• Review: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

    Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

    Hello readers. Today (and, well, i guess for rest of time internet exists) i present to you game that got me to stealth genre. Maybe not as classic or iconic as Metal Gear, but classic nonethless- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell

    Basic introduction

    Meet Sam Fisher. You also see his boss in the back

    Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (more commonly known as Splinter Cell) is first game in franchise of same name, released back in 17th November 2002 for Xbox, with releases soon following for windows, Playstation 2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, mobile phone (doesnt resemble other versions), N-Gage and bit later for Mac OS X. There was also PS3 release in 2011. It is 3rd person stealth game.
    System requirements (from Steam):

    • Minimum:
      • Supported OS: Microsoft Windows® 2000/XP
      • Processor: Pentium® III or AMD Athlon™ 800 MHz
      • System Memory: 256 MB of RAM or above
      • Video Card: 32 MB 3D video card (64
      • Sound Card: Direct X 8.1 compliant sound card (
      • DirectX Version: DirectX® version 8.1 or higher
      • Hard Disk: 1.5 GB available hard disk space
      • Multiplayer: Broadband Internet connection

    • Recommended:
      • Supported OS: Microsoft Windows® 2000/XP
      • Processor: Pentium® III or AMD Athlon™ 1.0 GHz
      • System Memory: 256 MB of RAM or above
      • Video Card: 64 MB 3D video card/
      • Sound Card: Direct X 8.1 compliant sound card with surround system
      • DirectX Version: Direct X 8.1
      • Hard Disk: 2.1 GB available hard disk space
      • Note: For an up-to-date list of supported chipsets, video cards, and operating systems, please visit the FAQ for this game at: http://support.ubi.com.


    first Third Echelon team (from left)- Vernon Wilkes jr. (tech), Irving Lambert (boss) and Sam Fisher

    Story takes place in 2004, when president of Georgia is assassinated and Kombayn Nikoladze seises power in bloodless coup. Few months later, former Navy Seal Sam Fisher is recruited by NSA to work on its newly formed division- The Third Echelon. His first mission as part of that division takes him to Tbilisi, capital of Georgia to investigate disappereance of CIA moles. As it turns out, Nikoladze is planning ethnic cleansing in azerbaijan and is even threatening to start world war 3. Your job is to stop him at all costs.
    To be fair, story is bit clichesque and ending is not hard to see. I mean, former USSR villain nation thats not Russia or current allies to avoid possible scandal? Check. Rich dictator that takes over country in bloodless coup? check (also i wonder was that supposed to be hint). Small country causing suprisingly large ammount of problems? check. Large possibility of WW3? check. Heck, even communists are involved. Like something out of spy novel writers guide book from 70-s
    On positive side, however, story is actually captivating- i have to admit that i thorougly enjoyed the story and also conversations between Fisher and people on sidelines. That Fisher guy has some dark sense of humor. Also there is quite fair ammount of extra reading in data sticks, though it mostly is mission related, though there are private conversations as well. Not best story, but good enough for its time.


