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Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow

2004

by Ross Stephenson, a.k.a. Pokey Reese

Now for those of you who are familiar with the "Splinter Cell" series, Pandora Tomorrow is almost exactly like the first one which is a really good thing.  For those of you not familiar, "Splinter Cell" centers on you being a covert mofo sneaking around in shadows and methodically working your way through an above average story.  I won’t get into any story or other stuff that you will find in most poo poo reviews.  No, I’m going to tell you why this game has the potential to bring out new levels of man love.

First and foremost, let us discuss the single player portion of the game.  It’s cool…and by cool I do mean totally sweet.  Now on to the multiplayer portion of the game.  Actually, let me just say this about the single player campaign...it’s much like the first Splinter Cell, but with slightly better graphics (tough to accomplish), you’ve got some new moves, the ability to whistle (too bad there’s no construction site level), and some other stuff that make it a bit better than the previous Splinter Cell.

Now on to the Multiplayer…as you may have already guessed, this is the portion of the game that truly shines.  Me personally, well I’m a multiplayer lovin’ fool.  I thoroughly enjoy making new nerd friends over a Madonna looking communicator mic via XboxLive.  In fact, without the multiplayer aspect of this game I probably would not have bought it.  Not because it’s not worth it, but because these days when I accomplish a huge nerd induced task, I need some nerds to celebrate with…and I have realized that inviting a bunch of nerds over to the house to watch me play a game is possibly committable.

So…here’s a quick overview on the multiplayer aspect.  There are 2 teams of 2, kind of like a Kit-Kat minus the chocolaty goodness.  One team plays the spies (covert mofo’s), and the other plays the mercenaries (big gun wielding badasses).  The covert mofo’s try and accomplish an objective that is either neutralize a harmful gas, steal the harmful gas, or set off the harmful gas.  The big gun wielding badasses try and stop them…by killing them.

That said…here are the top 5 reasons to buy this game.

5) Spy Gadgets/Abilities - pretty much anything you can do in the Single Player game you can do here (this includes having night vision so you can hide in the shadows, and thermal vision so you can detect people and trip wires).  However, the feel is a bit different...which is good, and you can also do some other cool run away maneuvers like running up a wall and doing a back flip off of it.  You also have a tazer gun which will shock the shit out of a mercenary for a second or two.  You have grenades that can knock them out, cause a smoke screen, or create a bright flash.  You can also run at them and give them a swift elbow to the face.  Since you are a covert mofo you are also a bit faster than the mercenaries which along with how accessible vents, etc. are allows you to escape.  You can pretty much run, jump, and climb anywhere so it makes escaping and surprising a lot of fun.  You also have other gadgets, that you can use to distract spies as well as sticky cameras that you can shoot on a wall, take a peep, then emit a knock out gas if a mercenary walks by.  To me one of the best parts is how you can actually climb up in the ceilings and rafters.  Thus you can look down at the floor and see the mercenaries walking around looking for you.  Makes me feel like Spiderman.  You can then drop on top of them and knock them out if you're good (which I am not). 

4) The Mercenary Gadgets/Abilities – First and foremost you have a reticule that not only acts as the sight for your gun, but also as a noise detector.  It will point and light up in the direction from which noise is heard.  So if that covert mofo isn’t slinking around, you’ll detect him, even if he’s above or below you.  There's also motion sensors, trip wires, camera's, etc. all around that set off alarms and alert you where the spy is.  Of course if the spy shoots these out, it will let you know that an alert has malfunctioned...so you can then guess where they may be coming from.  Now, instead of having the night vision and the thermal vision, the mercenary has motion sensing vision and electro magnetic vision.  In motion sensing mode, if someone runs, a square will appear, highlight the person, and follow them for a second or two (great for sniping).  In electromagnetic vision, if the covert mofo is being all sneaky like and using either his night vision or thermal vision, then he will appear in your vision.  You also have a spotlight, which is pretty cool if you're up top and you shine it down on someone running across the floor.  Really gives the cat and mouse feeling a boost.  You also have some gadgets like spy traps that will alert you and put the spy on your radar and phosphorous stuff that will illuminate a spy if you get some on him.

3) Friend Factor - The 2 on 2 factor is bomb if you are with a good partner who knows what's up.  I can see as time goes on that playing this game with one of your friends may end up taking nerdship (friendship between nerds) to a whole new level.  Playing 2 on 2 where you are all friends may surpass even the greatest moments in video game man love.

2) Lack of Lag - Since only 4 players are allowed, the graphics are still bomb and there's rarely any lag (HUGE PLUS).  I have a DSL modem that is good for surfing porn and joining online games.  I’ve been able to host Splinter Cell games and surf for porn with zero problems which is both astounding and arousing.  Yes, you may think that 4 players is too few, but I promise you, even a good 1 on 1 game is something else.

1) Neck Breaking - when you play as a spy (covert mofo) you can kill the mercenaries by sneaking up behind them and breaking their neck.  It's not the easiest thing to do, and it's not the main objective, but it is the most fun.  The main reason why is because when you grab the person you are suddenly able to talk shit to them through the voice communicator.  Normally you can only talk to your partner.  This allows for some great moments like...One dude kept snapping my neck because I blow, so finally he grabbed me and said "there's something wrong with your neck...it's broken."

So in summary, if you liked the first game, you’re in for a similar single player experience.  If you like totally sweet online nerd action, then pick this game up now.

Rating:  Opening Weekend

 

Ross loves it when you call him Big Poppa...or when you check out his own site, http://www.big-s.org

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either half.com or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09