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Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror

Comparison:

Censored PSP (Intern. PS2) Version
Region: Europe / Worldwide

Uncensored PSP Version
Rating: ESRB M+
Region: USA

Release: Dec 05, 2013 - Author: Motoko - Translator: Bensn
In 1997, the first part of the series was released for the PlayStation just to find its way to the PS2 after two other parts. In 2006, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror made his debut on the PlayStation Portable and was released as a porting for the PS2 the year after. That happened, however, also in the USA only by a censored version along with an accordingly low age rating (“Teen” instead of “Mature”).

The story:
As commander of an agency, which does not exist officially, Gabe Logon is being specialized in missions too dangerous for usual intelligence services and too delicate for a military intervention. You take control over this dangerous special agent and fight against the newest threat to the civilized world: A project only known as “Dark Mirror”.

Playing the role of Gabe Logan in the well-known stealth-manner, you fight against a terrorist organization which has occupied an oil refinery. Some of the approximately 30 missions have to be mastered while playing the role of his partner Lian Xing. The two characters have a big arsenal at their disposal which consists of ballistic weapons and typical agents’ gadgets like thermo-graphic cameras, night scopes and EDSU goggles in order to detect mines or hidden items. The game allows various ways of proceeding – thus it is your choice to either fire your way through each level in the Ego-Shooter-like way (rather only while playing the lowest difficulty level) or to make use of more refined methods, like the stealth kill. The usage of your surroundings (by exploding objects) can help to eliminate the enemy. These subtle strategies are especially important in order to unlock bonus-weapons. A mission that has been completed in the story mode can be replayed at any time to accomplish given aims regarding certain kills. These objectives are divided into kills by camouflage, knife, arrow and surroundings. A camouflage-kill means that you have to neutralize the enemy without being noticed by him. If you use the knife for that, you will kill two birds with one stone as this way of killing is being classified as both camouflage- and knife-kill. For kills by arrow, you can use several arrows which are shot from a rifle. Usually you must set priorities before a mission for it is not possibly to conduct all methods within one stage. Likewise, the survival is being honored, i.e. you have to accomplish the mission in one go without dying in the meantime. Bonus items are also being unlocked by head shots and by discovery of secret documents.

The censorships of the EU-Version:
The version sold in Germany is identical to the one which is available in the rest of Europe, and in contrast to the US-Version, it has been censored. The depiction of blood has been removed in some places. That affects the knife attack as well as the blood stains on the walls and floor. Additionally, no blood splatters whatsoever can be seen when the own character dies by colliding with a big object like a train. However, other blood splatters which are brought about by firearms, damage textures and the ragdoll behavior of corpses stayed untouched. Moreover, the EU-Version lacks the ability to set enemies on fire. The Gameplay-video which is being shown in a tiny window of the Dashboard-menu of the PSP after you have inserted the UMD has been shortened to this effect. Right before the soldier catches fire, the video switches to the next scene.

International PS2 Versoin
The later released PS2 port has almost been identical censored as the PSP version. Because of that, this comaparison partly applies to the international PS2 version as well. However, some more alterations were made in the PS2 version: Blood has been removed/reduced. Textures showing damages as weel. Ragdoll effects have been taken out. The US PS2 Version was therefore rated 'Teen' instead of 'Mature'. Sicne this comparison was only made with the censored and uncensored PSP version, this differences are not listed and are only mentioned here.

Abuses regarding persons have been alleviated as well with the result that an underage girl is exposed to fewer dangers and cannot be killed by the player anymore. Ways of kill have been extracted from two missions. Furthermore, the boss in a sequence is being eliminated by Gabe Logan in a different way. One bonus level contains a censorship regarding the sounds – the loading of a weapon as well as a shot cannot be heard anymore. The covers of the two versions are also differing as only the US-version shows the gun with a bullet coming out of it.

Blood effects
Fire
Abuses
Censorshipds regarding the under aged Blake
Missing ways of Kill
Censored final fight
Censorship of sounds

Compared were the uncut US-Version and the cut German version.



Blood effects


Blood splatters

When you sneak up on an enemy from behind, you are able to perform a melee-attack using your knife. Gabe Logan grabs at the enemy in order to stab him in the throat. The censored version lacks the blood splatters spouting out of the victim’s wound. (The clothes of the enemies vary between the two versions; that is why the enemy wears a mask at one point and does not at the other – i.e. no censorship.)

