Silent Scope Complete


posted 3/1/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
Platforms: Xbox
If you’ve been to an arcade in the past five years you probably know what Silent Scope is all about. As if the giant cabinet-mounted sniper rifle weren’t enough, the machine is adorned with crosshairs and sights that would indicate that the player is assuming the role of a sniper. There’s an undeniable amount of appeal to the series and it’s the main reason that there were two sequels, one in the arcades and one on the consoles. Konami has decided to bring all of the iterations of this franchise into one neat little package called Silent Scope Complete and while it’s a pretty nice compilation for fans of the series the home edition comes up short in far too many respects.

In this package are pretty faithful recreations of Silent Scope, Silent Scope 2: Dark Silhouette, Silent Scope EX and the console-exclusive Silent Scope 3.There isn’t much in terms of evolution in the series but the progression is there. You’ll start to notice some minor improvements with the interface, better mission structure and a much-improved targeting reticle but the differences are minute and will probably go over the heads of many. After all, the games are all essentially based on a five-year-old piece of hardware that saw few if any upgrades during its lifespan.

If you’re spent time with the arcade game you probably realize that the game is both entertaining and frustrating. It’s especially entertaining when you’re participating in the game’s namesake and you’re actually placed in the role of a sniper. In the early stages of each game you’re generally given this role as you pick enemies off from afar and offer support to your comrades in battle. From that point on things generally deteriorate into a pretty horrific mess. Although Konami had a firm grasp of what a sniper should be it appeared that the designers got bored with the concept and decided to turn the games into Rambo meets Sniper. Can you imagine Rambo running headfirst into a charge armed only with a sniper rifle? That’s essentially what you’re doing in all of the Silent Scope games. A man would have to be a fool to think that he could infiltrate the enemy’s mansion or secret hideout with a sniper rifle. Shooting other vehicles and helicopters with it doesn’t really make much sense either. What happens is that the game starts off with a cool premise but gradually loses it and settles down into pedestrian light-gun shooter territory.

Probably the largest selling point of the game was its massive cabinet-mounted sniper rifle. Obviously the home version lacks this device and its impact is immediately noticeable. There’s just something about staring into the scope on the gun that really got gamers up and into the action, without it the game just seems wholly generic and mundane. Pelican offers a lightgun peripheral that comes with an LCD screen to help mimic the arcade experience but early reports indicate that the device, which costs more than the game itself, is more trouble than its worth. I tried playing the game with Madcatz’ lightgun device and it too yielded less than stellar results. Sometimes the hits don’t register and you’ll eventually need to turn the brightness up to compensate for it. When it comes down to it the device that offers the best results is the one that’s the least fun to use.

Even though some of the entries in this package are well over five years old it’s nice to see that Konami took some time to try to update the look and feel of the package. Some will complain that the game looks old and dated, well that’s true but it’s because of the age of the game, you can’t fault Konami for that. In fact Konami should be applauded because it took some time and effort to beef up the game’s look. It looks like some of the textures have been cleaned up and the water on some of the levels may have benefited from some of today’s new shaders. Hell, even the sound department has received a nice upgrade as your rear speakers will get some use when you’re being attacked from behind. All of the voice acting is still cheap and the rest of the sound samples are excruciatingly loud, but that’s just by design.

Aside from faithful recreations of the arcade versions you're not really getting much else out of this package. There aren't any extras for you to unlock nor are there any collector's items for hardcore fans of the series. Essentially what you're getting is an Xbox that's emulating Konami's dated hardware and if you're okay with that perhaps this is the right package for you. If you’re looking for the ultimate home version of Silent Scope then you really can’t go wrong with Silent Scope Complete. It’s severely dated and it’s lacking that awesome cabinet-mounted rifle but it’s still the best you’re going to get. Besides, what else are you going to play? House of the Dead III?

Konami brings the complete lightgun-based series to the Xbox but the lack of decent lightgun support really hinders the experience. It's still fun to play with the controller but it's really lacking in a lot of respects.

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