Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (video game)

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Tharealsplintercell.jpg
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Ubisoft Shanghai (PS2 & GC)
Gameloft (Mobile & NGE)
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Gameloft (Mobile & NGE)
Aspyr Media (Mac OS X)
Director(s) Richard Dumont
Florent Emilio Siri
Designer(s) Nathan Wolff (lead)
Composer(s) Michael Richard Plowman
Series Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
Engine Unreal Engine 2.0
Platform(s) Xbox
Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 2
GameCube
Game Boy Advance
Mobile phone
N-Gage
Mac OS X
PlayStation 3 (HD)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Stealth
Mode(s) Single-player

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is a stealth video game, developed by Ubisoft Montreal and built on the Unreal Engine 2. It is the first Splinter Cell game in the series. Endorsed (but not created) by author Tom Clancy, it follows the activities of NSA Black Ops agent Sam Fisher. The character of Fisher is voiced by actor Michael Ironside. His commanding officer, Irving Lambert, is voiced by actor Don Jordan.

The game is available for Xbox, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Mac OS X.[1][2] 2D versions of the game were released for the Game Boy Advance and N-Gage (the latter as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Team Stealth Action),[3] as well as the mobile phones version developed by Gameloft.[4] A remastered "high definition" version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell was released on the PlayStation 3 in September 2011. The success of the game series spawned a series of novels written under the pseudonym David Michaels.

Gameplay[edit]

The primary focus and hallmark of Splinter Cell's gameplay is stealth, with heavy emphasis on light and darkness. The player is encouraged to move through the shadows for concealment whenever possible. The game displays a "light meter" that reflects how visible the player character is to enemies, and night vision and thermal vision goggles to help the player navigate in darkness.

Splinter Cell heavily encourages the use of stealth over brute force. Although Fisher is usually equipped with firearms, he carries limited ammunition and is not frequently provided with access to additional ammo. The player begins most missions with a limited supply of less-than-lethal weapons in addition to Fisher's firearms, a suppressed FN Five-Seven sidearm, as well as a suppressed FN F2000 assault rifle mid-way through the game, which includes a telescopic sight and a launcher for some of the less-lethal devices such as ring airfoil projectiles, "sticky shockers", and CS gas grenades.

Flexibility of movement is a focuspoint of Splinter Cell. Fisher can sneak up on enemies from behind to grab them; allowing interrogation, quiet incapacitation, or use as a human shield. Fisher is acrobatic and physically adept, and has a variety of maneuvers including the ability to mantle onto and climb along ledges, hang from pipes, and perform a "split jump" in narrow spaces to mantle up a steep wall.

Characters[edit]

  • Samuel "Sam" Fisher - The game's protagonist. He is a seasoned veteran of Covert Ops and Black Ops who is the first person recruited as a secret field operative known as a "Splinter Cell" for the NSA's super-secret sub-agency, Third Echelon.
  • Irving Lambert - A former U.S. Army Colonel, Lambert is the operations coordinator at Third Echelon, and is the link between agents, like Fisher, and a remote team of specialists monitoring them. As Fisher's boss, Lambert contacts the player with new information, objectives, and instructions periodically throughout a mission.
  • Vernon "Junior" Wilkes, Jr. - Coordinates the transportation and equipment for field agents. He drops the player off at the start of a mission and picks him up at the end. He is shot and killed by a Russian mafioso in the "Kalinatek" level in the Microsoft Windows and Xbox version of the game, however, in the PlayStation 2 version, Wilkes is killed in the Russian Nuclear Power Plant level.
  • Anna "Grim" Grímsdóttir - The computer and security expert at Third Echelon. She, like Lambert, will contact the player throughout a mission - usually in accordance with Lambert.
  • Kombayn Nikoladze - The main antagonist of the story. He is the President of Georgia who wants to bring down America with his power and resources. He launches a technological war on the U.S. before going underground for fear of capture. A terrorist leader. He is killed by Fisher in the "Presidential Palace" level.
  • Vyacheslav Grinko - A former Soviet Spetsnaz soldier, he is Nikoladze's terrorist military commander - usually working with mercenaries. He is killed by Fisher in the "Abattoir" level.
  • Phillip Masse - A Canadian hacker, he is the technology behind Nikoladze's terrorism. He is killed by Fisher in the "Kola Peninsula" level.
  • Kong Feirong - A rogue Chinese general, Feirong is an ambitious Chinese PLA officer whose alliance with Nikoladze nearly ignites World War III. He commits suicide in the second "Chinese Embassy" level after Nikoladze deserts him.

Plot[edit]

In April 2004, the President of Georgia is assassinated, allowing Georgian billionaire Kombayn Nikoladze to seize power by bloodless coup d'état. In August 2004, former U.S. Navy SEAL officer and Persian Gulf War veteran Sam Fisher is recruited by the NSA to work within its newly formed division, "Third Echelon". Working with his old friend Irving Lambert, Fisher is introduced to technical expert Anna "Grim" Grimsdóttír, and field runner Vernon Wilkes Jr.

