Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

Review

posted 11/23/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: Xbox
What happens when Solid Snake meets Tom Clancy? A star is bound to be born and this time his name is Sam Fisher, the star of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, one of the freshest and most impressive games to arrive on the Xbox scene.

The first time I came in contact with Splinter Cell was in one of the backrooms of Microsoft’s Xbox booth at this year's E3. A representative was showcasing a few of the ‘must-have’ Xbox titles of the Holiday season and she was very adamant about demo-ing SC for us. After she finally managed to boot up the game I must say that my jaw hit the floor only to stay there for the remainder of the expo. The game was extremely impressive, featuring breathtaking visuals, intuitive gameplay and a main character worthy of starring in his own major motion picture. For those three days everywhere I went the focus of a conversation would somehow steer its way towards Splinter Cell, no matter how far-fetched the topic may have been.

Let’s fast forward 6 months later to the day that Splinter Cell finally found its way to my mailbox. I’ve enjoyed my time with the game but the experience wasn’t as pleasant as I initially hoped it would be. Not that Splinter Cell is a let down, by all means that’s as far from the truth as possible. There are just a few elements that I couldn’t help but feel were executed in a manner that was up to par. As I played the game more and more I couldn’t help but notice some gaping flaws in it, but like that fat chick that you were stuck going to the Prom with in high school, it might bother you but you’ll be able to live it down, eventually.

Tom Clancy inspired games have really come in to their own during the past five years. Rainbow Six was one of the most impressive games of its time and has since found a permanent place on my personal favorites shelf. Rogue Spear was an excellent title that really helped propel the genre forward with better tactics, better AI and better overall gameplay. Then came Ghost Recon, the epitome of everything that a squad-based shooter typified. With every seceding title, Red Storm managed to advance the genre and propel it to a whole new level. With the exclusion of The Sum of All Fears, all of their games have made a significant impact on gamers everywhere. It is for this very reason that I feel that Splinter Cell fails to exude that Game of the Year aura that it initially held. Most portions of the game feel too similar to another and after a few hours of gameplay you’ll start to come down with a bit of déjà vu.

The storyline is what you’d typically expect to derive from a Tom Clancy novel. You’ll assume the role of Sam Fisher; a top agent whose duty is to stop acts of terrorism in their tracks. Working in secrecy for Echelon 3, he is proficient in lethal arts and munitions but his most valuable asset will be stealth. Since this is a Clancy novel, the story has you doing battle with the Russians and the Chinese because, as always, they’re EVIL! The story unfolds via sequences of disjointed news clips that really cause more confusion than they should. I’m not certain as to their purpose because I was given the impression that they’d help advance the story. Instead I was scratching my head, wondering exactly what in the hell was going on.
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