RELEASE DATE: 10/23/00 (US), 11/16/00 (JP), 11/24/00 (EU)
SCOPE IT UP
Let’s be honest: most of us played Silent Scope at the arcade because of the big honkin’ sniper rifle mounted on the cabinet. Just look at it.
Wielding that thing was worth the four or five-quarter price of admission. Inside the rifle is a tiny screen that zooms in on the action and lets you shoot enemy terrorists with surprising accuracy. The gameplay is standard rail-shooter with few surprises, but the sniper rifle turns an otherwise rote light-gun game into an enveloping experience.
Hard to miss against that beautiful baby blue sky.
So what happens when a Konami executive gently removes the sniper rifle from your hands and replaces it with a PS2 controller? “No, trust us, this is just as good of an experience. The analog control is pitch-perfect.” And yeah, the analog control is pretty good. Plus, everything from the original game is here: branching paths, the shooting ranges, and, uh, those half-naked women that fill up your health and make us all feel like perverts. Yes, Mr. Konami exec, Silent Scope for PS2 contains everything the arcade had. But without the sniper rifle – or any sort of light-gun support – the game plays like a neutered husk of its former self.
Well, what’s she doing there?
NO SNIPER, NO CRY
Allow me to play Konami’s advocate for a moment. Yes, the game isn’t fully itself without that sniper rifle, but imagine how much a peripheral like that would cost. Few would pay $80-$100+ for a plastic sniper rifle just to blast through Silent Scope in 20 minutes. I’m not one to stand up for Konami, but I don’t blame them for counting their losses and just releasing the game, as is. That said, the game should have shipped with light gun support.
Cobra tryouts were last week, bro.
Even without Silent Scope’s reason for being, I appreciated that the game never took itself too seriously. Remember the amusing narrator who seems flustered by the in-game events (the President’s been kidnapped, don’t cha know)? He’s not your boss, yet he chastises you when your time starts running out or you fire random shots. Then there’s the first boss fight on top of a high-rise building. Once killed, the boss staggers backwards for a hilarious eternity until he finally falls off the roof. Then there are the aforementioned scantily-clad ladies who refill your health while you linger on them. Pure class, Konami.
Had I paid fifty bucks for Silent Scope back in 2000, I might still be pissed all these years later. But I didn’t. The game cost me three dollars in Bookmans trade credit in 2018, which means it cost me nothing. Which means… I kind of enjoyed it? As a light gun game, Silent Scope doesn’t have the personality to compare to all-time classics like House of the Dead. And if you’re looking for pitch-perfect arcade replication, you’re never gonna get it unless you go ham and build yourself a sniper rifle (and if you do, please leave me a picture in the comments). As a piece of goofy late 90s nostalgia on a quiet afternoon, Silent Scope is worth the handful of minutes it takes to complete.
2000, $50: D
20XX, $0: B-
*cheers to Games Revisited and Arcade Museum for the “man grappling sniper rifle” pic and the arcade flyer, respectively.