Combat/Tactics Guide by laughinghyenavelox

Version: 3.1 | Updated: 05/22/03 | Printable Version

Syphon Filter and Syphon Filter 2
Combat Tactics and Weapon Specifications Guide
By Laughing Hyena Velox (	Website:
Version 3.1

Table O' Contents:

SECTION 	1	Introduction
		2	Controls
		3	General Tactics
		4	Weapons
		5	Specific Tactics
		6	Q&A
		7	Misc. Stuff

SECTION 1	Introduction:

	This document is a guide to combat in the Playstation games Syphon Filter and
Syphon Filter 2 (when refrring to the first game, I will use the term Syphon
Filter 1 or SF1, when refering to the second, I will use Syphon Filter 2 SF2; I
will refer to the entire series as Syphon Filter or SF).  It details tactics
and strategies for playing the games' action segments.  There are no secrets,
cheats or walkthroughs, just tips on how the game works and how to play it
well.  However, if you are new to Syphon Filter and need some tips on how to
play, or if you are a veteran of the series but want to improve your skills,
read this guide.
	Some of the tips in the first strategy section (Section II) is not specific to
Syphon Filter; they were actually taken from tactics hyenas use in predation
and dealing with rival predators.  However, I wrote on how these apply to the
game and how to use them.  Hyenas are so smart.  And fluffy.  The other
strategy sections and Syphon Filter specific; they give details on game
mechanics and specific strategies.
	Any questions, comments, corrections, contact me at
[] and please use
ďSyphon FilterĒ as your subject heading so it doesnít get mixed up in my
hyena-mail and junk-mail.

Hyenas Forever!

SECTION 2	Controls:

The manual for both Syphon Filter games do not make the controls very clear. 
Here is a short, clear version of the default controls:

Any mode:

  Start		Use ACD
  Select		Switch weapons+
  Select (hold)	Open weapons display+
  L2 and R2		Cycle through weapons when weapons display is open+

+not when rolling, climbing or hanging

Normal Situation:

  Up			Move forward
  Down		Step backward
  Down (tap)	Turn 180 degrees
  Left/Right	Turn left or right, respectively

  Square**		Use weapon
  Triangle		Reload, pick up item, operate device,
			toggle switch, climb, recieve transmission
			via ACD, open door etc.
  Circle		Roll (dodge maneuver)
  X			Crouch*
  L1	(hold)	Manual aiming mode
  L2			Move left
  R1	(hold)	Automatic aiming mode
  R2			Move right

Auto-aim Mode:

  Up			Move forward relative to target
  Down		Move backward relative to target
  Left		Move left relative to target
  Right		Move right relative to target

  Square**		Use weapon
  Triangle		Reload, pick up item, operate device,
			toggle switch, climb, recieve transmission
			via ACD, open door etc.
  Circle		Roll (dodge maneuver)
  X			Crouch*
  L2			Move left relative to target
  R1 (tap)		Switch target
  R2			Move right relative to target

Manual Aiming Mode:

    Up		Aim down
  Down		Aim up
  Left		Aim left
  Right		Aim right

  Square**		Use weapon
  Triangle		Reload, pick up item, operate device,
			toggle switch, climb, recieve transmission
			via ACD, open door etc.
  Circle		Zoom out (with scope)
  X (hold)		Crouch*
  L2 (hold)		Shift left*
  R2 (hold)		Shift right*

*you will return to your original position when you release the button.
**hold for automatic fire, tap for single shot/burst

SECTION 3	General Tactics:

	Dodge fast and bite hard!:

	This is a very effective tactic, taken from situations where hyena packs face
off against lions.  Attack or pursue an opponent, but back off or dodge when he
faces you to avoid a counterattack.  In Syphon Filter pretty much every enemy
has a ranged weapon; backing away probably won't help but moving behind cover
does.  For quickly popping in and out, try using manual aim and using to L2, R2
and X buttons to pop up and quickly return to a safe position.  Also, watch the
danger meter; it tells you whether an enemy is targeting you and how close he
is to actually hitting you.  When it flashes, it's time to dodge or kill your
antagonist quickly.  When moving out of an enemy's way, don't forget to roll;
it decreases your chances of getting hit.

