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Silent Scope 3 (PlayStation 2) artwork

Silent Scope 3 (PlayStation 2) review


"Transitions can be a wonderful thing in the gaming world. Making the jump from Arcade to home systems can mean not having to drive all the way to the mall in the snow because you need a Mortal Kombat fix; it means no longer pumping quarter after quarter into Tekken because some punk kid manages to barely scrape a win past you every time. Domesticating decent arcades can pay off, but sometimes transitions can completely ruin a good thing. "



Transitions can be a wonderful thing in the gaming world. Making the jump from Arcade to home systems can mean not having to drive all the way to the mall in the snow because you need a Mortal Kombat fix; it means no longer pumping quarter after quarter into Tekken because some punk kid manages to barely scrape a win past you every time. Domesticating decent arcades can pay off, but sometimes transitions can completely ruin a good thing.

The Silent Scope series is an excellent game…in the arcade. The fun factor alone is crowned with one of the most original controllers I’ve ever seen. Light guns have been in use since the legendary NES, but never has a game shoved you into a role so deeply as Silent Scope. Instead of a simple one handed pistol, you are forced to wrap your hands around a massive rifle, uncomfortably crouch over the system and toggle your eyes between the big screen and the rifles scope--an ingenious idea that provides a very realistic close up in a very tiny screen. Taking on the persona of a sniper so intricately is what made Silent Scope worth the dollar it took to play it, though sadly this game loses all luster when your hand is clutching a tiny analog controller instead of a huge light rifle. All those little things one could have ignored behind the scope in the arcade become more obvious then a needle in your eye when you’re at home. That’s a bad thing.

Silent Scope 3 draws on less of a story then Duck Hunt by placing you into the role of a prodigy sharp shooter with little knowledge beyond kill bad people, save good and the assignments make no attempt to mesh together in a broader “goal seeking” spectrum. Which is fine, it leaves you open to play the exciting levels and leave the other ones to rot. But part of the fun lies in worming your way through interconnected levels, guns blazing towards the final boss and sadly Silent Scope 3 provides very little of that.

And if I’m brutally comparing Silent Scope 3 to other games in its genre, might I say that the demons in Doom have more personality then those ridiculously insidious “end bosses” of each level. Why? Because the demons in Doom never once idiotically laughed like a member of Team Rocket, never tried to exude their malevolence while looking like Liberache's flamboyant cousin or thought it might be a good idea to monologue while staring at the barrel of your gun. I will admit that some bosses portray a cool idea, one actually placing himself on a giant Roulette wheel amidst terrorists and hostages then spinning himself dizzy to mix in and make for an even harder target. But this idea, like most, takes away from the precision element of being a sniper this game tries so hard to recreate. Not to mention the fact they all have bad voice-overs and a lackluster look to them, painfully reminiscent of those in Virtua Cop.

But if you can dismiss irritating boss battles and ignore a punctured story line, you may find Silent Scope 3 to your liking. The boxy cardboard graphics aren’t nearly what I would expect from a late PS2 game, but that is easily dismissed when you watch bodies actually react to where they’ve been shot. Catching a running terrorist in the leg with a hollow point is going to cripple him and drop him flat. Tagging a guy in the arm will cause him to cringe and clutch the wounded limb. Headshots are simple and self-explanatory but it’s always neat to watch someone real back from the jolt provided by your high-powered rifle. The game also boasts huge environments of buildings and steel girders for enemies to hide in, all of which are incredibly detailed once you see them through that tiny tube.

And where would a sniper game be without decent controls? Sometimes they can be too touchy, or sometimes you tug endlessly and only move your sight an inch. Well, if you have that problem with Silent Scope 3 it’s your own damn fault. The dual vision is still present only in a different way. A regular cursor appears on the screen, every time an enemy pops up the game tells you so, allowing you to move the tiny circle over to that area. Once there, you can zoom in to your scope crosshairs and take your shot. But what really makes the controls above par is the fact you can change the speed of both your sights in the options mode. You can make the scope extremely tight if your jittery, all while making the regular cursor quick--allowing you to whip back and forth across the screen to lock-on, then ease your way into the best shot with little effort and even less time wasted.

There is also a training mode for you to peruse and a ton of mini-games all of which take place on a target range. Not to mention a load of hidden items cleverly placed in each level.

But all this is done with a controller. The most exciting, most enjoyable aspect of the game--the rifle--is gone, leaving what may have been a great game completely suffering, enough to drag it down to mediocre status. The game is inexpensive and it is a fairly decent change to many things out there, but sadly it’s only a step above Virtua Cop without the “classic” name badge. It’s not really worth running out and searching for it, it’s probably not worth hanging onto if you need something to trade for the new GTA but sometimes it can provide you with an entertaining change of pace. Sometimes.

Rating: 4/10

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Featured community review by True (October 12, 2005)

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