Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell:
Chaos Theory
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell - Chaos Theory Coverart.png
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Gameloft (MOBILE, NGE & DS)
Publisher(s) Gameloft (MOBILE & NGE)
Ubisoft
Designer(s) Clint Hocking (lead)
Composer(s) Jesper Kyd
Amon Tobin
Series Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Engine Modified Unreal Engine 2.5
Havok physics
Platform(s) Mobile
N-Gage
Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 2
Xbox
Xbox 360 (Xbox Originals)
GameCube
Nintendo DS
Nintendo 3DS (3D)
PlayStation 3 (HD)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is a stealth game developed by Ubisoft and released across all sixth-generation video game platforms in March of 2005. Though originally slated for release in the fall of 2004, it was delayed until the following spring when it came out for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube and Microsoft Windows. Handheld versions for the Nintendo DS, Mobile phone and N-Gage were also released. A Game Boy Advance port was planned, but later cancelled.

Chaos Theory is the third game in the Splinter Cell series endorsed by novelist Tom Clancy. As with previous entries in the franchise, Chaos Theory follows the activities of Sam Fisher, an agent working for a covert-ops branch within the NSA called "Third Echelon". The game has a significantly darker tone than its predecessors, featuring more combat and the option for Fisher to kill people he interrogates as opposed to simply knocking them out. As a result, it was the first Splinter Cell game to receive an M-rating by the ESRB, an assessment which has since been applied to all subsequent releases in the series. Actor Michael Ironside reprised his role as Fisher, while Don Jordan returned from the original game to voice Third Echelon director Irving Lambert, having been replaced by Dennis Haysbert in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow.

Chaos Theory was an instant commercial success, selling 2.5 million units across all platforms within a month of its release.[2] The Xbox and PC versions of the game received near-universal acclaim from critics and fans alike;[3][4] the GameCube and Playstation 2 iterations were also released to generally positive reviews.[5][6] Official Xbox Magazine named it the Xbox "Game of the Year" (2005) for its strong gameplay and lifelike graphics. A remastered HD edition was bundled with the first two games of the series as part of the Splinter Cell Trilogy for the PlayStation 3, released on December 20, 2010.[7][8] Another remake called Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D was released for the Nintendo 3DS on March 25, 2011.

Engine and gameplay[edit]

The graphics in Chaos Theory feature a number of improvements, including the addition of normal mapping, HDR lighting, and parallax mapping.[9][10] The game also features a number of major changes and improvements to the series' basic gameplay. Chaos Theory is also the first game in the Splinter Cell series to use ragdoll physics.[11]

Stealth mechanics[edit]

Chaos Theory features refined stealth mechanics. In addition to the standard light bar, the game also features an aural monitor that measures the noise that Sam makes, along with the ambient noise of the environment. It is important for Sam to make less noise than his surroundings; otherwise, the enemy guards will hear him.

The AI detection has been altered as well. In former titles, after Sam would leave a certain area, the game would do a sweep of the previous area for all unconscious or dead bodies in a well-lit spot. If any were found, an alarm would be triggered. In Chaos Theory, the bodies have to be discovered by a patrolling guard or security camera in order to trigger an alarm. This enables players to leave bodies simply laying out in the open, and, as long as the player has eliminated all NPCs and disabled all cameras, no alarms will be triggered.

Being spotted by enemies will still trigger alarms, and alarms will still cause enemies to become more alert and combat-ready (such as causing them to wear ballistic vests and helmets). However, triggering too many alarms will no longer cause the game to end automatically. Even killing civilians or friendly soldiers won't cause Fisher to fail the mission, although doing so will cause Fisher to be seriously chastised by his superior, and cost him significantly in his mission score as well as cancelling certain mission objectives, such as tapping phonelines and locating covert listening devices.