	Don't waste carcasses:

	Hyenas waste nearly nothing; they will eat the carcasses of fallen opponents
and rivals (after the fighting stops, of course).  In Syphon Filter it is
EXTREMELY important to search every killed enemy for items, weapons and
ammunition.  Half the weapons and ammo you get comes from your opponents.


	Opportunity can sometimes be a hyena's most potent advantage.  A hyena can
find ways to acomplish a goal without working as hard, in ways such as
attacking prey that is weak or distracted, and taking on lions when they are
outnumbered or wounded.  In Syphon Filter taking on a distracted enemy or
waiting for the right moment to strike can mean the difference between survival
and defeat.  It is possible to rush an opponent with the knife when it is
reloading or hesitating, and taking down a distracted foe can get you an easy
ammo pickup.

	Retreat when approached:

	When hyenas are attacked by lions, they will sometimes initially retreat, but
regroup and counterattack.  In Syphon Filter, itís often a good idea to back
off when a group enemies appears, then use the in-and-out strategy discussed
above to eliminate them.  Taking on a group of opponents and letting them
surround you is never a good idea.

	Assume a Defensive Position:

When a single hyena is attacked by a group of antagonists, it will assume a
defensive crouch and fend off its attackers.  In Syphon Filter crouching behind
cover is an effective defensive tactic.  Remember that you canít hold position
indefinitely; youíll have to counterattack eventually.  However, a good
defensive position helps you take on enemies at your own pace.

	Attacking Legs:

	Legs, despite containing any vital organs, are important to survival.  For
example, a hyena or hyena pack bites the legs of prey to make it collapse or
slow.  This works somewhat in Syphon Filter; although head shots are preferred,
a shot to the leg often negates any protection an enemy might have from a flak
jacket.  With the air taser a head shot and leg shot have the same effect
(electrocution).  However, damaging the legs does not actually cause tripping
or falling because of game engine limitations.  Note that shooting the legs
might cause less damage than a body shot if the enemy in question doesn't
actually have a flak jacket.


	Groups of hyenas isolate their enemies or prey to make them easier to pick
off.  It's a lot easier to grab a wildebeest calf when it's unprotected. 
However, in Syphon Filter, you usually won't have an ally to help you, and if
you do, they probably won't act as a distraction while you pick off enemies. 
The trick is to position yourself so that only one enemy can fight you at one

	Don't always fight:

	Sometimes, it's best to run when confronted with bad odds.  A single hyena
can't hope to take on an entire pride of lions.  When retreating in Syphon
Filter, it's best to remember that enemies can still shoot you from far away,
so try turning corners or crouching behind cover when pursued.  Sometimes you
might have to settle for shooting only the enemies in blocking your path and
avoiding the others.  When running from enemies, don't forget to roll.  Note
that most of the time it's best to eliminate as many enemies as possible;
retreat when you're desperate, not when you have a chance.
	It is also a good idea to simply evade enemies while completing non-combat
objectives; it is useless to try to fight every enemy when your priority should
lie in the mission goals.  A hyena disptuing a kill with African wild dogs
doesn't bother biting at every dog, it goes in and grabs the meat.

SECTION 4	Weapons

How weapon descriptions are structured:

Name: (name of weapon)
Clip size: (number of shots in one clip/how many clips you can carry)
Ammo Capacity: (for weapons without clips, how much ammo can be held inside)
Weapon size: (whether the weapon is large or small, which determines its firing
Pickup: (how much ammo you get from taking an enemy's weapon)
Damage: (how much damage it causes, taking into account firing rate.  This is
based on what it seems like in-game, rather than manual or pause screen
Firing mode: (semi-auto, automatic, etc.)
			Semiautomatic - fires every time you press the fire button
			Automatic - fires until you release the button
			Manual Reload - fires once and then must be reloaded or reset
Description: (how it can be used, how good it is in, availability, etc.)

While some information is taken from the in-game descriptions, I have made
adjustments based on experience.  The damage rating is not the damage from one
shot, but how much damage the weapon can cause given any period of time.  For
example, the G18, while average in damage, fires so fast that it causes enough
damage to be rated as a more powerful weapon.


9mm Semiautomatic
Clip size: 15/6
Weapon size: Small
Pickup: 10
Damage: Low-Medium
Firing mode: Semi-automatic
Description: The 9mm is an okay weapon that causes a bit of damage and being
semiautomatic, has a decent firing rate.  However, you can usually get better
weapons.  Ammo doesnít show up often for this weapon, but it really isn't
reliable anyway.

.45 Semiautomatic
Clip size: 10/6
Weapon size: Small
Pickup: 10 (full clip)
Damage: Heavy
Firing mode: Semi-automatic
Description:  The .45 is a powerful weapon and causes one-shot kills at close
range.  However, it really doesn't have much ammo capacity.  However,
ammunition is plentiful in some situations and the .45 packs so much of a punch
the amount of rounds expended is relatively low.

G-18 Machine Pistol
Clip size: 33/6
Weapon size: Small
Pickup: 33
Damage: Heavy
Firing mode: Full automatic
Description:  While small, the G-18 can really rip through enemies with its
incredibly fast firing rate.  It can tear through even armoured enemies like a
hungry hyena through fresh meat!  However, it runs out of ammo quickly and
there aren't many enemies that carry it.  Save it for desperate situations or
use it in conservative bursts.

BIZ-2 Machine Pistol
Clip size: 66/6
Weapon size: Small
Pickup: 66 (full clip)
Damage: Medium-Heavy
Firing mode: Full automatic
Description: The BIZ-2 is a powerful, fast weapon that holds plenty of ammo. 
Even with one clip, the BIZ-2 has enough firepower to take on a whole bunch of
enemies.  Itís a good, all purpose weapon that can handle just about any
situation.  Extra ammo isn't always common, but just one clip can last a while
if used sparingly.

HK-5 Machine Pistol
Clip size: 32/6
Weapon size: Small
Pickup: 8 (SF1) or 16 (SF2)
Damage: Medium-Heavy
Firing mode:  Full automatic
Description:  A good weapon to reach for in non-specialized situations, the
HK-5 is a fast-firing, powerful machine pistol, although technically inferior
to the BIZ-2 in ammunition capacity.  Usually, ammo from fallen enemies is
common, so go ahead and unload on enemies.

12 Gauge Shotgun
Ammo capacity:  25
Weapon size: Large
Pickup: 5
Damage: Heavy
Firing mode:  Manual reload
Description:  While it has obvious weaknesses, such as its slow firing rate,
reduced (about half) damage at long range, and its small ammo capacity, the
shotgun is an excellent weapon.  It loses effectiveness when used against large
groups of enemies.

Combat Shotgun (SF1 only)
Ammo capacity:  30
Weapon size: Large
Pickup: 5
Damage: Heavy
Firing mode:  Manual reload
Description:  The combat shotgun is surprisingly similar to the normal one,
except that it holds 30 shells.  Treat it as the same weapon.

UAS-12 Automatic Shotgun
Ammo capacity: 12
Pickup: ??
Damage: Heavy
Firing mode: Full automatic
Description: The UAS-12 is a powerful automatic shotgun; while its firing rate
is lower than most automatic weapons, it has the power of a 12-gauge.  Its main
weakness is its small ammo capacity.

PK-102 Assault Rifle
Clip size: 30/6
Weapon size: Large
Pickup: 10 (SF1) or 15 (SF2)
Damage: Medium
Firing mode:  Fully automatic
Description:  Like the M-16, the PK-102 is a good medium weapon for general
use.  It has a good firing rate and can eliminate unarmoured enemies quickly. 
However, ammo is not always abundant, so be careful with it.  It has about the
same damage and firing rate as the M-16.

