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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent
Developer(s)Ubisoft Shanghai (Version one), Ubisoft Montreal (Version two), Ubisoft Annecy & Milan (Multiplayer& Challenge Mode) Publisher(s) UbisoftDesigner(s)Chris Smith (Single player for Xbox 360 and Windows), Hugues Martel, Julian Gerighty, Daniel Roy, Mathieu Ferland EngineUnreal Engine 2.5(which is a heavily modified, codename called SCX) Version 1.02 (December 7, 2006) Platform(s)PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows, MobileRelease date Xbox 360
October 17, 2006
October 19, 2006
October 20, 2006
February 22, 2007
PS2, Xbox, and GameCube
October 24, 2006
October 26, 2006
October 27, 2006
Windows
November 7, 2006
November 9, 2006
November 10, 2006
Wii
November 28, 2006
December 22, 2006
PS3
March 29, 2007
March 30, 2007
March 30, 2007Genre(s)Stealth-basedMode(s) Single player, MultiplayerRating(s)ESRB: M
OFLC: MA15+
BBFC: 15
USK: 16
PEGI18+
CERO: D MediaDVD, DVD-DL, Blu-ray Disc, 2x GameCube optical discSystem requirements Intel Pentium4 3.0 GHz or equivalent CPU, 1 GB RAM, 10 GB hard disk,DirectX 9.0c, Shader 3.0 enabled 128 MB video card(256 recommended) Input methods Gamepad, keyboard, mouse, joystick

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent is the fourth installment in the Splinter Cell series of video games developed and published by Ubisoft. The series, endorsed by American author Tom Clancy, follows the character Sam Fisher, a "Splinter Cell" employed by a black-ops division of the National Security Agency, dubbed Third Echelon.

Double Agent was released for the Xbox 360 on October 19, 2006. The PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube versions were released on October 26, 2006. The Windows version was released on November 17 and the Wii version on November 28. A PlayStation 3 version was released on March 30, 2007.

Originally the game was set for a March 2006 release, but Ubisoft moved the release date to September 2006 in order to have more development time. Ubisoft then released their fiscal quarter results for Q1 2006 and announced that Splinter Cell Double Agent would be put back at least one month in order to boost Q3 2006 income.

There are actually two separate versions of Double Agent. One version (Version one) was made by Ubisoft Shanghai, who developed Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow and was released on the Xbox 360, Windows, and PlayStation 3. The other version (Version two) was made by Ubisoft Montreal (Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory) and was released for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube and Nintendo Wii. The Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/Windows versions feature a completely custom engine while the PS2/Xbox/Wii versions play more like the classic Splinter Cell games. The games share the same general plot but each one features different storylines, plot twists, and levels. Even the levels they share have completely different level designs. They do however, share the same background music and share a few cut scenes.

Contents

Plot summary

The two versions of the game feature different plot lines. They share many of the same levels, but with completely different designs and in a different order.

Version one

The game begins in September 2007, shortly after the events of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory as Sam Fisher and rookie John Hodge are being flown to Iceland to investigate suspicious activities at a geothermal plant. After he averts a missile strike by Islamic terrorists during which John dies, he is met by Colonel Irving Lambert aboard the Osprey to deliver bad news. Sarah Fisher, Sam's only daughter, has been killed by a drunk driver. Overcome with grief, he is unable to concentrate on his work and is pulled out of active service.

Shortly thereafter, Lambert offers him the rank of a NOC (nonofficial cover operative), hoping that it will help him refocus. NOCs are operatives with backgrounds from both the CIA and NSA, trained to infiltrate organizations for HUMINT purposes. The government denies any involvement in their activities. The NSA stages multiple bank robberies and killings to set up Fisher to infiltrate a domestic terror organization known as John Brown's Army (JBA). He is sent to Ellsworth Prison in Kansas where he is placed in the same cell block as Jamie Washington, a JBA member, and begins digging a tunnel for escape. By February 2008, Fisher helps Washington escape, and is welcomed into the JBA.

