Silent Scope is a port. Nothing more, nothing less. What's more its not a very good one. Based on the arcade game of the same name, it throws you into the role of a sniper for hire. The President and his family have been kidnapped by a generic band of terrorists and it is up to rescue them. Ordinarily, Id jump at the opportunity to play the role of a sniper—many is the time I died in GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark while trying to score nothing but headshots on my targets—but Konamis release is so flawed that I couldn't even enjoy such a base indulgence.
When I started up Silent Scope, I couldn't believe how primitive the game looked. With the exception of some high-resolution character models, Silent Scope looked as technologically advanced as a PlayStation title. The environments are bland with washed out colors and textures thrown on every object in sight. The settings look sparse and lazily laid out. Even if the original arcade looked this bad, its not the best game to present to gamers as a reason to purchase the almighty PlayStation 2.
For whatever reason, Konami believed that it could release a game made in a genre suited to guns peripherals, onto a console that featured no gun peripheral at all. What it didnt seem to take into account was that this would change the entire dynamic of the game. Instead of using a gun sight to line up a shot, you have to use the PlayStation 2 Dual Shock 2; the analog stick is used to aim, the circle button to zoom in and out and the shoulder button to fire. The catch is that while zoomed out you cannot see the target too well, and when zoomed in you cannot move to another target that quickly. This would have actually made a nice checks-and-balances system were it used in a standard mission-based first-person shooter, but in the high-pressure pacing of the game, it doesn't always feel appropriate to the objectives.
The action in Silent Scope takes place under the weight of an ever-present time limit. While clearly used as a tool to get patrons to pop quarters into the arcade cabinet, it doesnt help the playing experience on a home console. You have to rush through every stage trying to take out the short, predetermined selection of targets before time runs out. It seems like pointless busy work if you ask me. It would have been better had we just had the option to use a light gun to get the same results. Without one, Silent Scope is reduced to a game of memory. Just by memorizing the location of enemy soldiers, you'll breeze through every stage in no time flat. Silent Scope doesn't help its cause by being so short. If you were to ever get into playing this game, you'd find that it is over almost before it begins.
As an attempt to extend its replay value—and presumably better acquaint players with the controls—Konami threw in training modes. However, they come off as little more than lame updates of the alley shooters of the past. Playing through these diversions had me yearning to play Virtua Cop or Time Crisis, but I would have settled for Hogans Alley or Duck Hunt—as flawed as they were, both were a lot more fun. These modes were proof positive that this game would have been a lot more fun had it featured a light gun.
There is one other "feature" that I felt was worth mentioning, but I do so with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. Bonus lives can be acquired through quick kills and setting time records for a particular stage, but they can also be acquired by living out your voyeuristic fantasies. If you take the time to scope out the area, you can usually spot a few scantily clad women. By getting them in your sights, you actually earn extra lives. They are doing any number of things: some sit by rooftop pools—obviously unaware that terrorists are perched on other rooftops gunning down cops—driving pink convertibles and doing aerobics in their hotel rooms. Their skimpy outfits, exaggerated proportions and eagerness to be ogled are clearly meant to catch the eye of lecherous male gamers. Ill admit it got a rise out of me, but as with everything in this game it is all very short-lived.
Last year's PlayStation 2 launch was an overblown mess. After more than a year of hype and build up, all expectant consumers got were an overpriced console, hardware shortages, buggy hardware and software. So eager were publishers take advantage of the public that they didnt care that they were flooding the market with waves of mediocre software—half of it rushed, the other half rehashes of games that saw better days on older consoles. Silent Scope is such a game, and Konami is such a publisher. Given that there were so many other average PlayStation 2 titles on store shelves at the same time, Konami escaped the scorn it deserved.
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