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Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Review

HTML> Tom Clancey’s Splinter Cell- Chaos Theory Review

Tom Clancey’s Splinter Cell- Chaos Theory Xbox Review


Could Ubisoft be releasing yet another Splinter Cell game? Are they creating yet another game for the #1 action/stealth saga on Xbox? Actually they already have and it looks to be the best game in the series. Maybe even one of the best games on Xbox to date. But that’s for you to surmise. Oh, and one more question. Are you ready to take control of a middle-aged ex-Navy S.E.A.L and save the world by utilizing super secret stealth tactics? I hope you are ready, being that Sam Fisher would slit your throat if you weren’t.

Tom Clancey’s Splinter Cell was a surprise hit from Ubisoft in 2002 that redefined the stealth/action genre. Metal Gear Solid was the only other well-known stealth series at the time so naturally many people were interested in Splinter Cell’s release. It was an ingenious idea in which you set off on a realistic adventure that could have easily been fact in this day and age. The special touches that Ubisoft added to the stealth genre caused the success the game enjoyed back in the day. There was a sense of limitation in the game though with a three-alarm system that could result in a game over if you weren’t careful. The gameplay was once again hindered with the clumsy guard A.I. system. The next installment from Ubisoft was called Pandora Tomorrow with an all-new multiplayer, spy vs. mercenary mode that kept gamers hooked. This game did seem like an extension of the original Splinter Cell though with almost the same graphics and gameplay in single player. But Splinter Cell 3 totally changes the series with revolutionary expansions on the saga. Chaos Theory has been released on GCN, PS2 and Xbox and comes with an "M" rating. Chaos Theory deviates from the "T" ratings of Splinter Cell 1 and 2 and definitely earns it’s new rating. The reason for this is clear when you see the knife sam can use to stab, slit and slash enemies. You’ll also notice darker themes like and .

Tom Clancey’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory shoots past both of its predecessors with bullets to spare. Now even loudly fat, trundling people will have the chance to quietly sneak up behind clueless guards and put them into vicious headlocks.


I’ll start off by saying that Splinter Cell: CT’s graphics have been totally revamped. The new engine is a huge leap when compared to the small graphical step of Splinter Cell 1 to Splinter Cell 2. You are graced with unbelievably great character s that seem to use the bump mapping technique that other games have recently used. Sam Fisher’s character comes alive with a new looking suit and great facial animation. You can even see the expression of fear on guard character faces when Sam puts them in his ole’ headlock. The environment has also been altered in a way that stands apart from the first 2 Cells. The beginning of the game is a perfect example of this when you notice the beach rocks with glistening sea spray on their faces. I literally couldn’t play for almost all of the first level because I kept noticing the new graphics and the beautiful environment around me. The lighting effects of Chaos Theory keep all of their glory and then add even more to their legacy. You’ll notice a variety of situations in the game when your play revolves around the lighting. The game designers went out of their way to think of new situations to show off their lighting expertise. Some examples of this include the lighthouse you come across in the first level (why didn’t they think of that before?) and some great cave light effects that come complete with glittering, bioluminescent algae. The fire effects have been given a complete overhaul and you’ll definitely notice the realistic looking flames with plumes of smoke. I can guarantee you’ll feel immersed in the Splinter Cell universe more than ever because of this graphical evolution.