Uncensored version:Censored version:




At the beginning of the seventh mission, one can see a rendered video showing Logan who is hiding behind a wire-netting fence waiting for the patrolling guard to approach. When the time is right, the agent grabs at his victim and stabs him in the neck. Just before the blade penetrates into the victim, the censored version shows the action from a different perspective. Thus, the blood splatters cannot be seen any more in the US-version.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Blood on walls

When an enemy is hit while standing in front of a wall, the US-version sometimes shows a bloodstain emerging there. In contrast to that, the walls of the uncensored version stay clean at all times. Although it is possible to create additional blood splatters and damage textures as well, floors and walls stay always unsoiled.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




You must eliminate three snipers during the first bonus level. One of them is standing near a window. Due to a headshot, the US-version always shows blood being splattered on the building’s wall, which can rather be regarded as a scripted event. The frontage in the censored version, by contrast, is blood repellent.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




At the beginning of the third part of the seventh mission, you are trapped in a sluice. An enemy soldier is sitting behind a glass plate and is filling the room with gas as soon as he spots you. To avoid that, you tiptoe into sight of agent Lian who stands in the room together with the enemy and instruct her to attack. She will sneak up on the solider from behind and kill him. In doing so, the US-version shows her using a knife before blood splatters on the safety glass. The German version allows her only to break the enemy’s neck bloodlessly.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Own blood splatters

When being hit by big things like a centrifuge or a train, only the US-version shows blood splatters while the EU-version stays bloodless. The blood splatters of the own character created by guns, however, stay untouched.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Burning

The tutorial explains the effects of an EPDD (a taser which sends electroshocks to the enemy by a cable using EDT-technology). The US-version informs during a sequence about the fact that an enemy can be set on fire by a long-lasting current supply. The censored version does not permit the enemies to burn; hence, the remark during the tutorial is missing. However, when you call up the inventory during a mission, the EU-version also contains information about the possibility of setting an enemy on fire.

(Pictures only from the uncensored version:)




Now, when you shoot the taser and hold down the fire button, after about four seconds an explosion occurs and the enemy is in flames. After another four seconds, he stands there screaming and burning to subsequently drop dead. Since the setting on fire of characters (with the exception of the own character) is not possible in the censored version anymore, the soldier slumps lifelessly down after three to four seconds already. Merely a bit of black smoke arises. For flaming your enemies in the US-version, it is also possible to use EDT-darts, mines, the flare gun or exploding barrels.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




During the first mission (part 4), only the US-version shows a burning enemy bumping into Logan and thus endangering him. This enemy is not there in the censored version at all.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Abuses

There are three places in the US-version of the game where you run into members of the Red Section who threaten other persons. These torture scenes have been removed from the German version.


Mission 3 – part 1:

While you stand in a corridor, the uncensored version lets you watch a soldier punching a woman with his hand in her face in order to squeeze information out of her. After you have neutralized him, the woman thanks Logan within a sequence. The censored version lacks the woman entirely and the man is only standing at the window.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Mission 4 - part 1:

A sequence playing in In-game graphics shows a member of the Red Section threatening an UN-soldier who is kneeling right in front of him. The US-version shows the gangster punching him three times with his fist in the face while blood is splattering. The German version is a bit different: There, the UN-solider is being threatened with a gun. The perspective changes and a close-up view shows the aggressor loading a gun which is followed again by a distance shot and finally a shot from slantingly above which shows him pointing the weapon at his victim.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Mission 4 - part 2:

Again two UN-soldiers are in trouble. One has already been shot – that can only be heard in both version – and the second one is being threatened with a gun. In this sequence, only the US-version shows the second UN-soldier being also shot before Logan’s eyes, and you can see blood splattering as the bullet is perforating the upper body of the victim. Although one soldier survives the execution in the uncensored version, he is no longer there in the remaining game.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Censorships regarding the under aged Blake

The young daughter of Addison Hargrove is less jeopardized in the censored version. Since you don’t have to rescue her anymore, the difficulty level has been reduced.


Mission 7 - part 2:

The second part of the seventh mission starts a sequence which shows Blake being handcuffed at the floor of a cooling basin. In the US-version, water is being fed into the basin now and the last shot shows the water slowly reaching the platform which the girl is sitting on. Now, a timer is being activated and you have three minutes time to open the valves at the bottom of the basin in order to save the girl from drowning. The EU-version does not shoot any water through the pipes anymore. It has already reached a level that is dangerous for Blake. There is no timer activated, but you must open the valves in order to let out the water anyway. Strangely enough, the censored sequence does not show any water on the bottom of the basin within the first image yet.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




If you do not manage to open the valves in the US-version within three minutes, a sequence is shown in which you can see Blake trying to keep her head above the water surface. However, the water level has risen too high already; she drowns and lowers her head.

