Monday, June 20, 2011

Syphon Filter

Syphon Filter
Developer - Eidetic
Publisher - 989 Studios
Release date – 17 February 1999

Syphon Filter is a third-person shooter stealth video game developed by Eidetic and published by 989 Studios for PlayStation. The game was followed by a sequel, Syphon Filter 2, in 2000, and spin-offs later released for the PlayStation Portable. The first game in the Syphon Filter series.


Gabriel Logan and his partner Lian Xing investigate a series of biological outbreaks triggered by international terrorist Erich Rhoemer. When fellow agent Ellis loses contact during a mission in Costa Rica, the top-secret Agency dispatches Gabe and Lian to find him. They discover Ellis is dead, and Rhoemer's suspected drug operation is a cover for the viral operation. Another outbreak in Nepal leads to more questions when an infected person who should have died remained alive.

Before the Agency can pursue Rhoemer, he attacks Washington, D.C. with viral bombs. Gabe battles several terrorists, including Mara Aramov, as he follows the trail of bombs across city streets, subways, Washington Park and finally Freedom Memorial where he must incinerate enemy munitions expert Anton Girdeux to stop the final threat.


The game is presented in a third-person perspective, and the player can freely move in three-dimensional space and rotate the camera in any direction. The top left corner of the screen interface shows the status of Logan's armour, a 'danger-meter' which rises as the player engages enemies through combat, and a target lock. A radar is displayed in the bottom left corner of the screen which shows the location of various objects including friendly units, enemies, weapon pick ups or mission objectives. The current weapon equipped is always displayed in the bottom right corner, with the ammunition count. Depending on the weapon used, the camera will shift to first-person mode to assist in aiming.

The core of the gameplay is focused on stealth-based tactics, which require one to silently take out enemies using silenced weapons or other lethal attacks. However, most of the game is action-orientated, which involves Logan navigating through levels whilst loudly shooting at enemies with no consequence to the mission. The game takes place in a wide variety of locations, including narrow interior streets of Washington D.C. to wide open plains of Kazakhstan. In some stealth based missions, the game will involve various puzzles. Some locations feature low light ambience, which force the player to use their torch despite its drawbacks imposed during stealth missions.


According to creative director John Garvin, Syphon Filter was originally conceived as "just a name" from a producer at 989 Studios. Initially, there was no plot, character or gameplay from the original one page synopsis. Eidetic decided to set Syphon Filter as a new 'stealth-action' hybrid that focused heavily on weapons, gadgets and stealth. The team's lead designer was influenced over Rare's successful GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64, and implemented the game's mechanics to have a similar feel for a new "super spy" genre.

The team experienced immense difficulty in creating the game, as Garvin noted that there were "no, or few, games" from which Eidetic could draw inspiration. Most of the team that developed Syphon Filter had little experience with making third-person action games, as Eidetic's only video game released for a console was Bubsy 3D, which was released three years prior for the PlayStation and was infamous for being critically panned as one of the worst games of all time. Despite the initial difficulties with staff and lack of experience, Eidetic produced a prototype which involved a shooting segment in an underground. Garvin admitted that the team "didn't know anything about making realistic shooters set in a spy world" as the game came close to being cancelled several times throughout development because the team was missing deadlines, revamping mechanics and changing the story. During development, the team of thirteen re-wrote several drafts as the game was being conceived. The original plot of Syphon Filter was intended as a science-fiction orientated approach and involved a group of kidnapped scientists who were being forced to build a time machine by an unspecified antagonistic organisation. The storyline was radicially changed when John Garvin was hired to be art director, later creative director.

No comments:

Post a Comment