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Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow Package Art
†GENRE
††Stealth-Action
†DEVELOPER
††Ubisoft Montreal
†PUBLISHER
††Ubisoft
†NUMBER OF PLAYERS
††1
†CONNECTIVITY
††yes
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Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow

Four months later... After starting off the review for Rainbow Six 3 in much the same way, weíre beginning to see a pattern here. All kidding aside, weíre actually quite lucky to get such a technically advanced title on the GameCube. If youíve played the original, you surely know what to expect from this title. While fellow dojo-ite Eric Mattei loved Splinter Cell (a lot), it was easy to spot a few flaws here and there in the GameCube version. Obviously the same case is found here. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow is far from perfect and is just edging on greatness. We could easily wrap things up right here, but weíll leave you hanging on a verdict for now. Hereís the thing with Pandora Tomorrow, though. The game is really, really good. So good, in fact, that itís painful to think of the greatness that we could have had. Itís a hard thing to balance and Iím surprised that Ubisoft has had the patience to continue developing on the GameCube. All we can do is thank them.

visuals

If youíve played the Xbox version of Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow or even seen it in motion, youíll know exactly what to expect on the GameCube version: something entirely different. Donít get the wrong impression, this isnít to bash the GameCube processor or anything along those lines at all. Itís just that this game, much like Rainbow Six 3 and Ghost Recon, were designed specifically for the Xbox. If youíre expecting something that looks as good, if not better than, the Xbox version, youíll have to look elsewhere for that. The fact is, while the GameCube port is extremely flawed compared to the Xbox version itís still better looking than it is on the PlayStation 2. Textures are smoother and the frame-rate holds up a little bit better. All in all, what the GameCube has to offer is still nice and appreciated.

After all of those system names being thrown around above, letís point out some of the major differences between the Xbox and GameCube versions. First off are the textures, which feature much less detail than in the original. Also notably different is the water and particle effects. While playing the game on the Xbox, the particle effects of the water-spray in the second level are some of the most memorable effects in the game. On the GameCube, itís as if itís somehow shamed. All that aside, there are several other instances that need not be pointed out. This is simply because if you donít own an Xbox, thereís no point in going into all of it. The GameCube version is still very smooth and the design is still held in tact rather well. In fact, itís a really good looking title compared to the rest of the stealth-action offerings weíve seen lately.

audio

Usually, the main problem that developers like Ubisoft have with GameCube technology is the compression issues when it comes to sound. Surprisingly, theyíve done a magnificent job with what theyíve been given. The sound effects make the game that much more intense. As if it werenít enough to slink by, almost touching a guard thatís patrolling the area, the music changes and gets your blood pumping like crazy. Effects like gunfire and explosions are all sensitive to the ear and the music is riveting. The voice acting is surprisingly well done, especially considering that the actors from the first hammed it up a bit. Whatís more is that the game supports Dolby Pro Logic II. How freaking cool is that?

gameplay

When it comes to the Tom Clancy franchise of games such as Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, it all boils down to intelligent, thought-provoking action. You canít simply run-and-gun it through each level and expect to be handsomely rewarded like in Serious Sam. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow shares that same sort of mentality. Going through the corridors of each level with your guns blazing isnít going to inspire living, much less a checkpoint. Thankfully, the main character Sam Fisher has a plentiful arsenal of maneuvers at his disposal. At first, you wouldnít think of them being much, but once you get through the first few levels, youíll notice that Fisher isnít just a chiseled man with a gun. He can perform a number of unique, stealth-based moves in order to escape or remain undetected from enemy sight. Itís an excellent formula that worked in the first game and it exceeds expectations in this follow-up.

As far as the actual controls go, nothing could be smoother. In certain intense situations, you may get a little riled up and open a door when you really meant to grab a guard and use him as a human shield, but beggars canít be choosers. Aside from a few mistakes here and there, the control set-up takes a little bit to get used to, even if youíve played the original before. Once you get the hang of it, youíll be infiltrating all kinds of things. When it all comes down to it, the artificial intelligence always plays a hand in the stealth-action genre. Games live or die depending on the way the AI works, but no need to fear in this instance. Ubisoft Montreal has plenty of experience working with that particular feature. Sometimes youíll roll your eyes at various inept guards, but otherwise youíll see some fairly remarkable displays of intelligence.

multiplayer

It should be noted that one of the biggest drawbacks to the GameCube is no online support. Surprise! To put it simply, weíll give you a diagram. If you own an Xbox, you should already own this title and if you donít (unless you didnít like the original), shame on you. If you donít own an Xbox and donít care about online multiplayer, thereís no reason you shouldnít pick this game up for the GameCube. It looks better compared to the PS2 and if you really donít care about the multiplayer, itís just the way to go.

overall

Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow is an excellent game, to be sure. It has a few problems here and there, but what game doesnít? With a bit of GBA connectivity for a field-map and some extra GBA levels as well as an ďexclusiveĒ GameCube level thatís been available to download on the Xbox for a couple of months, we definitely got the shorter end of the stick. However, itís a better offering than Ubisoft gave us with Rainbow Six 3 and we should be more than happy to receive such a great title on the GameCube. That being said, weíd be even happier if we received it earlier. In any case, the game provides several hours of fun, sneaky, kill-or-be-killed action. Unless of course you canít kill anyone in a particular mission, then youíve got to find some way around killing people. Rats.

final score 8.2/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Austin Starr
Staff Profile | Email
"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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