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Silent Scope Complete
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Silent Scope Complete
Published by: forahobby on 2004-05-19
Page Views: 4843
Rating: 7/10

How intimidating it was to venture into the arcades and see an upright cabinet with a full-sized sniper rifle sprouting out of it. Of course I am talking about Silent Scope, the game you just had to try at least once to see what was going on inside that menacing scope. The scope was what made the coin-op game so unique since it actually had an LCD screen built into it which pulled off the illusion of optical magnification. (I vividly remember walking around the mall with blurred vision after playing SS too long) The liquid crystal sleight of hand, coupled with time-based, campaign-style action involving sniping made Silent Scope a sure fire winner. So successful was the original Silent Scope that Konami released two other coin-op versions which eventually led to a glut of console releases. The ultra successful sniping franchise culminates on the Xbox with Silent Scope Complete, a bundle of sorts for the SS franchise. Three coin-op games, plus one console title, plus one bad-ass sniper rifle equals pure enjoyment for fans of the Silent Scope arcade era.

The four games bundled in Silent Scope Complete all use the same type of timed light gun action and contain relatively the same storyline. You control the gun of an elite professional sniper who plays hero from 1000’s of meters away by picking off baddies involved various terrorist activity such as a presidential assassination, the overrun of a weapons lab, and the kidnapping of a doctor involved in cloning research. The plots mainly serve as filler between sniping time and never get in the way of the action. Since the games advance you at their pace via a countdown timer, there are no opportunities for the storylines to branch; either you complete the levels in the allotted time and get to the next levels (and subsequent cut-scenes), or your game is over with the option to add another quarter, er, push the start button to continue. Gameplay in Silent Scope Complete has no choice but to differ from the coin-op versions due to the lack of a gun peripheral with built-in LCD screen. In the arcade versions, gamers use the main screen to locate targets which are highlighted with a blue reticle. Once the general vicinity of the enemy is located, the rifle is moved to this area with the aid of a red reticle then the scope is used to magnify the region. The main difference between the console and coin-op versions is that the normal and magnified images have to be combined in the console version since a console peripheral with a built-in LCD would probably cost more than the console itself. Konami decided to use a toggle button that turns the scope magnification on and off. In the off position, the red aiming reticle is available and aids gamers in getting to the general vicinity of the baddie. Once in the general vicinity, the scope can be turned on to zoom in for the kill shot.

The Pelican Silent Scope Light Rifle is a different animal. It uses a trick feature that senses when the head moves toward the scope and automatically switches the scope “on” (the gun itself has a dummy scope which you look through, but does not magnify in any way). Gamers can also choose to toggle the scope manually with an action button located on the rifle body. Of course, instead of moving the left thumbstick to move the scope, the gun is moved for the desired effect.

It is important to keep in mind that Silent Scope Complete is mainly comprised of arcade titles which means that most of the gameplay is difficult to complete without continuing. These games were developed to take a certain amount of quarters away from the players, so expect to continue often. Arcade based games are usually more about the score and rank than they are about the glorious ending, and Silent Scope is no different.

Shooting Range - the Shooting Range is a timed event which contains both static and moving targets that must be hit in the allotted time in order to move on to the next round. Targets are ringed, so a more precise hit will bring more points. Body silhouette targets offer up more points for the obvious head and heart areas. Extra points are awarded for additional time left on the ticker. The overall score will determine the player’s rank which ranges from public nuisance to sniper 1st class.
Story Mode - this advances gamers through campaign-style action, but still retains a countdown timer that ends the game when it runs out. Players can continue the Story Mode if they have not used up all of their continues (this number can be adjusted in the options). Unlike the Shooting Range, the Story Mode has targets that shoot back. Gamers are met with a shattered glass effect when they are hit; three hits and it is lights out. Three hits will end the game regardless of the countdown timer’s reading. A player’s health can be increased by one bar if a Life-Up Girl (an innocent hottie that seems out of place in a firefight, but oh well) is spotted in the scope. Like many coin-op titles, the Story Modes of Silent Scope Complete’s titles have various bosses which take specific, multiple hits to defeat. Time Attack - the Time Attack mode plays similarly to the Story Mode with multiple enemies and a level-ending boss. The goal is to complete separate levels in the prescribed time which will provide gamers a rank similar to the Shooting Range. Gamers cannot take on enemy fire and will not be penalized for plucking off an innocent bystander.
Training - Training Mode puts gamers through the rigors of the Silent Scope sniping school, which contains four basic areas: Time Attack, Perfect Shot, Pop-up Targets, and Quick Shot. Time Attack is a race to the fastest time to complete a round. Perfect Shot leaves gamers no option but to score a kill; miss one target and the round is over. Pop Up contains targets that will become hidden if too much time is taken before they are fired upon. Quick Shot relies on fast reflexes since gamers will be judged on how many targets are hit within a specified time.
Duel – this game mode is only available in Silent Scope 2 but is worth mentioning since it’s the only one-on-one action found in the collection. Gamers can choose from city, forest, or bridge levels which have each player taking turns finding and eliminating an opponent. Each opponent has a weakness which is explained before each round; if the gamer hits the prescribed weak area, the round is automatically over. If a shot doesn’t find the weak area, gamers will continue exchanging non lethal shots until a life bar is depleted or until the timer reaches zero.

