Review by TheAm4zingLarry

"An engaging, realistic but ultimately overhyped experience."

The game is Splinter Cell, a game along with it's overdone advertising almost single-handedly saw the Xbox through last holiday season. It was claimed to be the single best thing since sliced bread because of its A.I., level design and shadow based stealth action. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? No, definitely not. However that doesn't stop it from being an above average game that will keep you entertained for four days to a week. So, lets break this puppy down.

Story 8/10
A retired Navy SEAL named Sam Fischer gets adopted into the NSA because of his exceptional abilities to go on a mission to rescue the two idiots he's replacing because they got captured in a crappy ex-Soviet country called Georgia. (Run on sentence, Yay!) The plot then thickens with a bunch of conspiracy junk and the threat of WW3. Basically it means that Sam will have to spy on a bunch of people and kill a bunch of people. Plus he'll get to ride around in a seriously cool looking helicopter called an osprey.

Graphics 6/10
Frankly either those Xboxers really blew the quality of these graphics out of proportion or they lost something in the porting process. In fact I don't think I ever really saw a truly dynamic lighting effect and in most cases the environment walls are simply ''painted'' to make you believe that an area is dark. If this isn't true of the Xbox version (I don't know, never played it) I really don't see why the cube version should look so lame. The Xbox is only slightly more powerful than the cube anyway. What I'm guessing here is us cube heads got ripped. However the graphics look acceptable and serve their purpose, but that's ALL they do. At least the people look pretty good though. However it's kind of derivative and not very clever. What do you expect from Tom Clancy? Yep that's right, military realism, a bunch of terrorist, a reluctant but willing middle aged hero and very little else.

Sound 10/10

Perfect! Everything sounds just wonderful and keeping your ears open can save your live. The sound of Sam's goggle alone is simply wonderful. Anything that moves in this game makes a good authentistic sound. Ironsides, Sam's voice does a very good job and makes me very glad Sam doesn't have me in a headlock.

Gameplay 7/10

Sam is a very versatile man who can do lots of cool moves and look very much like a hi-tech ninja. Occasionally you'll wall jump, shimmy or slide down a zip line but what you'll be doing most of the time is walking like a duck very slowly through shadows and shooting light bulbs with bad hit detection waiting for an opportunity to grab some moronic guard or just shoot him in the head. Then you'll lug his limp body to a darkened closet and stash him there. Then you'll do that over and over until the closet is a buffet of unconscious guards and you can move to the next area and do so again. It's satisfying and it's challenging but it's kind of tedious especially if you’re on your fifth attempt because you keep getting spotted and killed. One thing people always talk about is how there are different methods to doing different parts of the game, there are. They go as follows:

1. The action hero way, you get involved in huge gunfights in which you set off alarms (in so violating mission parameters) and get shot till you're dead or eventually run out of ammo.

2. The wussy way, you never shoot anyone unless you count every single light bulb as someone and try and sneak past them. Someone eventually spots you and you get shot till your dead.

3. The meticulous way, you carefully move about and then trick guards to turn their backs on you so you can beat them up and stash them in closets. With this method it takes forever to get anyplace and you'll only get shot occasionally. Sure there are different ways of getting guards to make themselves vulnerable but these are very similar to each other and not that exciting.

Speaking of the guards these guys were hailed as being super intelligent, they are not. They are in fact quite stupid. The reason they may seem smart at first is that if you try the kind of ''stealth'' tricks we gamers have been taught over the years they will kill you and laugh at your pain. This doesn't mean however that they aren't vulnerable to NEW stupid little tricks. This means that once you find their unique stupidities you can cheese the hell out of them. One last thing to note is the gadgets; they are very fun to use. You will use them occasionally but most of the time you don't need to use them. When you do however it's very nice and makes your life allot easier.

Control 6/10

The controls can be very complicated and you may still be trying to remember them now and then even when you're in the last levels.

Replay Value 4/10

I don't know about you but once or twice through is enough to me. There's not much to keep you coming back over and over. However this is how I personally feel about Resident Evil games and many people seem to like playing those thousands of times over. Therefore I suggest you make you own judgment here.

Rent or buy?

Rent it, play it, beat it, return it. Then again I don't have a job or school, or a life so that gives me more time to play games. If you don't suck though there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to complete it in under twenty hours. Still though even if you have to rent it two or three times your still saving money.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 05/09/03, Updated 05/09/03

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