When you hear the iconic buzz and see three green lights come into view, you know immediately what it was. Splinter Cell had become a cultural icon, and the trifocal lenses were just one of the standout elements. Sam Fisher was an icon, along with Ironside’s ducal tones, as we followed Fisher through scenarios around the globe representing the Third Echelon, a black ops sub-division of the NSA.
Splinter Cell, having first came into the scene in 2002, had more or less changed the stealth genre, for better or worse. For everyone of those who weren’t in the mood for Thief’s atmospheric and fantasy setting, or Metal Gear’s Solid touted ‘tactical espionage action’ and heavy handed exposition, Splinter Cell looked to tackle the stealth genre in the form of black ops, modern day stealth, with a focus on government conspiracy and covert operations. Splinter Cell for the most part, was highly praised for it’s unique take on the stealth genre, and remains one of Ubisoft’s biggest franchises.
Looking back to Splinter Cell now, the original hasn’t aged well. The first game was mostly linear, not only in level design but in it’s structure (3 alarms and you’re out). The strict nature of the game led to a sort of trial and error mode, memorizing enemy patterns and figuring out the perfect way through a level, making sure to perfectly hide bodies as the automatic sweep the game did after every area would be very picky in what constitutes a hidden body as opposed to one out in the open. The quicksave/quickload buttons were the two most used keys in the game. But for it’s time, it was marked a revolution. And for good reason. The graphics were spectacular, specifically due to it’s lighting system. Splinter Cell played with light and dark, and despite the fact that you played a 6 foot beast with glowing green lenses, the immersion of staying perfectly still as a guard crept closer and closer was thrilling. In well lit areas, you could shoot out lights to create shadows.