By ROBB GUIDO
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 5, 1999
You've played Goldeneye and Metal Gear Solid, two secret-agent thrillers. You might be thinking: What could possibly top these great games? Well, 989 Studios, who brought us Bust A Grove, has chimed in with its own covert adventure, and thank heavens it did.
Keeping in line with everyone's fear of anthrax, Syphon Filter puts us in the middle of a biological and chemical chess match, with terrorist Erich Rhoemer planting viral bombs throughout Washington, D.C. It's Gabe Logan's job to check these hostile acts and save our capital from a vile fate.
The not-so-farfetched storyline of Syphon Filter makes for a compelling game, while the Washington scenery and landmarks give the game an authentic aura.
The visuals complement the action, being both dark and dangerous. Cars are set ablaze in the city's streets, hostages are held on the local tennis court and a female henchman leads a foot race through the busy subway system.
But what's a game without great game play? Syphon Filter seems to have as much variety as Metal Gear, and may even be a bit more fun. Syphon Filter successfully combines the shooting aspects of Goldeneye, with the task-based running around of Metal Gear. Not only do you have to find bombs and equip them with homing devices, but you have to provide cover fire for the bio-suit dudes who will be deactivating those bombs.
The many controls of Syphon Filter take some getting used to, but if you can find the aim and shoot buttons, you'll do just fine. I beg serious gamers to play the first two levels, which take place in the subway, and you'll be hooked.
One note of caution: Syphon Filter may cause some brain strain, but then superagents never quit.