In October 2004, Fisher is dispatched to Tbilisi to investigate the disappearance of two CIA officers. Fisher attempts to meet an informant, Thomas Gurgenidze, only to find him dying in a burning building. Gurgenidze warns that one agent's transmission mentioned proof that could cause a war. Finding the agents' corpses in a police morgue, Fisher learns that a former Spetsnaz agent, Vyacheslav Grinko, removed their subdermal tracking implants. Tracking Grinko's license plate number using CCTV, Third Echelon tracks him to the Georgian Ministry of Defense.

Fisher arrives at the Ministry, and records a meeting between Grinko and Canadian hacker Phillip Masse; Fisher learns Nikoladze is conducting an illegal operation in Azerbaijan. Grim hacks Nikoladze's computer, and learns Nikoladze has been waging an ethnic cleansing campaign across Azerbaijan, by using cells of Georgian commandos. In retaliation, NATO forces enter Azerbaijan, prompting Nikoladze to go underground.

The NSA informs Third Echelon that Georgian soldiers stationed on a Caspian oil rig have been exchanging data with the Georgian Presidential Palace. Fisher infiltrates the rig, only to find NATO is sending fighter jets to bomb the facility. Fisher discovers that technician Piotr Lejava is trying to prevent rig computer data from falling into NATO hands; requiring his encryption key, Fisher trails Lejava and interrogates him. Learning the data concerns "The Ark", Fisher recovers his laptop and encryption key and extracts.

Examining Lejava's laptop, Grim reveals that the intel could have came from a CIA mole. Lambert then reveals that North America has just been hit by a massive cyber warfare attack, directed primarily against military targets. In a broadcast, Nikoladze claims responsibility for the attack and officially declares war on the United States and its allies. Fisher infiltrates the CIA headquarters and accesses the CIA computer mainframe, allowing Grim to trace the data leak to the computer of Mitchell Dougherty. Captured for interrogation, Dougherty claims ignorance of the leak, but the NSA learns that his obsessive–compulsive disorder caused him to backup data on an insecure laptop, which was exploited by a network owned by Kalinatek, Inc.

Aware their operation is compromised, Georgia-hired mafiosos attempt to remove all traces of Nikoladze from the Kalinatek offices by destroying the building and murdering the staff. Intercepting a 911 call from a technician named Ivan, Lambert tells Fisher that the FBI will rescue Ivan, but Fisher needs Ivan's encryption key. Fisher extracts with the help of Wilkes, who is mortally wounded in the process and later dies. Using the encryption key, the NSA discovers Nikoladze has been using a network of unconventional relays to communicate with Georgian military cells. The NSA traces the full relay network to the Chinese Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar. Worried Chinese support could cause World War III, Fisher sneaks into the embassy and eavesdrops on a conversation between Nikoladze and General Kong Feirong, and learns they are working together.

Learning of captured U.S. Army soldiers and high-ranking Chinese officials are in a local slaughterhouse, Fisher delays interrogating Feirong to save the hostages, who are scheduled to be executed on a live broadcast. Fisher meets with a Chinese informant among the hostages, and learns that Feirong is part of a rogue collective not backed by the Chinese government. Fisher's is detected, and in a firefight, Fisher kills Grinko. Returning to the embassy, Fisher grabs a drunken Feirong before he can commit suicide, and forces him to share the information stored on his computer; the information reveals Nikoladze has fled back to Georgia, where he is trying to activate a suitcase nuke known as "The Ark".

Infiltrating the Georgian Presidential Palace. Containing Nikoladze and new Georgian president Varlam Cristavi, Fisher attempts to recover the key to the Ark, which has been placed somewhere in the United States. Fisher corners Nikoladze, who bargains to give the Ark key in exchange for safe passage out of Georgia; before Fisher can recover it, Cristavi soldiers take Nikoladze and the Ark key elsewhere. About to be executed, Fisher escapes when Lambert causes a brief blackout. Discovering Nikoladze is offering the Ark's location for protection, Fisher assassinates Nikoladze. Discovering the Ark, U.S. Army evacuates an apartment complex in Hope Gate, Maryland on claims of a gas leak, and secretly recovers the Ark.

Despite World War III being averted, Nikoladze's corpse sparks international backlash due to the suspicious circumstances around his death. Watching the Presidential broadcast on the crisis, Fisher then receives a secure phone call from Lambert for another assignment.

Development[edit]

Because the development team was aiming for a Teen ESRB rating, the team tried to minimize the level of violence.[5] The soundtrack for the game was composed by English composer Michael Richard Plowman.

