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N-Gage Reviews: Splinter Cell

One of the most anticipated games of 2003 has finally arrived on the N-Gage Game Deck that promises gamers the same thrilling experience as its distant console cousins. Originally on the XBox, PC and PlayStation 2, Splinter Cell was a first person shooter that gave gamers some of the most realistic and nerve racking moments in gaming history that not only changed the current genre of games but also set a new benchmark in graphics extraordinaire.

Unlike the traditional first person console version, Splinter Cell on the N-Gage is a classic side scrolling arcade game which manages to keep certain elements from the original game that made it so popular such as stealth, espionage and sabotage. For those unfamiliar with Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, the title puts gamers into the role of Sam Fisher, a retired Black Ops operative who once worked for the NAS. Unfortunately for Fisher, he has been called back into the field to prevent a worldwide catastrophe that only he can prevent. Armed with the latest military gadgets, your own initiative and guile, you must now tackle a variety of enemies that not only include enemies from other countries but also that of your own government.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell for the N-Gage was developed by Gameloft, a leading edge mobile phone software developer that has not only pushed the Game Deck to its limits graphically but has also successfully ported the very elements of the original version into this extremely addictive title. The game itself boasts ten different levels of play that not only test Sam Fisher himself but also challenge the gamer in some of the most entertaining and frustrating missions that I have played in a long time.  Splinter Cell for the N-Gage isn't your average arcade platformer where players must jump, shoot and fight their way to victory but in actual fact... is far from it and is actually a strategic arcade game. The original game relied heavily on stealth that forced the gamer to ensure that their character was not seen by enemy units and this has been successfully implemented into the N-Gage version.

You can't just run into a room like a Hollywood action hero firing your guns and setting alarms off left, right and centre because as soon as the enemy is notified of your presence, you must ensure that they do not alert others. As a Black Ops operative, Sam Fisher must make certain that his mission is completed without incident and this can be achieved by a variety of ways. The game generally contains two types of different enemies that you encounter, one will attempt to eliminate your character, whereas the other will flee to set the alarms off for backup. Fortunately these enemies can be dispatched in a number of way and this can be accomplished by using your smoke grenades to knock them out, using your tranquiliser to put them to sleep, sneaking past them so that they don't notice you or by creeping up behind them to knock them out.


The enemies in the game are not your only problem in successfully completing your missions as you must also avoid security cameras that are virtually littered throughout the gaming environment. The best plan of attack against these high-tech surveillance devices is to avoid their  gaze and this is achieved by using your gadgets (such as the sticky camera) to either dodge their gaze or by disabling the lights in the area. The gaming environment also contains several darkened areas where Sam Fisher can hide to help avoid discovery. Although the majority of the game is set indoors, there are also some outdoor areas where Sam must scale down buildings, zoom across grappling hooks and perform a variety of other objectives.

The game also includes the lock picking aspect of the original game that has you using your tools to help break into safes, doors and other hidden areas in the game. Although you don't have a DualShock controller to help you pick these lots, you must use the gamepad to pick each stage of the lock and to make things more interesting, just about all locks in the game are timed, meaning that if you fail your lock pick, it may set off an alarm. Fortunately these alarms can be turned off by Sam Fisher, provided you are in the vicinity of the junction box. The most frustrating aspect of this title was setting alarms off in the game and if you could not turn it off in time, the game ended and you had to restart the level. Although there are checkpoints in the game, these are far and few. The levels in Splinter Cell are generally quite small and provided that you slowly pace yourself through it, you should have no troubles in completing them but I'm usually a little impatient and try to "fight" my way through the levels.

Considering that many of the current games on the N-Gage at the moment lack an in-depth multiplayer option, Splinter Cell contains not one but two multiplayer modes that includes Sniper and Cooperative modes of play. The Sniper mode of the game is basically a kill all event where each player must compete against a plethora of enemies and dispatch them quickly without behind killed themselves, thus the player with the highest score, wins the game. The cooperative mode is a far more interesting aspect and includes four unique missions where each player must work together to help complete the level. I must admit that the cooperative mode of Splinter Cell is a very addictive mode of play and will give gamers endless hours of fun that is flawlessly connected via Bluetooth.

Graphically, Splinter Cell on the N-Gage is probably one of the most visually impressive games on the system at the moment and although not 3D, it does contain some beautiful 2D graphics from extremely sharp characters to some amazingly designed backgrounds. Apart from the impressive graphics, the game also contains an action orientated soundtrack and various sound effects in the game such as knocking out enemies from behind and firing your tranquiliser gun.

In conclusion, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is probably one of my favourite games for the N-Gage that truly makes this title stand above the rest with exceptional graphics and highly addictive gameplay, I quite literally couldn't put this game down. If you're on a budget and can only buy one N-Gage game this year than I would highly recommend Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. Check it out!

- Andrew B

The Final Say!

Splinter Cell reviewed by Andrew B 
Review Date: January 2003
Review Score 8.7/10
Distributed By: Nokia

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