Close-quarters combat[edit]

Chaos Theory adds a combat knife to Sam's close-quarters combat abilities.[12] Sam can use the knife in multiple ways, such as threatening an enemy during an interrogation, killing an enemy in close-quarters combat, or piercing gas tanks on generators in order to aid in his stealth operations. Also, it no longer matters what direction Sam attacks from when using melee attacks, nor does it matter if enemies are aware of his presence, as opposed to earlier entries in the series where he had to attack from behind or on the side and the enemy could not be alerted to him in order to take them down in one hit. He also has the option of using lethal or non-lethal force when ending an interrogation, and with his close range attacks. As an expansion on Sam's ability to shoot while hanging upside down (introduced in Pandora Tomorrow), he can now choke down or break the neck of enemies below him. He also has the ability to pull people over railings while hanging off a ledge and throw bodies off of cliffs or over railings, even onto other guards. However, the ability to shoot around corners has been removed, although this is balanced by being able to switch the side of Sam's body the gun is on while in a firing position.

Weaponry[edit]

Fisher is now able to choose from one of three different equipment "kits." There is Redding's recommended kit, an assault kit, and stealth kit. Redding's Recommendation gives Sam an even balance between ammunition and non-lethal weaponry. Assault provides more ammunition at the expense of non-lethal weapons while the Stealth kit contains more non-lethal weaponry at the expense of brute force, lethal weaponry, and spare magazines. On missions where an objective is to cause no fatalities, the player is unable to choose the Assault option.

The 5-7 SC Pistol returns with a new feature: the OCP (Optically Channeled Potentiator).[13] When fired at certain electronics, the OCP can disable them for a limited time. Fisher can disable lights, security cameras, and more. If the device cannot be disabled, it will temporarily malfunction instead, such as causing the blue screen of death when attacking computer towers. When Fisher successfully disables the electronic device he aimed at, a green light appears on the pistol; if he misses, a red light appears. In both cases, Fisher must wait a period of time for the OCP to recharge and become ready for use again.

The SC-20K returns with a multitude of new attachments, such as a foregrip that reduces recoil and increases accuracy, a launcher that fires non-lethal weaponry, an undermount shotgun attachment for close quarters firing, and a prototype 20mm sniper attachment for long-range combat. The SC-20K now uses a reflex sight that zooms to 1.5x magnification, while the sniper scope allows from 1.5x to 3.5x magnification.

A large variety of non-lethal weaponry can be fired from the SC-20K launcher, such as the Sticky Camera, the Sticky Shocker, the Airfoil Round, and Gas Grenade. The Sticky Camera will reveal an image of the area in which it was shot. In addition, it can make a clicking sound which will attract enemies, and also emit a CS gas that will render unconscious any enemies in the immediate area. In contrast to former titles Sam can now use multiple cameras at the same time. He can switch back to any Sticky Camera that has not been destroyed by using the CS gas attack or due to enemy fire. The Sticky Shocker will shock and incapacitate its target when fired. If shot into a body of water, the shocker will incapacitate all targets in the water. The Airfoil Round is a hollow metal ring that will knock out the target. It is still possible for an unconscious enemy to die if shot, dropped from a considerable height or dropped into water, no matter how shallow.

Fisher also has multiple types of grenades.[14] There is the Gas Grenade, which emits a cloud of CS gas that knocks enemies unconscious, the Smoke Grenade, which provides Fisher with a cloud of smoke to hide in, the flashbang, which will temporarily blind and deafen any enemy near it, and the Fragmentation Grenade, which will kill any enemy within its blast radius, and send objects flying in all directions.

Plot[edit]

In June 2007, tensions are running high between China, North Korea, South Korea and Japan, due to Japan's formation of an Information Self Defense Force (I-SDF). Considering this to be a violation of Article 9 of the post-World War II Constitution, and blaming the I-SDF for information warfare attacks against their countries, Chinese and North Korean forces establish a blockade in the Yellow Sea against Japanese shipping. Because Japan is an ally of the United States, and thus the NSA's Third Echelon, the U.S. Navy dispatches a highly advanced warship, the USS Clarence E. Walsh (CG-80), to the Yellow Sea with the hopes that China and North Korea will back down at its presence.

