Review by Jaxijin

"It said it'll redifine the stealth genre. It does a darn good job!"

When Splinter Cell was announced for the Xbox, I did not see any reason why it deserved hype. It appeared to be an okay stealth game. Any game I have played with the 'Tom Clancy' name attached to the title tells me I will be orchestrating a small enemy using stealth. I always fell asleep during those. But now I am ready to eat my words. Splinter Cell is the best stealth game since Metal Gear Solid for PlayStation, and Sam Fisher truly demonstrates his abilities to kick-ass and stay in the shadows. It is very cool. Read on:

-VISUALS: The first screenshots of Splinter Cell that I saw stated by the producer that 'we're pushing the hardware'. Well, the screens didn't look THAT pretty, but when in motion, your draw will drop, even on simple Radeon graphics cards. Sam is detailed, the lighting is detailed, the environments are dripped in lush, colourful detail that makes them photoresalistic. The only gripe (and it is a minor one) is that the characters' heads seem a tad bit blocky. But otherwise, perfect.

-SOUND: Another area where Splinter Cell exceeds in. Unlike the Metal Gear games, which could played as a simple 2D game if you stared at the radar, Splinter Cell forces you to use your ears and eyes. The sound-effects are brilliant and fit the atmosphere perfectly. The voice-acting is excellent too, with Sam Fisher's voice provided by Michael Ironside ('The Perfect Storm', 'Total Recall') and adds some action flair to an otherwise perfect sounding game. The music is minor, but adds atosphere to the already atmospheric and tense stealth atmosphere. (I like the word atmosphere a lot, do I?)

-GAMEPLAY: Splinter Cell nails the sound and graphical marks perectly, but the gameplay is the real draw. Its addictive and incredibly fun. But another great thing is that Splinter Cell can be played two ways. You can use the deep and innovative stealth system, or just grab a rifile and blow everybody up (but that is strongly not recommended).

The stealth system in ingenious. Unlike other game, there is a meter at the side of the screen indicating Sam's shadow-meter. Sam'll need to condense himself well in the shadows to avoid enemies. Make a sound, and you may have to quickly shoot out the light. The fact that you can stare an enemy guard straight in the fact really adds some tension to this game. Sam crouches, Sam jumps, including an ultra-cool 'split jump', which Sam jams himself between two close walls, then you can jump done and deliver a final blow to a victim. Splinter Cell makes you feel like you are a predator stalking his prey.

The gunplay is cool too. When you pull out your gun, the controls change into a FPS style control. It's simple and easy to use. Plus Sam has an impressive array of gadgets at his arsenal. Its all perfect. Sam receives his assignments trough his OP-SAT, which is like a mini-Palm Pilot. It is a cool little device. The levels are long though, VETY long. Unlike the Xbox version's Checkpoint-based save mode, the PC version enables you to save at anytime and anywhere you want. It is handy, but your save folder will eventually get cluttered with saves, so try to stick with two or three files. (I always save as 'AUTOSAVE' in the levels). My only gripe with Splinter Cell is that since it has a Tom Clancy name and world, it has a Tom Clancy-style story, which never really interested me throughout the game.

-CONTROLS: The controls are simple to learn. If you do not like the basic default setup, you can customize it yourself, just the way you like it. Perfect!

-OVERALL: Splinter Cell was billed as being able to 'redifine the stealth genre' and exceeds. I have not been this engaged in a stealth adventure since Metal Gear Solid. Buy this masterpiece. You'll be glad you did!

-Best Feature: Atmospheric stealth gameplay
-Worst feature: Okay story
-SOUND:10/10 -REPLAY:8/10
-The Verdict: BUY IT. It is a masterpiece.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/11/03, Updated 03/11/03

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