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"Syphon Filter" Beta Footage

A game reviewer for several years, Tobias reviews games from any decade. They tend to ramble about game design and old media.

"Syphon Filter"

Back in the '90s, Metal Gear Solid hit the world hard. Many game companies would try to tackle the stealth action genre, but none would compete as well as Syphon Filter did. Playing as Gabe Logan, you team up with Lian Xian to try and stop a terrorist group from releasing a deadly virus called "Syphon Filter."

Gabe Logan goes all over the globe to chase down the various members of the group. Disarming bombs, destroying bases, sneaking around catacombs and fighting helicopters. It is a great mix of stealth action all at once and doesn't stop to take a break.

The game was a huge hit, a few stores I went to as a kid even had stickers on the cases for this saying "Try this if you like Metal Gear Solid!" It went on to release several games before slowly coming to a close. While Sony has never officially cancelled the series, we also haven't see Gabe in over ten years. Now with Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell) and Snake (Metal Gear Solid) looking like their games are retiring as well, it is definitely becoming a much more niche market.

This footage was ripped from one of the many demo discs I keep around to archive old game trailers, or behind the scenes footage I find. In an effort to archive it on my channel. This is one of the most glaring trailers I have in terms of differences. If you read below I can list them.

  • Gabe's Health bar was different.
  • Gabe's Armor bar was different and separated from his health bar, in the final release you take damage until the armor is gone then start to lose health.
  • Ammo counters are bolder and brighter and also use a : to separate the two numbers instead of the final / that was used (EX: 10:45 instead of 10/45).
  • Gabe's mini map was a circle instead of a square and transparent instead of blue, I think this may have been changed later to just give it a more sleek look.
  • Gabe's outfit color and design was way different than the final build.
  • Enemy colors and looks were a lot different as well.
  • The game seemed like it was meant to be harder right off the bat, with enemies having .45 Pistols in the first levels.
  • The Danger meter was huge, along with the Health and Armor bars.
  • Odd notifications such as whenever you were hit would display on the bottom of the screen.
  • The model spaceship in the exhibit level could be shot down onto enemies.
  • Font in general had a much more edged or jagged look.
  • Could be the footage, but the levels seemed to be much darker in color than the final result.

This trailer was released on the Winter 1998 PlayStation Underground Demo Disc, and with Syphon Filter releasing that coming February 1999, I personally believe that the footage is much much older, probably something that was shown at gaming expos and was quickly thrown on to advertise the game.

Hopefully someday we can find a playable build of this particular version of the game, because I would love to archive it and show it to the world. But as the days tick forward these things are getting harder and harder to find. And there is a good chance this build was never even playable. It could have been a showcase build, (certain areas that were finished, were played through and prerecorded to be shown later). Meaning if the build does exist, it may not even work.

But some time ago, Resident Evil 1.5 was officially leaked and was patched up to be completely playable (for the most part), so one must not give up hope.


There is a lot still to learn about the history of Syphon Filter's development, and I search as much as I can. It is after all, one of my favorite games of all time. I do produce a decent amount of behind the scenes content, game trailers, commercials, and other various things I find related to old games in an effort to preserve them for years to come. Consider sticking around and maybe I can dig up even more hidden treasure.

The VGArchive is dedicated to preserving all things gaming and wont stop until we have it all!

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© 2020 Tobias Rieper