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Game Over Online ~ Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain (c) Sony Computer Entertainment

Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain (c) Sony Computer Entertainment

Published: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004 at 05:47 PM
Written By: Jeff 'Linkphreak' Haynes

Before Ethan Hunt crossed over from movies to games, before Sam Fisher slunk into the shadows, there was Gabe Logan. Tasked by “The Agency” to protect the world from cataclysmic threats, Gabe and his partner Lian Xing defended countries from destruction across three PlayStation games. While there’s been a three year “vacation” from their adventures, don’t think they’ve been resting on their laurels. Gabe and Lian have been quite busy, and for their latest mission, Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, they’re looking for a few good recruits.

As any espionage fan will tell you, the greatest terrorist threat is the one that you can’t see under your nose until it’s too late. Unlike rogue nations or lost nuclear weapons, the Syphon Filter series takes this concept a step further, introducing a bioweapon that makes anthrax and ricin look like a mild case of chicken pox. We’re talking about an ultra-contagious disease that kills anyone within the area, leaving regions decimated. Containment of these areas quickly becomes a matter of extreme importance to prevent massive infection of the rest of the world’s population. Gabe and Lian, having risen from the ranks of field agents to commanders, are tasked with stopping the spread of the virus and investigating its outbreaks.

However, with their promotion, our heroes aren’t necessarily going out to oversee hotspots personally. Here’s where you come in, and I do mean where YOU come in. Players have to create an agent avatar immediately before they even start the game from one of a hundred pre-generated body types. Aside from skin tones, body shapes, facial details or face paint, you’ll have the option later to fully tweak your trainee to your personal specifications. That’s right, you’re the most recent addition to Gabe’s squad, and You’re getting sent out to be the actual hero of the game.

As a new recruit, you’ll have an option to check out the training level, which introduces you to some of the new equipment and moves you’ll use on your missions. You’ll also have access to your personnel files, where you can gain information about your fellow operatives and check personal stats. Stats play an even greater role in Omega Strain than it ever has before, because just about everything from headshots to non-lethal kills is tracked and recorded. Better still, these can be redeemed for additional equipment or game altering cheats, like boosted health or agility. Once chosen, you’ll also receive battle patches that can be placed on your character’s clothes to inform fellow players about your skills.

Yep, fellow players is right, because while previous titles primarily were single player games, Omega Strain will also emphasize co-operative play online to fully unlock missions. There are certain objectives within missions that simply cannot be completed without the aid of fellow players, requiring you to log on via the broadband adapter and join a team of agents to solve the viral outbreak in each level. Implemented much better than other games with multiplayer options, Omega Strain fosters teamwork over competition.

Building off the minimal yet striking graphics within the Syphon Filter series, the cutscenes within the Omega Strain are incredibly cinematic and engrossing. Character animation is much more realistic than previous titles, and even demonstrate body location damage (headshots always kill, and force different slumps of the body). Voices have always been strong for this series, and Omega Strain is absolutely no different. From what we’ve seen in this early build, Omega Strain could possibly deliver a fitting evolution of the PlayStation spy series that captivated gamers three years ago. Keep checking back here for further coverage of this anticipated thriller!

Questions or comments about the upcoming release of Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain for the PlayStation 2? Talk to us!

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