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Was the original Syphon Filter a better game than Metal Gear Solid 1 (PS1)?

Isleofsancroy

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May 15, 2014
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I'm sure nostalgia will impact how many will answer this question, especially outside of the USA, but if you're from the USA both these titles were big deals when they came out and were top sellers on the PS1 console. Having played both games extensively I believe that Syphon Filter was the better game between itself and the first Metal Gear Solid which was released a year earlier. I also find the game to be a more impressive achievement since it was created in Isolation without any real gaming influence outside of GoldenEye, and the interesting fact that SF1 was made coming off the companies first game, the poorly received Bubsy 3D. As a matter of fact, Syphon Filter had impressed Sony so much they ended up buying the company,

One of the first things I like about Syphon Filter are of course, the controls. The game actually sets up the first stages to accommodate you to the control scheme and in comparison to MGS1, it's fast and fluid. You have a real 3D third-person environment instead of a mostly overhead isometric view of the action, which I believe gives the player greater immersion within the levels itself. Switching weapons, using gadgets, moving around, aiming, interacting with objects or switches, it's all intuitive, fast, and fluid, so it never frustrates you or takes you out the game. SF1 also has a surprisingly competent two-person co-op mode that people weren't expecting at the time.

Moving on to what may be the most controversial opinion, I believe Syphon Filter has a better, more grounded, and more coherent storyline. Metal Gear Solid 1 may not have been as bat shit as later games in the series, but it was still pretty nuts, and being nuts for the sake of being nuts can sometimes prevent you from writing scenarios that engage the player, instead you end up confusing them. Something like the enemy setting up a trap explosive within a train station destroying the entire tunnel, with you having to fight your way out of a blazing inferno, is a scenario that the type of writing MGS1 had wouldn't come up with. There are all kinds of twists and turns that engage the player throughout Syphon Filter, while in Metal Gear you just kind of shrug or maybe get a short laugh out of its cutscenes. Additionally, you have to face another issue with MGS1's storyline, and that issue would be it referencing two previous Metal Gear games that never released outside of Japan, as a result the context is lost on the player.

Gameplay is the most important factor for games, everyone knows this, and this is where I think the biggest difference rears its head. MGS1 has some decent gameplay, but it's very restricted, the controls take awhile to get used to, and are not very fluid or intuitive, and as you continue to play the game for hours the repetition and tedium starts to set in.

For Syphon Filter, the gameplay is fast, fluid, intuitive, and more open so you can approach situations several different ways, thus keeping things relatively fresh. The better controls play a key part here, especially for the gun play and overall movement, which felt so satisfying as you snuck or gun-run through well-designed 3D spaces. As you progress though the stages the game continues to present new ways to play, new enemies, new gadgets, and new combat strategies until near the end of the game. This makes it hard for repetition to start taking its toll on the player, and helps with replay value, something MGS1 has trouble with..

I generally believe Syphon Filter gave you the complete package, while Metal gear Solid was fine for it's time but it lacked the advantages Syphon Filter had, despite SF1 not having as high a budget or MGS' heavy marketing in commercials and gaming magazines. These advantages are what made Syphon Filter a surprise hit, and led to two more sequels on the PS1, along with Sony deciding to purchase Eidetic, the creators of the series. .

But over the years I must say that Metal Gear Solid has aged worse overtime, while Syphon Filter aside from some obviously outdated graphics compared to today, has aged much more gracefully, and I think the biggest part of that is due to it's fluid gameplay.

I may be in the minority here, but for people who have played both games how do you feel in regards to which of the two provided the better gaming package? Was it Syphon Filter 1 or Metal Gear Solid 1? Two big names in the stealth genres early days. (On consoles, I see you PC gamers, stay back!)
 

Isleofsancroy

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I don't really agree with the groundbreaking comment, it's something that's repeated a lot but I don't think it applies, most major stealth games were created in isolation from each other or had their gameplay come from computer games that focused on disguises and shadows. The one game I can think of that wouldn't exist without MGS1, Splinter Cell, still got most of its gameplay mechanics from the PC stealth games and only some from MGS. Eventually, sequels to MGS would adopt features from those PC games and Syphon Filter.

Both are great games though, you can't really go wrong with either.
 

stranno

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To be fair, only like 8 developers worked on Syphon Filter 1.

Not everything was done from scratch, IIRC the engine itself and the plot was already provided by Sony.
 
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Terenty

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Nov 21, 2018
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Nah, i tried to play Syphone Filter recently and couldn't make it past the first level, it's outdated as fuck.

Mgs is still perfectly playable, not to mention high production values that still shit on a lot of modern games.
 

SlimeGooGoo

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Jun 29, 2020
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Syphon Filter was more challenging, and the combat was better than MGS especially because of the camera angle.

But Metal Gear Solid had better story, characters and music. Had more "soul" too.

It's apples and oranges at the end of the day.
 
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Sybrix

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The Best is yet to come is the main reason why MGS1 is the greatest of all time
 

AREYOUOKAY?

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Jan 8, 2021
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This is a...

post.
Perhaps

It's still impressive they managed to make a game like Syphon Filter after Bubsy 3D. It certainly doesn't compare to Metal Gear Solid but at least it's a functional and fun game.
 
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BlvckFox

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I loved Syphon Filter!!! As a kid, it blew my mind open. I can still hear the hilarious screams of an enemy set on fire by over exposure to the taser. The targeting system was fantastic and the controls were extremely tight. The game will forever hold a special place in my heart. However, there is no way in fuck it’s a better game than MGS1.
 

Real-HipHopGamer

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Metal Gear Solid 1 was different on so many levels, For EX: It's the first game to ever break the 4th wall, meaing when you fight psychomantis you had to take the controller out of port 1 and put it in port 2 so he couldn't read your mind and you can defeat him.

Insane level of development even back then so yeah this is crazy
 

rolandss

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I enjoyed siphon filter a lot but MGS was waaayyyy more memorable, had a much better story, more depth and more charm.
 

Hulk_Smash

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Jan 8, 2014
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Just came in here to say YES. It was better almost all around. I played both when they first came out and SF had plenty of replay value while Metal Gear Solid: The Movie: The Game was good for one playthrough. It’s training simulator was more fun than the actual game.
 
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Shadowstar39

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I thought the tank controls in SF1 were horrible. I never really bothered getting far in that game. MGS1 had so much more substance.
Also about the previous games, being a launch owner of MGS1, I recall thinking any references were referring to the two NES games from back when I played them in the 80s. The gadgets and stealth and radio were all similar so it made sense. I didn't even know metal gear on nes was a cut down version of the real game and that snakes revenge was made by a different dev and wasn't metal gear 2. I didn't know that until mgs2 era.

I will say Syphon filter on the PSP was amazing and scored that way too. Some of the best games on that system . Dark mirror and logans shadow are tight and fun spy games. I really enjoyed them and would of loved to have new ones. What made them better than the old games is the controls actually were good. They ditched the tank controls entirely.
 
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They aren't remotely similar in anything gameplay wise, MGS was a cinematic stealth game first and foremost while Syphon Filter was an action game with spy themes and an occasional stealth mission.

I absoultly LOVE SF and i own every game in the series and love them all, if there's one thing SF has over MGS is that it didn't end it run with a dud like Metal Gear Survive (and IMO V) and Bend knew when to put the series to rest.
 

infinitys_7th

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Hell no. IMO the Syphon Filter PSP games are better games than Portable or, arguably, Peace Walker, but the original one has not aged nearly as well as MGS.
 
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RoboFu

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Not even close. MGS is that very rare category of perfect games along with super Metroid and super Mario 3
 
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Barakov

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Syphon FIlter was a good game but Metal Gear Solid was on a completely different level. There's a reason it's considered a classic.
 
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