Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Review

The AI in the game is pretty strong, and the enemy guards and civilians react realistically.  Individual guards might try to gun you down or run to sound an alarm, and groups of enemies will come at you in different directions as they attempt to flank you.  If you haven't been detected, the guards will continue on their patrols and strike up conversations with each other.  They are aware of their surroundings, though, and will react to shot out lights or bodies left lying in the open, not to mention Sam making too much noise.

Splinter Cell is not an easy game, but not for the same reason as most Tom Clancy games.  The other games feature a realistic injury model where a single shot can kill and health packs are nowhere to be found.  Splinter Cell is much more forgiving in this department as Sam is given a large health bar and suffers no ill effects from low health.  The game even features medical kits sprinkled throughout the levels which can be used to restore lost health.  What makes Splinter Cell challenging is the strong AI and the puzzle-like nature of the levels.  You don't have the freedom to take any route that you want through a level, there is a definite solution to each situation.  These solutions are not always obvious, and often require some trial and error on your part or the occasional backtracking.  The solutions are not necessarily obfuscated by the game's designers in an attempt to add artificial challenge to the game, and the solutions make sense once you find them.  However, be prepared to die a number of deaths when playing the game.


In the graphics and sound department, Splinter Cell is nothing less than an amazing achievement.  The lighting effects are phenomenal.  You'll see light filtered through fences, shades, lattices, and more, and see the complex shadows they cast on the floor or on people moving through the light.  The shadowing is very realistic, and a room will look different when it is lit by overhead lights, a desk lamp, or streetlight filtering through a window.  The game's incredible graphics extend beyond lighting.  The wind will carry along leaves and small pieces of paper, and cause hanging lamps and flags to sway in the breeze.  When inside you'll see flags flutter and hanging room dividers swing and sway as you walk by and disturb them.  Shoot a hanging lamp and the cord will bounce around in reaction to the bullet.  The game's developers have done an outstanding job of pushing the Xbox to its full potential and the result is a game with incredible atmosphere and a fully immersive environment.

The sound is also excellent, from the top-notch voice acting to the environmental sounds and soundtrack.  You'll be able to hear the guards making there rounds and tell which direction the sound is coming from.  If you have a system with 5.1 sound, the effect is even more pronounced.  Even the soundtrack provides important audio clues without being obnoxious or too obtrusive.

The game's missions will keep you busy for quite some time, but once you're finished them the experience does not end there.  If you subscribe to Xbox Live, then you'll be able to download new levels to your Xbox's hard drive. 

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 96%.  If you want to show your Xbox off to friends, this is the game to do it with.  Sneak off to your favorite software store and buy this game - unlike Sam you can tell them who sent you.


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