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Splinter Cell Double Agent Review

Sam Fisher’s 4th major mission is anything; but, a “walk in the park” as he infiltrates’ an American terrorist group while working as a Double Agent. Learn more behind the storyline and gameplay in the 2nd version PS2 review of Splinter Cell Double Agent.

Infiltrating and Stopping the JBA

sam fisher and carson moss

Putting aside the tragedy of losing his daughter (supposedly), Sam Fisher’s main mission in Splinter Cell Double Agent is to infiltrate a terrorist cell known by the name “John Brown’s Army” (JBA) to uncover a terrorist plot in America while working as a “double agent” for the NSA and JBA.

Led by Emile Dufraisne, the JBA has only extremism in mind to destroy the United States Government and launch many strikes on the homeland including assassinating the President of the United States and inflicting collateral damage in the process.

Going undercover as an inmate at Ellsworth Penitentiary to get close to one of the JBA’s operatives behind bars, Sam Fisher’s goal is to gain trust of the operative while in prison and get in the good graces to walk straight into JBA’s headquarters from the front door as a simple Trojan plant.

From there on, Fisher’s other goal is to dismantle and foil the JBA’s plans while playing the errand boy such as exposing one of JBA’s own who is plotting to take over the organization and ensuring the JBA’s allies are playing on their side

The Mystery of Red Mercury

red mercury

From the beginning of Double Agent, Sam Fisher along with Hisham Hamza (a splinter cell trainee) are sent to Iceland to find the whereabouts of an unknown nuclear fission weapon bought by Raheem Kadir from the Russians on the black market.

As it serves as a connection to the JBA, Red Mercury is plotted to be set off to nuke 3 U.S. cities (Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York City) not to mention Fisher plays a role in helping the JBA setup a test trail of the Red Mercury aboard a cruise ship in Cozumel to learn the true power of the weapon…it is up to Fisher on whether to kill 2,000 people or face Emile’s wrath of refusing to detonate the Red Mercury.

The Red Mercury distribution becomes a game of Russian Roulette as the JBA deals with Alejando Takfir and Massoud Ibn-Yussif (allies of the JBA and possible perpetrators of stealing the devices from Kadir in Iceland) to buy more of the weapon in order to raise the stakes on nuking potentially more targets other than the 3 targets

Fisher must find out the buyers of  and diffuse the Red Mercury weapons before they can be used at each of the targets the JBA has planned for…or let the Red Mercury devices be loaded without be diffused to create dire consequences down the road.

Splinter Cell Double Agent Gameplay

double agent interrogation

Unlike Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, the weapon and gadget loadout in Double Agent is not categorized based on a stealth, assault, or handler recommendation option…instead the loadout is generic and depends on Emile for how much ammo/gadgets Sam gets per mission.

For the JBA HQ missions, Sam’s loadout only consists of a non-lethal loadout being an airsoft gun equipped with the OCP attachment that fires rubber bullets and sleep darts to neutralize JBA guards as a last resort and a fingerprint scanner (only available in the 1st JBA HQ mission) to be used to profile each of the main JBA members (except Carson Moss’s fingerprints can’t be pulled on the PS2 version).

Picking up from the “Kokubo Sosho” mission from Chaos Theory, all JBA HQ missions and the “Okhotsk” mission (only aboard the tanker ship) equip the guards with non-lethal weapons to use against Sam to capture him…if you get caught, then I will say that your stealth skills need a lot of work.

coop double agent

Pictured is Sam Fisher hoisting Enrica Villablanca over a barrier to turn off a ventilation fan in the mission “Money Train”

The hacking mini-game changed somewhat in Double Agent from matching IP addresses found in Chaos Theory to matching a wavelength frequency in order to unlock secure access on a computer and unlock keypad locks on doors.

For some of the missions Sam goes on, he does take an AI co-op partner with him through part of the missions whether it’s Hisham (NSA) or Enrica (JBA) in order to complete some objectives and gain access to areas that Sam cannot access by himself. The player has access to two command options that Sam can order his partner which are to follow him or hold if an area is not safe to move.

The co-op AI partner can be detected by the enemy AI and be shot in the back the same way as if Sam was standing too long in the light to be detected. If the co-op AI partner is downed, Sam can revive the AI partner…there is no invincibility ability in this game.

The best feature that Double Agent includes that none of the other legacy Splinter Cell games (talking about Double Agent on back to the first Splinter Cell game) is an Elite difficulty level that can be unlocked after completing the Expert difficulty of the campaign.

