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Syphon Filter (PlayStation)

86
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Reborn_Demon (124)
Written on  :  Jun 08, 2008
Platform  :  PlayStation
Rating  :  3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars

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Summary

Snake? Snake!? SNAAAKE! ...Or is Syphy Filter better than that?

The Good

Metal Gear Solid 1 has actually defined, or at least in my opinion it has, the way in which games now tell there stories. It's complex story is one you'd expect in a sci-fi novel series, yet you can see the events on screen and visualized, thus it is being much easier to follow. And it's better than just a book-to-movie adaption, because you can interact and you feel like your a part of the story's world. And MGS1 pulled the story off nicely, but the action...?

That's where Syphon Filter enters. You see, Syphon Filter's story is no where near the complexity of Metal Gear Solid - in terms of story, but it is a good story none-the-less; but anyway, despite the quality of story, this game... has... ACTION!

Grenades that actually give a threatening explosion, guns that actually kill you like real life, flak jackets that actually keep you alive (or at least, help). The original MGS1 seemed to promise all this, yet never really delivered; but Syphon Filter? Yep, Syphon Filter delivered in crates.

No seriously, you get weapons from the game via crates.

The AI is actually out to kill you, and not just some idle "I'll patrol here until an intruder passes by, lose sight of him, then return to my post like if nothing happened" gameplay. No, Syphon Filter has enemies that match the term "enemy". By this point, you may have noticed my references to MGS1 (the review title, the actual mention of said game, the above gameplay) and you may be wondering why. Well, MGS1 was supposed to be good. And it was, just not as expected kinda "good" - but Syphon Filter was there, just like a virtual close best friend that offered a shoulder to cry on when your MGS didn't deliver on action, just story.

Okay, so this point on; I'll review Syphon Filter as Syphon Filter. I'll begin with audio. Most of the time in this game, you'll be expecting the booms of grenades, or the opening of crates (click-click) or the chuuk-chuuk of the shotgun. That's basically the low-down on effects, but what of actual voices? Well, you got the quite-convincing voice of an enemy on fire (happens twice in the game, if I recall) which I always like in a sinister manner, as if the game makers actually recorded a man on fire. You also got Gabe and Lian. They have good voice actors, but you might often find they talk to fast or like if they all know what other's are about to say and are jumping to say their next line. During a few points in the game, I actually missed what some of them said and I was like "What? Why are we doing that again?" or "Why can't I simply go down the tunnel to the next objective? Every time I try to I get MISSION FAILED!?" (the answer to that last one? You have to basically have to flick a switch).

Let's see... Ah, layout. Well, most of the items look generic and similar, but let's be reasonable; this is a PS1 game, folks. But at least there is sometimes variation - not like in FF7: Dirge of Cerberus (PS2). Luckily, you have a map that is actually (most of the time) annotated (great use in the warehouse level).

The weapons are good (as in variations of firing, sound effects, effectiveness) and the difficulty is just right, as long as your wearing a flak jacket - or so help you God. The story is good and immersing, even if it is a little slow at times.

The Bad

There are sometimes you'll find things, mostly passages, are way too dark (or are perhaps lit up in a red light that makes an almost-straight cave tunnel so confusing) - and it'll require the use of a torch. HOWEVER, this means being unable to use a weapon at the same time, which means you're screwed when you travel down the dark tunnel. So you go with a weapon instead, but that'll mean you have no clue where you're going - which'll eventually lead to you falling down a pit, or from a great height, or being gunned down by an unseen enemy; and you'll have no idea about this unable "Mission Failed" pops up.

Luckily, the two most boring levels are short and have a checkpoint before they get hard and annoying.

Oh, and the difficulty. Before, I said it is "just right" - but only if your wearing a flak jacket, because if you're not, you might as well turn of the game yourself if you can't find an easy enemy or a crate. Because even one enemy, with you on full health, is an easy situation, but then another dude runs by shooting you before you even have a chance to pick up the drooped enemy's ammo and flak jacket. Then another guy'll come running past, and... So basically, you want to be fast in a location with multiple enemies. And sometimes these enemies just pop up out of nowhere (THE WAREHOUSE MISSION!!!) so you can never tell if this is such a time to apply speed.

The Bottom Line

I recommend Syphon Filter 2 as an introduction the the series, before you play this one. Syphon Filter 1 is good, but some may be put off from the entire franchise if they play this game and automatically assume the others are like it. And in terms of graphics, sound, story, they are. But level layout, weapons, story, a few minor game play tweaks and a two-player death match mode (full of characters and locations) makes Syphon Filter 2 much more superior. But after you've played that, and like it, I also suggest you play this game. Obviously, it's now old (two generations back as of PS3's release) and thus, cheap (either that or it's rare) so buy it if you see it. Totally up to you, of course.