Welcome back to First Person Saturday, a weekly series where I dive into an obscure FPS and see how it holds up to the greats. Now, this week is going to be a bit different, as I’ve never tackled a rail shooter on this series, much less an arcade game. To get this out of the way, I am not reviewing the console port, but rather the actual arcade machine. However, I will be talking about how the Silent Scope series handles with a controller when I get around to Silent Scope 3 for the PS2 one of these weeks.
For now, lets focus on the remake of the original Silent Scope. Silent Scope EX takes the 1999 classic and improves upon it on basically every way, both graphic and gameplay wise. Silent Scope focuses on a sniper who is combating terrorists trying to capture and kill the President and his family. Being an arcade game, it’s not very story heavy, with the only real story being delivered through hilariously awful newscasts and mission briefings in between levels.
The real meat and bones of the game is with the gameplay, but being an arcade game, I feel obligated to talk about the controller. For the most part, it’s what carries the game. I know that sounds like a knock against the game, but in this genre, it’s anything but. You will spend half of your time looking at the machine’s screen, scanning for enemies, and the other half with your eye in the scope to line up your shot. Once you have an enemy in your sights, you fire, and it’s simple as that.
The sniping itself isn’t anything deep, especially when compared to titles such as Sniper Elite or even the awful Sniper: Ghost Warrior where you have to take wind and bullet drop into account. Here, it’s as simple as pointing and shooting at an enemy. While undoubtedly simple, the mechanics align perfectly to make taking shot after shot a satisfying experience. Obviously, enemies aren’t easy to hit, and if you miss your shot, prepare for a bad time.
A single missed shot will cause guards to swarm your position and shoot at you, easily whittling away at your health bar. Of course, when your health is up, the game’s gonna be asking for two more quarters. However, I never found the shooting to ever be too frustrating. No, what really got me was the assassinations you have to perform at the end of nearly every mission. A terrorist takes a hostage, and you need to take him out with one shot. Missing the shot or hitting the civilian will instantly fail the mission, dealing a bunch of damage to you.
Levels aren’t super varied, as things do boil down to pointing at someone and shooting them. You may have to scan a crowd for potential threats or be riding on a helicopter to go in loud, but at the end of the day, you’ll be shooting people in the face. Levels all look different however, spanning from trains to yachts to political speeches, each of them basically glorified backgrounds, as you’re not able to move around.
Like any arcade game, the game takes around twenty minutes to complete total. It’s hard to say how much money you’ll spend on the game, as you could spend either fifty cents or multiple dollars to beat the game. Yet is it worth it? Honestly, once you get through two tries, I’d just say stopping. The game’s a good novelty, but it’s just that. A novelty. The sniping is enjoyable for a bit, but it soon becomes a pointing and shooting routine. When a game has to be carried by a gimmick, I don’t think it’s worth giving up much money to basically get the same experience again and again.
It’s really a shame, as good sniping games are a rarity. When one of your best options is the god-awful Sniper: Ghost Warrior, then there’s something seriously wrong with how the concept is being treated. If you’re really desperate for some sniper action, just stick with Sniper Elite, and pray that the recently announced Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 is at least twice as good as the sequel. Or at least maybe with better EULA.