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Splinter Cell: Double Agent (GameCube) Preview

It's been an epic journey with the GameCube, from the sale of second party developers to cel shaded graphics we as a community have had no end of controversy to chew over on the various gaming forums dotted around the Internet. This generation more than any other though the thorny issue of Nintendo's kiddy image has been a recurring issue, with the GameCube being branded (unfairly some would say) as being the childish console next to the competitors. It's ironic then that one of the final games to be released on the console looks set to be one of the most violent and darkest games a Nintendo console has ever seen. Sam Fisher is back acting as a splinter cell and this time he's playing the role of the double agent to infiltrate a terrorist cell based in the heart of the USA. Ubisoft Montreal are busy weaving a tale of espionage, daring and betrayal... so let's see how it's shaping up ahead of the September launch.

The whole premise behind SC: DA is deliciously dark and full of promise. Essentially Sam's life has gone a bit tits up and as a result he's taken on a mission that'll see him take on a new life for a while, he will be infiltrating John Brown's Army (JBA). JBA are an American based terrorist agency and rumours are abound that they are planning a much larger attack than previously attempted by them. So Sam is sent in to liase with fellow double agent Hisham Hamza and to disrupt John Brown's Army as much as possible... or at least that's the plan. It's really down to you.
You see, this game hands the incentive to the gamer more than any of the previous games of the series with multiple endings and gameplay objectives dependant on how you act as a double agent. You won't always have the NSA barking orders in your ears, discretion is required and you have a choice of how to act at all times. Follow the terrorists too often and the NSA will start withdrawing support, information and weapons. Slaughter loads of terrorists and botch their plans and the NSA will certainly be happy campers. However your standing within the terrorist organisation will be abruptly halted and your cover may even be blown. Who knows, even your relationships with other terrorists could be affected...and Sam wouldn't be happy if a certain lady in the organisation went off you now would she. This is shown by a "trust meter" on your screen that essentially looks like the gas tank meter with a needle in the middle and each side representing the NSA and JBA. Obey NSA and the needle will swing in their favour, don't and it'll fly towards terrorist town. Combine this with multiple endings and non-linear plotlines and you have the most open-ended stealth game getting even more open-ended.

Screenshot for Splinter Cell: Double Agent on GameCube

The classic gameplay is still intact but has been tweaked oh so slightly and this is based from actual testimonies Ubisoft have taken from former double agents. If anything this heightens the stealth aspect of the game as you will be hiding from so many more enemies and at the same time making sure certain people show you nail your colours to the mast. The main problem for Sam will be if the authorities spot him acting as a terrorist or if the terrorists see him acting as a splinter cell, so you have to be constantly aware of whom to trust and when.
Of course to be a good double agent Sam will need his skills to be finely honed and as a result SC: DA features all your old favourites as well as quite a few new moves for you to implement against the bad and good guys. Breaking locks with knives, smashing through ice and glass to get to enemies and new ledge kills are just a small selection of what promises to be a small truckload of new moves to play with. One of the criticisms levelled at Chaos Theory was that it was easier to play through without using split jumps or any other of the moves, so Ubisoft are claiming that the stages are now made with moves in mind and you will have to make use of Sam's skills to proceed.

Screenshot for Splinter Cell: Double Agent on GameCube

Aside from that gameplay isn't changing hugely. It's still an objective based game combining stealth and force except that it's been expanded in an effort to keep up with the competition. Kills are now a great deal more imaginative than they were in the past with the sticky shocker in particular being truly integrated in the environment. Is your enemy standing in a puddle...well I think you get the rest. Your weapons can even trip things like sprinklers to distract the enemies, and wet enemies can be fun with a sticky shocker as well.
The game also relies a bit more heavily on set pieces for dramatic purposes. An example being shown off is set in a building that's being bombed, periodically the lights will be hit and that is when you have to act and take out enemies in the cover of darkness. You will also get some mini game based segments, for example Sam has to parachute onto a tanker at one point. You control the descent directly, but mess it up and the parachute becomes tangled. You then get presented with button presses that you have to do to save the day, it's a very minor touch but makes the game that bit more cinematic and brings it closer to the Metal Gear series in that respect.

