Syphon Filter Review

By: John Doe


System: PlayStation
Price: $59.99 (Canadian)
Developer: Eidetic
Publisher: 989 Studios
Release: 02/99

Fans of Metal Gear will be in heaven with this top notch espionage/action hybrid that borrows gameplay ideas from some of the best! But that isn't a bad thing, cause it took all the right stuff and crammed it onto a disc for your gaming enjoyment!

Highs:
Lows:

It's been a tough week. Both Syphon Filter and Silent Hill showed up and I love both games. I've been dividing my time among them and although I am intrigued by the horrible world of Silent Hill, I prefer my games a little more on the action side, and SF doesn't disappoint!

You play Solid Snake, I mean, Gabe Logan and okay, first of all, let's get this out in the open. Syphon Filter borrows heavily from Metal Gear, Goldeneye and Mission Impossible. Gabe looks and somewhat sounds like Solid Snake, and I won't even mention the weapons. The sniper modes are excellent and of course, GoldenEye should take a bow for that one. And some of the Missions are freaking Impossible, thanks to the 'blow one objective and it's game over, idiot." But I promise you'll be having so much fun you won't notice the similarities anyway.

The game takes place in fully 3D, 360 degrees of movement environments. Your pal Gabe is on screen at all times (except in sniper mode) and has many weapons at his disposal. He's not a minimalist like Solid Snake, Gabe brings lots of kick ass firepower to this shindig. Of course, he can pick up weapons and ammo from fallen enemies or from storage boxes hidden throughout the levels. He works hand in hand with guys in radiation suits called CBDC (The U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command) who are nice enough to show up and dismantle the germ warfare bombs, they or Gabe come across. It says Gabe is American in the manual, but he must be Canadian. I mean, come on, who else would be polite enough to continue running around in his leather jacket, while the rest of the team is covered from head to toe in radiation suits? "Sorry Gabe, we just don't have another suit." No problem, it would probably make me look fat, eh?" Laughter all around the office, freeze frame, credits. But I digress... Gabe's female partner, Lian Xing acts as his eyes and ears. She contacts him at various points in the game and brings him up to speed or drops another mission objective in his lap. You must help Gabe stop the terrorists from detonating the Syphon Filter virus, across the USA.

Graphically this game is really well done. The PlayStation probably isn't going to get much better at this point. Aside from the somewhat awkward running animation, Gabe looks good. He doesn't have a ton of moves but what he does have gets the job done. His crouching move is handy when dodging bullets and his hand-over-hand hanging move even allows shooting! Yessss! Just don't fall while hanging over the streets cause Gabe won't like that.

The weapons are definitely a big part of the game. Machine guns, 9mm's, shotguns, sniper rifles, assault rifles, grenade launchers and even a cute little taser that will light your victim on fire. Awww... Gabe goes prepared. No question. But so is the enemy. Luckily Gabe has a flak jacket that will take a ton of damage so he can walk in, kick ass and take names. If his armor gets a little low, simply sniper a guy in the head with a "head shot" (leaving the enemies flak jacket unharmed) and you might be able to go over and take his. Like Barney says, "Sharing is Caring." Gabe has a nifty little "target" feature (the R1) button that will lock in on the enemy. If there are more than one, simply hit the R1 button again to switch to bad guy #2 or #3. Very handy and very deadly.

The environments are fun. You'll love the subway. Well, you'll love the subway, after it blows up. It's great fun hunting through the darkness with your flashlight looking for the way out. Just watch out for the flaming bad guys who want to give you a hug unless you stop their advances with a few bullets to the heart. I mean, they're screaming in pain, best to put them out of your misery, right?

The music in this game had that "Quinn Martin" production quality on it that reminded me of those cop shows in the 70's. I loved it then and I love it now. I doubt that was their intent, but hey, it works. The voice acting, while not quite on par with Metal Gear, it's not far behind. And at least you won't have to read ton of text. Everything is pretty to the point.

The challenge level is very high. If you make one mistake, the mission is over and you must start again at the last checkpoint. Checkpoints are established by completing a mission objective. If you cover an agent while he de-activates a bomb, then you will start again from that point. However, this isn't a save point. The number of objectives determine the number of checkpoints in a given level. You can only save at the end of each level, although you can continue as much as you want. I STRONGLY suggest that you play until you get to a save point, and then decide if you are going to play through to the next save point. Don't do it half way, because you'll have to the level all over again if you don't make it to the next save point.

There is little to dislike in Syphon Filter. I found the on screen radar pretty much useless. I wish it would replicate the area surroundings rather than just show enemies and bombs. The map can be brought up by pressing pause, and some levels will seem like you are pausing every few seconds to check it out. For the first level I couldn't figure out how to get into the storage boxes as it isn't mentioned in the manual oddly enough. For those, like me, simply go near a box and press the Triangle button. The fact that Gabe can't walk is really frustrating at times when you re trying to get line your self up to grab something over head. Of course, these are slight imperfections that really don't detract much from this game, but should be fixed in the inevitable sequel.

For fans looking for more action after the Post-Metal Gear high, you have to have this game. It's a AAA game in March! Not to disappoint you, but there isn't going to be many games coming out that are this good for awhile. Great Gaming Opportunity is knocking and poor Gabe's Biological Time Bomb is ticking!

Final Analysis:

Rating Legend 1-10 (10 being the highest mark)
Overall: 9.0
Graphics: 9.0
3D Camera: 9.0
Control: 8.0
Fun: 9.0
Music/Fx: 9.0
Frustration: 9.0

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