Ever since games like MAD DOG MCREE and VIRTUA COP were released, I have found myself fascinated by light gun games. Whether it be TIME CRISIS or HOUSE OF THE DEAD, each game diverts my attention for a little while and I get a couple of quarters of gaming out of it. Now, the problem with these games has always been the home conversion, which has always been a little too expensive for too little. Konami is hoping to solve this problem by releasing its SILENT SCOPE COLLECTION, complete with four full games, on the Xbox.
When released a few years ago in the arcades, SILENT SCOPE brought about a new form of light gun game. Instead of just picking up a pistol and aiming, you were able to use a realistic rifle with a scope to pick off the bad guys, with this game relying more on accuracy than the typical light gun game. The plots behind the four games (SILENT SCOPE, SILENT SCOPE 2: DARK SILHOUETTE, SILENT SCOPE 3, and SILENT SCOPE EX) remain the same, with you as a sniper taking out the vicious terrorists.
Unlike most light gun games, the scope of your rifle is represented onscreen by a circle that zooms in on whatever your targeting reticle has locked on to. While you can play the game like this, it is much easier to stay zoomed out as you can move your reticle around faster this way. The game forces you to be accurate as well as timely, as you are working against a countdown clock.
The main appeal of the SILENT SCOPE games was that the rifle itself had an LCD screen inside of it in the arcades. This was a nice feature because whatever was on the big screen was what you were seeing in a zoomed in view on the LCD screen, making for an immersive experience. Unfortunately, the rifles developed for the Xbox (made by Pelican) do not come with LCD screens (if they did, they would be costing a lot more than $50). The biggest problem with the home rifle is that it really doesn't seem to work that well. Getting the blasted thing calibrated will irk most gamers, unless you don't mind turning the brightness up on your television screen to calibrate it. Either way, it seems like using the controller is almost easier than using the rifle, because even with it calibrated, the rifle is still hit or miss.
Considering the newest game in this collection, SILENT SCOPE 3, was released in 2002, that doesn't bode well for the graphics. None of the games have aged very well and it is very apparent when looking at the trees, cars, people and buildings, which all look rather blocky and extremely outdated.
The sound is also horrible, one of the worst parts of the arcade games. While there is a fair amount of voice acting, most of the vocals come from your operations coordinator. While Konami claims that the voice work is supposed to sound fuzzy, as if it were coming from a headset, I'm not buying it. The voiceovers also sound funny and unnatural, almost like the actors themselves aren't quite sure what they are saying.
Unfortunately, like most other light gun games that are released on console systems, it is hard to justify a purchase for a game that doesn't have a lot of depth to it. While Konami attempted to add some to this release by placing four games in SILENT SCOPE COMPLETE, I can play these games in the arcade for just a couple of quarters with a rifle that actually works