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System Requirements
OS: Windows 95/98/Me/2000/XP CPU: 800Mhz PIII or AMD Athlon RAM: 256MB VIDEO: 32MB SOUND: DX8.1 Compatible AGE: Teen

Story

It is the year 2003. In response to the growing use of sophisticated digital encryption to conceal potential threats to the national security of the United States, the NSA (National Security Agency) has ushered forth a new dawn of intelligence-gathering techniques. This top-secret initiative is dubbed Third Echelon. Denied to exist by the U.S. government, Third Echelon deploys elite intelligence-gathering units consisting of a lone field operative supported by a remote team. Like a sliver of glass, a Splinter Cell is small, sharp, and nearly invisible. March 10, 2004. The CIA contacted NSA officials regarding the loss of contact with Agent Alison Madison, a CIA operative monitoring widespread communication shortages plaguing the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. A second operative, Agent Blaustein, was inserted into the Georgian capital T\'bilisi to locate Agent Madison, only to drop from contact seven days later. Fearing for the lives of American agents compromised at the hands of a suspected terrorist effort, Third Echelon has activated operative Sam Fisher to locate the missing agents and evaluate the situation You are Sam Fisher. You must leave no trace on the physical or political map. Remember: Although killing may compromise secrecy, the choice between leaving a witness or a corpse is no choice at all. You are a Splinter Cell.

Game Play

Creeping from one doorway to the next, shooting out lights, rappelling walls, hanging onto pipes and ledges... The number of actions the player can perform and how they were animated amazed me when I first downloaded the demo, and again when I bought the game. Sam Fisher, the player\'s character, is controlled from a 3rd person perspective and it doesn\'t take much time getting used to maneuvering him through a level. The game divides up into 9 missions that take place in locations such as the embassy in China, CIA Headquarters, Georgian urban areas, and even a remote oil rig. To accomplish these missions Sam has to do a range of things. From stealing items and hacking computers, to interrogating NPC\'s and evading or eliminating hostiles. I found everything very intuitive and was able to jump right into the game in demo with only checking the controls beforehand. There is a tutorial that they have you go through first in the full game. It would have been nice if it could be skipped, it wasn\'t unbearable however.

Weapons

Sam sports only two main weapons, a silenced pistol and a silenced machine gun/rifle, but he carries many other gadgets to complement them (grenades, cameras, sticky shockers, etc.). On most levels, the weapons are meant to be a last resort, relying more on stealth & technology than shear gun power. However, there are plenty of times throughout the game that gun handling skills are taxed. My gripes here are that Sam can\'t pick up any of the enemy weapons and use them (Max Payne style).

Enemies

Georgian & Chinese military are the primary enemies Sam encounters. In one of the missions though, Sam must sneak in to CIA Headquarters to find a leak and while you\'re not allowed to shoot any of the American agents, they will shoot you. All enemies use electronics (cameras, alarms, lasers, keypads, and turrets) to add to their security and the systems become more complex as the game progresses (of course ;-).

Graphics

Stunning graphics. Even in the middle of the game I\'d stop and say, \'Wow, look at that shadow\' ;-). And like I said before I was enthralled with the animations, such minute attention to detail, even the ammo bags Sam carries bounce when he runs. The team obviously put a lot of work into the graphics. Because of that, it surprised me when I saw that most characters have a couple of their fingers joined together to save polygons. Looks weird, especially when they are trying to do something that requires the fingers to be separate. I\'m also surprised they didn\'t coordinate Sam\'s feet when he\'s walking up the stairs like they did his hands when he is shimmying. He just kinda float-walks on the stairs like characters in other games... Still, lovely graphics.

Sound

Great sound & music, no complaints or deep insights, though I should note it has interactive music similar to Deus Ex\'s (it can act as a warning, but can also make you paranoid ;-).

Appropriate?

You are only forced to kill a handful of humans in the game, all the others can be avoided or dealt with in other ways. Sometimes the mission is even canceled for killing an enemy, but you can clearly see the Good vs. Evil and how the lethal force is necessary. No gore and not much blood. The presence of swearing is the only detrimental thing in the game from where I stand, and thankfully, there wasn\'t a lot of it.

Overall experienceEase of use

Install went fine. They give the choice of how much you want of the 3 CDs on your computer. Never had a problem with running the game itself. Hated the menu interface, but lived with it. I guess they sold out to Palm or something... Quicksaves/loads were fast. HUD was easy to read. The story didn\'t draw me in as much as Max Payne or Deus Ex, but it was engaging. It definitely lives up to the quote on the box: \'Stealth Action Redefined\' and surely worth the 10-15 buckaroos it goes for nowadays.

Similar Games - What the game reminded me of and why
Max Payne - Character control, cutting-edge graphics Deus Ex - Game play, wide range of interactivity Metal Gear Solid - Stealth action

Final Ratings

Graphics A Game play A- Sound A+ Interface B- Stability A+ Offensive Content C+

Overall 89% B++

*taken from www.splintercell.com

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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