Gabe and Lian are now federally wanted fugitives and are marked as terrorists after trying to foil The Agencies’ plans to acquire the Syphon Filter biological weapon. The game picks up right after the end of Syphon Filter 2. Both agents are testifying to Vince Hadden, the main villain of the previous game, and the entire game is made up of flashback missions filling in gaps for the entire series.
While this is a fine idea, Syphon Filter 3 suffers from a huge flaw and that’s level design, as the clever level design from the last 2 games is out the window here and seriously brings this entire game down. While I liked knowing what happened before the first game during the beginning cut scene with Rhomer and Mara in the jungle, and I like seeing how Gabe, Lian, Mujari, and Teresa all met, the levels don’t do it justice. The issue here is both lazy level design and over-ambitious design mixed with hardware limitations. This game came out too late and should have been made for the PS2. Levels in this game are large and open and suffer from the black distance and low draw distance from the PS1’s hardware limitations. The level design is incredibly confusing and hard to navigate. One mission as Lian in the Ancient Ruins is just a labyrinth of hallways and instead of the smooth push through each level there’s tons of backtracking and running around blindly.
Another issue the game suffers from is too much action. There aren’t really any required stealth missions anymore and too many enemies are thrown at you at once as well as a mix of low ammo resources. I frequently ran out of ammo and had to exploit the game by resorting to headshots when I didn’t have to. The increased enemy count just doesn’t work with the game’s auto lock-on system. Many times I died because I couldn’t switch between enemies fast enough. Another mission as Gabe has him running around a boat to plant explosives which is incredibly boring and one level is so short it only has four enemies in it. I feel like 18 months wasn’t enough time to develop this game and create the fun clever levels and enemy placements that made the series so popular.
There are no new gameplay elements added this time around, just new weapons. The MARS, Spyder, AUG3000 (that can see through walls), and that’s about it. Even these weapons are hard to come by and you’re left with the same weapons used in the previous two games. I also didn’t care for the multiplayer this time around and the added mini-games which are just trial runs aren’t that fun either. The only really enjoyable part of the game was the final mission as it felt like a classic Syphon Filter level and the satisfying conclusion to the story for this chapter.
There are no visual improvements outside of better-pre-rendered cut-scenes and virtually no new gameplay additions or enhancements. Overall, I feel Syphon Filter 3 was a product of rushed development and trying to get it out the door for the PS1 players who hadn’t adopted the PS2 just yet. Is it worth playing? Yes, if you’re a hardcore fan, but just take the game with a grain of salt and be prepared for aimless wandering around levels and many frustrated restarts due to poor enemy placement and lack of ammo.
Syphon Filter is one of my favorite gaming franchises of all time and the top five PS1 series. It was the very first serious “adult” game I ever played and got into. Just the concept of how shooters work was totally alien to me before Syphon Filter. It was a game that I also spent a lot of time with my late father and we aced each game learning every enemy spawn point, hidden cache, and level design. We rented this game frequently and spent dozens of hours mastering each game. We probably spent more time on Syphon Filter 2 than any other game in the series and for good measure as it’s the best game out of the three.
Syphon Filter 2 isn’t just an expansion, despite playing and looking exactly like the first game, as there is a greater and more expanded story, more weapons, new levels, and it’s also a couple of hours longer than the first game coming on two discs. You play as both Gabriel Logan and Lian Xing as you are fugitives of the US government and are still fighting The Agency so get back the data discs that store the Syphon Filter data. The game picks up right where the last game left off when Gabe crash landing in the Colorado Rockies. In the first level, the game introduces new weapons and gameplay elements such as being able to leap gaps. New weapons include the unsilenced 9mm, H-11 sub-machine gun, silenced HK-5, UA12 auto-shotgun, hand taser, flashlight, teargas launcher, and more. These weapons are just as memorable and awesome as the first games. There are so many new weapons here it nearly doubles the arsenal.
On top of this, there are other gameplay elements added such as enemies being able to get a headshot on you. The HUD will flash red and a headshot text will appear on the screen. You have mere seconds to get out of the way or you instantly die. New enemies are introduced such as full armored ones that only die with explosions in one level towards the end of the game. There is also a better balance of action and stealth with Lian’s levels in the air force base are perfect examples. Agents can be killed but military MPs can not. You must sneak around and tase the MPs with your hand taser, but the agents are fair game with silenced weapons. Another level has you sneaking around vents and night vision automatically kicks in when the area is too dark which is awesome.
