Splinter Cell = Thief

After playing the first two missions last night, I was really stricken by how much this game resembles the Thief games. I’m surprised it wasn’t brought up in reviews a lot more.

Thief: all about sneaking, getting in combat is usually trouble
SC: Ditto

Thief: You have a bow (silent ranged weapon) and though you can use it to kill the occasional unsuspecting guard, it’s more of a tool for manipulating the environment.
SC: Same thing with a silenced pistol and special ammo.

Thief: Light gem tells you how much shadow you’re in
SC: Light meter tells you how much shadow you’re in

Thief: Searching desks and stuff sometimes turns up notes with a little backstory or hints for the mission.
SC: Searching computers sometimes turns up data sticks with a little backstory or hints for the mission.

Thief: dousing torches to make new shadows
SC: Shooting out lights

Thief: Guards notice said doused torches and go check it out
SC: Guards notice shot-out lights/cameras and go investigate

Thief: At certain scripted points in a level, you overhear guards talking for a little bit of humor or to give you a clue about how to tackle another part of the mission
SC: Same thing

Thief: You better hide bodies, or someone will notice and then bad things may happen.
SC: Yup, there too.

Thief: Good voice acting, likeable smart-ass hero figure
SC: Check

Thief: Great sound engine, listening as important as looking, especially to the noise you’re making
SC: Same

Thief: Pick up bottles or bowls or whatever and chuck them to distract guards
SC: Pick up bottles or cans and chuck them to distract guards

Thief: Could be quite hard until you figured out a good way to get past a certain situation (of which there were often several approaches)
SC: Yeah, hard until you get a bright idea.

Of course, not everything about them are the same. Besides the obvious differences in modern/elizabethan-medieval setting, of course.

Thief: Stylish and interesting cutscenes
SC: Crappy prerendered video of news clips

Thief: dated graphics when it was new
SC: Amazingly cutting-edge stuff that’s the best on the platform

And in Splinter Cell you can grab people from behind, interrorgate them or use them at a retinal scanner, and knock them out or use them as a human shield. That’s just plain fun. I’m finding the game tough but not frustrating so far. Usually when I fail, I don’t get the feeling it’s because I lack the skill so much as that there’s a smarter way to do it and I just need to figure out what that is.

This is great news! I loved the Thief series, and I have a GameCube and the PC! Hopefully Microsoft won’t bribe the whatsits to keep it off those platforms.

PC has already been promised with a tentative release date in jan 2003 i think.

Thief: Stylish and interesting cutscenes
SC: Crappy prerendered video of news clips

Yeah, this is one of the few valid knocks on Splinter Cell. The cutscenes are fairly blah. Since when is a CNN simulation fun?

The game kicks ass though. Easily one of the best Xbox titles. I’m not going to start spouting Dave Long-style insanity about how you should rush out and buy an Xbox to play THE GAME OF THE CENTURY, or anything fucking ridiculous like that, but… if you have an Xbox, this is about as good as it gets.

-wumpus

The game kicks ass though. Easily one of the best Xbox titles. I’m not going to start spouting Dave Long-style insanity about how you should rush out and buy an Xbox to play THE GAME OF THE CENTURY, or anything fucking ridiculous like that, but… if you have an Xbox, this is about as good as it gets.

Ok Mr. Linky Linky…provide the link where I said people should rush out and buy console X to play game Y.

This is great news! I loved the Thief series, and I have a GameCube and the PC! Hopefully Microsoft won’t bribe the whatsits to keep it off those platforms.

Unless Microsoft locks it up before December 31, you’ll see a pile of info on its release on all the other systems and the PC at the beginning of January. It’s only exclusive through the end of the year.

–Dave

I agree wholeheartedly. While Splinter Cell is far from being a Thief clone, it is the most, um, Thiefy game I’ve played since the original. Wish it was slightly less linear (and thus even more Thiefy :wink: ) in its level design, but apart from that, a damn good game.

Ok Mr. Linky Linky…provide the link where I said people should rush out and buy console X to play game Y.

http://www.pedanticfag.com

Dave, I like a lot of your posts, but Jesus, give it a rest.

…and the worst part was, I actually clicked on the link.

Damn you, Crypt, damn you and your cruel cruel mind games…

I can’t decide between this or Digital Dangle as my new band name…

Hey, did you get that out of the GameSpy Naminator?

I would have to echo most people’s comments here, but there are a couple of things that annoy me about the otherwise excellent Splinter Cell.

  1. It is WAY too linear. Sam has all these great moves to interact with the environment, but you can only interact with this pole and mantle up this ledge, or hope over this railing. Why is there an enormous, human-sized ventilation shaft that goes from the men’s room to the women’s room? Do we really need to circulate the air just between those two rooms? I’m fine with the artificiality of it, but there should have been other ways to get beyond the fire in the hallway than this super obvious tunnel from A to B.

  2. Similar to 1 - More interaction with the environment. Why can’t every single light in the game be shot out? Are lamps made of tougher stuff than flourescent lights? The bottles should be knocked over when I walk over them to alert the guards, like in NOLF2. And different things to throw would be nice. I find it hard to believe that in the otherwise pristine marble entranceway to the CIA someone left a coke can in the corner. How about throwing the nice ashtray I see on that table?

