Sniper Scope might be the worst home conversion I have ever played.
The President, the First-Lady, and the President’s daughter have all been kidnapped by a terrorist group who want their leader (known as the Dictator) released!
That’s it, you go sniping people to save them all, in a decently rendered Chicago.
The Arcade Game
Silent Scope was a beast in the arcades, 15 year old me spent many a weekend being cool, hanging around the Bowling Alley with friends so I could play it.
Silent Scope in the arcade had a dual screen display, the main arcade screen with the full scene, and a sniper rifle with scope for the ultra zoomed in view. You would look at the screen for the general direction of the enemy, and then you’d look down the scope and take your shots. It was frantic, and it was fun.
If I was reviewing the Arcade Version I’d be giving it high 80s kind of score.
The Home Version
Firstly, it didn’t have the dual screen support, it was 2000 so this is a little forgivable. What is unforgivable is that Silent Scope isn’t light gun compatible!
All they needed to do was have the light gun trace across the screen like it does in calibration mode, and allow you to press a button to zoom in/activate scope mode. Done. Awesome home conversion.
But they didn’t
Instead it is a On-Rails shooter where you HAVE to use a control pad! And it controls awfully… It really does. You can use a mouse, but I refuse to use a mouse on a console.
You get normal speed and fast speed for your cursor movement. This gives you either, a speed too slow that you’ll run out of time. Or too fast where you’ll run out of time because you can’t get the sodding scope over the target.
Man these are tight, you can’t fuck around. If you’re not hitting 95% accuracy and twitch reflexing like an autistic Korean kid on cocaine you’ll run out of time. The second level is especially mean, you have to fight a guy in a truck, he drives backwards and forwards. You have maybe 3-4 seconds where you can hit him, and then a 10-15 second animation where he turns the truck around.
If you fail to headshot the truck boss first time, you’ll more than likely have to use a continue to get past him. In the arcade I can’t remember getting past him, on the home playthrough in 4 attempts, I got past him twice, and once I had to use a continue.
All bosses can be one shot if you head shot them, but the slow or twitchy control scheme don’t really allow for this. The first level boss is easiest on a slow moving pad, as you’re moving and you can patiently wait, line up the shot and with a little ability do this in one shot. On the second level, the slow pad control method moves too slow to keep the truck on screen, and the twitchy pad is still too quick to line up a shot. It makes this boss almost unplayable due to the speeds involved.
Time is pretty much your worst enemy in this game. I never once died from being shot, it was always running out of time.
One of the things I like are the branching pathways. After Level 1, you can choose 1 of 3 boss fights, all slightly different, all fun in their own right.
After the car chase scene (level 2), you choose how to get to the house, parachute in, or through the woods. Hint, parachute in! If you go through the woods, you won’t be able to see anything. You’re in night vision, and unless the enemy is shooting at you they are next to invisible.
If you parachute in, you’re moving too quickly too shoot the enemy. But you’re moving too quickly for them to shoot at you, I flailed through this, hit 1 person, had an accuracy of <10%, and was hit once.
The final level is all wrong, you are storming a house and shooting dozens of people at a time. This is not what a sniper does… Since there is no dual screen it would have made more sense for you to pull out a regular gun, and complete this as a standard gun game. As it is, it makes no sense.
And the final boss is one shot instafail bullshit. You have to one shot the guy holding the president hostage, miss and the president is dead, and with the terrible control system it is simply too hard on the time you have.
As it is, without any light gun support Silent Scope just isn’t worth your time bothering with. It might be improved with a mouse, but mice for consoles are wrong on every level.
The game is pretty decent, but the controls let it down too much.
Basically what happened is they bastardised a frankly brilliant arcade game.
Pros: You can buy it on eBay for £1, branching paths offer replayability
Cons: The game sucks, could have dine a much better home port, *Sigh* you get bonus lives for seeing “beautiful/semi-naked” women…