Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Review
One of the most popular, most successful, and best looking games for Microsoft's Xbox is now on the PC, and in some ways it's even better than the original version.
One of the most popular, most successful, and best looking games for Microsoft's Xbox is now on the PC, and in some ways it's even better than the original version. In most ways, though, it's exactly the same. And that's great news on both counts. Reminiscent of games like Thief: The Dark Project and last year's Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is a stealth-driven action adventure that sends you, as operative Sam Fisher, around the globe on numerous highly secretive and very dangerous assignments. It all goes down like something straight out of a Hollywood action thriller, replete with an intro set to alternative music and big-budget special effects featuring quite possibly the best lighting effects seen on the PC to date. The game isn't above reproach: Just like its Xbox counterpart, Splinter Cell for the PC is a relatively short single-player-only game consisting of heavily scripted missions that can sometimes turn into exercises in trial and error that undermine the game's otherwise pervasive sense of suspense. On the other hand, the improved save system and the unique and effective mouse-and-keyboard control scheme make Splinter Cell for the PC far more than just a straight port of the console version. At its core, it's a truly great action game, one that's already met with tremendous acclaim on the Xbox and promises to be very well received on the PC.
Sam Fisher is the splinter cell--an ultrasecret commando working on highly classified assignments. The title of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell refers to the unusual role of its main character, a highly trained and experienced soldier working for a top-secret military organization, Third Echelon, that's attempting to rid the world of a high-tech terrorist threat. If he's caught, the US government will disavow its affiliation with his mission. Worse yet, one false move and Fisher may inadvertently instigate World War III. So the pressure's on, but Fisher's as cool as they come. Though he's skilled as a fighter, stealth is his only real option, and the fate of the free world hangs in the balance as he undertakes a number of high-stakes covert operations. The game's plot, which is set in the near future, is straight out of a Clancy thriller and involves Fisher taking on Clancy's favorite tag team: the Russians and the Chinese.
Despite being Third Echelon's right hand, Fisher is on a need-to-know basis and is largely kept in the dark about the exact nature of his objectives. Fortunately, he's extremely resourceful, armed or unarmed. A preliminary training scenario will familiarize you with the basics of being Sam Fisher, though you'll nevertheless need a lot of practice to become truly proficient in the role. At any rate, you'd never guess that these controls were adapted from a console game, since they work extremely well on the PC. For the most part, Splinter Cell plays like a typical first-person or third-person shooter, but it makes innovative use of the mouse wheel, allowing you to fine-tune Fisher's movement speed from a slow, silent crawl all the way up to a brisk run. This works great, though it arguably diminishes some of the challenge found in the Xbox version of the game, where you needed to gently move the analog joystick in order to make Fisher tiptoe. The other controls, such as for drawing your weapons and using the context-sensitive menu, take some getting used to but work effectively, enabling you to perform an array of maneuvers that collectively make Splinter Cell feel like a pretty believable super-spy simulation.
In fact, aside from the pretty lighting effects, the variety of moves at Fisher's disposal is probably the highlight of Splinter Cell. Sam has something for every occasion: He can move quite quickly from a crouched position, and if you tread carefully while crouching, you'll be almost invisible and almost silent. He can climb ladders, chain-link fences, and more. He can rappel down walls (and kick through glass windows while doing so), climb hand over hand (or using all four limbs) across horizontal pipes, and zip across downward-slanted ropes or wires. He can put his back against a wall and lean or shoot around corners, he can peek behind doors that are slightly ajar, and he can make soft landings or perform evasive rolls. Fisher can also kick off a wall in mid jump, and his coolest move (though it isn't very practical) allows him to stand in the splits atop a narrow passageway and then either shoot unsuspecting opponents or drop down to deliver a stunning blow.
Sneaking up behind an opponent allows Fisher to either knock the foe unconscious with an elbow strike or a pistol whip or grab the enemy and take him hostage. Fisher can then use the opponent as a human shield against other enemies, or in some cases interrogate him or force him to do such things as activate retinal scanners that otherwise prevent passage. He'll eventually have to dispatch his hostage one way or another, and then he can pick up and move the prone body out of the sight of enemy patrols. Fortunately for you, unconscious foes will awaken only if discovered by their allies.
- Player Reviews: 90
- Game Universe:
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (DC, GBC, N64, PS, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (XBOX, PC, GC, PS2, MAC, NGE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (XBOX, PS2, GC, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (PC, PS, DC, PS2, GBA, MAC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (XBOX, PC, PS2, GC, GBA, NGE, MOBILE, MAC, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (PC, XBOX, PS2),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (PC, XBOX, PS2, GC, GBA, MOBILE, PS3),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (PS2, NGE, MOBILE),
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 (PS2, XBOX, GC, PC),
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PC, XBOX, NGE, PS2, GC, DS, 3DS)
- Number of Players: