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Syphon Filter

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Released: 1999

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Developer: Eidetic

There’s a saying in show business – you’re only as good as your last performance. For a development team that was responsible for Bubsy 3D, a notoriously terrible game, that should have been a death knell. However, against all the odds Eidetic came back with Syphon Filter, an excellent PlayStation game that was able to capitalise on the trend for spy-themed games at the time.

You play as Agency operative Gabe Logan, who is hot on the trail of Erich Rhoemer, terrorist arch-baddie and mastermind behind the development of Syphon Filter, the titular biochemical weapon. As you might expect, catching him will involve a lot of fun with guns, a bit of puzzle solving and a liberal dollop of stealth. It’s a bit of a tough cookie, as enemies can quickly swarm you and murder you with lots of bullets if you’re not careful. However, it is a lot of fun, particularly thanks to the weaponry on offer – as well as various guns, the game’s signature taser allows you to shock enemies to death. In fact, you can even hold on further and set them aflame, if you’re the sort of person that enjoyed putting bugs under magnifying glasses.

It’s not all good, though. The visuals are kind of rough, even by the standards of 3D PlayStation games, and control can be a bit fiddly in the heat of battle. Nevertheless, this is a PlayStation classic for good reason, and one of the most stunning developer turnarounds ever.