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JadeDragon's game reviews and playing tips: phone games

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

Reviewed April, 2005 By Tony Peak

Developer/Publisher: Gameloft
Platform: BREW/J2ME
Single/Multiplayer: Single
Handset Used for the Review: LG VX7000
Price: $5.99

 

Sam Fisher returns once again in Gameloft's latest stealth thriller, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. Like Gameloft's Prince of Persia series for mobiles, Chaos Theory is a 2D action platformer with top notch graphics and plenty of action. The difference however is that Splinter Cell focuses on stealth action and Tom Clancy style drama, instead of all out combat. As Sam Fisher, you are a shadow. You will take out your enemies, complete your objectives, and escape without anyone knowing you were there. You are silent, efficient, and deadly.

This time around Sam has more ways than ever to take out his enemies without being seen. Many of the signature moves from Chaos Theory are here, most notably the ability to pull enemies off ledges from below, to grab them from behind and finish them with your knife, and to jump on them from above. Some other new and interesting combat options include grenades, remote controlled drones, and my favorite, your laser sighted, silenced gun. Although Chaos Theory is a stealth game and you're rewarded for playing it stealthy, like with its console brethren, you're free to take a more action oriented approach quite frequently. It's a great way to avoid unnecessary frustration.

The graphics have definitely continued to improve since Gameloft's last Splinter Cell, everything is noticeably more detailed and animates amazingly well. Chaos Theory looks so good you'd think you were playing a Gameboy Advance game at times. I personally loved visuals of the Japan stage and the train station most, it really helped to show the game's versatility. Even the sound was pretty impressive and played an important role in the game, from the enemy grunts to the train running on the tracks. You have a sound meter as well as a light meter, and both are very important to your survival. Time your movement and attacks with the ambient noise correctly, and no one will know you're there.

Gameloft hits all the marks with Chaos Theory as far as I'm concerned. The game's 9 long levels are set over several varied environments are all challenging, fun, and easy get into. The controls are easy as can be, especially the grenade tosses and laser sighted gun. I should mention that the game throws some tricky challenges at you in the later stages that are best done when you have some time on your hands. The later stages are best played during a commute or whenever you can concentrate a bit more. Otherwise, level select helps you jump in for quick action on your favorite stages. If you're a fan of Gameloft's other platformer titles or Splinter Cell, this one is for you.

 

Playing Hints and Tips

- For the best mission score, avoid using ammo, grenades, and force. Play it stealthy. The fewer dead, the better. If you have to take someone out, do it with a stealthy grab and knife instead of a gun. Retries will give you a big penalty, so think before you act.

- If you want to play the game with a bit more force, make good use of grenades and aim your shots well. If possible, run up to your enemy and grab them before they can react. Even when playing with force, the silent kill is always the better option.

- On the train station level, the key is to time your movements and gunfire with the passing train. While the light will give you away if you're not careful, the ambient noise will mask your presence to everyone not looking your way. Time your movement right and you're a ghost.

Screen Shots

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Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics

Gameloft consistently makes some of the best looking mobile games I've ever seen. Chaos Theory feels at times one step away from a Gameboy Advance game, certainly at least a Gameboy game, and that's amazing to see on mobiles.

Sound

There's impressive use of sound all around, especially as a part of the gameplay. It's still a bit limited and there's not much of a soundtrack to speak of, but there is a nice menu tune that helps to carry the Chaos Theory theme.

Fun Meter

While it's a little less pick up and play due to the look before you leap stealth style, Chaos Theory is an awful lot of fun all around. The challenges in the later levels are great if you take the game seriously, but may frustrate casual mobile players.

Addictivity

Like with Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell is a quite linear game. Once you learn the guard layout and tactics, the reply falls quite a bit. Even so, with 9 long missions you'll certainly get a lot of value for the dollar. The level select also helps for quick replays of your favorite stages.

 


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