Review by Endz0r
"Does Sam Fisher have what it takes to foil Georgian plots...again?"
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is a strange name for this game, simply because Tom Clancy never released a book called Splinter Cell that I know of. Do not get me wrong, this game absolutely rocks the house, but why not just call it Splinter Cell? Oh well. UbiSoft brings the game to the handheld market in game that is similar in story to the original on Xbox, as well as the ports to Playstation 2 and Gamecube.
Splinter Cell is more of a platformer then a stealth oriented game. It does have stealth elements, such as hiding in backdrops, or sneaking up behind enemies and knocking them out, but for the most part you will be jumping from bar to bar, over objects, and doing the basic platforming objectives. You have the option between five or so gadgets and weapons. A sticky camera lets you recon a couple of screens to the right, left, up, down and shows where a camera's vision is. You get the infamous headset which includes Night Vision and Thermal Goggles, but you can only use them when you have to, such as when it is dark, or when there are trip lasers hanging around. I find it kind of disappointing that you cannot use it anywhere. You also are giving the option of using grenades or a pistol to dispose of your enemies. Other equipment that has limited roles are the photo camera and the AR sniper rifle. Both of these are used only in a couple of levels, but it does add variety to the game.
Why UbiSoft did not really push the Gameboy Advance to the limits with the graphics, they suit the game. The animations of the characters are well done, but are unfortunately blurry and not very detailed. The view of the game is in the side scrolling position, much like the original Mario games. The most disappointing feature I find is that your gun shoots some kind of green blurb out. I think it is supposed to be a dart, but who knows with these wacky developers today?
The only good sound effect in the game is the music at the beginning. Everything else is disappointing, from the gun shots to the grenade gas. All of it is generic and could fit multiple titles that include the same gadgets. I guess what I am trying to say is that not much is really unique in this aspect.
Tom Clancy just sends you into battle without a proper entrance like the console versions of Splinter Cell. The story is very similar though, such as the first missions are to find some of your slain comrades, and also breaking into the CIA. It feels like a very watered down version of the Xbox version, which I guess is what you should expect going from Xbox to Gameboy Advance. If there were some cut scenes that explained what was going on the game would be a ton better but surprisingly the only thing you get is a short briefing and one cut-scene when you beat the game. You also get blurbs from the chief that commands you, but he pretty much just tells you what is in your objective folder.
The game has a lot of lasting appeal. Each level has a ranking system from 0% to 100% (0% being almost impossible to get). To achieve 100%, you must watch how many bullets you use, how long the mission takes, how many alarms you set off, and how many safes you unlock. I am sure that you are asking yourself, ''But what is the point of getting 100%, do I unlock anything special?'' Yes, yes you do, young man. There are at least ten bonus levels that you are able to unlock by fulfilling certain criteria, and I believe that an extra five can be downloaded if you are lucky enough to be able to buy the Gamecube Splinter Cell as well as the cord that connects the two systems. For the most part, they just test your skill in certain categories, like opening safes or shooting targets. It is still sure to add a couple of hours to the end of this game's life.
Should you buy the game? I do not know. I enjoyed the game greatly, but I do not find myself hard to impress. As long as the game is put together really well it is worth a shot, and if you like platformers with some stealth involved this is definitely the game for you.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/15/03
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