The gameplay in the Splinter Cell series has always focused on stealth. This means that 75% of the time you will be hiding or sneaking up behind enemies. By no means is this game focused part of the fps genre even though you do use a fps style view for . The action comes in short bursts and you will have to strategize a good amount to be successful in this game. Sam comes equipped with the latest gear such as a wet/dry suit for both water and land situations. The trademark 3 point goggles of the series also continue with the complementary heat and night vision modes. Night vision obviously allows you to the see in the dark, a must have for spy’s who spend much of their time in the shadows. Heat vision lets you see heat from people, machinery and really anything that gives off a heat field. The new EMF vision allows you to see electronic fields. This new visor mode is invaluable because you can finally see hard to spot targets like the obnoxious camera’s hidden in places that even night vision won’t pick up. Another new feature allows you to scan objects and find out if they are shootable or able to be interacted with. Your new arsenal also includes some state of the art weapons that should be your last resort. Don’t worry, Sam’s trusty has been brought back with a new add on. The left trigger will activate the OCP; a special EMP shot that can be pointed and fired at electronic objects. Computers, lights, radios, TV’s and just about anything electronic can be disabled for about 10 seconds. This new feature allows you to take out lights silently without using a noisy shot. The SC-20K also makes a reappearance with some new tricks as well. This weapon is an all-purpose with a launching device, various attachments and standard bullet fire. The launcher allows you to fire sticky shockers, sticky cameras, gas s and ring airfoil rounds. These attacks are just for knocking out guards instead of them like the rest of the SC-20K’s functions. The new attachments are a great addition to the game which add an assault twist to the stealth-oriented gameplay. The fore-grip attachment allows for greater accuracy with the standard fire of the SC-20K. The awesome shotgun attachment is great for tight, close corridor fighting. It’s extremely loud so be prepared to blow your cover and attract even more guards. The powerful sniper attachment is loud as well and allows you to zoom in on targets and blast through walls. You’ll also obtain mines or frag, smoke and flash s that allow you to take out multiple opponents at once.

Equipment makes you a complete spy but let’s not forget the basics of spying. Sam can crouch, climb, flatten against a wall, climb ropes and pipes, slide down a zip-line, roll, split jump and rappel. You’ll find that these moves give you more of an edge over opponents then any of your gadgets. Interacting with your environment is a must have for stealth games and Splinter Cell CT delivers. You glean all-new options to bash doors or break locks instead of just opening doors or picking locks. Picking locks just requires a quick rotation of the control stick to find where the pin pops up in the lock. You can also move bodies, put enemies in new "knifelocks" and interrogate enemies if you feel like it. The option of your enemies or just knocking them out is up to you but will affect your score at the end of the level. Some other new interactive moves involve the knife. You can break locks and cut through some types of material. is another new process that can be mastered in no time. It consists of a random I.P. address generator that gives you fragments of the correct code and a screen giving you all the possible I.P. addresses you can choose. I was originally confused because the manual doesn’t explain it that well. Whenever one of the numbers in your 4 numeral strip lights up you move the control stick left or right and hit the "x" button to lock them in. By locking the correct numerals in you eliminate possible I.P addresses. It’s also possible to guess which I.P. address is the correct one after you have locked in a few by moving the control stick up and down and hitting the "a" button. If you happen to be a slacker the whistle option and being able to throw items were made just for you. Sit back, relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the game as guards become curious from the sounds you make and walk right into your headlock radius.

Levels have been specially designed for replay value this time around with some great new ideas. Some examples include war zones, coastlines and Japanese teahouses. You’ll come across multiple paths as you go about trying to complete your objectives. The objective facet of the game also adds replay value to the gameplay. You’ll have primary objectives that must be completed to finish the mission and secondary objectives that are optional. Opportunity objectives are also optional and usually involve multiple tasks that are very hard to complete. These objectives can be viewed on your OPSAT in real time along with equipment, maps and data. By pausing the game and going into a separate window than the OPSAT window you’ll be able to quicksave in one save slot or save normally into multiple slots. Both the pause menu and the OPSAT have great layouts and are easily accessible. The graphics around the screen during actual gameplay also exhibit this accessibility. You’ll be able to see how much noise or how visible Sam is by looking at the meters onscreen. , health and a text box used for interactive parts of the game are also part of the onscreen info during gameplay.

You’ll notice a cinema in between each level that showcases the graphical advancements Ubisoft has created. After this you move to a briefing screen where nonmoving portraits throw dialogue at you with a corresponding text scroll. While a moving, talking portrait would have been nice just like Metal Gear Solid, you’ll find that this gets the job done. Next you move to a screen that allows for a replay value opportunity. You can pick 3 equipment options for your upcoming mission. They are: Redding’s Recommendation, Stealth and Assault. The stealth option usually gives you non-lethal arsenal of items while Redding’s and Assault throw lethal attachments and items into the mix. Some examples of these items would be the frag and shotgun attachment for Assault or the flash and launcher attachment for the Stealth option.

The story throughout the 10 levels of single player in Chaos Theory is like a standard gripping Tom Clancy book. The story/levels are custom made for your new arsenal of moves and allows for a freedom never before seen in any stealth-oriented game. You’ll also be surprised and shocked because of the many awesome new places Sam gets to travel to and the extreme change of events as you progress through the story. The only gripe with the story is that it seems kind of jerky and disjointed. The end seemed like it had been tacked on with a lack of flow ideas. The story doesn’t take away from the suspense and progress of the gameplay though so it really isn’t that big of a deal. Just be prepared for the heart-attack inducing events that live up to the "Tom Clancy" title.


Splinter Cell 3 utilizes Dolby Surround sound and makes some good uses of it. You’ll hear fire, explosions, a knife picking a lock, and even different sounds as you walk over different materials. The voice acting in Chaos Theory works well and my only gripe was that the briefings had still pictures. The still pictures have nothing to do with sound but really take away from the briefings. The music of Chaos Theory is nerve wracking and quiet as you sneak around but the music does pick up though when guards have detected Sam. The sound in Chaos Theory has no problems and complements Sam’s actions by meshing with the gameplay.

Multiplayer and Coop

Coop is one of the many new attractions that Splinter Cell Chaos Theory has to offer. You’ll be able to use split screen, system link or Xbox live for Coop mode. Coop actually consists of 4 missions that can be played in either story mode or mission mode. It feels just like single player except that there are more guards and you will have to work with your partner to overcome some obstacles. The new Coop moves also makes the gameplay different from single player by forcing you to cooperate with your partner. You can boost each other onto ledges, create human ladders, share equipment, dual rappel and stand on your ally’s shoulders. A new human torpedo move makes it possible to throw your teammate to hit enemies and knock them out. This move can alternately be used to throw your partner across a chasm. Also, dying will force your partner to heal you in 30 seconds or you’ll both end up with a gameover. The only complaint I can find with Coop is the fact that it is only 4 levels long. A few more levels would have made people a lot happier. Coop is a great feature which delivers on it’s great ideas with secret spy precision. You’ll have a great time guaranteed by my Personal Seal of Approval.

4-player spy vs. mercenary makes a triumphant return with some all-new aspects. You’ll find a bunch of new levels and even some old maps that have been specially changed for Chaos Theory. Some new items have also been introduced into the Pandora Tommorow born multiplayer that you’ll want to know about. Mercenaries can use poison mines, a shotgun and a submachine that all create problems for the spy. Spy’s counter with the new chaff , alarm snare, camouflage suit, and heartbeat sensor. Besides these items you basically have all the same gameplay and items with a graphical upgrade. You’ll be able to compete using the story (extraction, neutralization and ing), disk hunt and match modes. This gameplay isn’t at all lacking though being that it creates a level of suspense unseen in the single player missions. That’s why this new stealth multiplayer was such a hit with Pandora tomorrow. The only shortcoming of versus mode is that it can be kind of sprawling and hard to find each other. When you do hunt down your prey you’ll be thrown into intense action situations found nowhere else on any system. Another problem is that you can only play this versus mode through system link or Xbox live so no split screen for you! Kind of a bummer……

Collector’s Edition Bonus Coverage

It seems like every game nowadays has a collector’s edition counterpart available for a small sum of extra money. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory just happens to be one of those games. It contains a "making of" video, an art gallery, a hilarious spy cartoon and some music tracks from the game. The collector’s edition 2 disc set comes in a metal box that happens to look great. I’m sure that the box doesn’t matter to you that much though. If it does I hope you someday realize that life consists of more than just shiny objects.

Bottom Line

I’ve heard many people complain about how slow Splinter Cell is. You have to realize that it’s a stealth game and at times it is slow to build you up for the more intense action sequences. It does require strategy and a great deal of thinking. The unbelievable revamp of single player makes Chaos Theory the best installment in the series by far. And coop and versus modes only add to the elite status of the game. Single player causes your jaw to drop from graphical shock and then shut with lightning speed as the suspense starts to pick up throughout the level. If you give this game a chance you’ll be sucked into it in no time. I remember playing the first Splinter Cell and wondering if it could get any slower. Then I got used to what Ubisoft was trying to present and fell in love with the gameplay. I sincerely hope you get hooked too.







Graphics- 9

Gameplay- 9

Sound- 9

Multiplayer- 9

Final- 9.2

2005 SCP Creations