For those that have played any of the Silent Scope arcade games it will be no surprise that most of the gameplay is trite when played with a standard controller. What makes a light gun title intriguing is almost always the usage of the light gun! This isn’t to say that Silent Scope freaks that choose not to buck up for the Pelican Light Rifle will be disappointed since Complete does bundle together what looks to be the direct ROM’s of the coin-op games. The ability of Konami to superimpose the normal and magnification screen shots together makes playing Silent Scope at home possible, and makes playing SS well a possibility with pretty much any peripheral. The controls transfer over well to the S controller and even contain buttons which allows the gamer to speed up the scope for faster tracking or slow it down for pinpoint accuracy. Even with great scope control with an S pad, any of the Silent Scope titles quickly become uneventful and boring; the allure of the Silent Scopes in the arcade was the innovation of their peripherals, not their dazzling gameplay elements.

Players who are looking for another title in which to use their dusty light gun are in somewhat of a predicament with Silent Scope Complete. Playing Silent Scope with a Mad Catz Blaster yielded some mixed results. The basis of the Silent Scope franchise is precise shooting which a rifle can easily provide due to the stabilization provided by a shoulder stock. Expect to be all over the place with the scope unless you have a really steady hand when using any type of light pistol. The sighting is extremely sensitive in Complete, a feature which will make those with pistols looking for ways to fashion a gun stock out of an old broom and some duct tape. With a little practice it is possible to become quite proficient with a light pistol, but it ain’t easy. Gamers not planning on adding the Pelican heavy barrel to their gun rack will need to take their love for the Silent Scope series and their patience into consideration before purchasing Complete.

The feature piece of the Silent Scope Complete title is the separately sold Pelican Light Rifle. The Pelican rifle is a rugged piece of ABS plastic that tears down like some of the real sniper rifles and also doubles as a pump action shotgun in stripped form. Since Silent Scope’s magnification magic is done on TV screen, the scope of the Pelican rifle has dummy lenses that basically just frame in the magnified region on the screen. The result is a wonderful trompe de l’oeil that may actually improve on the LCD system in the arcade. The Pelican rifle contains a second level of foolery in the form of a sensor that detects when the head makes a move towards the eyepiece of the scope. By the time the eye is placed near the eyepiece, the rifle has sent a signal to the game telling it to switch to magnify mode. The scope sensitivity is a somewhat tricky and takes some real tuning to get right. I actually found using the manual scope button a bit easier. The Pelican Peripheral is a must have for anybody who plans on playing Complete competitively or for those looking for a level of light gun accuracy above anything ever produced for a console.

A downfall that may prove fatal to the Pelican Light Rifle SS Complete package is the fact that, for some reason, the brightness of the screen must be highly elevated for the gun to operate smoothly. Ergo, to get the max performance out of the rifle, the game must be played in a state that makes every board as if it is taking place during a snow squall. The extreme accuracy of the system and the believability of the peripheral actually zooming in the target overrode the bright screen issue for me. I am sure there are others which will find the playing level brightness unacceptable. Other light gun peripherals seem to get by with less elevated brightness settings; those unsatisfied with visuals that look like the Hoth scenes from Empire will want to opt for the Mad Catz Blaster or similar.

Gamers will forget about HDTV, smooth as silk animations, and dazzling textures for awhile when playing pretty much any title in the Silent Scope Complete bundle. There is a slight progression of the graphics that appears in the later games, but it is very slight and probably will be unnoticeable to those with inferior TV’s. The graphics aren’t so much bad as they are out of place on the Xbox; they are working off of a graphics engine that is quite a few years old. It also doesn’t help that the code wasn’t built from the ground up for the Xbox; we all know how ports usually end up looking. Every visual in Silent Scope Complete appears covered in a thin layer of Vasoline. Even the magnified scope image which should look razor sharp is a blurry jumbling that makes the task of pinpoint shooting that much tougher. The lack of intricate texture along with a fair amount of flatness can sometimes hinder the ability to quickly track enemies when the scope has already been activated. When enemies are finally located, gamers will be met with blocky character models that look like more like those from arcades of years past. The graphics look no worse than those experienced in the coin-op versions, but that may not be good enough for those expecting something above a Dreamcast quality experience.

Gamers will be thoroughly familiar with the grating quality of the voice acting after one or two rounds of play. Every other second, a Don Pardo-like voice is barking out commands such as “Hurry up!” or “Calm Down!”. The Cheetohs-esqe performance will remind many gamers of the voice acting from Smash TV….yeah, the “I’d buy that for a dollar” guy.

Silent Scope Complete comes down to how value conscious a gamer is and what kind of connection he/she has to the original coin-op games. To properly play Silent Scope Complete, gamers will have to shell out $90 to get the game and the Pelican Light Rifle. This could be perceived as a bargain to some, seeing as how they will be getting a four game bundle and a light rifle which can be used with other light gun titles. Others may point out the fact that there aren’t many hours of gameplay available even with four included titles since most of them only have a handful of levels and modes. Those not fanatical about the Silent Scope franchise will probably want to pass on the whole experience unless they are in the market for a cool light gun or have $90 burning a hole in their pocket. Only the most dedicated Silent Scope players should consider playing without some type of light gun, but most will prefer to play with the Pelican SS Rifle anyway.



Related Link: See the Pelican Light Rifle
  

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published by forahobby on 2004-05-19
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