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PS2 Reviews: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell screenshots


The Final Say!


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell -  reviewed by Andrew B, Review Date: 15 May 2003
Review Score 9.6/10
Distributed By:
Ubi Soft

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"Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell... brilliant!"

Originally Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell was an XBox exclusive that featured some of the best lighting effects to have ever graced the console. And less than a year later, PlayStation 2 owners can now enjoy this acclaimed game. 

You play the role of retired special agent Sam Fisher who has just been called out of retirement to solve the fate of two National Security Agency (NSA) operatives. Your job is far from simple as Fisher soon discovers that just more than the operatives fates are at stake but also a threat to world peace. 

The game starts with a beautiful CGI cinematic introduction that shows the capture of the two NSA agents in southern Russia and then cuts to Fisher, who is on vacation with his daughter. These gorgeous cinemas are littered throughout the game and help move the story along quite nicely. 

There have been reports that I concur to, that Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell has been dumbed down on the PlayStation 2 because the XBox version suffered a few problems. The XBox version was quite difficult and it soon became a frustrating exercise because of the difficulty of the game. Fortunately on the PlayStation 2, the enemies can be dispatched quickly and another bonus is that the damage they inflict has also been lowered. 

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell isn't your average first person shooter (FPS) or Hollywood action movie but far from it as the game involves quite a bit of cloak and dagger skills that involve stealth and quick kills. The game also uses a third person view that fits quite well with the game engine as Fisher can perform a variety of different manoeuvres that would be impossible to achieve in a FPS view.

The main gameplay mode of Splinter Cell is stealth and cunning that has Fisher going on a variety of missions for his agency. A basic mission may involve Fisher infiltrating an enemy government's base without being seen or heard. The missions are filled with cameras and various other surveillance equipment throughout the gaming world that must be avoided at all costs. Generally your character is given one or two warnings before the mission is aborted and you must start again. 

The beauty of Splinter Cell is that quite a bit of the gaming world is destructible, that is, you can shoot out lights, cameras and various other objects in the game. Fisher is also equipped with the latest stealth technologies from the US that include night-vision goggles, camera jammers, a fibre-optic camera that allows you to see through keyholes, various lock picks and your trusty sidearm with silencer. 

The gameplay mode of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is perfect but it does take some time getting use to the camera. The controls are greatly improved over the XBox version and Fisher can perform a variety of moves such as balancing himself between two walls, scaling ropes and pipes, sliding down zip lines or moving his way along pipes, one hand at a time.

Your character also has a stealth meter that shows whether your character can be seen or not, the darker this meter, the more invisible your character is. Another nifty feature of the game is that sometimes you must hide bodies in order to prevent alarms from being raised. The combat in Splinter Cell is all about stealth and you can either avoid your enemies, shoot your enemies or sneak up behind them in order to knock them out. Another bonus feature that Ubi Soft have implemented into the game is the bonus PlayStation 2 level that was not found anywhere in the XBox version. Apart from the bonus level, another interesting feature is that many of the levels are different then the XBox version, that is, you start in different locations then you did on the XBox. So if you own both versions of this game, it may be wise to purchase the PS2 version as it is almost another completely new game. 

Graphically, the PlayStation 2 version is spectacular, although not as sharp and colourful as the XBox version, it still holds its own. Splinter Cell also features some of the best lighting effects to have ever graced the console that not only interacts with the environment but is crucial in using to your advantage. The characters of Splinter Cell contain a high amount of polygons for some added realism, not to mention some realistic textures and physics. 

Musically, Splinter Cell features a beautiful orchestrated musical piece that is not only used during cinemas but also during in game. Another impressive feature with the music is that if a guard suspects that you are there, the music will change dramatically to match the atmosphere of the game. Ubi Soft have also done a great job with the character acting in the game that is as close to perfect as one game can get. The actor Michael Ironside is also the voice of Sam Fisher and does an amazing job at portraying the character. 

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is a brilliant game that contains some amazing graphics, a very interesting storyline and some great gameplay. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed Metal Gear Solid 2 or Tenchu as this is all about stealth and not just another mindless shooting game. Highly Recommended!

- Andrew B

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