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Released in January 1999, Syphon Filter was one of a dozen stealth games that came out after Metal Gear Solid. Gabriel Logan and Lian Xing are trying to stop international terrorist Erich Rhoemer.


Best time on the European version: 1:00:55 by Martin 'J.Y' Söderhäll on 2013-12-16, done in 20 segments.

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Author's comments:

Run history:

2006: 1:14:29 by Aaron Haynes (NTSC)

2012: 1:09:31 by J.Y (PAL)

2013: 1:00:55 by J.Y (PAL)


So I'm back again with another Syphon Filter speedrun. Even though my first run was OK, I wasn't that satisfied with it when I watched it again a couple of months after I completed it. There were also new stuff discovered afterwards which made it possible to shave off at least a couple of minutes of gameplay, and that's why I decided to improve my first run.

This time around I really tried to push myself as hard as I could, and even though the run took twice as much time to complete than the last run I think my patience paid off. As last time, I recorded this run on DVD, but I switched to a PS2 Slim for faster loading times, and used splitters so I could play without the latency I had last time.

Thanks goes out to my brother DanE, my dad for lending me his PS2 slim, everyone who watched the last run and last but not least, the SDA and the staff for maintaining this wonderful site!



Before I get into the level comments, there are a couple of glitches and techniques I would like to describe a little bit closer.

Button-skip glitches:

There are three methods of skipping the "animation" that you see when you press a button or activate anything that triggers an animation such as planting beacons or administer antigen.

1: Shooting glitch

When you're approaching a button, firing a weapon the same time as you press triangle makes you (almost) skip the whole animation that shows each time you press a button or open a crate. This works on almost every button and/or boxes in the whole game, and the animation takes just 4-5 frames instead of about 35-40 frames, depending on which type of action you perform .

2: Card skip glitch

Works almost the same as the shooting glitch. While having a keycard equipped, pressing and holding square while approaching a button makes the animation go a lot faster than the normal way. It takes about 6 frames to complete so it's a little bit slower than the shooting glitch, but it's more fail proof. This also works with the viral antigen that you use to inject serum on the test subjects in the Stronghold levels.

3: Kneeling glitch

When you plant beacons on bombs or plant C-4 charges at tanks, kneeling just before you hit triangle makes Gabe perform the action faster than normal because he's already on the same height as the bomb. It takes about 20-22 frames to perform, and if executed perfectly, you won't even see Gabe kneeling before the animation starts. This also works on crates, but you have to stand still while doing it, otherwise Gabe might get stuck in the middle of the animation and you'll have to restart the level.


When you're standing still, you will roll faster and longer if you have a one handed weapon equipped. When you're running, it's the opposite. Depending on the situation, one can be faster than another and I try to choose the best one for each situation.

Avoiding stopping after dropping down from a height:

When Gabe jumps down from a height, he will often stop for a little while when he hits the ground. There are two ways to eliminate this:

1: Sneaking-in-the-air trick

If you roll off a height, pressing and holding X while holding forward (or diagonal) will most of the time make Gabe to continue moving his legs in the air. If you keep holding the buttons when you land, Gabe will be able to move as soon as he hits the ground.

2: Weapon switching trick

If you're running and switching weapon at the same time, Gabe will continue to run even if he's in the middle of the air. This is very useful when you're going down a hole or anything else where you don't have to roll. Unfortunately I didn't discover this trick until I was on the Stronghold levels, otherwise I would have used it in the earlier levels as well.



Level 1: Georgia Street

Even though Syphon Filter is pretty straight forward, there's a lot of RNG going on in almost every level. If just one enemy spawns on a different place, or doesn't spawn at all, it can affect the outcome of the whole level in terms of how many enemies that spawns and where they will appear. This made me change my route in the building where the CBDC agent is defusing the bomb. Running towards the two guards that comes out from the area where you can pick up the M-16 and grenades seems to trigger the other guards to spawn faster than if you're standing close to the CBDC agent.

Right after exiting the building, I kill a guard that's standing on top of the roof. It's pretty crucial that he spawns so I can take some more ammo for the M-16, because it makes it possible to use M-16 on Kravitch instead of the 9mm.

This is probably the fastest Kravitch kill I've done, and destroying the computer was also done very quickly. Just after that comes the part where you exit the building and enter the backyard where the elevator is, and the first opportunity to use the shooting glitch. After shutting down the subway security system comes the only big mistake in this level, where I fail to turn at the first try and lost one second approximately.

The rest of the level goes well. I got a perfect kneeling glitch when planting the beacon on the bomb on the first floor of the subway, and the shooting glitch also worked well when activating the second elevator call switch. There might be a way to speed up the


Level 2: Destroyed Subway

As I mentioned earlier, when moving forward you roll faster with a two-handed weapon then a one-handed. This is useful when taking the shortcut through the fire at the very beginning ­- the less time spent on fire, the less armor you'll lose.

