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Lunabean's Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Review

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Buy Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Strategy Guide: LB Strategy Guide
Lunabean Rating: 9.1
Platforms: PS2, GCN, Xbox*, PC
Release Date: 11.18.02
ESRB Rating: T - Teen
Official Site: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Purchase Game from Amazon.com: PS2, GCN, XBox, PC
Still Stuck?: Lunabean's Forums
Online Play: No


*Designates which platform we played in creating the guide

Review


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"Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell" is a spectacular offering for the Xbox this holiday season. If you are an experienced gamer who is sick of making it through games in a few sittings, this is the game for you. If you are new to the gaming world, you might want to get a few more action games under your belt before attempting this one (I suggest James Bond 007: NightFire as a nice warm up to this game). It's not the getting killed that will hurt the inexperienced gamer, but more the needing to know what to do and where to look in certain situations that might stall you in "Splinter Cell". Of course, we do have a terrific Splinter Cell Walkthrough for such situations. So, with a little help from us, perhaps even the newbie gamers will have a great experience with this game.

In "Splinter Cell" you star as Sam Fisher, a field operative of a secretive black-ops NSA sub-agency called Third Echelon. As Sam, you will be expected to break into the highest security government buildings, destroy critical data, collect intelligence and, of course, take out many a big wig enemy. All of this is required of you with the additional task of not leaving a trace.

Needless to say, stealth is a huge aspect of this game. Cameras will need to be shot out or jammed, shadows will be taken advantage of, bodies will need to be moved, and, in some situations, casualties of any kind will be forbidden. Thank goodness you are equipped with gadgets that would make both Mr. Bond and Solid Snake green with envy. For example, insead of being mere add-ons to games, the Night Vision and Thermal goggles are vital to making it through missions in "Splinter Cell". We've all seen night-vision goggles before (although these are clearly the best), but it's the thermal goggles which really stand out. They allow you to see enemies through obstacles, including crates you are hiding behind and through most walls. They also allow you to walk through fields of land mines, as the goggles detect the locations of the mines, so you can avoid them.

The graphics are nothing short of stunning, and the environments are so rich with detail it's extremely easy to get lost in them. This game particularly impressed me with details in areas which weren't vital to gameplay. For example, at one point I was sneaking past a break room, which, if I entered I'd be killed, but I noticed the reflections in the snack machines were outstanding. Even with the graphic abilities of today, it's still rare that we see such detail in areas where we are not expected to enter.

Sound is great, and a vital part of the game. The voice of Sam is provided by Michael Ironside ("Top Gun", "Total Recall", "Starship Troopers", and "The Perfect Storm"). He plays the role of a megalomaniacal Splinter Cell quite well, which helps put you into character. The soundtrack is a good one, and I've downloaded it, as it immediately shifts me into "badass" mode (and, every once in awhile, we all need that, even outside of video games). The sound is also important in terms of listening. You will find yourself listening to your surroundings to survive as a Splinter Cell. I can't tell you the number of times I popped into a new room to hear the "beep, beep, beep" of a wall mine that assured my immediate demise. Wall mines and cameras beep (although with different patterns), machinery hums, and footsteps, well, footsteps make noise, too.

The controls were great once we figured out how to invert them on the Y-Axis. Why games default options have "up" moving your crosshair "up" and "down" moving your crosshair down in beyond me. It's just not natural. The camera was also great in this game, and aided in a seemless and stress-free viewing environment.

My only complaint concerning "Splinter Cell" is the fact that, on occasion, shooting people directly did not register. I'm sorry, but when I shoot you in the face, I expect you to go down.

With that being said, I can honestly say that this game is wonderful and I applaud UbiSoft and the Xbox for providing all of us with a terrific gaming experience.

- Allison


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