Review by Girospeck

"Splinter Cell, sneaking its way into all Xbox owners hearts."

Gameplay: Splinter Cell is a stealth game. Therefore I feel I must tell you now that this game may not be for everyone. This is a very slow moving game. You will find yourself sitting in a dark corner for 5 minutes just waiting for that one guard to pass. There is much more stealth then Metal Gear Solid. I just wanted you to realize that. Now on to the review.

When you first pick up the game you’ll enter a screen to play campaign, settings, extra features, credits, and download. That’s right they actually promise to have downloadable levels in the near future. When you enter the campaign you can load up from your saves or you can load up any level you’ve played. This is a very nice option they give. I like to be able to go back and replay the levels I like without playing through the whole game to get there.

When you first start a game you must play through a tutorial. This will teach you all of the basics. You’ll start by being asked to look in every direction, then a simple climb. I’ll get much more advanced teaching you wall jumping as well as others. All the moves you can do includes: crouching, mantling, climbing, close attack, back to wall, shimmying, hand-over-hand, zip line, rolling, wall jump, split jump, drop attack, quiet landing, door peek, rappelling, rappel shooting, hanging shooting, split jump shooting, back to wall shooting, move body, conversation, grabbing, human shield, interrogation, and forced cooperation. As you can see there a healthy amount of options.

All those moves fit into this game beautifully. You see a few enemies in a room that you don’t think you can defeat. Simple just turn off the lights and turn on the night vision. You can just systematically eliminate all the enemies, no alarms, no damage taken. Nice, simple, clean. If that’s not your style, then just sneak by them all together. Why risk a confirmation. Or hell why not do the opposite. Just run in guns blazing. This approach can work in this game. Unlike Metal Gear Solid an unlimited amount of soldiers don’t chase you down. Instead there are so many enemy soldiers that patrol and so on. Once all these men are dead, there will be nothing left to attack you. You can get the alarms sounding and it doesn’t matter. This gives you a real sense of accomplishment every time you clear a room. The only way one will come back is if you don’t kill them and another soldier finds them, they will wake them. The other two weaknesses of running in shooting are that you will of course take damage, but more so you have a very limited supply of ammo. You also have the option of slowing taking out each and every one of the enemies you see. Just grab one, drag him into a dark spot and whack him. Lets just say you’ll find a way you like.

Graphics: The graphics are amazing. In this game every little thing actually matters. Shooting out lights makes it harder for enemies to find you. This game features some of the most impressive lighting affects in a game. I found my self just messing around with this for a while instead of playing my game. Then the amount of detail in every little area of this world they’ve created for you. The backgrounds are breath taking. The character models themselves look good and I found that most of the guards have different faces, which was a nice surprise. I don’t think I could write this review without telling you about the curtains. They move so well to every thing you do. You can run straight though it and I will wave forward and then come back. It will sway back and forth until it loses momentum. It actually obeys the laws of physics. Then you can run into one to find an imprint of yourself in the curtain. My friends all joke that there could just be a room of curtains and they could sell that as a game. While that’s a bit of an overstatement they are very nice. And I must admit I’ve wasted a good hour or two with curtains. Overall these are some of the best graphics I’ve seen in a game.

Sound: The sound is well...perfect. I don’t think it could have been better. You must move quiet to avoid detection. The music is fitting, with the exception of the opening show, which IMO is out of place (calling all freaks now). The voices are very good as well. While not perfect here when compared to most other games its up there. The sound affects are great as well. When you drop and enemy there is a good clunk sound. You must detect cameras by a faint sound alone. It all comes together beautifully.

Value: This was one of the hardest categories to judge for this game. When playing you’ll be amazed at all the options here. This can defiantly add replay and the first time through is amazing. Then there is a promise of downloadable levels. This will add tons of replay value. There are only 9 levels in this game. I don’t know how much we can expect to see for download. If it had to guess I’d say we’ll see 3-4 levels. Then there are the special features. You can see behind the scenes footage of the game. There are also videos of other games. All in all its still good value for your money and I’d highly recommend it. Just realize that an average game player could get through this game in less then 15 hours. I play a lot of games and can get through it in 10. But there are hours of extra features and the promise of downloadable levels you get your moneys worth.

Value-9/10 (With XBL) 7/10 (Without XBL)

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/02/02, Updated 12/02/02

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