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Splinter Cell


As you may have seen in my "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty" review, I think that the "Metal Gear" series has always been overrated because as good as the gameplay is in those games, you just don't get the kind of stealth action that leads to anything believable.  Worse, the PS2 "Metal Gear" games have simply been too easy, and the fact that you can carry about 15 million weapons and gadgets in your sleek jump suit is just a tad bit ridiculous.

Enter "Splinter Cell."  Finally, the genre of "stealth action" has given us a game that has both stealth--the use of shadows in this game is beyond vital--and the occasional, if rare, shootout between lead agent Sam Fisher (voiced by actor Michael Ironside) and various bad guys in and around various installations.  The level design of "Splinter Cell" is really just whoop-ass, and in Fisher we get a believable, slightly-over-the-hill lead that just can't dig his way out of impossible situations by whipping out a rocket launcher and dealing out the pain.

The graphics in "Splinter Cell" might be the best on the system.  The use of darkness throughout the levels of the game make for some interesting dilemmas for you to solve.  You will feel more like a real spy in this game, thanks to the fact that you are given a handgun and some camera gadgets for the first half of the game...and, that's it.  You've got to be slightly creative in figuring out how 20 bullets and a camera dart will be enough to negotiate around 25 guerillas and a safe in a particular location.

Plus, "Splinter Cell" is just flat-out hard at times; of course, we like that, since a walk in the park is not what I was looking for.  Great music and voice work, plus very detailed sound effects as you try to make every little move in complete silence, add to the package...the game adds a machine gun later in the game, and then you find out that its best use is usually to fire smoke grenades into a crowded location to cover up your escape.  Love this game.

Rating:  Opening Weekend


Feedback?  Comments?  Salma Hayek's digits?


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 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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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09