The game started development as a sci-fi, James Bond type game, until development was told to create a "Metal Gear Solid 2" killer.[6]

Version differences[edit]

The PC version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is fairly closely based on the original Xbox version. Both were made by Ubisoft Montreal. The GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions, released later, were developed by Ubisoft Shanghai, and are similar to each other, but have many small changes over the originals with the result that they are generally easier. Some doors are moved around, guards are less likely to notice gunshots, etc.

Each version of the game has some exclusive features. The Xbox and Windows versions have three new downloadable missions which involve a Russian nuclear sub. The PlayStation 2 version includes an exclusive level which takes place in a nuclear power plant, new cinematics, a new intro cinematic with original music by the Prague Orchestra, and many behind-the-scenes interviews and documentaries both about the new intro and the game itself. GameCube uses the Game Boy Advance link cable to give players a real-time overhead map and a new sticky-bomb weapon. Additionally, both GameCube and PlayStation 2 include new binoculars items.

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 it would be ported from the PC version, because it had more details and more content than the PlayStation 2 version.[7] It was released on the European PlayStation Network on August 10, 2011.[8] The PlayStation 3 version does not include the downloadable bonus missions that the Xbox or PC version had.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 92.49% (Xbox)[9]
90.50% (Mobile)[10]
90.16% (PC)[11]
88.07% (PS2)[12]
86.82% (GC)[13]
77.28% (GBA)[14]
72.43% (N-Gage)[15]
Metacritic 93/100 (Xbox)[16]
91/100 (PC)[17]
89/100 (PS2)[18]
89/100 (GC)[19]
77/100 (GBA)[20]
74/100 (N-Gage)[21]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 7/10[22]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 9/10 (GC)[23]
8.83/10 (PS2)[24]
6/10 (GBA)[25]
Eurogamer 9/10[26][27]
8/10 (GC)[28]
7/10 (GBA & N-Gage)[29][30]
Game Informer 8.75/10 (Xbox)[31]
8.5/10[32][33][34]
8/10 (N-Gage)[35]
GamePro 5/5 stars[36][37][38]
4/5 stars (GC, GBA & N-Gage)[39][40][41]
Game Revolution A−[42][43]
GameSpot 9.1/10 (Mobile)[44]
8.7/10 (PC)[45]
8.6/10 (Xbox)[46]
8.4/10[47]
7/10 (GBA & N-Gage)[48][49]
GameSpy 5/5 stars (Xbox)[50]
4.5/5 stars[51][52][53][54]
4/5 stars (GBA)[55]
GameZone 9.8/10 (PS2)[56]
9.7/10 (Xbox)[57]
9.5/10[58][59]
8.6/10 (N-Gage)[60]
8.5/10 (GBA)[61]
IGN 9.6/10 (Xbox)[62]
9.4/10 (PC)[63]
9.1/10[64][65]
9/10 (Mobile)[66]
8/10 (GBA)[67]
7/10 (N-Gage)[68]
Nintendo Power 4.1/5 (GC)[69]
3.8/5 (GBA)[70]
Official PlayStation Magazine (US) 4.5/5 stars[71]
Official Xbox Magazine 9.6/10[72]
PC Gamer US 91%[73]
The Cincinnati Enquirer 4/4 stars[74]
Entertainment Weekly A[75]

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell received positive reviews upon the game's release. GameSpot's Greg Kasavin said that Splinter Cell has "hands down the best lighting effects seen in any game to date." IGN likewise praised the game for its graphics and lighting.[62] Both praised the game's audio, noting that Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher's voice suited the role perfectly. Scott Alan Marriott of AllGame gave the Xbox version four-and-a-half stars out of five, and called it "one of the few games to elicit a feeling of suspense without resorting to shock techniques found in survival horror titles like Resident Evil."[76]

Criticism of the game was also present. Greg Kasavin said that Splinter Cell is "sometimes reduced to frustrating bouts of trial and error." In addition, Kasavin criticized the game's cutscenes, saying that they are not up to par with the rest of the game's graphics.

Non video-game publications also gave the game favorable reviews. Entertainment Weekly gave the Xbox version an A and called it "wickedly ingenious".[75] The Village Voice gave the PlayStation 2 version eight out of ten and said, "If this game were any more realistic, you'd have to hold in your farts."[77] The Cincinnati Enquirer gave the Game Boy Advance version all four stars and said that "While it lacks 3-D graphics and an impressive use of lighting and shadows found in its predecessors, the stealthy action game still captures the thrill of modern espionage."[74]

Sales[edit]

The game sold over 3 million copies: 2.4 million in the US, 600,000 in Europe, and 5,449 in Japan, making it one of the top best selling video games for the Xbox.

Awards[edit]

Nominations[edit]

  • 3rd Annual Game Developers Choice Awards: Game of the Year, Original Game Character of the Year, Excellence in Game Design, Excellence in Level Design, and Excellence in Programming[79]
  • 6th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards: Innovation in Console Gaming, Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design, Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering, and Console Action/Adventure Game of the Year[80]
  • IGN Best of 2002: Overall Game of the Year[83]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]