Review by vrba79

Reviewed: 12/30/03

Trial and Error was never so much fun!

Splinter Cell is yet another game based on a Novel by Tom Clancy, he writes political thrillers, and the games based on his works reflect this, especially this game!

Unlike the other Clancy based games, This game falls under the stealth action genre.

The genre of stealth action was made famous by the Metal Gear series, players have to rely on wits to bring down enemies and achieve objects, instead of running through guns blazing, it is a genre you either love or hate.

This game strives and succeeds on many levels to be the best Stealth Action game that it can be!

Gameplay 10
As I mentioned this is Stealth Action, this means hiding from enemies, being silent, making your kills quick and silent, and hiding the evidence!
What sets this apart from the games in the Recent Metal Gear Solid series, is how much more immersing that it is, you don't just have to hide and wait for the guard to go buy, you have to hide wisely! you rely on shadows and being out of the line of sight, slide up against a wall and peer around it to see if anyone is coming, sulk down and sneak by, but these aren't your only tools! you also have gadgets out the wazoo! everything from a silenced pistol to nifty little cameras you stick on walls for surveillance even a really cool laser mic to listen in on conversations from far away! you have to avoid tripping alarms! in some instances tripping an alarm ends the mission, you can dispense of enemies two way! killing them silently, or knocking them out, which requires sneaking up on them in most cases, the variety of the missions keep it from getting stale! there are even missions where you loose if you kill just one person! You even have to pick locks, shoot security cameras, and much much more! All in all the game play elements come together beautifully! it can be difficult in places, but you come to learn from your mistakes, which helps keep you from making similar mistakes later in the game, some missions even keep it fresh and unexpected by suddenly changing mission objectives.

The gameplay is stealth action in it's purest form, almost to the point of being sexy!

Story 9
Pretty good stuff, based on the book the story takes a fictional political situation that is inspired by some actual political situations past and present, basically they need a man to get in there, and do what needs to be done alone, and in total stealth, that man is Sam Fisher!
You will find the plot to be equal with a spy flick, but better! James Bond's got nothing on Sam Fisher! New twists and plotlines unfold as you progress, the between level cinematics, as well as the in game dialog is very well written and very relevant to the game itself.

Controls 10
Not much to complain about here, instead of having to rely on preset camera angles you control the camera yourself, which can sometimes even be used to spy around hard to see areas, the movement controls are simple, as are the action controls, they are so comfortable, and easy to use that after that first training mission, you will have them down pat, this game's controls are about as solid as they come!

Graphics 8
The Cimenatics are a tad grainy, this would have been acceptable on PSX titles but is almost unacceptable on a modern system like Gamecube, Also some of the level textures are a bit nasty and grainy, again acceptable on a system like PSX, or even N64 but not gamecube!
Now the lighting effects are spectacular, with minimal banding occuring, the level layout, and model geometry is very well done, the in-game characters look close to their CG quality counterparts, the goggle effects are also well done, the game lacks any kinds of blood effects though, sometimes making it hard to see if you actually hit someone in the distance.

Sound 10
The music is well written, and always seems to fit the mood there is even a heartpounding sequence played when you have been found it, which is accompanied by loud alarms, the gunfire sounds are clear, and seem to match the weapons they are coming from, the voice acting is pretty nice, and headed up by Michael Ironside as the voice of Sam Fisher, and oh BOY does he pull it off!
I haven't seen a game where the sound and music perform so well since the Medal of Honor games!

Play Time 9
This is not one of those beat it one sitting affairs, this will take you some time to beat, especially if you are new to the genre, the levels aren't all that huge, but the time you have to take while carrying your objectives out, and the fact you will be redoing some things over and over again until you get it right attribute to the playtime being extended, but it is still enjoyable non the less!

Replayability 9
I don't know WHAT it is about this game, but I am finding myself compelled to play it again, and again, which wasn't the case with other games of the genre, there is just something strangely addictive to this title!

Bottom line - This is one EXCELLENT game! this is the kind of game that will leave you very satisfied!

Buy, or Rent
If you are a fan of the Genre, buy it outright! it's just THAT good, if you haven't played the genre before, or have mixed feelings about Stealth/action titles, rent it first.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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