Syphon Filter 2 Review

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The original Syphon Filter hit the shelves in 1999 for the original PlayStation to commercial success. Featuring a mix of stealth elements and action, Gabe Logan trotted the world trying to save it from the virus known as Syphon Filter. In 2000, Eidetic and 989 Studios were at it again just a year later and released the follow-up Syphon Filter 2 for the PlayStation. This game seems like a Michael Scott Production… but let’s get on with this Syphon Filter 2 review anyway!

Syphon Filter 2 Plot:

Sequels usually take place after a certain amount of time has passed from their former games. But not Syphon Filter 2! The second game in the series takes place only hours after the first game ended, and you know what? I really dug that. It was nice to see an immediate continuation of the story.

In the conclusion of the first game, our agent Gabe Logan defeated terrorist Erich Rhoemer and Agency Director Thomas Markinson who had secretly teamed up working on a deadly virus called Syphon Filter. Gabe’s partner Lian Xing had been injected with the virus and is starting to feel the effects of it. Together, the two of them are portrayed as enemies of the agency by the media and agency. Now as marked terrorists, they must escape the corrupt agency and misinformed police units that are after them.

Gabe is flying back on a private cargo plane carrying PharCom data disks that hold the companies secrets and proof of their connection to the Syphon Filter. The agency shoots the plane down as Gabe and the other agents on his side parachute onto the Rocky Mountains. Gabe and the others work together to get off the mountains as the agency has quarantined them and plan to gas the mountains to destroy any living evidence.

Meanwhile, Lian has been captured and is being held in a detention center for terrorists. She manages to escape in a helicopter and meets up with Gabe to come up with a plan. Gabe and Lian team up with a third agent who is still loyal to their cause named Teresa. With the help of Teresa, Gabe breaks into the same expo center from the first game to look for more data disks. With only half the information on the disc, they discover that a Russian director named Uri Gregorov has the other data. Lian and Uri know each other so Lian heads to Moscow to meet with him.

Lian tracks down Uri only to discover that he is an imposter sent to find the other data disc. He reveals to her that the real Uri is imprisoned and set to executed soon. Lian rescues the real Uri but the virus has severely taken a toll on her body and she collapses from it.

With death on the doorstep of Lian, Gabe decides to make a deal with the agency. In exchange for the data discs that Gabe has collected, he wants a vaccine for Lian. The agency double-crosses Gabe but he is able to steal a vaccine in the process. Teresa meets up with Gabe and helps him track down the new agency director Lyle Stevens and kills him.

Together they head for the rooftop where Teresa’s helicopter is waiting for them. When they arrive on the roof, they find Agent Chance waiting for them. He was one of the original agents with Gabe on the Rocky Mountains. He betrays Gabe and kills Teresa. Wearing body armor, Chance is protected against any ammunition. Gabe finds a heavy shotgun and is able to knock Chance into the blades of the helicopter with the force of the shotgun shells.

In the post-credits, Gabe is able to give Lian the vaccine and the existence of the agency has gone public but a few high members of the agency meet and reveal they still have plans for Gabe.

Syphon Filter 2 Gameplay:

Are you a fan of “The Office”? If so, and you love Michael Scott and his ridiculous action movies then you will love the opening sequence of Syphon Filter 2. It’s over the top and made me laugh out loud with the animation and got my Syphon Filter 2 review off to a great start. Gabe somersaults on the ground shooting terrorists and all of their deaths are exaggerated. The sequence is a victim of the time, but it’s hilarious.

The gameplay is almost identical to the first Syphon Filter but I found I used the auto-aim feature far less as it just wasn’t as useful this time. The difficulty in my Syphon Filter 2 review was evenly played out. I didn’t find one level easy and another one extremely difficult, it was pretty much even throughout the game. The first Syphon Filter, I felt that the first few levels were super easy but the last ones were very difficult. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to program a game, but it was just something I noticed.

The one level that I really struggled in my Syphon Filter 2 review was the bridge level where you have to defuse the bombs in less than two minutes. I had forgotten that you needed to take out the commanding officer first before taking care of the bombs. When you do that, the time limit goes away making it a hundred times easier. I had to look up how to beat the bridge because I knew I was doing something wrong.

