Over the building, behind the door, in his left eye.
Snipers are the very models of poise and grace. Just look at all those cool, stoic snipers in the movies, from Chow Yun-Fat to that one guy in Saving Private Ryan. And now with Konami's arcade game we get another sniper added to this list - a Backstreet Boy.
You're probably thinking, "What the"?" But seriously, check out how the game's sniper looks.
Now look at this Backstreet Boy.
Mere coincidence? I think not. Freakier still is that I could recognize this guy enough to catch this grievous snafu. It's downright scary how pop boy bands have infiltrated everything. Next year, you'll be playing The N'Sync Adventure Through Cosmic Space. Looking forward to the future?
Indeed, Silent Scope is the boy band of video games. It's got a glossy image and flash, but no depth. It started out as an arcade game, and almost everything has been kept intact for the Playstation 2 translation. You play a sniper assigned to take out terrorists. The president (whoever the hell he may be) and his family have been kidnapped, and you must save him.
It's too bad that the key arcade element didn't make the translation. The Silent Scope in the arcades used a truly ingenious control system. A rifle mounted with a small monitor representing the scope was a fresh sight for gaming eyes and drew crowds in like bears to honey. The large game screen contains the view from a distance, and the scope has the magnified image. Part gimmick, part clever, but it made an average game pretty nifty. Without the gun, it's just not the same.
Unless you and a million other gamers have 200 dollars to spill Samba de Amigo style, I don't think any hardware manufacturer in the world will find it feasible to create a home version of that rifle. But Silent Scope is still is a gun game. A gun game! And with a gun game, you would logically use a gun.
Instead, you are forced to use a controller. Surprisingly, the control isn't half as bad as expected. The scope image is part of the main screen now. This scope can be turned off in order to make faster movements with your aiming sights. With the scope back on, you can use the analog to vary the speed at which you move and the digital pad for precision movements. The control scheme works, but it changes the whole nature of the game. Now it plays like the sniper mode of a first-person shooter.
But this is still a gun game, and I want the feel of pointing and firing. They could have easily kept the onscreen visuals for the scope and set aim control with a Guncon-equivalent controller. The technology is all there. Like our Backstreet friend, I want it thaaaaat way! With a gun! Why can't I have it that way?
The various scenarios fit with all perceived notions of what a real sniper must go through. Your Backstreet Boy starts out on a high rise building. The terrorists mill about down on the street and on top of other buildings. Eventually, you move onwards to peering into hotel windows or taking out the enemy on the road. And to finish it off, you end with some night-vision shooting in the forest or by parachute. It's just another day in the life of a pop star gone hitman.
Bosses in the game are well-crafted fighters. Early on, you will board a helicopter and choose to take out one of three bosses. One of them even involves the assailant running down a football field with the president's daughter in tow. Football players are dashing after the kidnapper, other snipers are aiming their guns at you, and admist all the chaos, you must somehow shoot the bad guy (just think about how much more chaos there'd be if it was a Cal/Stanford game!)
The Playstation 2 version looks exactly like the arcade version. The night vision level looks especially good with laser sights and flash bombs. Supplementing the graphics are the sound effects and music, which are your typical arcade shooter fare. They fit with the game.
A real life sniper has a tough job, but Konami's made it easy on gamers. Silent Scope is just too easy and the experience is over too quick. What was briefly fun will have to be played over and over, dwindling into boredom. And I'll whine once again about the lack of a gun. After you beat the main game, what then? What about a mission where you come back to assassinate Saddam? I guess you'll just be forced to just push for that higher score.
Silent Scope really deserved some better treatment for its home console incarnation. Gun usage would have made it a closer match to the arcades, and more levels would have made me feel much better about it on Day 2. Even tweaks to the already well constructed levels would have been great. It's too bad Silent Scope just doesn't have that long lasting flavor to keep you satisfied. Ain't nothin' but a heartache, ain't nothing but a mistake...