The Elite difficulty promotes a very challenging walkthrough of the game in which Sam starts out with no ammo or gadgets, cannot use any ammo even if picked up in a level, and can only use the OCP and any throwables (flashbangs, grenades, and other throwables found in each level).

For completing the entire campaign on both the single-player and co-op sides, there is 2 bonus single-player missions and 1 co-op mission that will unlock and become available for the player to complete.

NSA and JBA Trust Level

double agent gameplay

The biggest change that was made for Splinter Cell Double Agent is there is no more mission success rating percentage for the PS2 and original Xbox versions of the game (the 360 version however keeps the success rating).

The mission success rating is replaced by a trust level meter that determines Sam’s loyalty lies between the NSA and JBA based on his actions taken on the missions as well as how he plays on each mission.

If Sam say knocks out guards/enemies or leaves them alone in a stealth walkthrough, then the trust meter will go in favor of the NSA. If Sam decides to go in guns blazing to do lethal takedowns, then the trust will go more in favor of the JBA at missions end.

Each mission has objectives that can be completed for both the NSA and JBA with some objectives that may carry too much weight that the trust meter may lean too far left (NSA) or too far right (JBA) that would cause one another’s organization to become suspicious of Sam.

If the trust meter goes all the way to the left or right, then Sam would have to complete a mandatory objective within a time limit which is typically accessing a computer to upload his mission data to either Emile or Lambert ensuring Sam is playing on their team…especially Assistant Director Lawrence Williams of the NSA that is breathing down Lambert’s neck when Sam is making moves that are displeasing.

Splinter Cell Double Agent Personal Views

jba double agent

Without question, Splinter Cell Double Agent was a “hit-and-miss” game out of the franchise since Ubisoft did get the storyline right for Version 2 of the game (PS2/Xbox/Gamecube) when it was released since everything fell into place how it should be but failed to complete some details for some of the platforms before the release dates.

For the storyline in general, Double Agent between the 360/PC and Xbox/PS2/Gamecube versions were different in terms of plot twists…such as the outcome if Sam refused to blow up the cruise ship or not to how Emile reacts (he shot Enrica in the 360 version whereas he tortured Sam and Enrica in the PS2/Xbox version) and there is objectives like putting together mines or running an obstacle course in the 360 version whereas the PS2/Xbox version doesn’t have this

All-in-all the 360 version provided additional gadgets/mechanics whereas the PS2/Xbox version provided performance and reliability versions of Double Agent.

The big flop for Double Agent came when Ubisoft decided to double down in promoting the game with the Unreal Engine 2 development to get the hype going for next-gen HDR graphics that were coming for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC platforms

Version 1 of Double Agent (I’m still talking about the Xbox360/PS3/PC version) was a “dumpster fire” because of the amount of graphic glitches involving the lighting and the lack of shadows that made the game completely unplayable despite community patches being released for the game; but, it clearly didn’t help for people who wish to play Double Agent on Windows 10 with an overkill GPU/CPU…simply Ubisoft rushed Version 1 instead of doing proper QA testing and patch work.

The PS2 version I played Double Agent on and what I used to base this review on had some minor hitches in the game especially for the New York City mission at the end starting with the lack of emergency lighting and the near impossibility of maneuvering Sam past the JBA elite guards that had night vision.

For only basing the mission success rating on a trust meter seemed to be a great touch; but, I felt that the stealth rating from Chaos Theory should have been brought over to Double Agent to give the players further insight on which objectives are the right calls to make.

On the flip-side, Double Agent loosened up on the stealth aspect that was forced for Chaos Theory and earlier games to leave the gameplay up to the player on not caring for playing stealthy or not…since then Double Agent paved the way for Conviction and later Blacklist on easing up on the stealth mechanics.

The original Xbox version of Double Agent remains the fan favorite since it provided the extra detail into the game besides the storyline that worked better than the PS2 platform…let alone it was the only version that looked to be 100% well made and responded the best.

Splinter Cell Double Agent Gallery

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Review Summary

PROS
  • Stealth Walkthrough Is Still An Option
  • Retained Classic Spies vs Mercs Multiplayer
CONS
  • Lighting/Shadow Bugs and Game Glitches on Xbox 360/PC versions
  • No Mission Success Rating in PS2/GameCube Version
  • Xbox 360/PC Storyline Version Makes No Sense
6.2
Average
Gameplay
-
6.2
Graphics
-
7.2
Reliability
-
5.3

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About The Author

Chief, Author/Writer for TornadoTwistar Gaming. 15+ year gaming experience. Always a big fan of most first-person and third-person, action/adventure, and racing games from Forza Motorsports to Rainbow Six.