Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
Pandora Tomorrow box art.jpg
Developer(s) Ubisoft Shanghai
Ubisoft Milan
Ubisoft Annecy (GBA & GC)
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Composer(s) Jack Wall
Series Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Engine Unreal Engine 2.0
Renderware Physics
Platform(s) Xbox
Microsoft Windows
Game Boy Advance
PlayStation 2
GameCube
PlayStation 3 (HD)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer (Third-person view)

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow is a stealth game, developed and published by Ubisoft Shanghai, while Ubisoft Montreal, creator of the original Splinter Cell, was working on Chaos Theory. Pandora Tomorrow is the second game in the Splinter Cell series endorsed by writer Tom Clancy. The game follows the covert activities of Sam Fisher, an agent working for a black-ops branch of the National Security Agency (NSA) called "Third Echelon". The character, Sam Fisher, is voiced by Michael Ironside. Dennis Haysbert, at that time best known for his role as David Palmer on the television show 24 is the voice for the character Irving Lambert, Fisher's boss, making this the only time he is not voiced by Don Jordan. Lalo Schifrin provides the theme music for the game. The game has been translated to several languages for international distribution. Pandora Tomorrow was entitled Shadow Strike during its development.[1] A remastered, High-Definition, version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow was announced for the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 on December 20, 2010.[2]

Plot[edit]

In early 2006, the United States has established a military presence in the newly-independent country of East Timor to train the East Timorese military in their fight against anti-separatist Indonesian guerrilla militias. Foremost among these militias is the Darah Dan Doa (English: Blood and Prayer), led by the charismatic Suhadi Sadono.

Sadono, once trained by the CIA to help fight communism in the region, has grown resentful of American support of East Timor and its supposed interference with Indonesian sovereignty. Sadono orchestrates a suicide bombing and follow-up attack on the U.S. Embassy in Dili, capturing a number of U.S. military and diplomatic personnel including Douglas Shetland, an old friend and comrade of Sam Fisher.

Fisher is sent to infiltrate the embassy and gather intelligence on the Darah Dan Doa. Fisher succeeds in his mission, and the embassy is retaken by the U.S. Army's Delta Force. Sadono escapes, and the United States launches a military campaign in Indonesian territory in an attempt to hunt him down, much to the protests of the Indonesian government.

Fisher learns that Sadono has masterminded a scheme known as "Pandora Tomorrow", by placing a series of ND133 biological bombs, equipped with the smallpox virus, on American soil. Every 24 hours, Sadono makes encrypted phone calls to each of the bomb carriers to delay the release of the virus. If he is killed or detained, the virus is released and millions of Americans will die. Because Sadono is fighting on the front lines in the conflict, the United States can't risk killing him outright, and is forced to withdraw its forces.

Fisher is sent to infiltrate Darah Dan Doa strongholds in order to learn the location of the smallpox bombs. He is assisted in this endeavor by Shetland and his private military company, Displace International. Fisher learns the location of the bombs, and Shadownet spies are sent in to neutralize them.

The NSA's Third Echelon decides to capture Sadono alive instead of assassinating him, due to the problems created when Fisher assassinated former Georgian president Kombayn Nikoladze in late 2004.

Although Fisher manages to capture Sadono, Third Echelon learns that a rogue CIA operative, Norman Soth has acquired the last smallpox-armed ND133, and intends to detonate it inside Los Angeles International Airport. Soth cares nothing for Indonesia, but intends to get revenge on the United States for a perceived betrayal which resulted in the amputation of his leg years earlier. Fisher infiltrates the airport, kills Soth and his group of terrorists (disguised as airport workers and security guards), and prevents the detonation of the last smallpox-armed ND133 by disguising himself as a maintenance worker and setting the ND133 down behind two policemen, who notice the device almost immediately, and subsequently have the airport evacuated. The Los Angeles Police Department's bomb squad is then called in to perform a controlled explosion of the device, which is done by an unmanned vehicle using reinforced steel.

Gameplay[edit]

Sam Fisher the protagonist in a camouflage suit, during a mission in Pandora Tomorrow.