 The skip at the climbing section is one of the new shortcuts I've found since the last time. As with many of the glitches and shortcuts, I discovered this one by total accident. I knew that you could hang on the edge but I didn't think that it was possible to reach it from the ledge, at least not in the way I do it. It looks pretty easy but it's actually hard to pull off without having to stop before you run off the ledge. You'll have to line up exactly right before strafing of, otherwise you'll just fall to your death.

One thing I discovered after completing this level was that after you've planted the C-4 charge, you can make it explode earlier than normal by simply firing at the bomb. This could save about 2-3 seconds if you can hit the explosive fast enough after you've planted it, but I didn't feel like doing the level again. I was frustrated enough with having to deal with the skip earlier in the level.

It's possible to save a couple of seconds with better movement and a bit luck, but I'm pretty satisfied with this segment.


Level 3: Main Subway Line

Well, since this one is so incredible short it's not much to comment about it, just a quick head shot and you're done.


Level 4: Washington Park

The kneeling glitch is used on all bombs, which saves about 10 seconds comparing to planting the beacon the normal way. This level is filled with frustrating RNG moments which also make it one of the harder ones to speed run. I try to manipulate the guards as much as possible in order to be able to leave the CBDC agents earlier then what the game suspects you to. I think most of the defuses goes well, I could have left the agent defusing the last bomb a little bit earlier and saved two seconds, but with such random amount of enemies spawning at each bomb I decided to play it safe.

To save some time, I take the left side of the tennis court rather than the right, which saves about 5 seconds, roughly speaking. The reason I don't use the shooting glitch when deactivating the communication array is because it's one of the few places in the game where the glitch doesn't work.

I found a new route in the maze where Marcos is hiding in which is pretty neat, it saves about 5-10 seconds and it's easier to get that quick kill when you're coming out from behind.

In my previous run, I estimated that the segment could be about 15-20 seconds faster, and it was just about that much time I saved comparing to the first run so I'm pretty satisfied with this one.


Level 5: Freedom Memorial

This is the only segment that hasn't changed any since last time. Three shots with the shotgun from a short distance is all it takes to defeat him. There might be a slightly faster way to kill him, but the fact is that you have to wait until he's past the corner of the statue before you start firing at him, otherwise you will just hit his armor and not the fuel tank.


Level 6: Expo Center Reception

Oh, the agony and frustration I felt speed running this level. I must have done at least 400 tries on this one, and still it didn't turn out as good as I hoped it would.

The first part of the level where you have to sneak behind Phagan for two minutes is pretty anti-speed run, if you play the level the way it's intended to. Up until now it seemed like it wasn't possible to speed up this section of the game, but with some new ideas in mind, I manage to come up with a new skip that saves about a minute of gameplay, which is huge in a game like this one.

I started to see if I could pass Phagan without being detected. First, I discovered that you could pass him in the Egypt-room by rolling past him in a quick manner, which saves about 25-30 seconds. Then, with a little help from DanE, we found out that you could pass him as early as in the Stonehenge-room! From there on you can pretty much run straight through the other rooms until you reach the room where the Benton cutscene starts.

The Benton kill is pretty quick, I've done it faster but it's not that bad. After picking up the keycard you have to wait for the "incoming message form Lian" box to disappear, because you have to press triangle to open the gate. I've tried equipping the card and using the card-skip glitch, but sadly Gabe still answers Lian's call right after you've pressed the button.

The ancient- temple room is the hardest part in this level, but it actually went pretty good in this run. I was lucky enough to get a decent spawn of the guard with the cardkey down on the bottom of the room, most of the times he would run a different route which makes him harder to kill. Right after the pyramid room comes the two big mistakes in this level, and possibly the worst in the whole run. I got a weird camera angle when I aimed in first person in the space exhibit room and lost a second or two. Right after that (in the room with the space rocket), I tried to shoot the elevator call button without having to stop, but I failed and also aimed very sloppy in first person mode. It looks awful but fortunately enough it only cost me 2-3 seconds.

The reason I kept this run is because I was so lucky in the last room where you have to climb up on the space shuttle. Normally you would have to kill both guards that's standing on top of the platform, but on a rare occasion you can get past by just killing one of them. I've only managed to do this two, maybe three times, and it saves up the time I lost earlier in the level so I decided to keep the segment. I still think that this level could be about 5 seconds faster if you had a perfect run though.


