Splinter Cell Xbox bonus mission impressions

We sneak our way through the soon-to-be-available downloadable Splinter Cell mission. Impressions and media inside.

This Friday, Ubi Soft will offer those who own the original version of its hit stealth action game Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell a chance to download a brand-new, full-length mission for the game via the Xbox Live service. Set in a fortified stronghold in the Kola Peninsula in Russia, the mission takes place after the events of Splinter Cell, putting you back in the role of ultrasecret operative Sam Fisher. Fisher is hot on the trail of a criminal computer hacker named Phillip Masse, a character briefly seen in the original game and one who helped orchestrate the cyberterrorist threat that's the focus of Splinter Cell's storyline. Neutralizing Masse is Fisher's primary objective.

Splinter Cell players will immediately notice Sam Fisher's slightly altered appearance for this mission. Specifically, Fisher can be seen wearing a black face mask that covers all but his eyes, making him appear even stealthier and more threatening than usual. Fisher starts the mission off with his trusty experimental SC-20K rifle, as well as his silenced pistol and various gadgets.

The mission itself picks up from the relatively high difficulty level where Splinter Cell leaves off. In addition to having to sneak up on and take out heavily armed Russian guards, Fisher will also need to bypass retinal scanners, laser tripwires, and other dangerous and high-tech defenses. This is an action-packed scenario--while Fisher should as always try to remain hidden, he has clearance to also do away with any guards that stand between him and his objective. The combination of action-packed shoot-outs, sneaking sequences, and exploration makes this level live up to the pacing and quality of Splinter Cell's original scenarios.

The visual quality of this new level also stacks up. Besides Fisher's new look, a number of other new graphical details are present in the Kola mission. Russian flags adorn the fortress, and hanging burlap drapes limit Fisher's vision beyond certain thresholds. The dimly lit fortress at once presents an advantage and a disadvantage from a tactical standpoint--many areas will require the use of Fisher's night vision, but the occasional dangling light fixture can make for a blinding distraction. Brand-new voice-over has also been recorded for this mission.

Ubi Soft has no plans to release this level for use with any other version of Splinter Cell. However, Xbox owners who have eagerly anticipated Ubi Soft's promise of downloadable content for the game will need to wait no longer than this Friday, March 14. Until then, have a look at our new media of the early parts of the Kola Cell mission.

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