Review by vector21
An Excellent Stealth Game That Most Will Come To Love
I was at my local video game store, trying to decide which game to buy, when I saw Splinter Cell in the $15 or under bin. I had only heard good reviews about this game, so I decided (since it was so cheap) to buy it and see how much of those reviews were actually true. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. This action/stealth game is actually pretty good and fun.
The gameplay is excellent. I had a lot of fun sneaking up behind enemies, then using them as human shields to mow down their friends. You can also appreciate how much work went into this game as a group of armed adversaries stroll pass you, as you crouch in some dark shadows. Many of the moves that you are capable of doing are not used very often (i.e. the wall jump and the split wall jump). Also, I was about half-way through the game when I realized that it was possible to roll, and even after that, I barely had to use it. That was one of my few complaints I had about this game, that they gave you all these cool moves, but you hardly use them. My second complaint was control. The controls seem kind of odd, that is until you get very comfortable with them. Even after that, they still feel somewhat weird, and in a game where precision is key, this is a pretty big problem. For example, you can pick up bottles or soda cans and toss them in a certain direction to distract the guards, but you have to tap the R button just right, other wise you'll drop the can or bottle right in front of you, exposing your position. However, often times there are multiple ways to tackle a certain task, so there are ways to get around the precarious control issues. My final issue on gameplay was actually an advantage that took away some of the reality that this game is supposed to deliver. All too often I hide in shadows that aren't really that dark or deep, as bad guys walk literally inches away and don't notice me. How can you not see me when I'm inches away and you're supposed to be on guard duty, looking for suspicious things?! The AI could be better in that aspect, but otherwise gameplay was excellent.
I'll start out first with the sound. Sound effects are great, which is required, so that you can hear what the bad guys hear, helping you be more effective. The music itself is almost nonexistent, but that's okay since the whole point of the game is to be quiet, so the lack of music just heightens the tone. However, the music picks up and becomes louder when an enemy realizes that something is wrong, and becomes even faster and more frenzied when an enemy has spotted you and starts shooting. The music sets the tone perfectly and is vital in gameplay. Graphics are also excellent, considering Gamecube's limitations. The lighting and particle effects could have better, but are still very good considering that this is a Gamecube game. Overall, the graphics and sound were really good and only added to the gameplay.
I'll be honest with you, I saw absolutely no point in playing this one again. It was pretty fun, yes, but really, once you get past the first 3 missions, it's really just the same thing over and over and over again. Run in the shadows, shoot, hide, grab someone and knock them out, run in the shadows, shoot, etc. The game actually manages to keep this fresh however, with the excellent graphics and sound, but once you realize that's all there is to the game, you'll get tired of it quickly too.
Splinter Cell is an excellent game with some really exciting gameplay, and delivers truckloads of fun, but it has its flaws like many other games. Overall it's a pretty good game. In my opinion, it's a must buy if you are a fan of either Tom Clancy's games, or just action games in general. If you're not sure if you want this game or not, I suggest renting it first then, and you might even beat it, since it's a fairly short game. Overall, Splinter Cell is an excellent stealth game, in fact, the best stealth game for the Gamecube in my opinion.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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