Level 7: Expo Center Dinorama

As opposed to the first Expo-level, this one only took a few tries to complete. In order to save time, I picked up G-18 instead of K3G4 on the previous level because it turned out that you could finish the level without it. Getting the first kill without having to stop is actually harder than it looks because Gabe often tries to aim at all the guards at the same time.

I got a nice roll of the building and a quick kill on the guard holding the keycard. The rest of the level goes well so I'm pretty happy with it.


Level 8: Rhoemer's Base

Just as the last time, I used my "all in" strategy and completed the level on alert mode, rather than sneaking my way through. This is pretty much the same run as last time, but a bit faster.

The kneeling glitch comes in handy a lot in this level. I also discovered that you can shoot the button that turns off the power to the motions sensors, which saves 5-10 seconds. The level goes pretty well for the most part, Gabrek didn't spawn as I would like him to do, but it doesn't matter since I got him even faster than last time, mostly because I didn't have to wait for him to come out behind the corner. The only part where I lost time was when I opened the gate near the end of the level. I played it a bit safe, but it's very easy to get stuck on the button because it sticks out from the wall. Other than that, I think this is a good run.


Level 9: Base Bunker

This level is really fast paced, and the button-skip glitch is so useful here. This is probably my favorite segment of the whole run, and one of the levels I improved the most since last time. The level is pretty straight forward and self-explanatory so there not so much to comment about it. The only real mistake I did was in the room with the last four missiles, where I went to the left instead of right for some reason I can't explain, which caused me to lose a second.

It's possible to shoot (almost) all of the buttons that disables the laser beams while running, I get most of the without having to stop and aim in first person, but getting all of them in a row is super hard and would require both skill and huge amount of luck.


Level 10: Base Tower

Since my last run, DanE had found a way to take the heli down in just two cycles, rather than three as I did last time. I also found out that you could shoot the button to activate the radar, meaning that you don't have to run up and press the button to activate it. In addition to that, I found out that you could skip the dialog between Rhoemer and Gabe by pausing and un-pausing the game, which saves a good 15 seconds. All of this makes for a great run on this boss-level.

However, I did not find the dialog-skip myself. As far as I know,  it was discovered by a Japanese runner named Shin, who did "sort of a" speed run on Syphon Filter back in 2004, so all credit goes to him (Shin's run also served as inspiration for Aaron Haynes, who did the first SDA-published speedrun of this game in 2006).


Level 11: Base Escape

Here's another one of the new shortcuts that was discovered after I completed the last run, this one found by skychase2rebirth. It saves 40 seconds of game play, which is about half the time it takes to complete the level the normal way!

I am aware that it almost looks like I'm cheating here since I didn't drop more than a tiny bit of armor, but if you line up at the exact right position you can get pass the truck without taking any damage what so at all. Although I do catch fire when I'm rolling down from the truck I can't really tell why I didn't take more damage than I did, but I guess it depends on how far you have gotten before you catch fire.


Level 12: Rhoemer's Stronghold

One of the longest segments of the whole game. It follows the same route as the last run, with a few exceptions. This time, I didn't pick up the K3G4 because it turned out that you don't need it until Stronghold Catacombs (I do pick it up later on in that level though). I also save some time when administrating the serum to the test subjects by selecting the antigen and holding square, which works just like the card-skip glitch.

The two biggest mistakes happen in the late parts of the level: one in the area where you find the last test subject (I didn't get the sneaking-in-the-air technique to work so I stopped moving when I landed), and the other one just before I kill the last scientist (had to wait for a second when climbing up on the boxes due to the reloading). Apart from that, I think this level went okay.


Level 13: Stronghold Lower Levels

Without the K3G4, I had to change some strategies in the first part of the level. Luckily I had enough gas grenades left so I could use them to kill the first three scientists in the first part of the level. Around the 1:22 mark I throw a grenade right into the wall. It may look strange, but when I'm running down the slope, a scientist spawns in that corner and gets killed instantly.

The level goes pretty well until 3:05 where I fail to climb up on the ledge (due to the reloading again), costing me a couple of seconds. I also get stuck a bit on a guard just after jumping through the giant window, but apart from that I think this level went pretty good.


Level 14: Stronghold Catacombs

This level sucks and we all know it. It's long, boring and very hard to speedrun, at least the part where you have to escort Phagan to the room where Lian is locked up. Even though the segment look pretty slow at some parts, it's almost 20 seconds faster than my last one so I guess I shouldn't be that disappointed with it. I like that the game gets a bit glitchy right after the Phagan-part is over, that's probably the best thing about this segment. Still, this one is improvable by probably 20 seconds or more, but I think you would have to be very lucky with the Phagan-part to get a time like that.