M-16 Assault Rifle
Clip size: 30/5
Weapon size: Large
Pickup: 15
Damage: Medium
Firing mode: Full automatic
Description:  A good all-round weapon, the M16 has a pretty good firing rate,
and has lots of ammo.  It makes a good main weapon to use for general purposes.
 In most situations where the M16 is available there are plenty of clips to be
taken from enemies, so donít be afraid to use ammo.

K3G4 Assault Rifle
Clip size: 20/6
Weapon size: Small
Pickup: ??
Damage:  Medium
Firing mode:  Fully automatic
Description:  The K3G4 fires special rounds that pierce flak jackets.  Itís
useful for eliminating armoured enemies when you donít have time for head or
leg shots, or when youíre badly wounded.  While it is technically an assault
rifle, it has full a 360-degree firing arc.

Sniper Rifle
Clip size: 10/3
Weapon size: Large
Pickup: 10 (full clip)
Damage: Low
Firing mode:  Semi-automatic
Description:  The sniper rifle has a zooming scope that can identify parts of a
targetís body.  Despite this, itís still a weak weapon thatís really not
useful.  Its scope is good for studying enemies up close, if you really need
to.  If needed, it can be used in a fire-fight, but the even the 9mm is

Nightvision Rifle
Clip size: 10/3
Weapon size: Large
Pickup: 10 (full clip)
Damage: Low
Firing mode:  Semi-automatic
Description:  The nightvision rifle is like the sniper rifle, without the fancy
optical-recognition.  It has an infrared scope, so itís good for scouting out
enemy positions.  Note that this weapon fires slower than the sniper rifle;
avoid using it in dangerous situations.  It has a wider field of view than the
sniper rifle in SF1, though the reverse is true in SF2.

H11 Automatic Sniper Rifle (SF2 only)
Clip size: 50/6
Weapon size: Large
Pickup: 50
Damage: Medium
Firing mode: Full automatic
Description:  The H11 has an awesome firing rate that rivals the G-18 and a
huge clip.  However, it fires low-calibre rounds that relatively little harm;
however, because of its firing speed, it can match an assault rifle in actual
damage.  The H11 also has a basic scope with crosshairs and limited zoom.

Explosive/Gas Weapons:

Incendiary Grenade:
Max. Carried: 10
Damage: Instant incineration/instant-kill shockwave
Description:  This grenade explodes in a cloud of ammonium perchlorate, an
inflammable substance.  It incinerates enemies and has a shockwave that will
knock them over, but burns out quickly, meaning it wonít leave a smoking crater
in the ground.  It has a delayed detonation of a few seconds.  This weapon has
a large blast so be very careful.

Soman Nerve Gas Grenade:
Max. Carried: 10
Damage: Unconsciousness, later death
Description:  Unlike the incendiary grenade, this device releases a powerful
nerve gas that stuns and eventually kills enemies.  Be careful not to gas
yourself.  Gas grenades have no timer, they always explode on impact.

M-79 Grenade Launcher
Ammo Capacity: 15
Weapon size: Small
Pickup: 1
Damage: Instant incineration/instant-kill shockwave
Firing Mode:  Manual reload
Description:  The M-79 is a powerful long-range grenade launcher that fires
40mm fragmentation grenades.  The grenades explode on impact and have a rather
large blast radius, making it a dangerous weapon to use in close quarters. 
This weapon has a huge blast, so be very careful in close quarters.

Ammo Capacity: 5
Weapon size: Small
Damage: Instant unconsciousness (can kill with head-shot)
Description:  The crossbow fires a dart with a chemical payload that causes
unconsciousness on contact.  Aiming for the head can result in killing the
target.  This weapon has extremely limited ammunition and is never carried by
enemy forces.

Tear Gas Launcher:
Ammo Capacity: 5
Weapon Size: Small
Pickup: 1
Damage: Instant unconsciousnes
Description: The tear gas launcher can be used to quickly neutralize multiple
enemies quickly.  Special operatives are immune to the gas.  Gas cartridges
explode on impact

C4 Plastic Explosive:
Damage:  Demolition
Detonation mode: Timer or remote
Description: C4 is only for special purposes, not for combat.  However, misuse
can cause fatal accidents.  C4 is a very stable explosive; sharp maneuvering,
weapon recoil and being shot will not cause an explosion.

