Reviewed: March 3, 2004
Reviewed by: Mark Smith
Released: February 10, 2004
Silent Scope has been around for nearly a decade and while the game made famous in arcades has tried to make the trip to consoles several times in the past there has always been one lacking feature, light gun support. After all, that ultra-cool sniper rifle you got to use in the arcade is what made the game special.
Silent Scope Complete is an anthology of sorts, a compilation of all three Silent Scope games as well as the original adventure, Silent Scope EX complete with light gun support, and thanks to Pelican, an actual sniper rifle to help bring the arcade experience into your living room, at least in theory.
Truth be told, the Silent Scope games are dated material and with no effort to bring these games into the next generation this title ends up becoming just another retro compilation of a far more limited scope (pun intended) than other recently released arcade anthologies from Midway and Intellivision.
Regardless of which of the four games you are playing the core premise is the same. You aim using a zoomed in scope view and shoot bad buys and try not to shoot the good guys. Steal a peek at a sexy girl in the window to get some health back and repeat until you win. The only variation is the environments and possibly some minor tweaks to the standard game model that might have you shooting from a vehicle or putting you on a strict timer.
My single most significant complaint with Silent Scope Complete is that we have a light gun game that doesnít work with any light guns. Now before you all start writing to tell me how your game works just fine, Iíll just tell you now that you are in the minority. I tried playing this game with the Pelican Silent Scope Light Rifle and the Mad Catz Blaster and neither game worked satisfactorily, the Mad Catz gun didnít work at all. Iíve confirmed my findings and found that the majority of people who are playing this game have had little or no luck with any of the light guns, at least with acceptable results.
In the end I resolved myself to playing this game with the gamepad, and while Silent Scope Complete works surprisingly well with a standard controller, I felt cheated by not being able to use a gun. Itís like playing a racing game without a wheel or a flight sim without a joystick. Itís just not right. Even so, the gamepad offered adequate control in all four games. Silent Scope 3 and EX both have an aiming assist that make things significantly easier.
So while gamers can experience all the goodness of the entire Silent Scope legacy, youíll have to settle for dated graphics and control that just doesnít live up to the arcade counterpart. This is the first time that light gun support for Silent Scope has been offered outside the arcade and the programmers totally blew it with some of the worst light gun code in gaming history.
The Silent Scope series covers several years of technology so there is a slight improvement with the visuals as the gameís number gets higher, but these are only slight improvements. Even the EX edition, arguably the best of the bunch, is only a small leap over the very first game and pales to current Xbox titles.
There are no fancy 3D graphics, high-poly models, or gratuitous special effects. Everything is clean and simple and much like an old-school shooting gallery. While it canít compare to the 3D battles in games like Time Crisis or in the case of the Xbox, House of the Dead III, there is a certain nostalgia to the visuals that bring back pleasant memories of simpler times where gameplay ruled over graphics.
If perfectly recreating the music, sound, and dialogue from the original games wins awards then give this game a gold star. All of the cheesy 80ís music, terrible script, and even worse voice acting are all back for a retro repeat performance. Normally, a game with this sound package would rate pretty low on the scale but Konami has chosen to keep it ďrealĒ.
I was amused that Dolby Digital support is included even though the very nature of the game doesnít really offer an opportunity for 3D sound positioning. Itís about as useful as playing Pac-man in DTS.
Assuming you are a connoisseur of the Silent Scope phenomenon and donít mind playing the series with a gamepad you are in for a real treat. All four titles offer a substantial gaming experience, the very same experience that was draining tokens from your pocket just a few years ago.
Each of the games offers multiple modes, training, branching stories, and plenty of replay potential. While there are no multiplayer modes there is no reason you canít switch off for some friendly sniping competition. I wouldnít presume to put a cap on the enjoyment you can have with this all-inclusive title.
Silent Scope Complete offers gamers what is most likely their last chance to play these games. There might be newer next-gen sniper games in the future but the Silent Scope games are really showing their age and in another year wonít even be acceptable, even as retro.
So, if you are a fan of the series, enjoy shooting games in general, or just looking for something to satisfy that craving that House of the Dead III left you with last year then check it out. Itís $40 and you get four games, four good games.
Itís a shame the light gun support just plain sucks and certainly steals away much of the potential charm of this title, but at least the gamepad control is more than adequate to play and enjoy an otherwise simple yet challenging shooter.