Level 15: PHARCOM Warehouses

Pretty much the same as the last run on this level. I saved some K3G4 ammo by not killing the guards that spawns inside the warehouse where the last body is located, and I used some new tricks such as weapon-switching trick and the kneeling glitch. I didn't get the button skip when turning off the power to the electric fences, but other than that it's a decent run. It's possible to do a skip right after shutting down the power to the electric fences by rolling down from the ledge and landing on top of a guard's head, but it's really hard and probably more suitable for a TAS than a regular speed run.


Level 16: PHARCOM Elite Guards

Although the guards are tougher and I had lost all of my armor on the previous level, the armor fills up fast since all guards in this level wear flak jackets. Last time I had trouble passing by the grenade throwing guard without having him killing me, but this time around I figured out that if you just hold to the right as much as possible, chances are good that he won't spot you on your way down to the box where you plant the last beacon. This time I also had more ammo left for the K3G4 so I didn't have to hesitate to use it in the underground path that leads to Warehouse 76. A decent segment.


Level 17: Warehouse 76

In between runs, I've played around with some cheats such as invulnerability, and learned more about how the fire affects Gabe. If you catch fire you will most likely die in a second, unless you do a roll. When you do a roll, Gabe will stop burning, and this is why the shortcuts in this level are possible to execute. With a bit better timing than last time, I was able to do both skips without having to pick up a flak jacket. This level is improved by 5 seconds in game time, which is more than I would have imagined possible, but I didn't hit the button that activates the elevator that quick (you can hit it while running, but it's very hard to do) so I would say that another 2-3 seconds could be cut if you had a perfect run.


Level 18: Silo Access Tunnel

This is one of my favorite segments. It took very little time to complete and I came up with a new strategy in the room with the elevator that saved a bit of time.

 At the very beginning, I used the K3G4 on the guard that comes running towards you, instead of stopping and killing him with a head shot as I did last time. Going down the hole at 0:36 without stopping was pretty easy after I've found the weapon-switching trick, which is nice. After I turned on the power to the elevator comes the new strategy where I dropped down on the boxes below and quickly roll while turning to the right at the same time. I manage to hit the edge of the box at the right angle, which gave me a big boost and sends me over the metal walkway right below. After I land in front of the grenade-throwing guard I need to quickly kill him and the guard that's standing right behind me before activating the elevator, otherwise I'm dead in a second. This strat is very risky but effective, since it's about twice as fast as the normal way.

The rest of the level goes well. I got all three headshots on the guards in the tunnel very quick, and I didn't take that much damage from the other ones that I just ran by . Sadly enough, the button skip glitches doesn't work on the three power switches that you activate in the end of the level.


Level 19: Tunnel Blackout

One of the harder segments, mostly due to the level being so dark.

 I found a nice shortcut at the very beginning of the level that, where I roll through the flames and grab on to a ledge in the air. The weapon-switching trick was also very useful at this particular area, since I could save a couple more seconds because I didn't need to stop when I dropped down to the bottom of the cave. All in all, this saves about 5 seconds and It's actually not that hard to do it, once you get the timing right.

 I skipped a couple of guards in the first part of the level since I didn't need to kill them. It actually made things easier because I would often get killed by the second guard, or lose too much time at the part where there are two guards walking besides each other (where I used to stop and aim in first person). Right after dropping down a level the second time comes the biggest mistake in the level where I struggle a bit with getting the head shot on the guard.

The climbing section goes well, as the rest of the level. I'm still not sure if it's faster to kill the three last enemies that stands in front of the elevator (like I did in this run), or skip them, which I did in the last run. The main reason I killed the last three was because I didn't want to backtrack and pick up the flak jacket in the beginning of the next level.


Level 20: Missile Silo

Using the new button-shooting glitch at the beginning of the level made it possible to run up to the grenade- throwing guard and activate the elevator call switch without having to kill him first, saving a second or two. After going down the elevator comes one of the hardest parts of the whole level where I skip the two guards that are shooting at me and go straight for the missile. I had a great deal of problems making it through this part without dying. This risky strategy only works about 1/5 times, but you still have to be lucky to survive the hail of bullets that comes at you right after you've skipped through the cutscene.

The rest of the level goes pretty smooth. I tend to get a bit far off to the computer that activates the missile detonator codes, but with the clunky controls it's hard to get all the movement perfect. For some reason, Gabe threw the gas grenade a bit to higher than expected, which caused me to lose about half a second. I think it was because I took too long time angle myself up before throwing the grenade.


And that's about it. Overall, I'm satisfied with this run and I don't think I will redo it again unless someone beats my time, or any other skips are discovered. I've done a couple of SS run of this game and who knows, if I get a decent time I might submit that one too. Thanks for watching the run and reading my comments!


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