The level design is on point just like the first game. Each level is memorable and fun and takes you around the globe. From the Colorado Rockies that the first disc mostly takes place in the Moscow nightclubs, Agency bio-labs, and New York sewers. The levels are incredibly designed with the perfect balance of stealth and action. The train ride is a fun linear shooting gallery while the bridge level requires quick thinking and stealth and mastering enemy movement patterns. You can tell Eidetic mastered this genre with the second game and even the voice acting greatly improved. This is a AAA PS1 game at its finest and you will be hard-pressed to find better on the system.
The visuals didn’t really improve any, but they already pushed the system to its limits and still have plenty of detail and the game looks great. There is some issue with slowdown here and there, but what PS1 game didn’t have that? There’s also a shoehorned multiplayer mode that I didn’t even care for. 1v1 on maps from both Syphon Filter games just isn’t very fun. If the game allowed 2v2 via a multi-tap that would have been awesome, but what we have here is something just not very fun, and not to mention half the maps need to be unlocked by finding secrets in the game.
Overall, Syphon Filter 2 shows what the PS1 era of games would do and helped push the third-person shooter genre into what it is today. While it came out very late at the end of the systems life cycle — a mere week before the launch of the PS2, it still sold incredibly well and showed that the PS1 had staying power even after its successor launched. The story, voice acting, visuals, and overall feeling of the game are fantastic and there’s nothing else like it on the system. It’s a must-own for any PlayStation fan.
Third-person shooters weren’t very frequent on PS1 and when they did come by they were usually pretty bad. Syphon Filter proved that you can make this genre work on the PS1. The game is still really fun today and was way ahead of its time. A well-done camera, great lock-on system, a decent story with memorable characters, a kick-ass arsenal of guns, and genius-level design. Who would have thought a third-person shooter would be this good in the late 90s? Eidetic and 989 Studios did.
You play super spy Gabriel Logan who is a CIA agent trying to stop a dangerous terrorist named Eric Rhoemer. A Syphon Filter virus that targets specific DNA demographics has been created by a man named Phagan and it is up to you to shut down their operations and stop them from spreading the virus. You start out in New York with the streets being shot up by Rhoemer’s thugs. There are objectives in each level to complete, but it is way beyond throwing this switch, pulling this lever, or shooting this amount of bad guys. You usually have to kill a certain amount of scientists, administer vaccines to victims, disarm bombs, and turn off power grids. The objectives vary, but what is fun is figuring out how to get there.
Syphon Filter has some of the most memorable levels I can remember. This is a game you play several times and remember where every enemy is, every crate location, and even how to kill each enemy. The levels vary with stealth sections, climbing, and timed areas. The game features a smart lock-on system because there is no camera control. It is surprisingly smart and follows you wherever you go. Enemies wearing flak jackets can only be taken out with headshots or very powerful weapons. This requires aiming in first-person mode and taking them out. This flak jacket element is a staple of the series and will go on to be in every game. It is actually an element all on its own and not just body armor for you or the enemy. You can die very easily and if you don’t stop and aim for headshots you will waste ammo and/or die very quickly.
There are a couple of boss fights thrown in such as a helicopter midway and Rhoemer himself at the end. I found all gameplay elements to be evenly tossed up so you are never bored. The stealth elements need a bit of work and are probably the worst thing about the game, but it is very minor. Crouching and sneaking around works fine, but enemies tend to see you at unknown distances. Maybe a line of sight cone on the radar would help this. You also have to get in headshots otherwise they won’t die right away and alert other guards.
Weapon selection is also a bit flimsy because you have to hold down select and use L2 and R2 (strafe buttons) to select the weapon. I would have preferred a radial menu instead. Some levels can be a bit hard to navigate and are too dark to see. Thankfully you get a flashlight you can equip because some levels are nearly pitch black. I found myself lost a few times because even though the level design is fantastic, some levels can look the same with confusing hallways and misplaced crates and boxes.
I actually learned about weapons as a kid from this game. Real-world weapons are in here and some that I have never seen in any other game before. The weapons are almost a character all on their own because they feel so good to shoot in the game. The K3G4 will cut through flak jackets easily and is probably the only weapon that will do this. The G18 is a super-fast sub-machine pistol, while the silenced 9mm is a staple of the series. The shotgun, combat shotgun, PK-102, BIZ-2, Nightvision Rifle, .45, HK5, and a few more are all excellent weapons. It was also the distinct sounds the developers used that make these guns so memorable. The game has a great sniper scope that was unseen in games back then. There are grenades and gas grenades which are great for taking out a group of enemies stealthily. There are a lot of great weapons in the game and they are very memorable, unlike most shooters.
While the game itself is amazing the graphics were pretty good at the time. Looking pretty realistic art-wise, the game had some good lighting effects and a lot of detail everywhere. I also have many fond memories of this game as a kid. I actually accidentally rented Silent Hill because I forgot the name of this game. I got all the way to the Pharcom Warehouse levels and had to turn the game in. I rented this game many times over and played it to death as a kid. I purchased it a few times here and there and every time I play this it brings back fond memories. Syphon Filter is one of the greatest games ever made and every gamer should play this masterpiece.
There are hundreds of thousands of games out there, but only a few hundred are considered masterpieces or classics. These are my personal top ten. I know it’s to everyone’s taste, but you can’t deny that these games are great. I have played hundreds in my 20 years of gaming, I have played through three generations of consoles, so at least I can speak on experience. I will try to be non-biased and even address some flaws in the games I pick because I have no problem with that. Flaws are flaws, and not a single game is perfect. There are more that are my favorite, but I would have to make a top 50 list.
This was one of the first games I had ever played at 2 years old. It helped introduce me to the gaming world and I just fell in love with the fast speed and intense gameplay. StH2 had some of the best level designs out of any game in the series and one of the best soundtracks to date. I remember never being able to actually beat the game because it was too long and too hard. I could never get past the factory level with all the grey orbs floating around Robotnik. I had to beat it many years later using an emulator and quick saves, but I still enjoyed it every time I played the game. I think I actually ruined my cartridge from taking it in and out of the Genesis so many times.
In fact, I even remember my first Genesis for Christmas of 1992. The copy of StH2 it came with kept freezing up in the system, so my mom took it back to Circuit City to exchange it. I remember throwing a tantrum because no matter how many times I blew the cartridge it kept freezing after pressing Start. The series has fallen off the deep end in the past ten years, but nothing can ruin the memories of this classic gem.
9. Gran Turismo
This game changed everything for me when it came to cars. My very first racing simulator actually made me think about every turn and what car I had to choose. I always played arcade racers before because consoles didn’t really have the power yet for realistic physics and graphics. I actually learned some things from this game like how to recognize cars on the street, and basic ways on how cars operate. I was sitting in front of my TV at 8 years old tuning my car and adjusting things like camber angle, toe angle, stabilizers, sway bars and gear ratios like a champ. I then followed the series all the way to Gran Turismo 5 today and have witnessed one of the greatest evolutions in gaming history.
I remember the skepticism from PC gamers because of the greatness and expectations from System Shock 2. I didn’t have a PC capable of playing any major games throughout my early gaming years. My computer didn’t even run Flash very well, so I solely relied on consoles. BioShock’s narrative and atmosphere made a huge impact on me and the gaming industry as a whole. The first time seeing a Big Daddy and Little Sister was just shocking. You felt trapped in this underwater utopia, but you were also memorized by how it could have been accomplished in such an early time period. The game just worked so well and felt different from the standard military shooters at the time. BioShock 2 was too similar to the first game and just didn’t make the same impact.
The second game was so much better than the first because it created a whole new world and a much more likable character Ezio is one of gaming’s most familiar faces and the game itself was revolutionary for its time. A huge open world in a historically accurate Rome, Italy was just unheard of. There was so much attention to detail that you had to sit back and just take it all in. The characters were likable, and the story was memorable with a deep and tangled political plot. The game was also violent with a fighting system never before seen in an action/adventure game. This game was almost perfect in so many ways that the rest of the games have yet to capture.
6. Syphon Filter
Syphon Filter was criticized a lot for ripping off Metal Gear Solid plot-wise. The game had unique characters, a memorable plot, and some of the best-level designs ever seen for its time. The stealth was perfectly executed and had some memorable moments. I have played this game numerous times and was actually my first-ever third-person shooter. I remember how confusing the game was because I didn’t understand how shooters worked. I was so used to platformers, adventure games, and puzzle games. After playing this game I felt like I was part of the grown-up crowd. The other two games on the PS1 were just as good but not as memorable as the first game. This has grown to be one of my favorite games of all time just due to the wonderful memories I have had.