Meanwhile, Sam Fisher is dispatched to a lighthouse on the Talara, Peru coastline, to locate Bruce Morgenholt, an American computer programmer who has been captured by a Peruvian separatist group called "The People's Voice", led by El Salvadorian revolutionary, Hugo Lacerda. Morgenholt was working on deciphering the Phillip Masse's weaponized algorithms, who had been assassinated by Fisher (in Splinter Cell). The resulting Masse Kernels are being touted as the superweapon of the 21st century. Fisher is tasked with making sure they do not fall into the wrong hands. He arrives too late to prevent Morgenholt's death and is unsuccessful in stopping the release of the Masse Kernels. Fisher boards the Maria Narcissa and assassinates Lacerda. Unknown parties use the algorithms to black out Japan and the Eastern Seaboard. Japan has previously suffered similar attacks that crashed its economy, and Admiral Otomo of the I-SDF contacts Third Echelon and warns them that North Korea and China are likely responsible. Meanwhile, following a lead discovered in Panama, Fisher travels to New York to investigate Abrahim Zherkhezi, a man who worked with Morgenholt. He finds that Displace International, a private military corporation owned by his old friend Douglas Shetland, is protecting Zherkhezi. He breaks into the Displace offices and learns of Milan Nedić, a Bosnian arms supplier and war criminal. Fisher finds that Nedić secretly relocated Zherkhezi to Hokkaido. Fisher travels to Hokkaido and meets with Shetland, who claims that Nedić is clean; Fisher infiltrates the hideout that Zherkezi is being held in, kills Nedić, and witnesses Shetland murdering Zherkezi. Shetland escapes and goes underground.

Meanwhile, the American show of force backfires when the USS Clarence E. Walsh is sunk by a North Korean anti-ship missile on July 4, 2007, bringing North Korea, South Korea, and the United States to the brink of war. Since North Korea claims the missile was launched unintentionally, Fisher is sent to the North Korean missile battery that fired the missile, to determine if North Korea is truly responsible for sinking the USS Walsh, or if the Masse Kernels are involved. Fisher discovers that the North Koreans were indeed telling the truth, however, North Korea launches a full-scale invasion of South Korea. Fisher heads to Seoul, and eventually learns that the war has been orchestrated by Displace International. Displace used the Masse Kernels gained from Zherkhezi to hijack North Korea's missile systems and sink the USS Walsh, in order to draw the United States into a war from which Shetland could profit through their status as a leading American PMC. Third Echelon sends Fisher to spy on a meeting between Shetland and Shetland's unknown accomplices, who turn out to be the I-SDF. At the meeting, the I-SDF betray Shetland, and a firefight subsequently breaks out between Shetland's soldiers and I-SDF assault troops. Amidst the chaos, Fisher pursues Shetland to the roof, where, after a tense standoff in which Shetland tests their friendship against American security, he kills Shetland.

Even after Shetland's death, one loose end remains. Admiral Otomo of the I-SDF has acquired a copy of the Masse Kernels from Shetland, and attempts to return Japan to Imperial rule by blackmailing Japanese government officials and senior JSDF officers. He threatens to use the algorithms to launch a North Korean missile against a Japanese city. Because North Korea would be supported by China, and Japan would be backed by the United States, the incident would most certainly spark World War III. Although Otomo's loyalist I-SDF soldiers manage to fight off the JGSDF commandos sent to stop him, Fisher infiltrates the lowest levels of the I-SDF headquarters and manages to end Otomo's plans. Otomo attempts to commit seppuku, but Fisher saves his life and captures him. Otomo stands trial at the United Nations and takes full responsibility for the entire Korean crisis, returning stability to the region.

