"Stealth In True Realism"

I remember the day I first downloaded the Splinter Cell demo, I had first seen it in action on the XBOX and I didn't think it was too great, based on the commercial I had seen, but I knew the graphics were exceptional, and I was really eager to try it. I was a diehard Metal Gear fan, so I figured this game would be cake, but this is TRUE Stealth Action, this takes all the factors of stealth Metal Gear Solid could have had, and makes Metal Gear Solid 2 look like nothing more than a full blown action game. This game seemed really difficult to me at first because you really had to work on stealth. Once I fully mastered the demo, I found this game extremely fun and bought the full game soon after!

Story 10/10
The story takes place roughly around late 2003 to early 2004 I remember seeing 2004 then going to 2003, it was strange. Anyway, your mission, as Sam Fisher, a former convert OP who was recently called back into duty to investigate the sudden disappearances of two agents your mission is to evaluate the situation then go from there. You are to leave no trace of your presence.

Graphics 10/10
The graphics on this game are truly remarkable with all the detail that Ubi Soft put into this game. The shadows for one are extremely detailed and make up a lot of the game, character detail is outstanding, such as Sam's equipment juggling as he runs, and facial detail is also outstanding for it never looks dull. The FMV's from stage to stage are also very nicely detailed and animated. The environments are also extremely interactive and near everything can be shot at, and thus produces an after effect, almost all lights can shot out, which helps your stealth, as well as shooting glass makes it crack, shooting water makes it raise, shooting computers make it break, all the stuff that you know happens in real life if you interact with it, happens in this game.

Controls 10/10
I found nothing wrong with the controls and they are as smooth as the controls in Metal Gear Solid 2. Sam moves very freely and the game is overall very responsive. Aiming is also easy in this game, but also take note that you must steady your aim in this game before firing. Overall I found no faults in the controls and had absolutely no complains with them.

Gameplay 10/10

Ever wish Solid Snake could have a lot more moves in his disposal? Well if you wished that, then Splinter Cell could be the stealth game for you. There are so many moves to help execute your mission without causing alert of guards. Some of the include Split Jumps, which is going between two small walls using your legs to get above a guard when he least expects it, then you can drop down and hammer him! There is also Rolling, Backing to a Wall, Wall Jumps (kind of like a double jump), and Mantling, Climbing, Shimmying, Repelling and so much more! Phew! That’s a lot of moves. There is also PLENTY attack moves, Drop Attacks, Rappel Shooting, Hanging Shooting, Split Jump Shooting, Back to Wall Shooting. Also you can interact with enemies like in MGS2, such as Grabbing from behind, Human shield use, Interrogation (during special events), and Forced Cooperation (only when needed to advance)

There are also many stealth weapons that Metal Gear Solid did not have. Some include a Sticky Camera, which allows you to shoot cameras to view certain areas. Sticky Shocker, which allows you to shoot a shocker out of your gun which shocks an enemy close or midrange away from you to knock him out without alerting him. Lock picks to unlock doors, Ring Foil Air rounds, which is like the Sticky Shocker, except you have to aim correctly if you want to knock out the enemy with it once, such as firing it at the head. Since this is really a stealth mission and not a full blown out war, actual assault weaponry is not very plentiful, but for what it gives you is fine with me. In most missions, you are armed with nothing but a silenced handgun. What also makes this game realistic is true human aiming, there is no perfect aiming like in Metal Gear Solid 2, you have to wait a second or two to steady Sam's aim with the gun or you will most likely shoot inaccurately. In some missions, you will be armed with a rifle type gun, which can fire more accurately than the handgun, can be automatic, and has a zoom in feature for Sniper like firing. However Stealth still remains the key factor in this game. As you progress in the game, enemies get assault rifles rather than handguns, and Sam is human here, if they begin to let out fire rapidly on you, consider yourself dead.

Mission Gameplay
The overall mission gameplay is very exciting and I didn't find it boring even though you are suppose to sneak rather than kill. Shadows are the most key factor in this entire game. You should always stay in the darkest place possible so guards cannot see you, and at the best time, either take out the guard quickly, or just ignore him and move on. Did you ever notice that guards in MGS2 don't hear your footsteps even if you are coming right up to them? Well in Splinter Cell, full-blown running is suicide! For a lot of the game, you will notice yourself crouched and slowly moving, because guards have good hearing and can hear you if you are too loud, which also tells you not to fire too blindly, guards hear gunshots and will immediately investigate anything out of the ordinary. There are also no Bosses in this game, which is also another realistic factor, but there is 'Situation' type events where the game requires you to make a quick and rational decision against impossible odds to defeat in combat, but if you mastered your environments, you can evade all these events. This game is NOT a Metal Gear Solid rip AT ALL, and it completely based around stealth and is way more into the entire stealth factor than Metal Gear Solid.

Media 10/10
The sounds in this game are also well made. The voice acting for one is well done and I personally like Sam Fisher's voice. The music always has a stealth type feeling for it, and actually has a sort of dark feeling to it. When you enter a combat the music speeds up and gets more in an action sense. In tricky 'Situation' type events the music will also get into an action type music. Sounds are also very realistic sounding, such as glass breaking from the lights to shooting metal. This game on 3D/EAX Sound is truly amazing, for the sounds echo around your speakers, making it sound like you are truly hearing it through Sam's ears!

Replay Ability 8/10
Sadly, this game gives you absolutely nothing for completing the game, which is actually a minor disappointment...however once you beat it you unlock all the levels and you can select an individual level you want to play through, also you can play the game on hard mode to test if you are truly the Splinter Cell master. Hopefully Splinter Cell 2 will have some extra goodies for beating the game.

Can My Computer Run This?
This game isn't as based on your processor as you may think. This game's graphical power really lies within the power of your graphics card. From as far as I know, you need ATLEAST a 16 MB Video Card to play this game, I couldn't get this working on a 8 MB Video Card computer, I kept getting an error, and the computer is brand new. My card is GeForce4 MX 420, which is actually a bad series of video cards, sadly, but I can still run this game on a decent frame rate, with sometimes on large maps getting some slow-down. A good Radeon card from ATI or a GeForce TI from NVIDIA should be able to handle this game quite easily, so just bear in mind that your video card shouldn't be too outdated to play this game.

Demo Only or Buy?
Obviously you should download the demo if you are a bit skeptical about this game. If you don't want to download the demo and just want a direct opinion to buy it, you should consider what I said in this review strongly. This game is not as much like Metal Gear Solid 2 as you may think, this game is more based around stealth, you don't get about 12 weapons to blast your enemies down with, this game keeps it's basis on stealth, so don't expect a whole weaponry. If you want a challenging, fun and tactical stealth game, then definitely considering buying this game.

Final Words
Splinter Cell definitely holds it words when it says 'Stealth Action Redefined' this is truly setting the basis on stealth that we thought Metal Gear Solid had set, which it did, but Splinter Cell took it up to the next level. I am a huge fanatic of stealth games and I must say, this game really gave me a challenge and a run for my money. The newly announced Splinter Cell 2 game promises to definitely be a promising game and I am looking forward to more stealth games like this.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/23/03, Updated 06/23/03

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