Silent Scope Complete
The three (four, if you count the bonus EX) Silent Scopes bundled in Complete let you live out that childhood fantasy of protecting innocent civilians by shooting terrorists with a very large rifle from a great distance. But for some reason, in the world of Silent Scope, most of the situations you're put in are pretty ridiculous. I mean, really...what terrorist is going to carry the president's daughter across a football field during a game? But it's that kitschy over-the-top-ness, coupled with sharp (but slightly dated) graphics, that makes Scope such an enjoyable distraction. It is a shame, however, that Complete doesn't do anything to upgrade the visuals or gameplay of these older games. And Scope 1 and 2 can't hold a candle to the options and unlockables offered by the third installment. Still, it's not a terrible package for the price, and it's definitely worth picking up if you've got an Xbox lightgun gathering dust next to House of the Dead III.
As thrilling (and controversial) as it is to be put in the role of a sniper, any positive feelings here are sufficiently dampened by the Xbox pad. Unless you're willing to pony up 40 bucks for a gun, Scope is bound to frustrate you. These games belong in the arcade with dedicated guns and scopes, because moving the cursor around with a pad, not to mention zooming in and out, just isn't pinpoint or quick enough. Konami should be commended for including the entire series, with Scope 3 being the jewel here, but it's hard to recommend a game that you can beat in a weekend.
My eyes aren't so good anymore. After extended playtime with Silent Scope Complete, sitting 3 feet away from the television, scanning for targets the size of dust mites, my peepers gave out before my thumbs did. Next went my mind--blown to smithereens by the excruciatingly bad voice acting and absurd cinemas (which show their low-budget arcade roots all too well). I actually enjoyed the gameplay, though. It has smooth controls and intense moments, and it's as solid as any sniping moment found in any other shooter. Just watch out for that crazy difficulty spike that happens about halfway through each title--and don't forget the Visine.