The gameplay of Pandora Tomorrow is largely unchanged from the original Splinter Cell. The game features some moderate graphical improvements, as well as minor gameplay changes such as the fact that health kits are no longer an inventory item, and the addition of a laser sight to Sam's pistol that allows the player to know exactly where the rounds will strike, even when moving around. Also, Sam can now open doors while carrying a body, shoot while hanging upside down, SWAT turn past doorways unnoticed (move from one side of the door to other while covered), and perform a half split jump. The SWAT turn was removed and the pistol laser was replaced with an OCP (Optically Channeled Potentiator) which can temporarily disable electronic devices in Chaos Theory, the next entry in the series. The PlayStation 2 and Gamecube versions also feature an additional single player mission to compensate for the abridged gameplay compared to the PC and Xbox versions.

Development[edit]

Windows version[edit]

As with the original Splinter Cell, the Windows version is a port of the Xbox version, and duplicated that version's user interface and gameplay. However, the Windows version can run at higher resolutions than the console versions. The "checkpoint" save system from the Xbox version was replaced with the ability to save a game at any time, and the controls were reworked to allow simultaneous use of a keyboard and mouse, with movement speed being controlled by the mouse wheel. None of the bonus content from the other versions are present on this version.

PlayStation 2/GameCube version[edit]

As with the original Splinter Cell, the PS2/NGC versions are identical in both level layouts, resolution and other assortments of degradation. The framerate tends to stutter slightly more than the Xbox version. Loading times are also longer. Missions are also structured in a different/shorter fashion and the multiplayer component is not as extensive as its Xbox counterpart. The PS2 version boasts extra content, however, including a new Indonesian Jungle mission (which also appears in Essentials).

Notable differences between the PS2 and NGC versions are minor, ranging from shadowing to the framerate itself. The GameCube version continues to use a soft filter over its shadows whilst the PS2 version maintains the same bare bilinear filtering of the original versions. Some shadow spotlights are even missing from the NGC version as well, such as in the vents of LAX. The NGC version, as can be seen in-game, can slow worse than the PS2 version, yet can reach 60fps where the PS2 doesn't. While the base is similar, unlike the PS2/Xbox/PC version, thermal in the NGC also lacked a final touch, the full screen color bleeding "infrared" post effect. Instead, the NGC version remains the same as the previous ports whereby it simply uses an outline around its characters and objects.

Lastly, unlike the first Splinter Cell, which was built in four months, UbiSoft's development team was able to spend time on emulating the correct shadow projection that the originals' depth buffered shadow maps enable. In the first effort, shadow maps weren't any different to a standard light map and would project any object on Sam, when actually deciding to turn his receiving values on, no matter his position. The PS2 version of the sequel now uses fuller, more complex logic similar to the PC version's projector mode, in which an object that receives shadow selectively chooses which shadow objects to receive (e.g. Sam will sometimes receive shadows of a beam, but not ones of enemies or smaller objects), to swap between any of two objects' receiving values, depending the position from the light and collision. On the other hand, the NGC version uses a complete version of what was briefly cooked up in the original port. Objects will be sent through the map, but not as a shadow, which therefore blocks Sam and causes his own shadow to disappear behind an invisible "inverted" shadow. This time around, all objects receive their own shadow, like in the buffer method, only this time, it instead uses the other data to blot out the shadow via the previous logic found in the individualization of receiving values across a single shadow map. Out of the two methods, the NGC's most mimics a depth map, as removal is 1:1, whereas the methods found in the PS2 version can result in having these values swap earlier than Sam can travel fully behind an object (usually when Sam is mid-way through an object).

PlayStation 3[edit]

A PlayStation 3 version was announced to be part of the Splinter Cell Trilogy which was released in September 2011 as part of Sony's Classics HD series. It was revealed on the PlayStation Blog, that the game will be a port of the PC version, which had more details and content than on PS2.[3] It has also been revealed however, that the online multiplayer will not be included in the collection [4] Despite being a port of the PC Splinter Cell's this trilogy does not include online multiplayer or the downloadable bonus missions. It also does not include the PS2 exclusive bonus missions for Splinter Cell 1&2.

