November 4, 2000
There have been some great light gun games in the past. From Lethal Enforcers, Virtua Cop, House Of The Dead, Point Blank and Time Crisis each game has it's place in history. It is strange then that no one has made a shooting game such as Silent Scope with a sniper rifle as the main weapon. Fortunately Konami noticed this gap in the arcades and what the developed was one of the most original, and frequented, coin-ops in years. The arcade game is helped with a full size rifle with a scope that included a small LCD screen to show the area which you are targeting zoomed in to be precise with your shots. You seen, unlike games like Time Crisis and House Of The Dead each shot must be pinpoint accurate to avoid hitting hostages.
It's great to see Silent Scope heading to both the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 this year. The premise behind the game is simple. You are a sniper who must pick off terrorists who have taken control of buildings and even a football stadium in an America city. The game is comprised of six different missions from the arcade game. At times you will be picking people off a football field while the next you will be tearing between city buildings looking for terrorists on the rooftops. It's not as easy as it sounds with the enemies often holding hostages and quickly moving around the screen. You will lose you life if the enemy hits you, but aiming your scope at a beautiful woman can give you life back. (see bottom picture)
During the game you are positioned in a helicopter which is automatically guided by the computer. Your only concern is spotting the terrorists and picking them off with your sniper rifle. While this game would have been perfectly suited to a light gun the developers have opted instead to only use the controllers on each system. Fortunately this works a lot better then it sounds. Moving your aim around the screen is via the analogue control and when an enemy is in your sights pressing a button will bring up the small scope window so you can aim your rifle precisely. Releasing the scope button will give you a clear view of the surroundings.
Graphically the development team on both versions have done a splendid job. (This is the PS2 version shown here but the Dreamcast is virtually identical.) The graphics are clean and trying to target the Harrier Jet while zooming between buildings can fail to impress. It would have been nice to see more non-terrorist people walking around to make the job a little harder but I guess most people would automatically run the other way when they see a guy running around with an Uzi. The training mode (pictured right) may not have the most impressive visuals but it is effective and soon gets you used to aiming with the controllers on each machine.
As previously mentioned Silent Scope is hitting both the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 this year. Fortunately both games look almost arcade perfect and even without a light gun the game plays remarkably well. Konami are hitting both consoles with some great titles this year and this looks set to be one of the best. If your a fan of the arcade game then you must check out this conversion. If you just up for some blasting action then you probably can't go too far wrong with this title either.