A plus in Syphon Filter 2 was the ability to play as Lian throughout almost half of the game. She doesn’t do anything differently than Gabe, but with her inclusion, she felt much more part of the team instead of just a voice in your ear giving you hints and tips like she did in the first game. Combat is just as fun as it was in the first game. The night vision was one of my favorite sections of levels as I became a silent assassin in the dark. Syphon Filter 2 makes good use of the surrounding environments. I found myself climbing more poles and walls to get around than I did in the first game. The environment also provides some unique weapons like when I was in the tunnel trapped by a swarm of terrorists. Gabe took a fuel hose from a truck and set it on fire as I sprayed hordes of terrorists in a ball of fire. It was a lot of fun!

My favorite level during my Syphon Filter 2 review was the dance club in Russia. You had to track down Uri playing as Lian. When you enter the dance club you are met with a ridiculous cut scene of “Uri” and others dancing. It’s just as over-the-top as the intro to the game with people spinning on the dancing floor and busting moves. I almost had a seizure fighting through some of the rooms in the club. There’s a strobe light that doesn’t stop unless you shoot it but it was tough to even look at. Going from the fun dance club, you go to a dark prison where women are beaten, throw off the railings and shot to death. It was a stark contrast to what I had just played!

Something that really frustrated me during my Syphon Filter 2 review was the item called the “camera scrambler”. You collect it from a locker but it’s not really mentioned and I forgot about it. I needed to use it on cameras to sneak around the clinic but even with it equipped and pointing at the cameras I didn’t know how to use it which led to me ringing the alarm numerous times. I had to look up how to use the camera scrambler which if I have to do that, then it wasn’t explained enough.

It was a bit of a surprise to see Teresa murdered, I thought she’d make it but by Chance, she died. (LOL get it?!) Anyway, speaking of chance I know he was wearing armor to protect him from ammo but I had saved up 10 rounds of the M-79 which was essentially a rocket launcher that sends enemies flying twenty feet in the air. I unloaded all ten rounds on him and nothing happened! He just kept coming, so him being able to survive that after using that weapon throughout the game as the ultimate power gun was surprising. Oh, and Gabe’s voice acting is still terrible.

Demo discs were awesome back in the 90s. I used to love getting them in my PlayStation magazine subscription and I’d look for the newest “Jampack” demo discs in stores. Syphon Filter 2 was on one of them and I remember I played the train level hundreds of times on it. It was so awesome being able to climb a train, shoot terrorists, and throw grenades. The train level will forever be ingrained into my head. A few months later, my dad took me to Meijer and he purchased Syphon Filter 2 for me. It was my first and only “two-disc” PlayStation game as a kid.

Soon I was introduced to the air taser and that was that. I fried so many guys to a crisp with it. I’d tase them for five minutes just because I could and I thought the animation of them wriggling around and burning up was hilarious. I was able to beat the first few levels but I couldn’t get past the stage where the airplane is destroyed on the ground with a fiery red sky. At some point, I gave up getting past it. It wasn’t until this month that I got out Syphon Filter 2 and put it in my PS1. It’s always so strange revisiting games from my childhood that I haven’t played in over a decade. Like all the games from my childhood, I’m able to beat them now that I know what I’m doing.

Syphon Filter 2 came with multiplayer for you and a friend to shoot each other in different arenas that were cities. When I got this game my sisters were out of the house by then so I remember I spent hours just exploring the arena by myself and blowing up the dummy player. Haha, what a lonely existence!

Syphon Filter 2 Review Score:

Syphon Filter 2 is so similar to the original if they made just one game and packed it into three discs I think that would have worked for the PlayStation especially since the second game takes place hours after the first. The second game has more action and a few more gadgets to use. It also came with multiplayer and the inclusion of playing as Lian which was a plus.

Syphon Filter 2 scores a 9.2 out of 10.

What would you write in your Syphon Filter 2 review? Did you like Syphon Filter 2 better than the original? How did you feel playing as Lian? Which level gave you issues? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!

If you’d like to own a copy of Syphon Filter 2 for the PS1, you can purchase a preowned version from eBay for around $7.

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