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Syphon Filter

video game review video game review video game review video game review Video Game Review: Syphon Filter Publisher: Sony
Category: Action, Adventure games
Platform: PS1
ESRB Rating: Teen    Release Date: January 1999

Overall Rating: 4 Stars out of 4

Review by JeremyD
4 Stars out of 4

Syphon Filter will likely draw comparisons to Metal Gear Solid, an extremely popular infiltration/action game released at about the same time. Whereas MGS put its emphasis on slick graphics and a dramatic storyline, however, Syphon Filter takes a different approach. Except for a rare few missions where stealth is important (actually, very important!), the action in SF mainly consists of a simple cycle: shoot, find keycard, open door, repeat. Diverse backgrounds and weapons, decent enemy AI, and a very usable aim and sidestep feature keep this pattern interesting.

First, I should make a cursory attempt to describe the plot. The plot primarily evolves by CGI scenes and mission briefings before each level; however, frequent objective changes in the course of each mission keep things lively. The plot itself is a fairly common mix of betrayal and aspirations of world domination, but it complements the action well. Players expecting the Tom Clancy novel that was MGS may be disappointed. The graphics are fairly good, and have a sort of Tomb Raider aspect which should be familiar. The camera takes some unexpected turns, but behaves itself for the most part, allowing the player to concentrate on mastering the controls.

The controls are complicated, and the hero seems to have a little trouble with precision movement (or actually, with precision anything!) The autoaim feature is nice, but veternan will want to practice the fatal head shot techniques. By far the nicest control element is the ability to hide behind wall, and then duck out to fire. Players who master this strategy have a chance of making it through the game. The game gets challenging fast; players shouldn't expect to make it through a stealth mision the first, or even the twenty-first time. The realism of the weapons and enemy reactions keeps the player engaged - fumbling for a head shot on a fully armoured guard charging you with a blazing shotgun should get anyone's pulse up. Overall, this a must have for fans of the action/infiltration genre.

Review by Tom Allen
4 Stars out of 4

People will think we're crazy, but Syphon Filter is actually better than its closest competitor on the N64, GoldenEye 007. Send your hate mail now and get it out of your system. Although Syphon Filter's control is only average, it's the game play as a whole that is more exciting than GoldenEye.

This game actually has plot development, as well as some of the best mission guidance in any game ever. Don't you hate games where you have no clue what to do next? Well, Syphon Filter has a helpful lady to direct you through your orders via radio.

Also helpful is the training video you can watch before playing the game. All the controls in the game are clearly and visually explained. For example, the R2 button activates automatic targetting. What a treat that is!

With unlimited lives, explosions that literally lift you off the ground, and hordes of weapons like pistols, rifles, and shotguns, Syphon Filter is a lot of fun. This is not just another shoot 'em up action game. You won't be able to stop playing, and it's not every day a game like that comes along.

Syphon Filter is the first "A" game of 1999. Just wait until the bomb in the subway goes off. Those mangled trains make for a mighty cool level.

k For info on how to beat the game in 12 minutes, scroll up or visit the Hints area of this web site.

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