Multiplayer[edit]

Chaos Theory features competitive and cooperative multiplayer. The cooperative mode expands play by allowing for two agents to play through a unique 7 mission story mode which parallels the single player campaign. It is playable via system link, or over Xbox Live. The cooperative campaign follows the story of two Splinter Cells in training, merely known as Agent One and Agent Two. Their training is interrupted when a world crisis occurs that requires the Shadownet division of N.S.A. to deploy additional resources, even including agents not fully trained. The missions become a trial by fire for the two new agents. Though players can operate alone, the level design is such that it encourages teamwork. Ubisoft eventually developed two additional levels for download for the PC and Xbox versions. The Nuclear Plant and UN Headquarters missions are meant to end the story for the cooperative component.

In Splinter Cell Chaos Theory VS mode, two additional game play modes have been added to the game. New game modes include disk hunt, which consists of spies grabbing disks placed throughout the level, then returning the disks to their extraction point. The other game mode is death match, which consists of killing players on the opposite team-spies or mercenaries.

The (Shadownet) Spy vs. (ARGUS) Mercenary game mode returns from Pandora Tomorrow with many improvements. These include new gadgets for both teams, cooperative moves for the spy team, and improved close quarters combat for the mercenaries. Spies are armed with non-lethal weaponry so they rely on stealth, skill, and gadgets. Spies can only kill mercenaries by breaking their necks, dropping on them, and hanging from a ledge and pulling him down. The spies' gadgets also do not generally affect other spies. Mercenaries are the heavily armed enemies of the SHADOWNET spies. They deal in tracking and lethal techniques. They are more limited in terms of where they can go. For example, they can't climb poles, fences, or even rails. In addition to their equipment, mercenaries are physically tough and pack quite a punch with melee attacks.

Release[edit]

Limited Collector's Edition[edit]

A Limited Collector's Edition was available for PC, PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. Each version is packaged in a collectible tin, and the PC, PS2, and Xbox versions include the following bonus features on an extra disc:

  • Exclusive G4 "Making Of" Video
  • Music from the official Chaos Theory soundtrack by Amon Tobin
  • Development Team video diaries
  • Penny Arcade Spy Training Manual (Not in the Xbox version.)
  • Mega 64 Videos

The PC version also contains the version 1.3 patch for the original Splinter Cell to add the Kola Cell, Vselka Infiltration, and Vselka Submarine missions that were originally only available as downloads on Xbox Live. The initial release contained a corrupt patch that would not install and had to be requested separately from Ubisoft, after which they would send a CD-R with the patch. The bonus disc can also be obtained with the GameCube version by contacting Ubisoft.com via e-mail. The Xbox version also contains the XBL missions on disc 2, which can be installed to the PC version of the original Splinter Cell.

Soundtrack[edit]

Chaos Theory - Splinter Cell 3 Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Amon Tobin
Released January 25, 2005
Recorded Buenos Aires, 2004
Genre Breakbeat, drum and bass, IDM
Length 48:20
Label Ninja Tune
Producer Amon Tobin
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 69/100[15]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[16]
Pitchfork 7.2/10[17]

Chaos Theory – Splinter Cell 3 Soundtrack is the fifth album by Brazilian trip hop artist Amon Tobin. It was released on 25 January 2005 by Ninja Tune. Seminal composer Jesper Kyd was also hired to score the game's cinematics.[18][19]

The album consists of a collection of songs that Tobin wrote for the game. Ubisoft was so pleased with Tobin's work that they decided to release the album several months ahead of the actual game. In-game music sequences are similar but not identical to the official soundtrack, as most of the in-game music is produced by layering different sequences together. This album showcased the beginning Tobin's shift from collecting samples from vinyl records to recording his own samples. For the recording of Chaos Theory – Splinter Cell 3 Soundtrack, Tobin hired a live band whose members ranged from Mexican composer Nacho Mendez to Japanese flutist Eiji Miyake.[16] In the liner notes of the CD, Tobin noted that "it was a real special session" to have Mendez, Eiji, and the Modugno brothers working on the album.[20] Tobin would more fully explore the use of his own samples by using field recordings in his 2007 album, Foley Room.