I used to beat the game once a week using the one-shot-kill code then again without it. I memorized every enemy, and how to get every kill without being seen in stealth missions. I even went as far as replaying certain dialog scenes because they were just that cool. Syphon Filter is a mostly underappreciated game because of the lack of releases the series has seen. The last game came out three years ago on the PSP, but thankfully Syphon Filter 4 was announced for PS3.
5. God of War
God of War changed my way of thinking about action/adventure games. I remember driving to K-Mart to buy my copy after reading reviews and hearing the game blow up on forums. I didn’t really expect much other than Greek mythology-themed Devil May Cry. I was dead wrong. The game had one of the most thrilling and epic combat systems ever created. I never really even knew what quick time events were until God of War made them cool and did them right. It added a whole new layer of depth and connection to the combat that has never really been done before. The huge boss fights, gorgeous (at the time) visuals, and unabashed nudity and sexuality that few games dare tread. God of War still impresses to this day and with each iteration in the now 5 game series. Kratos is also one of the most memorable and recognizable characters to date. Make sure to pick up God of War Collection and God of War Origins Collection if you missed out on those four awesome games while waiting for God of War: Ascension.
Gears of War changed my mind on shooters the way God of War did for action games. The gameplay was just so different from your standard shooter. It was heavy-hitting, atmospheric, and featured some of the most memorable characters and stories to date. For a futuristic military shooter that’s a huge achievement. The weapons were memorable, it was perfectly balanced, and everything had a dark crunchy hit to it. The game was nearly perfect, and the graphics were out of this world at the time. I remember this being the first next-generation game I ever played when I got my first Xbox 360 for Christmas of 2006. Each of the three games in the series is amazing, but nothing compares to when I first played the first game. It wowed me like no other, and Gears of War is one of the few games I have played multiple times.
Sure this series along with Rock Band single-handedly killed the band instrument rhythm genre, but nothing compares to the first Guitar Hero. This game is the reason why I currently own and play the guitar today. Pulling off complicated riffs, solos, and chords with the then high-tech guitar controller was like magic. I spent dozen upon dozens of hours replaying songs and getting high scores. Sure it cost a lot, but it was well worth it to me. While the songs weren’t originals they were masterfully re-created and the guitar controller responded perfectly. The games later in the series lost sight of the value of mastering songs and just start pumping them out uncontrollably after GH3. This game redefined the rhythm genre and took the entire world by storm. Most people nowadays never played the first game, and they were missing out on a lot.
This was the first game I spent over 100 hours on. The world was so rich and fantastic that I felt like I was playing in one of my favorite fantasy novels. The lore, characters, quests, and loot were just so addictive and engrossing I couldn’t put it down. I remember one play session going on for 12 hours when no other game has kept me in front of the TV for that long. The expansion pack was even more amazing, and the graphics blew me away. Of course, there were a lot of technical problems, and the PC version was better, but I sure had a ton of fun with this game. Skyrimis just as good, but it didn’t wow me like Oblivion did because this was my first Elder Scrolls game. To be honest I picked this up for $60 expecting not to like it much and I was dead wrong. Anyone who has just played Skyrim needs to go back and play this. It revolutionized the action RPG genre in my eyes and a lot of games have tried to copy it to this day.
Yes, I am talking about the 1992 Sega Genesis/Arcade classic. This is my favorite video game series of all time and this is because it was the first video game I ever played. I remember my cousin babysitting me and seeing him control these characters on-screen at 2 years old. I remember seeing him pull off Scorpion’s mask and burn a character. It was something I saw before, and soon enough I was mastering the controls and beating him at 2 years old. I never knew how to pull off a fatality until years later when the internet became more mainstream, but I loved beating this game constantly. To date, I own almost every game in the series on several different platforms and have pre-ordered every recent game since 2004’s Deception. I don’t think I have played a game more than Mortal Kombat, but I still enjoy Japanese fighters. I find Mortal Kombat more accessible with more interesting characters and a story because they aren’t cliché and generic like most Japanese fighters tend to feel. There’s a whole giant story behind each and every character and they are all unique.