Special Weapons:

Combat Knife (SF2 only)
Weapon size: Small
Damage: Instant-kill
Description:  The combat knife is a very powerful weapon that can instantly
kill an enemy, even one with a flak jacket.  It can only be used a point-blank
range.  The best time to use it is when an enemy is distracted, reloading or
between bursts.  Remember: Opportunity is one of the hyena's most potent

Air Taser (Taser in SF1):
Weapon size: Small
Damage:  Delayed incineration
Description:  The hi-tech equivalent of the bite-the-neck-and-shake-hard
technique, the air taser shoots an electrocuted wire, which paralyzes enemies
and eventually incinerates them.  It is completely blocked by flak jackets, but
a leg or head shot negates this protection.  This weapon is a fire hazard, so
be careful not to burn yourself.

Taser (SF2 only):
Weapon size: Small
Damage: Instant unconsiousness
Description: The taser is a close range weapon that can instantly drop an enemy
with one touch.  It is not affected by flak jackets.  It replaces the knife in
some missions, and should be used in the same way.

SECTION 5	Specific Tactics:

These tips will not make sense if you are not familiar with Syphon Filter
games.  They are specific and often refer to the game mechanics.  The text
assumes that you are familiar with the basics of Syphon Filter gameplay.


When a weaponís clip (or chamber, etc.) is empty you will automatically reload.
 However, you can change clips when one is partially empty by pressing the
Triangle button (assuming you use the default control configuration).  This is
faster than the automatic reload and lets you have full ammo for the next
encounter.  If a clip is ejected while it is not empty, it is not discarded,
but returned to your extra ammo storage.


In general, the closer you are to an enemy, the more likely you will be able to
shoot it.  The reverse also applies; enemies will hit you more often when they
get close.  Stepping in front of an enemy is likely to cause you damage to your
flak jacket and possibly injury.

Firing Backward and Sideways:

Automatic aim allows you to not only fire forward, but to the sides and
backwards.  Shooting sideways is a good tactic because you can run forward
towards the next objective/checkpoint.  However, accuracy is decreased while
firing in any direction other than forward, so donít expect great results.  You
can also fire backwards, but only if you have a small weapon.  Weapons listed
as small in SECTION 3 have full 360 degreee firing arcs.

Manual Aim vs. Automatic Aim

There are advantages and disadvantages to each aiming mode; you will likely
need to know how to use both.  While using auto aim, you can move around while
firing, and the Target meter lets you know how likely you are to hit your
target.  You can also fire sideways and backwards.  However, auto-aiming points
your weapon in the general direction of the target; it is not very accurate. 
Manual aim has the advantage of being able to aim for specific parts of a
target, such as the legs and the head.  It is also very accurate and almost
guaranteed to hit what your crosshairs are pointing at.  Lining up a target
with manual aim often caused increased damage to the target; more shots will
hit the target and shotguns have their full effect.  Shooting an enemy with a
shotgun at long range with auto-aim causes reduced damage, but with manual aim
you can literally send the target flying.  You can also use the L2 and R2
buttons to move to the side and back again with manual aim, utilized in the
tactics discussed in the second section.

Camera Angle

Remember that you are not always facing the way that the camera is.  This is
important in auto-aim mode, where the camera points towards whatever you have
locked onto.  Make sure you are pointing directly at the target, especially
when using a large weapon.

Head Level Sweep

To quickly take out enemies with flak jackets, try using manual aim at head
level and ďsweepingĒ back and forth with an automatic weapon.  This is best
done with a G18, which has an amazing firing rate, or the H11, which has a
similar rate of fire.

Ammo/Armour Balance:

Remember that you should always aim to take more from enemies than you expend. 
If you use a burst of five PK-102 bullets to kill an enemy soldier and take his
ammo clip (10 shots), youíve gained 5 bullets.  Using a weak weapon, such as
the 9mm, or using the taser, which never runs out, and gaining ammo for better
weapons is usually worth the effort.  Also, if you take a hit fighting an
armoured enemy, you should try to take its flak jacket to patch up your own.


