Review by Boris Prime
"Redefining the way stealth/action games are played..."
I didn't actually like Tom Clancy games that much, and I remember boring myself to death with TC games like Rainbow Six and Rogue Spear. I, however, was a big fan of Stealth games like Metal Gear Solid. While waiting for Metal Gear Solid Substance to make it's way to the PC, I stumbled upon Splinter Cell. I immediately bought it and I don't regret doing so. You'll soon see why:
The visuals are amazingly stunning! Ubisoft has really outdone themselves this time! The lighting, textures, and shadows are all top-notch (which is a good thing, since you'll be using them to your advantage most of the time). There has never been a game that looked this good! The dynamic lighting system introduced in the game paves new ways for stealthier gameplay. Sam Fisher also looks great as well. Although there is some clipping in the game, it does not deter the gamer from becoming completely immersed in the realistic visuals this game has to offer.
In the sound department, Splinter Cell also does not fail to deliver. Although the background music can be a little repetitive at times, it shifts to a tenser tone when you've been detected, for example, thus adding to the immersive gameplay offered by the game itself. Weapons sound realistic as well and even enemy soldiers call for back-up with their native accents when they spot intruders! Voice acting is also good, and it should be as you'll be hearing your mission objectives fed to you by these voices most of the time.
Splinter Cell redefines the stealth genre really well. Much like it Hitman 2, there's always a stealthily approach to situations, and well, there's the Rambo-style approach where you take out your weapon, switch it to full-auto, and start the killing frenzy. The latter is recommended most of the time. Fortunately, Sam has a plethora of moves to halp hime cope with the situation. He can Jump, Crouch, Zip Line, Climb pipes, Split-jump on walls, Knock-out enemies with his elbow, and even grab unsuspecting foes and force them to talk or cooperate! The AI isn't so bad as making so much as a light sound will send guards looking for the source. However, the game is somewhat too linear. You absolutely need to follow all objectives in the game and most of the time, there's only one way to do it. But, it's still fun to do those tasks anyway...
I had no violent reactions about the controls whatsoever. I hadn't played the PS2, GCN, and XBox versions but in my opinion, the game is really best played on the keyboard and mouse. The controls are responsive and, well, the controls are one of the most important aspects to be considered for solid gameplay.
The game is a tad short, and there are no extra features added to lengthen gameplay. However, playing on the hard mode adds to the replayability of this game in some way. Too bad the PS2, GCN, and XBox versions have all the extra stuff... :( I hope Ubi makes these available for the PC too!
Final Score: 9/10
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is one of the best ports, if not one of the best games for the PC. I strongly recommend that you buy it because you won't be disappointed. Unlike really bad ports overflowing with technical issues, glitchy gameplay, and bad controls, this game has its share of those bad qualities, but the game itself has lots of redeeming qualities that is hard to find. If you're not a fan of the stealth/action genre, I recommend you to rent it first. See if a dose of Splinter Cell goodness won't make you one! :)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/20/03, Updated 04/20/03
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