Review by Kuja The Destructor
"There's nothing Fishy about this..."
After the announcement that the XBox exclusive would appear on the PS2 and the GCN, it was only a small matter of time before Sam Fisher would be making an appearance on the GBA. Now, Sam has finally infiltrated the GBA, but did the small-screen conversion lose any of the original console version's magic touch?
If you're completely new to the series, worry not. You won't need to have fiddled with its bigger brothers to know what you're doing. Basically, you play the role of one special-agent, Sam Fisher, and you have to go through a number of varied missions, retrieving top-secret documents, having secret rendezvous with fellow spies. If you’re expecting this to be a Ghost Babel style game, then don’t get your hopes up. This, in its basic form, is a 2d scroller. Now, the question is Can this possibly work?. Thankfully, the answer is Yes.
After gracing Xbox owners with what is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular looking games ever, UbiSoft had to make sure they delivered in this portable version. Thankfully, they deliver. The backgrounds are rather lush, with some nice little touches in different places. The character models are pretty well-done too, with Sam Fisher looking very smart indeed, looking like an exact 2d-replica of his 3d counterpart. Lighting(or rather lack of) on a GBA can be crucial to the enjoyment of a game, and thankfully UbiSoft have made sure this works well with the GBA’s poorly-lit screen, and you should be able to see this without having to play . The animations for Sam’s different weapons/attacks are also rather nice, and work very well.
Graphics – 89/100
It’s pseudo-traditional 2d scrolling action, but not as we know it. Sam and his gadgets are clearly suited to the side-on way of life, as he controls perfectly, and the game is still based around the stealthy ways of its console friends. The controls are easy to get to grips with they’re quite responsive. There is a large array of gadgets and weapons at your disposal, from a lock-pick, to a safe-buster, to a tranquilizer gun. There are lots of nice touches in terms of the stealth factors. If there’s an enemy coming, you can quickly hide in a doorway to wait for them to pass by, before quickly jumping out and flooring them. The 2d viewpoint doesn’t restrict you in seeing enemies though, as you can use your little camera to spy across most of the floor that your own, giving you a little time to prepare. There are also security systems such as alarms and infrared cameras that you must avoid, making sure you don’t get caught. This is a stealth-junkies dream.
Gameplay – 87/100
The sound is nothing special, but there are certain points when it really adds to the tense atmosphere. The noise created by weapons, cameras moving, etc. are quite nice, but at times they can be too much of a distraction.
Sound – 73/100
The game, while not being impossible, can be quite challenging. It should take you a few tries to get through some sections of the game, while trying to figure out what to do and where to go next, and the game does this without making it at all boring. Once you’ve completed the game, you will definitely want to go through it again, and notice some things that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise, and trying different ways to get through some of the not-too-linear levels.
Longevity – 86/100
To buy, or not to buy?
In this case, that’s not a question it’s mere lunacy. This game is excellent, and if you hate good, fun games, then you’ll want to steer clear of this. If however, you do lie all things stealth and 2D, you should definitely give this game a try.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/02/03, Updated 06/02/03
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