Review by hardg
"Will quench your thirst for stealth.... until Metal Gear Advance comes out."
I have never played Splinter Cell before, only a demo for the PS2 version, but heard alot of good things, so when I heard it was coming to GBA I jumped at the chance. Of course I never expected it to be as good as the PS2/X-Box/Gamecube versions, mainly dew to the fact that the GBA version is 2D because of the GBA's lack of power, but that still didn't deter me from buying it. As it turns out its quite a good stealth/action adventure and is well forth adding to your collection while you wait for Metal Gear Advance (please Konami).
You play the role of Sam Fisher working for a branch of the National Security Agency, of course these people are above the law. Basically your job is to gather intelligence, whether it be tapping phones or computers or even taking photo's of a suspected mole in the CIA. While the story isn't terrific it does the job and keeps you playing through the whole game aswell as setting up some fine missions.
The graphics are good without being spectacular. All buildings are well detailed and the people (including Sam) all move very smooth. The graphics reminded me alot of the graphics from Spiderman: Mesterio's Menace on GBA, the way the characters move and such are very similar. There are also some nice touches such as the birds on the roof that will fly away as you approach, very nice. Obviously not as good as the other Splinter Cell versions.
The music is excellent while the sound effects are also quite nice. The way the music actually lowers in volume when your hiding in a dark spot, really adds to the atmosphere. Also when you have been seen the music becomes much louder and changes to a much heavier track, making your heart start pumping and fingers start to sweat. Sound effects like gunshots and bad-guys coughing after there've been hit by a smoke grenade all add to the experience.
This is what it comes down to and surprisingly it plays like its older brothers. The best way to complete this game is stealth and to do that you must sneak up behind guards, hide in dark spots (e.g closet, alleyway), avoid cameras and most importantly not setting of any alarms. My only complaint here is that when you sneak up on a guard from behind you only hit them over the head and there out, I really wanted to walk up behind and snap there neck (much like metal gear) or even slice there throat. Thankfully UBISOFT made this up by including a few different ways to killing people such as jumping from high places onto them, bonking them on the head with your gun, smoke grenade them and the traditional shoot them. My only other concern is the fact the game is pretty repetitive. Apart from killing people the only other thing you do is open doors and locks aswell as disarming guns, by pressing a series of buttons. That is basically all there is to the game. If you can ignore the repetitiveness its plays and feels like its older brothers.
This is where the game falls down, its very short. 10 levels thats it, it will take probably a max 3 days to finish it. On my first time through I finished it in 1 day and thats only playing it for about 3 hours. You can unlock a few extra levels by doing well in the main missions but the baulk of unlockables are unlocked by hooking your GBA to your Gamecube and playing Splinter Cell on that. And for people like me who dont own a Gamecube, we are stuck with just a handfull of levels.
Recommended to all those Splinter Cell fans out there who want a portable version of there favorite console game. For everybody else try before you buy. The short duration and that fact you need a Gamecube to get the most out of it makes me only recommend it to die hard stealth action fans. Still its quite a good game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/08/03, Updated 05/08/03
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