Review by kts123
"The poor graphics nearly kill the game all together. I recomend renting before you buy."
Genre: (3D) Stealth / Action
Though Splinter Cell Chaos Theory was a success for the consols, this version isn't nearly as good, and fans of the series may not even like it. The game looks and plays like an old PS1 game. The sneaking doesn't feel like sneaking, so people who like stealth games will be sadly disappointed. If you like action games, there is nothing here for you. Also, people who like to think when playing games will also have nothing to look forward to in this game. The main group of people who will enjoy this game are those who are obsessed with Splinter Cell, or the DS. And maybe a few other odd balls.
Story Line: 710
The story plays out poorly, in text messages with who ever is talkings face next to the text. The story has no real plot, it's mostly "the enemy escaped with the code, and took someone hostage, retrieve the code and save the hostage". Though the story is connecting, most of it is spread out, and the text messages feel like they take longer than something from an RPG. If you only play games for an enthralling story, keep looking, this isn't for you.
They managed to keep most of Sam's (the guy you play as) abilities from the console versions. You can climb pipe, use zip line to skip across large areas or clear large holes. You can barrel roll to avoid being seen when someone is coming, jump and grab onto ledges. You have the ability grab your foes from behind, and either "interrogate" them or, put them in a sleeper hold (they wake up after a few minutes when you do that) or you can break their neck. You also have Night Vision and Thermal Vision. The game is separated by missions (levels). During most missions your objective will vary, however most of the time, you only need to make it to the end of the stage, complete a task, then make it to the "extraction point". During a mission, you are only allowed to be seen 3 times. If you go over that you "loose control of the situation". Luckily though, if you are seen (say twice) and lie low for a few minutes, the 'alert level' will go down. However. The game is extremely linear and you have almost no control over which path you take. If you knew a mission by heart (and had good enough timing), you could do almost all of the missions with your eyes closed (and without getting spotted). Another down fall is that the areas are so repetitive looking that they can confuse you at times or make searching for items very difficult.
Though this installment of Splinter Cell has a lot of flaws and let downs, and has almost nothing that makes it stand out (or anything to make you want to play) it doesn't stop the game from being fun to an extent (a very very small extent). When you play the first level (mission) you will quickly see that the areas are poorly made, this will makes the game loose a lot of fun. But, the wide array of abilities will give you plenty to do. After you make it through the first couple of missions you will see that Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (DS) has many many flaws that nearly kill the game. And you will notice that the sneaking isn't really sneaking. It mostly involves shooting or grabbing someone when the turn their back to you. The only plus is that this is for a hand held. The best example I can give of the low amount of entertainment is that I (I'm not joking when I say this) have had more fun playing pong for the Atari. Though, there will be times in the game that you will be very drawn into the game. But those times are few and far between.
The only thing that doesn't lack are the controls. You can get the hang of them in less than five minutes, and master them in one mission. You look around by dragging the stylus around in the center circle. Walk with the D-Pad. Press one of the triggers to toggle from over the shoulder view and third person (you change which trigger you use by changing the controls back and forth from left and right handed) You change weapons by pressing a picture of your weapon with the stylus (then you are brought to a menu). You press one button to crouch, the same button to stand back up, jump and grab ledges with one button. Thats about everything. The rest is as simple as the controls I explained.
The graphics are far less than desired. The areas are very grainy and blurry. The enemies walk weird. You character walks odd, and both you and your enemies lack detail. When you are walking, and change directions, you character jumps from one place to the other (instantly goes from facing one direction to facing the other). The weapons are odd and have poorly done effects. Whenever you shot an enemy, they let off several grainy red blocks that they they call "blood". And the people you see at the top left of the text messages almost look like photos (photos taken with a poor camera). Also, the frame rate is low. And it gets even lower when you equip night vision goggles (NVG) or thermal goggles (TG). When you have Night Vision Goggles are Thermal Goggles you can loose place of where you if you move to fast. And at times, you are required to use TG or NVG. The only good thing, is that you can tell when is what (you can tell the difference from a mine and a camera).
Sound effects / Music: 7/10
The music is simple and rarely plays. Also, it's not fitting. The sound effects are decent. The sound of your guns will vary, a machine gun will sound more powerful than a hand gun, and a stun grenade sounds far different from a chaff grenade. You can also hear detail, walking through grass sounds different from walking through leaves. And bricks sound different from metal. Sadly though, the sound effects and the music lack clarity. They sound grainy and it sound like it is coming through a thin layer of plastic.
Replay Value: 6/10
Splinter Cell has always earned some of it's entertainment value from it's great graphics and realistic sneaking and physics. However, this version lacks both of those factors. Making the game feel dull and most of the time, boring. The areas are bland and lack color and detail. The areas are set up in a way that make it feel very fake. All of this takes away from the feel of the game. Most people will get tired of it and quit before they beat the game. And once you clear the game, there is nothing to call you back for more.
Splinter Cell Chaos Theory for the DS is a boring experience that few people will enjoy. The areas are poorly made, and feel weird (buildings and vent systems like you will see in this game do not exist). The pure lack of detail in the areas also hurt the game. And the low frame rate doesn't help. Though the controls are simple and you have plenty of abilities, you rarely get to put them to good use. The sound effects are nicely done, but it isn't clear. And the last down fall the game has is that the game has nothing to make you want to play. I give Splinter Cell Chaos Theory for the Nintendo DS a below average five out of ten.
Rent or Buy?
Rent, borrow if possible. And if you do rent it or borrow it, make sure to play at least two missions before you decide if you like it or not.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/05, Updated 07/19/05
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