  1. "The Lighthouse" – 5:05
  2. "Ruthless" – 5:15
  3. "Theme from Battery" – 4:26
  4. "Kokubo Sosho Stealth" – 3:25
  5. "El Cargo" – 4:23
  6. "Displaced" – 6:58
  7. "Ruthless (Reprise)" – 4:26
  8. "Kokubo Sosho Battle" – 4:16
  9. "Hokkaido" – 3:00
  10. "The Clean Up" – 7:00
  • "Kokubo Sosho Battle" is adapted from "Cougar Merkin", a B-side from Amon Tobin's "Verbal" single.
  • On 23 March 2005, the official game was released with bonus features that included a DVD version of the album. Along with 5.1 surround sound versions of each song, the DVD included a music video for "El Cargo" by Hexstatic and a bonus track called "Stolen".
  • A bootleg recording of the game began to circulate the web in mid-2005, which included extended versions of the tracks, themes that did not appear in the retail soundtrack, and music from the game's cut scenes composed by Jesper Kyd.
  • AllMusic gave a rating of 3.5/5,[16] while Pitchfork Media gave a rating of 7.2/10.[17]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (Xbox) 94.02%[21]
(PC) 91.44%[22]
(PS2) 89.27%[23]
(Mobile) 87.20%[24]
(N-Gage) 85.65%[25]
(GC) 81.10%[26]
(3DS) 53.74%[27]
(DS) 51.46%[28]
Metacritic (Xbox) 94 out of 100[29]
(PC) 92 out of 100[30]
(PS2) 87 out of 100[31]
(N-Gage) 85 out of 100[32]
(GC) 81 out of 100[33]
(3DS) 53 out of 100[34]
(DS) 50 out of 100[35]
Review scores
Publication Score
Electronic Gaming Monthly (Xbox) 9.5 out of 10[36]
(DS) 3.83 out of 10[37]
Eurogamer (PC) 8 out of 10[38]
(DS) 5 out of 10[39]
(3DS) 4 out of 10[40]
Game Informer 9.75 out of 10[41]
(PS2) 9.25 out of 10[42]
(3DS) 5 out of 10[43]
GamePro (Xbox) 4.5/5 stars[44]
(3DS) 4/5 stars[45]
Game Revolution A−[46][47]
(PS2 & GC) B[48][49]
(3DS) D[50]
(DS) D−[51]
GameSpot 8.6 out of 10[52][53][54]
(PS2) 7.1 out of 10[55]
(GC) 6.7 out of 10[56]
(DS) 5.6 out of 10[57]
(3DS) 5.5 out of 10[58]
GameSpy 5/5 stars[59][60]
(PC & N-Gage) 4.5/5 stars[61][62]
(GC) 3.5/5 stars[63]
(DS) 2.5/5 stars[64]
GameTrailers 9.5 out of 10[65]
GameZone (Xbox) 9.7 out of 10[66]
(PC) 9.1 out of 10[67]
(N-Gage) 9 out of 10[68]
(PS2) 8.9 out of 10[69]
(GC) 8.7 out of 10[70]
IGN 9.6 out of 10[71]
(Mobile & N-Gage) 8.8 out of 10[72][73]
(GC) 8.5 out of 10[74]
(PS2) 8.4 out of 10[75]
(3DS) 6.5 out of 10[76]
(DS) 6 out of 10[77]
Nintendo Power (GC) 4.1 out of 5[78]
(DS) 8 out of 10[79]
(3DS) 5.5 out of 10[80]
Official PlayStation Magazine (US) 5/5 stars[81]
Official Xbox Magazine 9.9 out of 10[82]
PC Gamer US 91%[83]
Detroit Free Press 3/4 stars[84]
The Sydney Morning Herald (Xbox) 5/5 stars[85]
(DS) 2.5/5 stars[86]
Awards
Publication Award
E3 2004 Game Critics Awards: Best PC Game
Best Action/Adventure Game
Special Commendation for Graphics[87]
Game Informer "Top 50 Games of 2005"[citation needed]
Official Xbox Magazine "#1 Xbox Game of the Year, 2005"[citation needed]
IGN Editors' Choice Award[88]

