Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (PC) ReviewFormer staff writer - April 10, 2004
Price: $39.99 USD
IntroductionTom Clancy's Splinter Cell had to have been one of the coolest games I've ever played. It provided a decent challenge, and good graphics, a since of “wow”. The new sequel, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow is just as good as the original, and the added multiplayer makes it even better.
We've already seen a couple of highly anticipated game sequels this year, and while they are good games, they don't wow us the way the originals did. Well, that was until I got my hands on Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (from now on, called SCPT).
Closer LookFor those of you living in the dark, Splinter Cell is a stealth-action game that puts you in the roll of Sam Fisher, who happens to be an ex-US Navy SEAL as well as an ex-CIA agent. As you find out in the original title, Sam now works for sub-agency of the NSA known as “Third Echelon”. The task of “Third Echelon” is to do whatever it takes in order to protect the county, this task is known as the “Fifth Freedom.” And of course, should Sam ever become captured or killed, all knowledge of his existence will be denied.
Sam Returns to the spy game with a few new tricks and tools. Those of you who played the first game, should be happy to know that the controls for SCPT are almost identical to the original. However, oddly enough, the controls for the multiplayer mode are dramatically different.
The single player game requires you to be a bit more involved than the original, as you have new hidden challenges that require you to make use of your gadgets. As always, your night vision goggles will help you see in the dark, and your infrared goggles will detect body heat. In addition, your infrared vision also plays a key roll in detecting land mines, trip lasers, and even a man with a prosthetic limb (and no, it's not the one armed man).
The AI isn't exactly great, as the non-player characters (NPCs) seam to follow a strict way point pattern. This makes it easy in most cases to memorize and time their movements and sneak past them. Though don't be to over confident about this, as moving to fast or becoming to visible will raise an alarm. I even had NPCs try shooting at me through walls.
If an NPC does spot you in most situations, they'll call for backup before firing at you, which gives you the opportunity to neutralize them first. In SCPT, an alarm isn't always mission over. In most missions you are given 3 “alarm stages” which gives you a little more leeway for screw ups. At the first alarm stage, terrorist will put on flack jackets, and they will put on helmets at the second alarm level. Luckily, at certain points the alarm stage will reset back down to zero. Even though you have three chance (most of the time), you'll still want to be careful. A terrorist is deadly enough, but the added body armor head gear make them even tougher.
Another change from the first game, you now have to hide the bodies a bit more carefully. Even if you have killed or incapacitated every NPC in the building, an alarm may still be called if the body is in a well lit area.
As mentioned earlier, Sam's got a few new tricks in his bag. He can now whistle to attract a terrorist, setting the poor fool up for a sneak attack.