No matter how convenient home video game systems are, they still pale in comparison to live arcade experiences. Whether you’re getting behind the wheel of a makeshift Formula One racing car or lacing up your dancing shoes and stepping up to a dance pad, there are certain tangibles that consoles simply can’t reproduce as effectively. Silent Scope 2: Dark Silhouette is one such game, ported from the arcade to the PlayStation 2 by Konami minus the sniper rifle. Can Silent Scope 2 survive or is it merely a shell of its former self?
In the arcade version of Silent Scope, players grab hold of a sniper rifle, using one eye to spot enemies on the main game screen while keeping their other eye by the scope of the rifle, ready to take out their intended targets. Since the PlayStation 2 doesn’t come with a sniper rifle, you’ll have to make due with your controller. The default control scheme is quite simple; the left analog is used for directional movement, while the X and O buttons are used to fire and release the zoom lens respectively. The issue that most gamers will encounter is the sensitivity of the PlayStation 2 controller. The challenge of aiming the rifle is frustrating at times. I got some advice on how to better the control scheme, including using a USB mouse, but in the end the lack of a sniper rifle is a hindrance.
Don’t get me wrong though, Silent Scope 2: Dark Silhouette is still fun to play. The game offers a trio of game modes; Arcade, Original and Linked Play. Arcade mode is the story-based mode, in which players assume the role of one of the two main characters, Jackal or Falcon, as they embark on a dangerous mission to eliminate a group of terrorists that have stolen a bunch of missiles and secured a number of hostages. The story takes gamers across a myriad of European settings, from the Swiss Mountains to the London Bridge. Each of the two snipers offers a different perspective during the mission, so you can play through the Arcade mode as both characters and experience two different views.
The Original mode is exclusive to the PlayStation edition and offers three mini-missions, a shooting range and a plethora of secrets that only become available when unlocked in the Arcade mode. Last but not least, Linked Play allows two players to go head-to-head via a link cable, which requires two PlayStation 2s and of course two television screens.
Visually, Silent Scope 2 is a decent looking game, much like its arcade counterpart. The environments are lush and large, and the effects are solid throughout. If anything, perhaps the graphics could have been upgraded to take advantage of the power of the PlayStation 2, but instead Konami has stuck to its arcade guns. The audio department could use some fine tuning. The soundtrack is something straight out of the 1970s, looping endlessly. The sound effects are fairly solid but the voice acting is some of the corniest heard this year.
Lack of a sniper rifle aside, Silent Scope 2’s biggest fault is easily its replay value. You can play through the Arcade mode as either Jackal or Falcon, but it shouldn’t take more than an hour each. Unfortunately, most of the components of the Original mode need to be unlocked in the Arcade mode, so you’ll have no choice but to play through a number of times in order to unveil the secrets. Multiplayer is offered via Linked Play, but it’s not exactly the most convenient set-up, since you’ll require two consoles and two television sets. Take out the multiplayer component and you could literally be done playing Silent Scope 2 is an hour or two.
When the terrorists are dead, the hostages are rescued and Europe is safe once again, Silent Scope 2: Dark Silhouette is an easy game to form a conclusion around. It's a fun game to play but don’t expect a great deal of substance or replay value from the title. For that reason, Silent Scope 2 is best recommended as a rental, since you’d have a hard time getting your money’s worth out of a full purchase.