Silent Scope Hands-On

Silent Scope is the Konami arcade game that lets you put a bullet between the eyes of realistic-looking terrorists in an effort to save the President's family from harm. But can the Dreamcast version live up to the reputation of the arcade without a sniper rifle peripheral to look through?

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One of the coolest games at E3 this year wasn't even being shown on the show floor. Instead, because of its violent nature, it was tucked away in a meeting room within Konami's booth. Silent Scope is an arcade port of a popular first-person shooting game of the same name that puts you in the role of a highly efficient sniper who must save the presidential family from terrorists.

The arcade version of the game features a large control peripheral that looks like a sniper rifle mounted in front of the screen. The home versions of the game will not feature any type of light-gun support or any special controllers. Instead, the home versions simply have a very slick control scheme that makes any type of peripheral unnecessary.

The control works like this. The analog stick moves a circular targeting reticule. Once you've positioned the reticule over a distant enemy, the left trigger on the Dreamcast controller activates the scope mode, which causes the circular targeting reticule area on the screen to change to a dramatically zoomed-in view. This of course gives you the effect of looking through a scope. Once you've lined up the crosshairs over the target, simply squeeze the right trigger button to fire a shot. It is a really smart way to present the game on a home system, and it doesn't seem to take too much away from the game.

In fact, the game's brevity was more of a concern for the team working on the conversion, since a skilled player could play through the entire arcade game within a half hour. Konami wouldn't go into details but did say that it was adding modes and areas to make the game longer.

Visually the game looks just as good as the arcade version, which looks realistic, with city street scenes where police officers and terrorists are dug into defensive positions and are shooting back and forth. The character models, visual effects, and landscapes look identical to the arcade version.

Silent Scope for the Dreamcast looks arcade perfect. The control scheme, while clever and intuitive, isn't as much fun as the arcade version's sniper rifle. We didn't get to see the PS 2 version, but both are supposed to ship this fall.

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