Reception[edit]

On the review-aggregate site Metacritic, the Xbox version received a score of 93% based on 74 reviews.[5] On Game Rankings, it had a score of 92.3% based on 82 reviews.[6] Greg Kasavin of GameSpot gave the Xbox version a score of 9.1 and said that the single-player and multiplayer portions of the game will appeal to anyone interested in high-tech stealth and subterfuge. He also said that players familiar with Splinter Cell should expect 10 hours or more of gameplay. Kasavin said the storyline in Pandora Tomorrow was more cohesive than the original Splinter Cell, but the gameplay often becomes pure trial and error, noting that the missions "could have benefited from feeling less rigid and scripted" but were "incredibly slick." Kasavin also praised the multiplayer mode for its innovation, complexity, and creativity.[7] On Rotten Tomatoes, the Xbox version received an average score of 9.4 out of 10 based on 33 reviews, additionally receiving a 100% "Fresh Rating" due to gaining highly positive reviews from all 33 reviewers.[8] Mongoose of Game Chronicles Magazine also gave the Xbox a 9.4 out of 10 and gave special praise to the multiplayer portion of the game. He called the game "the single best reason to get online" on Xbox Live. However, he felt that gameplay in the single player campaign at times got increasingly linear and leaned toward scripted challenges, with "only one solution to any given problem", requiring "the use of a particular gadget or one of Sam’s nimble moves."[9]

The Microsoft Windows version received a score of 87% at Metacritic based on 28 reviews.[10] On Game Rankings, it received an average score of 85.4% based on 28 reviews.[11] Rotten Tomatoes gave the PC version an average rating of 9 out of 10 based on 10 reviews, receiving a 90% "Fresh Rating" due to a majority of positive reviews.[12]

The PlayStation 2 version had a score of 87% at Metacritic based on 45 reviews.[13] The game received a score of 86.4% based on 56 reviews at Game Rankings.[14] Rotten Tomatoes gave the PS2 version an average rating of 8.4 out of 10 based on 19 reviews, additionally receiving a 95% "Fresh Rating" due to highly positive reviews.[15]

The GameCube version of the game lacks the multiplayer component found in the Xbox, PC, and PS2 versions. The game received a score of 78% on Metacritic based on 25 reviews.[16] On Game Rankings, the game received a composite score of 80.6% based on 37 reviews.[17] The average score on Rotten Tomatoes landed at 7.7 out of 10 based on 11 reviews, receiving a 55% "Rotten Rating" due to a high number of displeased reviewers.[18]

The Game Boy Advance version received a score of 68% on Metacritic based on 19 reviews.[19] The game also received a score of 68% on Game Rankings based on 45 reviews.[20] Rotten Tomatoes gave the Game Boy Advance version an average rating of 6.9 out of 10 based on 11 reviews, receiving a 27% "Rotten Rating" due to a majority of negative reviews.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Calvert, Justin (2003-06-13). "Splinter Cell: Shadow Strike For 2003". GameSpot. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  2. ^ http://ps3.ign.com/articles/114/1141027p1.html
  3. ^ http://blog.us.playstation.com/2011/04/07/tom-clancys-splinter-cell-trilogy-coming-to-ps3-in-june-with-3d/#utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PSBlog+%28PlayStation.Blog%29
  4. ^ http://www.computerandvideogames.com/297310/splinter-cell-hd-trilogy-lacks-multiplayer/
  5. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for Xbox". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  6. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for Xbox". Game Rankings. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  7. ^ Kasavin, Greg (2004-03-24). "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow for Xbox review". Gamespot. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  8. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for Xbox". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  9. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for Xbox". Game Chronicles Magazine. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  10. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for PC". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  11. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for PC". Game Rankings. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  12. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for PC". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  13. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for PS2". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  14. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for PS2". Game Rankings. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  15. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for PS2". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  16. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for GameCube". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  17. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for GameCube". Game Rankings. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-15. 
  18. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for GameCube". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  19. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for GBA". Metacritic. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  20. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for GBA". Game Rankings. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  21. ^ "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow for GBA". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 

External links[edit]