About the games:

Q: Is there any real gameplay difference between Syphon Filter 1 and 2?
A: There are some differences, such as weapons and some game engine quirks, but
the core gameplay is the same in both games, which is why I wrote one guide for
both games.  Here are some of the differences:

-"shifting" to the side using the L2 and R2 buttons in conjunction with manual
aiming mode causes taser problems in SF1
-"shifting" is slower in SF1 than SF2
-the weapons choices are different; see the weapons section for more info
-the shotgun continues firing if you hold the button down in SF1
-enemies will use head-shots in SF2
-some of the sound effects are different
-the HK-5 has a different appearance (possibly a different variation)
-the 9mm is always silenced in SF1
-the HK-5 is never silenced in SF1

Q: Will unconscious enemies ever wake up?
A: No.  They are effectively dead.

Q: Is it possible to accidentally harm an ally if he/she steps into the line of
A: Yes, it is possible.  Although allies will not be auto-targeted, be careful
that they don't get between you and your target.  A hyena must be careful who
it bites.

Q:  Are there any glitches in the games?
A:  Yes; the K3G4 and fuel hose leave flak jackets intact when they should have
been destroyed, in SF1 you cannot shift to the side with manual aim and use the
taser, the taser is SF1 breaks windows befores the wire even makes contact,
trying to fire in manual aim results in a click when you are unarmed and
sometimes there are odd graphic bugs.

Q:  Sometimes there is a short cutscene when I use the knife on an enemy.  What
causes this?
A:  I've seen the cutscene in the third mission when enemies were distracted by
an ally; as far as I know it means that the enemy was not targetting you and
probably wasn't paying attention.  It's a classic hyena tactic: take down the
target when someone else is distracting it.

Q:  Usually getting shot damages my flak jacket, but one time I got hit by a
burst with a fully intact jacket and I died immediately.  What happened?
A:  At close range, many weapons are more powerful; in addition, automatic
weapons hit more frequently, which can cause massive damage.  Either that, or
you got hit with a G-18.

Q:  Is there any way to save progress in the middle of a mission?
A:  Yes, but only in SF2.  Highlight "Options" on the ACD and select "Save and
quit game".

Q:  Can I be hurt while using the ACD?
A:  Yes and no.  If you press start to use your ACD, the game is paused and you
can't be harmed.  If you press Triangle to recieve transmissions from another
operative, enemies may surround you and open fire as soon as the transmission
ends.  However, this is rare.

Q:  Do you lose weapons after they're empty?
A:  No, but they won't be selectable by just pressing Select; you must hold
Select to open the weapons display or use your ACD's weapons info screen.  This
is useful to know if you want to use the scopes on the nightvision and sniper
rifles, but generally, selecting empty weapons is useless.

About the guide:

Q: Why does this guide cover both Syphon Filter 1 and 2?
A: Syphon Filter 1 and 2 are basically parts of the same game; they run off the
same engine with only minor variations, and SF2 continues the story of SF1. 
The basics of gameplay are essentially the same; making two guides would mean
repeated content.

Q: Is this guide official?
A: No.  This guide is not endorsed in any way by any of the corporations
involved in creating, distributing, publishing or marketing Syphon Filter
games.  All information here is based on the author's opinion and experience of
the games.

Q: What's with all the hyena stuff?
A: Hyenas are very smart.  They know a lot about this kind of thing.  And
they're fluffy.

SECTION 7	Misc. Stuff

This game guide is Copyright (C) 2003 Alex Lyn, AKA Laughing Hyena Velox
Syphon Filter is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.
This guide is not official; information contained within is partially opinion
of the author and based on the authorís experience of the Syphon Filter games.
All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.

This guide may only be used on the following sites:
	Laughing Hyena Den

If you find this guide on any other website or publication, please notify me.

Special thanks to:

	The Spotted Hyenas, who are truly noble animals.
	989 Studios and Sony for developing and producing this game, respectively.

Syphon Filter Official Website:
Authorís website: