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Original Splinter Cell Review

2002 is a long time coming to remember the time Sam Fisher was first recruited by the NSA to form the new Third Echelon and become one of the first “Splinter Cell” operatives. Hence, the first Splinter Cell video game was born and one of the best video games to learn the art of stealth.

For our personal review, we are going back in time to remember how the original Splinter Cell cut my teeth to start my career in video games to how the game shaped the future with other Splinter Cell favorites like Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory.

The Start of Third Echelon, not Fourth Echelon…

splinter cell intro

Ok, Ok…So, Fourth Echelon is up and running at this point in time and Third Echelon is no more in existence (this is for another article later); but, let’s mention that the “Splinter Cell” program would not have existed if it was not for Irving Lambert pushing the NSA to kick start this new agency and if it was not for Lambert bringing Sam Fisher in as its first recruit into spearheading the new agency in fighting back against terrorism in its face.

The real reason Third Echelon was created to not only allow it’s agents to go into very deep cover to infiltrating a terrorist organization; but, to assist other agencies in this case with the CIA to finding any agent(s) who have “Gone Dark” or M.I.A. while gathering covert information in this case in the first Splinter Cell game.

More than Information Warfare & Signal Hunting

kombayn nikoladze

It’s 2004 and the original Splinter Cell game places Sam Fisher on the job in his first ever role in a video game to first finding CIA agents Blaustein and Madison after they disappeared in Georgia while on a mission to uncover the corruption behind Georgia president Komabyn Nikoladze’s acts that could lead to war…of course, things escalate bigger than just finding a couple of missing agents.

Going further into the motives of Nikoladze, everything snowballs into revealing the identity of ex-Spetsnaz mercenaries including Nikoladze’s right-hand man Vyacheslav Grinko (easy for me to pronounce, right!) and a Canadian computer programmer named Phillip Masse (a Canadian working for Georgians…Nikoladze is a weird recruiter) as they form a terrorist organization and go on a murderous rampage across Azerbaijan and within the States…

sam fisher kong feirong

Confrontations are common in Splinter Cell including against the “baddies” like Kong Feirong.
Pictured is Sam Fisher pointing his pistol at a drunk and disorderly Kong Feirong before his demise at the Chinese Embassy.

From detecting Third Echelon and America’s involvement in finding out what Nikoladze is really up to, the retaliation from Nikoladze is an Information Warfare attack on American soil that compromises resources such as communications, water supplies, and national defenses that can jeopardize the national security of the U.S. and leave the nation open to attack.

For Third Echelon trying to find Nikoladze…let’s just say it’s more of a “cat-and-mouse game” of catch me if you can by following relay signals, digital footprints, and data transfers leading to the corrupt politician and a surprising ally from the People’s Liberation Army of China in Myanmar

While locating and neutralizing is the main objective for Fisher, the other obstacle in the way is stopping the distribution of “nukes” and its materials from being hand delivered to Georgia to stopping Nikoladze from detonating a nuclear device known as “the Ark” from destroying a random American city. What make’s the problem worse is finding out with the Ark is?

All in all…Sam Fisher and Third Echelon have to take the gloves off to save American from further damage being instigated from Georgia and Nikoladze.

Introduction to Stealth – Splinter Cell Gameplay

kalinatek stealth

The original Splinter Cell game was NOT really meant to be played as a “Stealth” game (despite it being called Stealth Action Redefined on the game cover) that allows the player to use sneaky and quiet tactics to walk-through each of the levels in the game as most of the game does try to force you as Fisher to take out a number of enemies that are in you’re way as well as force you into staged fire-fights that would likely jeopardize that “zero damage” goal if trying to make it through a level without have to use a medical kit to heal any injuries taken.

Splinter Cell however can be played as a stealth game if up to the challenge of having Fisher stick to the shadows by using the environment to your advantage and using distractions by throwing glass bottles, cans, and other throw-able objects within ear’s length of the enemy to get them to investigate the noises…these are some of the ways to sneak by the enemy without laying a finger on your “prey.”

splinter cell interrogation

One of common procedures to Conduct, Sam Fisher is always calm and never shy to interrogate all enemies even if its giving threats if no information is given. Pictured is Sam Fisher interrogating General Kong Feirong before forcing him to unlock his computer.

In other ways, if there is no noise or distraction the enemy will fall for to get out of Fisher’s way…then sometimes the only way to persuade the enemy is by using provided gadget attachments from Fisher’s SC-20k assault rifle in the form of sticky shockers, ring airfoil rounds, and even using the mini-camera rounds to aim for the luxurious head-shots to knockout any annoying enemies that come looking for Fisher.

Other than figuring out how to 100% successfully stealth through a particular mission, on the business end of performing black-ops comes the opportunity of eavesdropping on conversations through the laser mic to record enemy dialog vital to moving forward with uncovering more of Nikoladze’s secrets.

The original Splinter Cell is the first in its series that introduced the lock picking mini-game that allows the player to figure out what keys (toggle position on gamepad or arrow keys on the keyboard) to press repeatedly to lift up on the locking pins…if in a rush, Fisher can make use of the disposable lock picks that can be picked up in certain areas of some of the missions to unlock a door that bypasses the lock pick mini-game.

Staying discreet and out of sight is the golden rule behind Sam Fisher’s style; but, what about knowing when he’s coming…how about catching the enemy off-guard at least expected moments that gives Sam the opportunity for a little chat while clutching a loaded SC Pistol at the enemy’s head (not to mention forcing the enemy to pee down their pant’s legs!!!).

While interrogating enemy’s or person-of-interests are standard procedures out in the field for Sam, gaining information such as a door code/key pad code is part of the espionage to gaining accessing to secure areas and the only way to gain access is by getting it out of the enemy by interrogation scare tactics or by simply knocking out the enemy to retrieve the data sticks that adds the note of the door code (just look for the brown satchel attached to the front of the enemy that gives a clue on retrieving items).

Personal Views about the Original Splinter Cell

The original Splinter Cell is the “Bedrock” of every stealth game that brings back the start of Sam Fisher’s career with the NSA and the spearhead figure that launches Third Echelon to new heights in later titles.

Despite it being challenging to play with the keyboard on the PC platform, Splinter Cell still challenges the player behind Fisher to make the best choice on playing through each level and of course having the patience.

One complaint to mention for the PC platform, there is some minor configuration changes from the configuration file and separate downloads needed in order to get HD graphics and textures like the PS3 platform.

Splinter Cell Photo Gallery

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