Chaos Theory was met with critical acclaim upon release. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 94.02% and 94 out of 100 for the Xbox version;[21][29] 91.44% and 92 out of 100 for the PC version;[22][30] 89.27% and 87 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version;[23][31] 87.20% for the Mobile version;[24] 85.65% and 85 out of 100 for the N-Gage version;[25][32] 81.10% and 81 out of 100 for the GameCube version;[26][33] 53.74% and 53 out of 100 for the 3DS version;[27][34] and 51.46% and 50 out of 100 for the DS version.[28][35] Chaos Theory is often cited by critics as the best game in the series.[89] Shawn Elliott of 1UP.com gave the Xbox version an A and said that it "isn't the cruel, ball-busting taskmaster of Splinter Cells past—the exacting details don't matter so long as the duties get done, and it's a better game because of it."[90] Rob Semsey of TeamXbox gave the game 9.8 out of 10 and said, "The formula has been tweaked to an almost perfect mix of story and engrossing gameplay that still requires more use of brain over brawn... The presentation is off the charts with mesmerizing visuals and audio production, both of which have a major impact on how you play."[91] Edge gave the game a score of eight out of ten and said it was "the game that the original Splinter Cell was meant to deliver: a tight play experience within a trusty framework, one more of enjoyment than irritation, and a game that's no longer exclusively for fans of repeated reloading."[92]

Non video-game publications gave the game some favorable reviews. Maxim gave the game a perfect ten and stated: "No longer is there just one way to solve a treacherous night mission before the enemy picks up your audio signature: stealth will pay off just as well as good old-fashioned ultraviolence."[93] The Sydney Morning Herald gave the Xbox, PC and PS2 versions all five stars and called it "Visually spectacular and hugely rewarding."[85] However, the same newspaper also gave the DS version half of that score (two-and-a-half stars) and said that the frustration "is compounded by the choppy, stuttering frame rate of the 3D visuals, making the already convoluted controls feel twice as sluggish. Even the menu screens seem slow to respond - a sure sign that the DS is being pushed beyond its capabilities."[86] The New York Times gave the game a favorable review and stated that "Perhaps Sam is just getting older, perfecting his skills while losing some feistiness. His games are following the same path, with increasingly sophisticated, deep gameplay but a little less flair."[94] Jim Schaefer of Detroit Free Press gave the Xbox version three stars out of four, stating, "I'll reserve a four-star rating for the next time this series takes big leaps. In this latest edition, there's nothing so new that you'll stop and say, 'Whoa.' But Chaos Theory is true to the things that make Splinter Cell games so good."[84]

Due to the fact that this game depicts a war between North Korea and South Korea, it was banned in South Korea until 2006.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D[edit]

Chaos Theory was remade for the Nintendo 3DS and was released on March 25, 2011 in Europe and on April 10, 2011 in North America. Reviews of the 3DS version have been mostly mixed (see "Reception" above).

Amon Tobin's soundtrack to Chaos Theory was remixed for Splinter Cell 3D, and was made available via digital retailers iTunes[95] and Amazon MP3 from March 15, 2011.[96]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  16. ^ a b c AllMusic review
  17. ^ a b Pitchfork Media review
  18. ^ Jesper Kyd Talks to GameZone About His Work on Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  19. ^ "SoundtrackNet : Interview - Jesper Kyd". Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
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External links[edit]