SO720_SFDM_CVRS_ML01b.epsOur nation’s birthday was this past Saturday, so in celebration, this week’s $20GOTW and Lost classics will feature games based on Sony’s Syphon Filter, a franchise about keeping the world safe from terrorism. When it debuted on the original Playstation in the late 90s, Syphon Filter gave players its own brand of espionage action. It may not have been Metal Gear Solid, but Syphon Filter was the closest thing players got to playing through an episode of 24. Syphon Filter’s storyline covered 3 PS1 games and a PS2 entry which featured online play. In 2006, Sony bought Syphon Filter to the Playstation Portable, creating one of the best games available on the system.

The story starts with Gabe and Lian investigating a break-in at an Alaskan oil refinery. They soon discover that there is something amiss, and soon the two are headed around the world in an attempt to stop a terrorist plot. Players step into the shoes of Gabe Logan for most of the game while taking control of Lian in a few stages. The play control is different from earlier entries in the past. While the analog stick is used for movement, the face buttons are used for aiming/camera control. This works a lot better than you think it would, and a lock on feature helps keeps combat flowing smooth. Gabe has several weapons that he can use, including a sniper rifle that can shoot several types of ammo, including explosive darts that can be detonated from a distance. He also has a knife for stealth kills, and of course, what Syphon Filter game would be complete without the long-range stungun of death, or the EDT as it’s called in the game? This small device can be used to electrify an enemy from a distance, and if you hold hon long enough, he can even burst into flames and die (of course you can also let go and watch him run around while on fire for comical effect). There are also a selection of goggles that you can use. The EDSU goggles in particular will come in handy, as they can let you see laser tripwire devices.

The missions have a lot of variety in terms of objectives. In one, you’ll find a way to break the code on a lock, while another has you providing cover fire for your partner. Unlike most other games with escort missions in which the person being escorted is an idiot who will walk blindly into enemy fire, the people you provide cover fire for are actually smart. They will seek out cover when you tell them to, and they’ll wait for your signal in order to advance. You can even give them a medkit if you have one. In some missions, you’ll have a partner who even provides cover fire for you when you ask them to.

THe game contains a healthy amount of replay value. You can unlock weapons, missions, and even plot details about the game. You can also play multiplayer using both ad-hoc and infrastructure, and there is a decent amount of multiplayer modes. A sequel to this game, Logan’s Shadow was also released sometime ago, and will no doubt see a feature in this section. Until then, if you have a PSP and are looking for some games for it, then do yourself a favor and pick this UMD up.