Review by Chris Carnage
"One of those classic games that only come around so often"
The wait is over... Splinter Cell is finally here. With the some of best graphics you'll have ever seen and highly realistic, perfectly balanced, addictive game play, Splinter Cell is not only worthy of your price of admission, but it's also worthy of your vote for Game of the Year.
Splinter Cell is a visual masterpiece. The environments, character models and everything else looks very good... but it's the lighting effects that make all of these things stand out even more. Shadows, rays of light, reflections, curtains (yes, curtains), the glow of computer monitors or televisions in dark rooms, the night vision effects... there's so many little things that will amaze you.
It's easily one of the best looking video games of all-time and I'd recommend it as a rental to anyone even if they weren't interested in the game itself... as it really shows that in the near future the standard for the visual quality in games will reach a point most of us never dreamed of.
Michael Ironside nailed it perfectly as the voice actor for Sam Fisher. His gritty, tough guy voice works surprisingly well here as it helps the character leave a lasting impression as that experienced, tough as nails soldier. The character is strong and one of my favorite things about this character is that he's actually human, he's not a super hero. He's a flawed human being, capable of failure, rising to the challenge and that is very important for a stealth game because if he's portrayed as a larger than life super hero than why are we sneaking around anyway?
Everything is good in this area, with Ironside's performance definitely standing out.
The sound effects are excellent. With the sound of your footsteps being an important part to the game play, I was pleased to see that Sam will have to watch what he's walking on, as he should be a little more careful while walking up wooden stairs or over glass.
I refuse to spoil anything, so here's all I have to say... it's Tom Clancy!
Game Play: 10/10
So we've established that it looks amazing, sounds good and (grin) has a great story from Tom Clancy. Well, don't worry, there's lots more.
This is a challenging stealth-action game, in that order. Stealth. Action. Remember that...
You'll start off with a fun training level, teaching you the in's and out's of the game. How to shoot, jump, crouch, climb ropes and ladders, stand against the wall, split jump, etc.
Usually you'll have one handgun with a silencer and a limited amount of ammo... and it's imperative that violence is a last resort. Wasting ammo is one of the biggest mistakes you can make and you'll learn that early on.
The game is perfectly balanced. It's extremely fun to play, addictive even... but it's challenging enough to respect. These two things blend together to create an unforgettable gaming experience. There are a lot of little things that are just fun to screw around with, like shooting out lights, hanging from pipes and hiding behind curtains... to name a few.
The game is challenging, but it never gets frustrating because of how fun it is to play. While there may only be one or two ways to finally complete the mission, you'll think there is a dozen ways to meet your goal. This does nothing but add to the experience.
What it boils down to is that Splinter Cell truly does redefine the stealth/action genre. It's a blast to play and once the excitement of seeing how the game looks wears off, Splinter Cell is still an amazing game because of how it plays. It's challenging, yes, but when did that become a bad thing?
Overall - 10/10
Few games deserve a perfect score, but Splinter Cell is one of them. It delivers amazing graphics and game play that redefines it's genre. What more can you ask for?
If you ask me, Splinter Cell is one of those rare games that only come around so often. It's in the same company as Half-Life, Metal Gear Solid 1 & 2 and Halo. I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes video games.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/30/02, Updated 11/30/02
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