Review by HYD

"The Next Solid Snake?"

Introduction
Splinter Cell - The Next Solid Snake?

The one and only worthwhile games available on XBox is coming to your sparkling PS2! Is that good news or bad news? Well, quite frankly, Splinter Cell has lost some of its luster after being transferred to the PS2. It's arguably the worst console to play Splinter Cell. Check out the Gamecube, the XBox and even the PC right in front of you. If you play Splinter Cell on those consoles, trust me. You'll have a BETTER time enjoying yourself. So, what are the flaws? Well, we'll soon find out.

Let's start the ball rolling then...
From a technically concerned point of view, Splinter Cell would run faster and smoother on the XBox. You might argue that this is just a minor flaw, and could be covered up and tolerated since it has a superb gameplay, but things get really frustrating once you reach an area with a tremendous amount of lighting. The graphics itself has lost its standard, and the maximum frames per second seem to have plunged down to the depths of hell. Does it sound like some other game to you? Yep, Spiderman: The Movie.

Another sickening flaw is the camera feature. If I could alter one thing in the gaming world, I would state that all directions of the camera movement should stick to either normal or reverse. It's very, very annoying to adapt to a new feature, when you're also currently playing a game with the other feature. And the camera uses the normal one. So, basically, push the right analog stick to the left, and the camera moves to the left. Simple, eh?

Some other technical problems that could be put up with are those frequent loadings and blurry graphics. Somehow, they remind me of the Syphon Filter series. Just that this game packs a lot more features than the latter. And I'm going to list as much as I can dig out from my Additional Mathematics infested brain.

Stealth, Metal Gear Solid 2, Splinter Cell, what's the difference?
I'm sure all of us remember the glorious days of Metal Gear Solid and the main character Solid Snake. Does Splinter Cell live up to the hype? Well, I could say that it does, to a certain extent. Seeing from a realism point of view, Metal Gear Solid stands out by a hair. And unfortunately, Splinter Cell pales in comparison when pitting its graphics and smoothness to Metal Gear Solid as well. Then WHY bother getting it? WHY people still insists of purchasing Splinter Cell?

Because of its originality? Well, perhaps. Splinter Cell emphasis pretty much on sneakiness. And they enforce strict restrictions like the Alarm icon that will be constantly bugging you on the lower left corner of the screen. It differs in mission, but it won't stack up very high. The thing works like this. If some enemy discovers that you are sneaking around their territory, the alarm rate will be raised by one. How do they found out? Like good ol' Metal Gear Solid, they will patrol around and if they find their fellow comrade’s body lying flat on the ground, security will increase. If the alarm rate hits the maximum, your mission is aborted.

If you love being sneaky, and really act like an infiltrator, then list Splinter Cell on your shopping list. It should give you an enjoyable time playing it.

Introducing our original...lock-picking system! Wahoo!
Sooner or later, you will come across a door that is chained to some nasty looking padlock. Well, fear not! Fisher is here! And he's equipped with the most underrated item in the whole world. The lock-pick! Fail this thing, mortals, for it can screw through all doors in less than a minute. It's instructions? Simple! Wiggle your left analog stick till you feel a small vibration. Then slowly rotate it until you picked the first quadrant, or whatever they call it. Is it original? Maybe. Is it unique? Definitely! With all my 10 years of gaming life, I've never came across a game that features a lock-pick system. It's a small, but special feature. Very interesting.

Splinter Cell for the Playstation 2 also offers one new mission. That's a plus, which makes the total missions for Splinter Cell to a grand total of ten. Amongst these, they've been sliced up into smaller parts with frequent checkpoints that are supposed to compromise with the Playstation 2 limited capabilities. This provides us with even more annoying loading times, and it makes the game feels disjointed to a certain extent.

By now, you should realize the Splinter Cell was also released for the Gamecube console. Since the Playstation 2 has the never before seen mission, Gamecube has decided to take it to another step. Using its ability to connect to the Gameboy Advance, the Splinter Cell version for the Gamecube features a new gadget called the Sticky Bomb. You'll need to plug in your Gameboy Advance to utilize its capabilities. Whenever its activated, you can detonate the bomb at will with the tap of the B button on your GBA.

If you ever wanted to see how Splinter Cell fares on each and every console, you should be able to get the picture now. Even though the PS2 features a special mission, it still pales in comparison to the rest. If you still have your mind set on getting this game, or want to know more about it, read on then.

Solid Snake VS Sam Fisher
The whole game's is focused on the main character itself. Sam Fisher takes the role of a highly experienced soldier trained to be working under a top-secret military organization, Third Echelon. Fisher has abilities far beyond your imagination, however he is restricted to stealth alone. Darkness is Fisher's best friend, as how his comrade puts it. The game is set in the following year, and the whole story is based on terminating terrorist threat. However, the price Fisher has to pay if he fails to do so would be possibly initiating the start of World War III.

When you boot up the game disc and start a new game, you would be automatically brought to the tutorial. The tutorial scene is vague, and you would definitely require more training and practice to fully be proficient in controlling Fisher's abilities. As I mentioned before, the right analog stick controls the camera, which is annoying to a large extent. The game takes on a sensitivity approach, as a light push of the left analog stick causes Fisher to walk. And if he were crouching, Fisher would be nearly impossible to be noticed unless he's under a bright source of light.

Another interesting thing to note is that Splinter Cell introduces a neat thing called the onscreen stealth meter. It displays a bar that shows the shades of black to white. If the bar moves all the way to the darker area, you're nearly invisible. Whereas on the other side, you're easier to spot than a ten foot tall dragon.

Let's ransack his arsenal of weapons...
To be honest, Fisher's most proficient and skillful weapon, is the invisibility factor. You can stay squat right directly in front of an enemy, while your stealth meter is zero, and he would just walk past you as if you were invisible. Sneaking behind an enemy allows Fisher first grab them by the neck, holding them hostage. Then he could either ram his elbow to their neck, or interrogate them for some useful information. This is a key move towards your journey throughout Splinter Cell, and is very useful. Master it well, and you should have not much of a problem breezing your way through the first few missions.

However, you're sure to encounter or alert one of the few patrolling guards sooner or later. When being in a firefight, Fisher would be practically useless. For one, you're given only an ordinary silenced gun as your starting weapon. Aiming a gun is extremely hard, as you need move the right analog stick very quickly, because Fisher goes down in just a few hits. If you managed to get a bullet right at the back of the neck of an enemy however, he would be knocked out as well.

After a couple of missions, you would be able to acquire the big guns. Mainly, the SC-20K. With this baby, you can ease in firefights. This gun uses multiple different ammunitions. Talk about variety. It can also fire remote cameras, sneaky distracting cameras and smoke bombs. Basically, it’s the gun of the game. Probably the only one as well.

Keyword: Stealth
Sure, you get different missions all the time. But what's the thing your comrades will emphasis on? Stealth. That's right, stay out of harm's way. Stay out of people. Dodge people. The gun is your last resort. You should have that drilled into your mind, till you're thinking, and dreaming about it. However, on the sad note, most of us don't. We try, but it’s difficult.

People stress that ammunitions is limited. But personally, I think if you only use it whenever you need to and not fire at random things, it is sufficient enough. You could always knock out every single person you see, but if a body is found, your alarm status would be increased. And sometimes, this would lead to an automatic mission failure.

Fortunately, Splinter Cell has checkpoints here and then around the missions. If you fail your mission halfway through, you would be sent back to your last checkpoint. Take note though, your checkpoint does NOT serve as a save point. You would need to complete the portion of the mission before being able to save.

That being said, how do you find Splinter Cell now?

Summary of the Pros and Cons
+ Realistic
+ Unique features
- Frames Rate Plunged
- Extremely pissed poor camera

Buy or Rent?
I would strongly encourage you to rent it first. For some of you wouldn't like laggy gameplay. However, if you're confident of your PS2 capabilities and your tolerance, I would suggest you to get it. It's quite a good game, but it's won't last you long if you're really impatient.

Results:
Gameplay: 8/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 9/10
Story: 8/10
Replayability: 6/10

+Final Score:+
8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/26/03, Updated 04/26/03


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