Playing as a sneaky, highly-trained operative with cool gadgets is a great concept for a video game, and Ubisoft nailed it time and again with their Splinter Cell series.
Hero Sam Fisher is a little bit Bond and a little bit Ethan Hunt, but avoids feeling clichéd. He has his own distinctive look, too, thanks to those green-lensed nightvision goggles.
As fans know, mastering a Splinter Cell game takes time and patience, especially when it’s your first time – but it’s usually rewarding. With enough practice, you’ll be doing speed-runs through levels, trying to beat your own previous records and minimize mistakes.
Sure, Splinter Cell may not be to everyone’s taste (like pretty much every other game ever made), but the series has delivered more than its fair share of outstanding moments. This might be a great touch of storytelling, a beautifully-designed sequence, or a stealthy-kill you’re particularly proud of.
As 2017 marks 15 years since Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell first hit the market, we thought it’d be a good time to look back at some of Sam Fisher’s most memorable missions …
Taking the Train – Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
Train levels in games are always a nice touch. The speed, the confined setting – it’s typically a solid change of pace from the usual environments we see again and again.
Pandora Tomorrow’s railway mission allows us to experience a train-based stage in a unique way. Rather than simply sprinting through carriages, blasting at enemies, Sam has to make this way through both the inside and outside, tossing extra peril into the mix.
Hanging off the exterior wall, shimmying along, and narrowly avoiding trains whizzing by just a few inches away – it’s a terrific achievement.
Breaking the Bank – Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
This third mission in Chaos Theory sees Sam sneaking into a bank in Panama City, on the trail of some dodgy payments (we’re simplifying things a little!).
All you have to do is break in, steal millions in bearer bonds, and get out. Sounds easy? Well, no – but it’s actually way harder than that. Laser and motion sensors, security lights, cameras, and more are all on-hand to keep Sam on his toes.
It’s a tense, nicely-designed level, and it’s also the only time you get to use the nifty little telemetric lockpick.
CIA Infiltration – Splinter Cell
This is perhaps one of the most popular of all Splinter Cell missions, and sees Sam sneaking into the CIA HQ to uncover the identity of a mole.
This is as tricky as you’d expect breaking into one of the most secure buildings to be, and to make it worse, Sam’s forbidden from killing any agency employees. Kill even just one person, and it’s a failure. Not that wasting hordes of people is the Splinter Cell way, but knowing you can’t cause any deaths even in self-defence makes staying hidden even more important.
Finding out who the mole is, and grabbing them for a little interrogation, is a pivotal point in the story, and getting to play it out is awesome (rather than watching it in a cut-scene, as some games may have forced you to).
Sneaking into the Presidential Palace – Splinter Cell
Another mission from Sam Fisher’s debut, and the final one in the game.
This sees you on the trail of the Ark, breaking into the heavily-fortified Georgian Presidential Palace. The difficulty’s ramped up, being the climactic level, and this is the first time you’ll see bad guys wearing nightvision goggles too – meaning Sam can’t just linger in shadows anymore.
There are plenty of narrow spaces, gun-toting soldiers, and bright lights taking away what cover you’d normally have. It’s a fittingly-tense, epic conclusion to the game that spawned an entire franchise.
Out at Sea – Splinter Cell: Double Agent
How many games let you play aboard a cruise ship?
Splinter Cell: Double Agent features a gorgeous mission on a hulking vessel, starting with Sam climbing out of his cabin window to shimmy around the ship – only a few feet from the water beneath.
It’s a brilliant recreation of a ship, capturing the décor and layout, and makes you feel like you’re at sea. There were famously two different versions of Double Agent released, but this mission featured in both, so nobody had to miss out.
The ship is to be the site of a bomb-test, potentially killing thousands of people. Whether or not Sam lets this happen affects the game’s ending (in one version, at least), making this a pretty pivotal mission.
What are your favourite missions from the Splinter Cell series? Let us know!