Review by birch2001

"Not killing things has never been so fun."

Gamecube fans have been waiting; waiting for a stealth game. Something that could at least hold a candle to the Metal Gear Solid series. Splinter Cell has answered those prayers.

Graphics (10)
Whoa! The game looks sweet. Sam Fisher is rendered in 3D with every detail present. His equipment is accurate and realistic looking. Even though his entire suit is black (except for his trademark goggles), they didn’t cut any corners. Each little hair on Sam’s head has even been detailed and looks great. The environments are just as amazing. They are well detailed (you can even see what programs are running on the computers if you look hard enough!) and sport some great texturing. While most game developers decide to take the quick and dirty way of creating the guards by having them all look the same, Ubi Soft did not take those shortcuts. Every guard/officer/terrorist looks different. They look just as good as Fisher. The night vision goggles give the game a great black and white view of the action and while the objects in Fisher’s immediate vicinity are clear, everything in the distance is blurred. It is a very cool effect. Oh, and put on the thermal goggles; dead enemies slowly fade as their body heat lowers. If nothing else, this game has been made famous by its lighting effects. They are just as good as you’ve been promised. While there are a few (very, very rare) instances where there is static lighting, the rest of the light is totally in real time. Shooting out a light and seeing your shadow disappear or walking up to a chain-link fence and having it cast a shadow on you never gets old. Lastly, there has been a concern about the quality of the FMVs. Don’t worry about it. They’re fine: just slightly blurry at times.

Gameplay (8)
The beautiful graphics are (thankfully) backed up by some good gameplay. The game controls well and you get used to the controls in a few minutes. There have also been improvements over the Xbox controls that make more sense than its predecessor. The missions are well done, as you get a general objective at the outset of each mission and get new, sub-objectives in the middle of each mission. In general, the missions are very hard. You will die multiple times before besting a mission. The camera is good, but I wish there was a button to snap it behind you (i.e. Zelda). There is also a harder difficulty and special features to add reply.

Sound (8)
What else can I say? The sound is great. Some will complain about the lack of music, but I don’t. You need to hear everything around you. You need to be able to hear which way the bullets are coming from or where the wacky conversation is transpiring. Make sure you have surround sound to get the full effect, though. It’s just not the same without it.

Replay (6)
Not an overwhelming amount, but enough that you’ll be playing for a good amount of time after you beat the main game. You’ll probably end up playing through the game at least twice (there is a hard mode, mentioned earlier, and you’ll want to see how fast you can blow through the game on Normal difficulty again). Let’s just say you won’t get tired of it after a 5-7 day rental.

Overall (8)
This game is definitely worth getting if you want to think about a game and not just go kill everything you see (there are some fierce firefights though). Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/12/03, Updated 04/12/03

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