(Images only from the uncensored version:)




Mission 7 - part 3:

As soon as you try to enter the room in which Blake is kept imprisoned, a door opens and a soldier comes out to obstruct Gabe Logan. In the US-version, Blake is being used by the aggressor as a human shield and you have got ten seconds to kill the enemy with an aimed headshot; otherwise the girl will be killed and you fail the mission and have to restart. Moreover, you have to keep a certain distance or else the soldier panics and kills the girl immediately. The censored version shows the enemy standing in the door alone while Blake is waiting safely in a corner of the room.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Blake cannot be shot by the player (Logan or Lian) in the censored version anymore – the bullets go through her. This censorship, however, only affects Blake, for Lian can still be killed by Logan in the EU-version.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Missing ways of kill

The censored version lacks ways of kill in two missions by not containing either the murder weapon (train) or the victim itself.


Mission 7 - part 3:

During this level, you enter a room which a centrifuge that is being used for training astronauts is located in. In the US-version, there is a guard in front of it only waiting to be pushed into this giant sling. The censored version lacks the soldier and therefore also his part in the sequence which is shown when you enter the room:

Uncensored version:Censored version:




The US-version allows you to sneak up on the enemy in order to push him into the room with the centrifuge in it. He falls to the ground, does not manage to stand up as quickly as it would be necessary to leave the danger zone and is being hit by the rear end of the centrifuge. Blood splatters around and the body is tossed against the wall. His body is hit by each lap of the centrifuge and the whole spectacle can be seen up to three times until the corpse finally dissolves.

(Images only from the uncensored version:)




Inside the centrifuge’s control room, you must stop the sling in order to make it possible for Gabe’s colleague Lian Xing to enter the room safely and place a bomb. The US-version shows two soldiers subsequently showing up and following the agent. You can now restart the centrifuge to eliminate them. The two Red Section members do not even appear in the censored version.

(Images only from the uncensored version:)




Due to the three missing soldiers in the censored version, you are not able, on the one hand, to conduct kill by surroundings by using the centrifuge anymore. On the other hand, the possibilities for kills by arrow or stealth kill are missing as well. The lonely guy in the corridor namely is one of four enemies suitable for a stealth-kill. All other enemies in the course of the game are already alarmed. Therefore, the censored version lacks only one camouflage-kill. The statistics have been adjusted to make it possible to also reach 100 % in the censored version.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Mission 7 - part 4:

In the last level of the main mission, you fight against the final boss inside an underground train station. There, trains pass by about every 30 seconds. On the one hand, they can be used as cover in order to move safely across the platform; on the other hand, they can also be used to kill one or two soldiers. Even though the enemies are careful enough to only enter the rails after the train has left the platform, it is possible to keep them as long in the danger zone, e.g. by means of a taser, as it is necessary to have them run over by the train. The German version shows only two moving trains at the beginning, then not again. There is not enough time to deal with these kills by surroundings in detail.

(Images only from the uncensored version:)




The statistics have been adjusted to the censored version. A kill by surroundings is no longer possible or necessary. The term “kill” has been translated into German by the word “liquidation”. The EU-PSP-Version however, is multilingual by the language settings of the console. If you set the language to English, there is talk of “kills” again.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Due to the fact that there are only two trains running in the EU-Version, the boss-fight is even on the highest possible difficulty level far easier than before. In particular, if you position yourself inside the track bed in front of the platform which the boss stands on, you are safe from his hits and have enough time to treat him with the taser in order to break through his shield and riddle him with bullets afterwards. The US-version makes it impossible for you to stand there that long, as an approaching train means death.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




Censored final fight

When you have eventually defeated Singularity, a sequence is shown in In-game graphics. Logan drags him to the brink of the platform and keeps him covered with his rifle. As a train approaches, the US-version shows him kicking his rival in the back whereupon you can see him tumbling in front of the train in slow-motion; Blood splatters can be seen. The next view shows the train from above and after it has passed finally, a bloodstain and the enemy who is lying dead on the rails become visible. The censored version shows Singularity turning to Logan with a gun in his hand. As the train comes in, he starts firing at our agent who can save himself by evading the field of fire with a roll. Now, the rails are shown from above; the train passes and a shot can be heard. Right after this, you can see Singularity lying dead on the platform from above.

Uncensored version:Censored version:




sound censorship in the first bonus level

The sniper Gary Stoneman received the instruction from Gabe Logan to kill two of his arch-enemies: Mara Aramov and Elsa Weissenger. Their common flat is bugged which makes it possible to hear what is going on inside the premises. If you miss only one of the subjects, Mara will hear the shot and suspect Elsa to have hired someone to kill her. Consequently, Mara loads her weapon, there is a shot and Dr. Weissinger goes down. The censored version lacks the sounds of the weapon’s loading and the shot itself. However, they forgot to adjust the subtitles. This mission, by the way, contains the “partial nudity” which is identical in both version.

( Mara Aramov und Elsa Weissenger:)

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