going on, Rio's bandanna-wearing bad boys are doing their best to riddle Roach with lead - providing plenty of opportunity to see the grisly new blood-on-the-screen effect that pops up when you get hurt. Despite the odds, my demonstrator managed to steer Roach through the chaos without getting killed. The level peaks as we reach the very top of the slum district, affording a brief but beautiful view of Rio. The soundtrack builds to a crescendo while Soap and Ghost bark out frantic sightings of Rojas; it's all so dramatic that you might be forgiven for thinking the villain could get away, but - SPOILERS - he doesn't. Just when all hope seems lost, Soap rugby tackles him through a balcony and down onto the roof of a car, two storeys below.
It's a wonderfully overblown end to a blockbuster level. Though it goes without saying by now, Modern Warfare 2's campaign looks like it's going to be totally full-throttle - a rollercoaster ride of terrorists and explosions and action men doing ridiculously heroic things. It was impossible to avoid being sucked into Takedown's spectacular set pieces, but the graphical detail on display throughout was as equally impressive, if less show-stopping. At any given moment there seemed to be more stuff on screen, for want of a better word, than what we normally see in a game like this. Every location, every room seems to be packed with detail: bits of furniture, litter blowing in the wind, faded graffiti tags or cracks in a concrete wall.
Much of this is tiny stuff, and since you run past most of it with an AK-47 blazing in your hand, you may not even notice it at all. But the point is that it's there, and even if most players won't consciously acknowledge these touches, they'll most certainly have an effect on you as you play. This attention to detail is the scaffolding behind the scenes, the structure that supports the action movie insanity. Put those elements together, and you've got a Molotov cocktail of a game. November 10 is mere weeks away; is it time to get excited yet?
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be released on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 10.