Bah, these are super-picky anyway. The only real difference between this game and the Thief games for me is that I feel like death incarnate here. EGM points out correctly that you feel like a panther skulking through the world, able to pounce on your prey easily. Whereas in Thief, I felt like a sort of wussy tabby hoping not to get caught.

I agree with everything Jim Preston just said. This game is lots of fun but it is way to linear- I found this out on the first level, and kept hoping it would get better. I can kind of see why on some of the later levels (it would have been hard to map out every floor of the CIA offices, for example), but damn.

Also about the lighting thing- it would have made it way to easy, but they could have just limited ammo more or something. There was one section right at the end of the aforementioned CIA level where I was seriously pissed that I couldn’t shoot out the lights- there was I light in a doorway above some stairs that led down to where a guard was patroling. I ended up figuring out that I had to use my camera doohickey to get past, but Damn, I was getting annoyed.

Playing this makes me jones for Thief 3 on the Xbox even more…

Eh, I think it’s taking from several games and perfecting those features.

That’s like saying the shadow/hiding bar is taken from NOLF2 and the hearing bits of information is taking from MGS.

I too am really enjoying this game. As mentioned before, the graphics and lighting in this game is phenomenal and really add to the ambience of the game.

My only complaint, the only thing that really gets to me, the part that really frustrates me…is that I don’t get to kill enough people. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the SK-20 and dole out some damage with its rounds and fancy gadgets. However, I’m on the Chinese Embassy mission and it’s pissing the hell out of me that I can’t assisinate the Chinese troops. I don’t feel much like a skulking panther if I can’t unleash my claws. It gets a bit boring sneaking by or conking people out over and over again when you know you can silently snipe them.

Ugh, maybe it’s just 'cause I’m stuck at the point where you have to slip into the Embassy. I’m out of sticky shockers and air-foil rounds. How do I get past the dog without killing them?

Anyway, other than not allowing me to fuly utilize by magnificent commando skills this game is entertaining and despite my frustration at not being allowed to be a silent grim reaper I do keep coming back for more.

  • Gibreal

I agree about not being able to ice the embassy guards, especially when you find out what’s going on inside there. The death of a few soldiers given the scope of the plot is meaningless. Anyway, to get past the dog you have to go behind the guard station, wait for the truck to pull in, go behind the truck and wait for the dog to get your scent. Then just creep along the right side of the wall across the stream. It’s pretty straightforward from there.

but you can only interact with this pole and mantle up this ledge, or hope over this railing. Why is there an enormous, human-sized ventilation shaft that goes from the men’s room to the women’s room? Do we really need to circulate the air just between those two rooms? I’m fine with the artificiality of it, but there should have been other ways to get beyond the fire in the hallway than this super obvious tunnel from A to B.

I agree the levels are fairly linear, but linear isn’t necessarily bad. I dislike running around “hub” levels trying to figure out what the hell it is I have to do next. At least in a linear level, you know you must do something at point A to be able to get to point B. There’s a bit less frustration and backtracking. Still, it’s a question of balance-- I’ve played games that were too linear (MOHAA) and games that were too open-ended (Black and White). Splinter Cell strikes an agreeable balance here.

As for your complaint that only “certain objects” can be interacted with, this is somewhat true… however, anywhere I’ve wanted to go, I’ve been able to. For example, in the garage on level 2 there are these low hanging beams. I wondered, hmm, could I grab those and hang from them? Sure enough, I could. Completely pointless, as the garage is all of about 7 feet of height total, but it’s still cool. You can also shoot out the lights hanging from the cords in the stairwell leading to the garage, and the headlights on the car in the garage-- two other “hmm, I wonder if I can…” moments for me.

It is annoying that some lights are indestructible; at least the indestructible cameras LOOK armored.

The apartment on level one, just after the burning building sequence. I couldn’t climb up to the roof from the trellis. Later in the same level, I could freely climb onto a trellis and walk around on top. :x . It’s not like Thief 2, for example, where you have to get across the city, remaining hidden, using rooftops, etc as you see fit.

Must have Thief 3. Why must they torment me so, with a release at least a year away? At least they haven’t really released any info on it- it’s about as non-hyped as games get nowadays.

This makes me get that much more stoked about Thief III.

Thief 3 will be the Best. Game. EVAR.

I’m generally okay with the linear aspect of the levels. Sure, I’d like a bit more of a “living environment” that I could make my own path through, with a more detailed map to help (don’t we get satelite photos in the NSA?). But it’s not like I’m playing it and saying “boy, this is so LINEAR! I feel like I have no choices!” There are enough ways to deal with each little “area” that I feel like I’ve got some freedom.

The difficulty bothers me more. Not that it’s hard, but more WHY it’s hard. The CIA level was rediculously tough in places, because it gets so that if you sound one alarm it’s all over, and of course you can’t kill anyone. It’s what everyone always complained about with NOLF and other “one slip up and you have to reload” games. Only in SC, you can only save at checkpoints, so you often have to re-do the same thing over and over just to get the the part that you’re trying to get past.

It’s still quite fun, though. Very addictive. As much as I fail, I keep going back for more, and boy do you really feel like a badass when you finally succeed in getting past a really tough area. Sam Fisher could kick Solid Snake’s ass. =)