Syphon Filter

Video Description

A powerful biological weapon, known as the Syphon Filter virus, has been unleashed, and it's up to Gabe Logan and his partner Lian Xing to eliminate the people responsible and stop the virus from spreading.


This was the first Syphon Filter game to be released. I have never played any of the original PS1 games. But, I was a big fan of the PSP games, primarily Logan’s Shadow. Since there were some issues with emulation of the PSP titles, I thought it would be best to start with the original.

I was initially going to play this last year, but since I love having widescreen enabled, there was no widescreen cheat code for the North American release of the game. The widescreen hack messed a few things up that I did not like. Well, thanks to the PSOne Widescreen Patches forum, primary TheCandidate and El_Patas, the PAL code was ported to NTSC and I was able to use it to play. And it literally was ported a few weeks before I started streaming the game.

This game was played using the PlayStation emulator, DuckStation. The resolution has been increased and PGXP is on, along with the widescreen cheat code.

My Rating:

Story

Deep in the jungle of Costa Rica, an American agent falls dead while a nearby lab explodes. Gabe Logan and Lian Xing find their dead comrade, Ellis, and look for clues. Evidence suggests that a biological weapon, the Syphon Filter virus, is being used by terrorists.

Not long after, Gabe and Lian find the remains of multiple victims of this virus in a Nepal village. They discover that terrorist Erich Rhoemer, along with his team, Pavel Kravitch, Mara Aramov, Anton Girdeux, among others, plan on unleashing the virus in the U.S., and have already planted viral bombs in Washington D.C. Gabe is then tasked with the mission of stopping the terrorists, defusing the bombs with the help of the CBDC (U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command), and rescuing hostages. Gabe eliminates Kravitch, Girdeux, and captures Aramov who later escapes due to an urgent mission that comes up, while the CBDC disarms the viral bombs.

Later, Gabe and Lian discovers that PharCom has patented the virus, with the head being Jonathan Phagan. With the new lead, Gabe heads to the PharCom Exposition Centre and listens in on a conversation with Phagan, Aramov, and another of Rhoemer’s team men, Edward Benton. Upon defeating Benton, Gabe chases after Phagan and stops the assassination attempt by Aramov. Phagan, however, gets away. The agency director, Thomas Markinson, mentions to Gabe that Benton was a double agent, and is likely hiding more from Gabe and Lian.

Gabe heads to Rhoemer’s base in Kazakhstan to destroy it. Upon doing so, Rhoemer gets to Lian and kills her. Gabe manages to escape though. Gabe also learns from Markinson that Syphon Filter is a virus used to target and kill specific groups of people. Gabe heads to Rhoemer’s stronghold in Ukraine to find Phagan who is being held captive by Rhoemer, and administer vaccines to the test subjects that are being used to develop the deadly virus.

This is the part of some games that don’t make sense to me. A vaccine isn’t intended to cure a disease if someone is infected, nor should it be given to an infected person or one who has recovered from an infection. Rather, a vaccine is intended to prevent the disease in the future if the person were to come into contact with it. What is used in this game is considered a vaccine, but is actually a medication to stop the virus.

When Gabe finds Phagan, he reveals that Lian is alive. Gabe reunites with Lian which has now been infected with the Syphon Filter virus. The vaccine won’t work since the information needed to create a vaccine is on Phagan’s computers. They escape, but Aramov shoots Phagan in the back of the head, and they all get out together to travel to PharCom’s warehouse where Rhoemer’s men are attacking the warehouse in hopes to get to the missile silos.

Lian discovers that the vaccine Gabe was administering was actually concentrated potassium chloride and used to kill the test subjects, and Markinson knew. Upon getting to the missile silo, Gabe found Markinson who admitted to working with Rhoemer. However, Rhoemer kills Markinson, but Gabe takes him out with a gas grenade. The mission was successful as Gabe deactivates the missile. However, Aramov is seen talking with a mysterious man from the agency, whispering in his ear while he says, “Well done my dear. Well done.” As the camera zooms out and PharCom boxes are found within his office. Could he have been the mastermind the entire time? Is it Dr. Fauci? Who knows?!

Gameplay

This is a third-person shooter, mostly action based, but there are some stealth moments in there as well. It depends on how you choose to play – run up and kill the enemies, or sneak around and get headshots, killing them instantly.

The game has various missions, each one varying in length. Each stage has various objectives that must be filled to complete the stage. The objectives are marked on the map, with a little tiny square that is quite hard to see. There are also parameters that must be met or else the mission fails, such as protecting CBDC agents and making sure not to kill them, and not destroying any viral containers. There are some missions that are extremely difficult, such as the boss fights, in addition to some sneaking missions where you can’t get caught since you don’t know when the enemies will spawn.

There is an arsenal of weapons to choose from, such as a silenced pistol, machine gun, sniper rifle, grenade launcher, grenades, and grenade launcher. There is also a taser which has infinite ammo and will fry up the enemy after a few seconds, but be careful not to be too close or you’ll fry with them. There is also armor in the game, flak jackets, that will protect Gabe, and the enemies, making headshots all the more useful.

Enemies are quite bad with their aim, as is Gabe sometimes too. Even at point blank range, you’ll miss when locked onto the enemy, and they will also miss. Some of this has to do with how Gabe moves. The movement can be a bit weird at times, such as how he turns and moves around corners. But, it’s mostly noticeable when up close and moving from the side up to an enemy and completely missing them because Gabe’s body was facing another direction, while locked onto the enemy, and shooting at them, but the bullets don’t hit them. It can be quite annoying.

There are a few cheat codes that can be entered in the options, such as hard mode, have all weapons with infinite ammo, one shot kill, and stage select. 

Graphics

The graphics are pretty good for the time the game came out. With the HD graphics, it looks really good. The pre-rendered cutscenes, however, are quite dark and seem rushed. The faces of the characters also looks a bit strange in these cutscenes. These scenes are in widescreen, using letterboxing (black bars) to accomplish this. So, there are black bars around the entire screen since I’m playing in widescreen. Another thing to mention is the interesting run animation of Gabe. How he moves and controls is certainly unique and not like any other game I’ve played.

Sound / Music

The voice acting is superb. The dialogue is clear and sound professional. The music isn’t really my style, but it’s too bad. However, it’s far too quiet. The sound effects overpower the music and sometimes it’s hard to hear it.

Game Info

Syphon Filter (Cover)
Developer: Eidetic
Publisher: 989 Studios
Release Date: February 17, 1999
Platforms: PlayStation
Published: (updated: )
Complete

ActionShooterStealth

About the Author

Asphodel Gaming
Asphodel Gaming
I am a streamer and game reviewer that enjoys older games (PS1, PS2, PSP, Genesis, Dreamcast, Game Boy, N64, GameCube, and more), and indie games.
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments