Syphon Filter is a third person shooter and stealth based game series focusing on the adventures of Gabriel "Gabe" Logan, who begins the story as an agency operative, until turning rogue, and eventually after exposing the misdeeds of said agency, forms his own, known as the International Presidential Consulting Agency (IPCA). Syphon Filter itself is a fatal virus, akin to FOXDIE, which can be made to target specific ethnicities. Throughout the first four games, one is trying to stop its distribution.There are six games in the series:
Syphon Filter - Gabe and Lian Xing are part of a covert government agency known as well, the Agency and they are tracking the terrorist Erich Rhoemer who is in possession of a dangerous bio weapon known as Syphon Filter. They don't need to look far because Rhoemer just launched a massive attack on the nation's capital!
Syphon Filter 2 - Gabe and Lian stopped Rhoemer's evil plan but their troubles aren't over. The Agency kidnapped Lian and Gabe is in hot pursuit but his chase hits a snag when his plane is shot down over the Rockies.
Syphon Filter 3 - Gabe and his allies are interrogated by a closed Congressional hearing about their exploits and the truth about Syphon Filter.
Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow
In all of the above games, sans The Omega Strain, Gabe is usually the player character.
The series shows examples of:
Adaptation Dye-Job: Mara Aramov changed from a redhead to a blonde in 2 (as well as changing her hairstyle), and she kept her blonde hair in the flashbacks in 3.
Air-Vent Passageway: Starting in 2, you could traverse these. Bizarrely enough, you moved faster in them.
A.K.A.-47: Most of the guns in the first two games.
Corridor Cubbyhole Run: The mission in the first game where Gabe had to pursue and capture Mara through D.C.'s subway tunnels while avoiding the occasional train.
Critical Existence Failure: You can get shot several times without it slowing your character down appreciably, although it does deplete your armor, and your "health" stat is very, very low. All that aside, if you get somewhere near an open flame in any way at any time, you're going up like a Roman candle.
Crosshair Aware: The games will notify you when snipers have you lined up for a headshot.
Flak Jacket: Your only armor in the game, and it is a huge life saver.
Flamethrower Backfire: The first game had the boss battle against Girdeux. The man was wearing body armor that made him Immune to Bullets and Gabe can't use his explosive weapons without triggering the nearby bomb. However, Girdeux was also using a flamethrower and had a huge tank of fuel strapped to his back. Multiple well-aimed shots to his fuel tank later, and Girdeux was toast.
Follow the Leader: Some felt that the first Syphon Filter was poor man's GoldenEye 007 or Metal Gear Solid. While there are some similarities, the first game stood well on its own and eventually became popular in its own right as the series went on.
Foreshadowing: In 2, if Chance is fighting by your side and you die, he and the Agency mooks will stop shooting at each other.
In The Omega Strain, Imani Gray tells you to pick up a body and move it around during the training mission, saying that you may have to do it out in the field. Guess who's body you'll be lugging around later on?
In 3, she was shot in the head by Gabe since she was part of the evil plan instigators. However, in the ending, it is revealed that she survived. She would appear in The Omega Strain.
In The Omega Strain, it is implied that she was killed by Gary "Stone" Stoneman. This was confirmed in Dark Mirror.
Dr. Elsa Weissinger, who starts as antagonist in 2, while a flashback in 3 shows her as an ally. The Omega Strain had her as an ally, before she swaps back to the antagonist side. A part of The Omega Strain's ending has her state via note that she enjoys destroying anything she creates, so this could be justified.
Heroic Mime: Aside from grunts of pain, the player character doesn't speak a single word in The Omega Strain.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The enemies you encounter in the first level of the original game are terrible shots, incapable of hitting you even when you're standing two feet away, often for several seconds. This is averted as the game goes on, however, as enemies become better shots.
Nigel Cummings in 3. Edward Benton in 1 should count, but then again, the whole Agency is evil.
Neck Snap: Stone can use it in his bonus mission in The Omega Strain, and the player character can as well after the mission's completion.
New Old Flame: Addison for Gabe in Dark Mirror and Shen for Lian in Logan's Shadow.
Nigh-Invulnerability: The shock troops in 2 wore full body armor, and could only be killed with high explosives. The final boss, Chance, wears a Mk II version of the armor, which is also explosive (but not helicopter-blade) resistant. And it doesn't seem to weigh them down.
Girdeux also wore armor comparable to the shock troops, and was only defeated by his flamethrower exploding.
Nintendo Hard: Most of the games are fairly tough, but 2 in particular is brutal.
In the first three games, there is a code that will unlock the Hard Difficulty. Harder Than Hard, that is.
In The Omega Strain, every level can be nightmarishly difficult: to unlock the best guns, abilities, and ranks, the player has to complete all the objectives on every mission while on a time limit. To do this requires memorizing when and where everything happens, and praying that they don't get screwed by soldiers who magically appear out of thin air, extremely weak people you have to escort, or a completely random glitch. With very little margin for error, players should expect to replay almost every level several times, or in some of the tougher ones, dozens of times.
Oblivious to Love: In Logan's Shadow, Teresa reveals to Gabe that Lian is in love with him. She also reveals that he was the only one who didn't notice.
Once an Episode: Every game from the original trilogy ended with Mara's laugh.
One-Book Author: John Chacon voiced Gabe in the first three games. By all accounts, he hasn't done anything since.
The Other Darrin: Mara had four different voice actress in the first four games. Lian was voiced by Ava Fang in the first game, and then by Zoe Galvez in 2 and 3. Starting with The Omega Strain, almost all the returning characters (except for Teresa) were recast with more famous voice actors.
Regional Riff: In The Omega Strain, each region uses a certain ethnic style of music, such as mandolins in Italy, Arabic instruments and vocals in Yemen, Mongolian-type music in Kyrgyzstan, and traditional Japanese instruments in Tokyo.
Remixed Level: The D.C. subway, Rhoemer's base, Rhoemer's warehouses, Pharcom Expo Center, Aljir Prison, Agency Bio Lab.
Right Wing Militia Fanatic: Averted. Teresa recounts how she, as an ATF sniper, came to assist FBI agents against a militia. It turned out that the FBI agents were actually rogue NSA agents. They were killing everybody (militia or otherwise) in order to get their hands on a satellite data that was in the militia's compound. This incident is where she first met Gabe.
Time Bomb: The terrorists in the first game loved using them. The first level was a race to disarm one. It ends badly, and you have to fight out of the wrecked subway.
Too Soon: 3 was originally going to be released on September 25, 2001. However, due to 9/11, the game release date was pushed back to November 5. Also, the original cover for the game had Gabe and Lian in a building with the U.S. flag in the background while the virus was behind them. Due to the anthrax scare that occurred a week later, the cover and packaging was changed.
Unwinnable by Design: While it's certainly possible to finish The Omega Strain, if you want to get all the weapons, all the ranks, and get the best ending, you need to play the game both off-line, and online to complete certain objectives and criteria (such as completing team-based objectives you can't get in single-player mode). However, with the online servers now shut down, it's impossible to fully complete the game and unlock all the goodies.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: The air taser in the first game delivered fairly horrific deaths to those unfortunate enough to be struck with it. And they screamed the whole time. And burst into flames. Also, you have this weapon from the start, it never runs out of uses, and it's considered a silent weapon, making it one of the most useful things you carry.
It was fun watching goons squirm using the taser.
Try tasering your allies. Their screams can be quite amusing.
Then there's the M-90 Grenade Launcher, which for some bizarre reason, still informed you of when you lined up a headshot in first-person aiming mode. Not that you needed it since it's exactly what it says on the tin.
Tired of lugging Imani's corpse around? At the end of the level, just dump it in the filthy jungle river, and leave it to rot!
Western Terrorists: The PS1 trilogy, which mostly focused on a German terrorist and his Eastern European allies trying to spread the Syphon Filter virus, and it turned out that the Agency was in on it. Averted in the later games.