Screenshot for Splinter Cell: Double Agent on GameCube

This generation of consoles marked the great battle between the tactical espionage action games and it was largely agreed that Metal Gear Solid was the most cinematic and Splinter Cell had the best stealth action. However this game could mark the turn of the tide in favour of Splinter Cell with a fantastic concept backed up by improved gameplay, cinematic set piece moments and all neatly rounded off by the trademark slick graphics and soundtrack. A late contender for game of the generation could be on the cards, and this is shaping up to be a superb swansong for the GameCube.

Screenshot for Splinter Cell: Double Agent on GameCube

Worth waiting for?

What a swansong this is shaping up to be for our little cube of fun. The delay has done this title the world of good with the definitive stealth experience of Chaos Theory being expanded on with superb double agent ideas and tighter level design promised. This will be a great game, no doubting that...the wonder is now just how great it will be.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (4 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Preview

Meh...I never liked these Splinter Cell games...It's too comlicated for a retard like me.

This game sounds awesome. but i didn't like Metal Gear too much so i hope it hasn't changed much to be like MGS.

don't mess with jesus

Yeah, I hope that the set pieces are well implemented enough that they suit the series. Would hate it to just be MGS-lite.

I am still too dumb to navigate Solid Snake through the first room of Twin Snakes without being seen, shot, crossfired, stabbed, hunted, locked into the locker and fleeing under laughter into the elevator. I till am not good at these games...

But, hell, does Splinter Cell here look good! I know, that almost all Screenshots are tweaked, but they are looking pretty nextgen to me, so now, that Cube is dead, I *know* that he was the frickin' best console - graphicswise - from the last generation. Fuck of XBox1!

I hope this game sells well like all Splinter Cells. And thanks, Ubisoft, for your support for Cube (Beyond Good and Evil anyone?).

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

You know what Laurelin I too had the problem with Twin Snakes at first, although after starting again afew times, I was able to master the controls and finished the game with a high ranking profile. :Smilie. I actually have beyond good and evil at home but due to the fact that I haven't had enough time to play games and i'm currently sharing my free time between Orcarina of time, Wind Waker and Resident Evil 4 (yes I still haven't completed it). I probably won't start it until November. Pity about the BG&E not receiving the exposure it so rightfully deserved. However With Ubisoft going completely Ga Ga for Nintendo with games like Splinter Cell as they have, they might actually do a remake or a sequel to BG&E as a Wii exclusive, now that, would rock!!

If Ubi did another BG&E, and if it was Wii exclusive, it'd be timed. I can tell you that right now. Ubi might be "going Ga Ga" for Ninty but they arent dumb. They can't expect all of their revenue from one console (hence R6, Brothers in Arms etc.Smilie

twitter: @bensoutham

Good preview hazuki but don't you think it is a bit stupid the way the Wii is getting a version, doesn't it make the GameCube version kind of redundant.

Ah well we can only hope for Beyond Good and Evil Wii.

Off Topic i read on that at X06 that Splinter Cell Double Agent is exclusive to 360 has to MS talking shit again

Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clichť. They were the statement and the definition."

i like the look of this should be the best of the series, i like the idea of mulitple endings and the whole trust thing should be a really great game to play

Wow this sounds awesome i played every Splinter Cell game for the Game Cube. This one looks promising, and very challenging to say the least. A game with many choices to be made very appealing. But it looks very challenging i like that. I'll pick it up and play it when i get my Wii.
Smilie (my Gamecube broke dont bother asking how even though that little box is almost unbreakable.Smilie

My Ways are far to advanced for you to comprehend!

i cant wait for it!
another SC game to my collection and Gc could use a game like this

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