    For a stealth game, Splinter Cell actually offers quite bit of freedom- while stealth is encouraged and there are levels where you cant kill/be detected, in most levels you can just go assault style. However, since your weapons arent really good for combat, theres fair chance you run out of ammo or get killed if you do that. But lets go trough it all in order.
    First- weapons. you have 2 main weapons- 9mm silenced pistol and assault rifle, to which you can attatch gadgets. I personally found 9mm being most useful in times where i could kill and even when i didnt. Useful for holding enemy as shield situations, hanging from pipe, eliminating lights and cameras. Its more accurate than assault rifle, especially when firing rapidly, also you can use it in most situations. Assault rifle is more handy in open conflict situations though, but way less accurate in combat. However, from non-lethal standpoint, assault rifle can reduce your sneaking headache quite a bit with additions such as sticky shocker (my personal favourite), sticky camera and ring airfoil projectile (useful enough, though hitting enemy with it anywhere other than head requires 2 hits to take out). I might've forgotten some of it though.
    In equipment side, there are also optic cable (useful for seeing behind closed doors) and lock picks, both of which you have to equip in active weapon slot before using. Thats bit of inconvinience, however tolerable. And of course iconic night vision/thermal goggles, which thankfully have hotkey to activate.
    Main focus is stealth, however and this is where game is at its best- you have tons of tools and ways to take down enemies silently, even excluding ones already mentioned. Most effective way is to close down to melee range, grab enemy, lead him to dark spot and knock him out. Or you could knock him out and carry him to dark. Or why not make a literal drop on enemy. Of course, you could always pull enemy off the ledge.. There is little more satisfying in this game than to see enemy group, plan out exactly how you are going to separate them and take them out without using weapons other than your fists... and elbow. And then actually do it. Zipline across courtyard here, climb pipe there, hang from ledge here and voila! Bad guys eliminated (though its not even strictly needed most of the time).
    In this game you have to use everything to your advantage- light and noise especially. But also enemy bodies, soda cans and bottles. But be careful- while AI is not the smartest, its quite good for its time, noticing when its being played with. And when you miss a shot or throw soda can at its head, it knows you are there and their fire is often more accurate than yours, so be warned. You can take one out with a bottle however (*clank* and timbeeeeeer).
    However, AI is still kinda dumb, as it returns too quickly to normal after combat. I mean, i go in, kill 2-3 guards buddies in front of a guy and then disappear and after searching for whole minute, it returns to its usual patrol. Huh.
    Returning to stealth and bodies. Remember when i said that you could go assault style? Well, you can, however it can nip you in the backside, if you dont hide the bodies (which can sometimes be pain itself). See, even though its not as hard on alarms as its successor, Pandora Tomorrow, it still has alarm limit on most missions, but its high enough that you just dont fail most of the time. It can still happen though, as it can easily happen that you neutralised enemy in very first seconds, but you didnt hide body. Then bit later someone finds the body after you are long gone from area and raises alarm. Usually it results only in more aware enemy, though AI being as it is, its often rarely noticable.
    Finally, the missions. Not much bad to say about them actually, as there is fair ammount of variety in style of them, with some encouraging more open approach, some more stealth, plus all missions do support your personal play style, wheter you are assault person or not. Its still very challenging as well, especially on hard due to old-fashioned health (one where you have to use medpacks to cure). Its very annoying, but fun and challenging to take down enemies when single bullet could end you.

    Graphics and sound

    Lets be honhest here, graphics havent held up over the years. Its still playable game, however there is lot of graphical errors. Worst in my opinion is lip sync. They didnt even bother to do that with model, instead they just cut model's face open at mouth's place when it was supposed to speak and entered black void in it. If to talk about character movements as well, then everyone sides main character is always bit "sneaky" even in cutscenes by default and everyone (sides Fisher, who actually moves rather fluidly) moves like robots with skin pulled on top of them.
    Sound- got to say its still rather good. Battle music still gets me energised and death/fail music is something i dread. Victory, sweet, sweet, victory music. And of course great voice acting by Michael Ironside, giving Sam Fisher its iconic voice (was sad to see him not voice act in Blacklist).


    Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is good stealth game that sadly by now has started to suffer from its age. Despite having clichesque story and some other issues, it still offers great experience for any stealth genre fan and also rather good challenge, especially on hard.

    Rating: 6/10

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Sp4's Avatar
      Sp4 -
      I loved the crap out of this game. It was one of the first games I played on the original XBox, when it came out

      If you like stealth games, I think you should give Splinter Cell 1, 2 and 3 a try. Yes, they have rather shallow storylines but the gameplay is fun and beautiful, imo and Ironside does a great job voicing Sam
    1. Meelis13's Avatar
      Meelis13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Sp4 View Post
      I loved the crap out of this game. It was one of the first games I played on the original XBox, when it came out

      If you like stealth games, I think you should give Splinter Cell 1, 2 and 3 a try. Yes, they have rather shallow storylines but the gameplay is fun and beautiful, imo and Ironside does a great job voicing Sam
      fully agree on that. It went bit more stealthy shooter with later titles, though Double agent was something in between. Also, i think Splinter Cell and fifa are only game franchises i got into on console (both PS2) rather than PC.
    1. IlluminatiRex's Avatar
      IlluminatiRex -
      A face-off between two of the biggest stealth series around: MGS and Splinter Cell .

      I hope I inspired this series review a bit Meelis
    1. Meelis13's Avatar
      Meelis13 -
      Just a bit, Rex
      i tought about doing SC series review before i was part of GG, but there always was some better game to review. You bringing in MGS made me want to review that
    1. IlluminatiRex's Avatar
      IlluminatiRex -
      I'll actually be able to play them myself; got them in that recent Humble Bundle .