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Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror blends third person shooting with stealth. (using stealth is strictly optional, but results in fewer enemies encountered) The player can crouch or hide behind cover in order to stay hidden. Since the PSP lacks control sticks, the face buttons must be used to aim and look around. [The option to use analog nub instead is also offered, in which case face buttons are used to walk around.] To help make up for this, all ranged weapons have a lock-on function, excluding sniper rifles or any weapon that has a scope. (The scope button is also the lock-on button.)
There are around 30 missions and ad-hoc/ infrastructure multiplayer with up to 8 people. (Although the online mode has since been shut down.) There are 3 difficulty levels, a story and mission mode, unlockable missions (separate from story mode), hidden files to find, and achievements to attain which unlock new weapons and content.
The game spawned a sequel in 2007; Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow. And was also ported to the PS2 sans the blood, some of the language, and "partial nudity".
Trivia / Tips
- Although it doesn't do much, it is actually possible to zoom using lock-on weapons. If you zoom in with a weapon that has a scope, then switch weapon while still in scope to a weapon that doesn't have a scope (without releasing the zoom button) you will be zooming in with the new weapon until you let go of the button. This trick can get in the way if you accidentally do it when you intended to lock-on to an enemy immediately after switching weapon.
- Using the scope on a weapon introduces scope sway, even though normally your aim is perfectly steady. Sometimes it may be advantageous to not use the scope even when firing long distances, especially considering that you can look around while in cover, whereas scoping leaves you vulnerable to enemy fire.
- In many cases using stealth requires a tremendous amount of effort and a lot of trial/error/experimentation, in this sense it serves no practical purpose except to attain all stealth badges. (thus unlocking new weapons) Also, in attempting to acquire stealth badges, you hear dialogue from enemies/NPC's you would never hear otherwise, and discover aspects of the mission and environment evidently placed by the game's creators solely for carrying out these stealth kills.
- Although the mission mode keeps track (as a percentage) your completion of headshots, environment kills, knife kills, stealth kills, survival status, dart kills, and hidden evidence for every mission in the game, it does not display mission-specific bonus objectives like destroying all the DU containers in episode 4, or avoiding collateral damage. You are left on your own to remember whether you fully completed the mission, as well as which missions these are. Ironically, although the mission keeps track of some of these objectives in real time ("2 of 4 DU containers destroyed" each time you destroy one) things like headshots and knife kills, you are forced to keep count on your own.
- It is possible to make Gabe roll. This is not mentioned in the tutorial stages.
- Although they look the same, the SMAW (unlockable weapon) and SMAW Anti-Tank (found during the tank boss fight) are actually two different weapons. If you use mission mode to bring the SMAW to the tank fight in Episode 4, it will not damage the tank at all, and you will have to pick up the SMAW Anti-Tank anyway. Another difference between the two weapons is that the SMAW Anti-Tank can only carry one round, meaning you have to return to an ammo crate after every single time you fire a shot.