Review by Pandora

Reviewed: 02/12/03 | Updated: 06/17/03

Metal Gear What?

Before Splinter Cell came out, it was being compared to Metal Gear Solid. People said it was just a ripoff. Well ripoff this isn't. This is a completely original game that focuses more on stealth than anything else. Where MGS focused a little more on Action. This game has just raised the bar on Stealth games.

Besides Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. This is the best looking game on the Xbox. The game relies on the graphics, but only because they are an important part of the gameplay. If the graphics weren't as good as they were, the game wouldn't be as fun. Of course, the lighting is the first thing that pops out when you look at the game. But it's also the little things, like the details on the gun, or how the bad guys wander through the dark with their hands out in front of them. Or when you see the shards of glass on the floor from that bottle you through at a guard. The graphics in this game, from shadows to lights to the weapons, and the shards of glass on the floor just show off the muscle of the Xbox.

While creeping through the shadows, the tense music keeps you on edge. Keeping you alert during your little adventures around the levels in Splinter Cell. But when a guard notices something weird, or when you're caught, the music changes pace. Getting more fast paced. Keeping you more on edge. It pumps you up. It creates the perfect atmosphere for a stealth game. The guards moan, they squeal, and it all sounds good. When someone falls on the floor, it sounds real. You can hear the footsteps of a guard fade away as they walk away from you. You can hear guards having conversations about absolutely nothing. And again, it all sounds good. But it would've been much cooler if all the weapons didn't sound the same, and if the guards would talk in their native languages.

Ok, think Metal Gear Solid. You got it? Good, now think Metal Gear Solid, except with a slower pace, it's more realistic, and it has the Tom Clancy name on it. That's Splinter Cell. All the espionage gear is here. All real too. You can find every weapon, item, and gadget in this game in testing or in existence right now. Metal Gear Solid is like an arcade stealth game compared to this. No rocket launchers here. All you get is your trusty SC-20K rifle, and your handy Five-seveN. Think that's not enough? How about the myriad amount of super stealthy moves you can perform? Human shields? You got it. Shoot around a corner? You got it. Split jumps Jackie Chan style? You got it. Pulling off Sam's moves is not only cool, but it's extremely fun. There's nothing like the rush of sneaking up to a guard and knocking him out with a swift elbow jab.
The amount of levels may make it seem short, but this game is hard. You'll be trying some levels over and over again. But the checkpoints help out a little there. By far this is one of the hardest and most fun games on the Xbox.

If you like the works of Tom Clancy, chances are that you'll most likely love this story. You, Third Echelon Splinter Cell of the NSA, Sam Fischer are sent in to investigate the disappearances of fellow agents. But, like all Tom Clancy stories, there are a lot of political and war references.

This game is not multiplayer at all. But it has a great amount of replayability. You will restart at checkpoints, for this game is hard. But, you can go through again knowing what to do, and you can try a different approach. Or you can do the mission again after you complete it. trying to do some things differently, and trying to find different ways to do something. And also, if you have that little thing called Xbox Live, be ready to be able to download new levels, weapons, and gadgets this spring. But if you don't have Xbox Live, minus 3 points from my score for replayability.

To buy or rent?
Buy this game, now. Well...maybe I can break it down for you. If you are a fan of stealth games. Buy this game right now. If you are an Xbox owner, buy this game right now. It is a must play. This IS the second, or probably the best game on the Xbox. Get it now.

Again, this is the best or second best game on the Xbox. Great graphics, amazing sound, almost innovative stealth game gameplay mechanics, and almost perfect replayability through Xbox Lives upcoming downloadables. And you have one of the best games for 2002.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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