At their compound, Emile Dufraisne, the leader of the JBA, gives Sam the order to shoot Cole Yeagher, the pilot of the helicopter used to escape the prison. If Fisher kills him, he will earn JBA trust and lose NSA trust. If he misses his shot on purpose, Jamie will kill Cole, and Sam will lose trust with the JBA. He is then sent on a mission to take over a Russian oil tanker in the Sea of Okhotsk. Sam needs to take over the tanker so that JBA ally Massoud Ibn-Yussif can use it to deliver one of the bombs.

As soon as Fisher is finished, he is quickly flown to the Jin Mao Hotel in Shanghai. CIA agent Hisham Hamza orders him to record a meeting between Emile and a Pakistani Nuclear scientist, Dr. Aswat. During the meeting, Aswat sells Emile several kilograms of red mercury, a fictional explosive material. With Third Echelon on high alert, Fisher is told to collect a sample from the safe in the meeting room. While he's doing that, Carson Moss radios in and orders him to steal notes from Aswat's hotel room. The NSA then orders the assassination of Dr. Aswat.

With both the red mercury and Dr. Aswat's notes, the JBA constructs a bomb which they wish to test. Emile sends Fisher to Cozumel to blow up a cruise ship. The success of the bomb is determined by the player and is therefore the first of the three major events. Fisher can choose to either let the bomb detonate, maintaining his cover with the JBA, prevent the explosion by jamming the signal, or framing Enrica by using her disarm code, if the player acquires it from her office during the JBA HQ mission. Framing Enrica causes Dufraisne to kill her in a fit of anger.

Emile then goes to a meeting in Kinshasa with Alejandro Takfir and Massoud Ibn-Yussif, allies of the JBA. Fisher bugs the meeting and finds out that the three terrorist leaders each have Red Mercury bombs. They plan to destroy Mexico City, Los Angeles and New York City. During the meeting, Hisham Hamza's cover is blown.

Emile orders Fisher to kill Hisham, who has fled to the Congolese presidential palace in Kinshasa, from the top of a radio tower with a sniper rifle. Fisher may shoot Hisham, but if he spares his life, another section of the level is unlocked where Fisher extracts him safely from the palace.

When Fisher returns to the headquarters, he is ordered to shoot Lambert, who was captured sneaking around the complex. The player can decide to either shoot Lambert or Jamie Washington. Shooting Lambert will maintain the JBA's trust, while shooting Washington will send the JBA into high alert and reveal Fisher as a traitor. Enrica Villablanca, if she is still alive, discovers Fisher's NOC status, but allows him to pass into the labs underneath the HQ, even giving him his equipment if he does not have it already.

A SWAT team then storms the compound, crashing in through the ceiling. If Sam saves the cruise ship, CIA Agent Hisham, and Lambert, or only two out of three with NSA trust above 33%, then he evades capture and escapes the compound, incapacitating a SWAT officer, and donning his stolen suit. In the unlocked bonus level, the NYPD pursues Fisher through New York, but he boards a stolen Coast Guard boat that Carson Moss is using to deliver the last bomb. Fisher kills Moss, disarms the bomb, and escapes the boat seconds before it is destroyed. This ending is the only one that ends with "To be continued..."

If Sam only saves one out of three, or two out of three with NSA trust below 33%, he is captured by the NYPD, charged with murder and conspiracy to commit terrorism, and pleads 'not guilty'. Before his trial begins, however, Sam breaks out of prison and is on the run. If Sam does not save any of the three, or only one with NSA trust below 33%, he is initially captured by the NYPD, but escapes using a smoke grenade.

Version two

The game begins shortly after the events of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory as Sam and CIA agent Hisham Hamza are being flown to Iceland to investigate suspicious activities at a geothermal plant. However, the mission is aborted, with Lambert activating a Splinter Cell co-op double team to destroy the plant. Sam is met by Colonel Irving Lambert aboard the Osprey to deliver bad news. Sarah Fisher, Sam's only daughter, has been killed by a drunk driver. Overcome with depression, he is unable to concentrate on his work and is pulled out of active service.

Lambert offers him the rank of a NOC (nonofficial cover operative), hoping that it will help him refocus. NOCs are operatives with backgrounds from both the CIA and NSA, trained to infiltrate organizations for HUMINT purposes. The government denies any involvement in their activities. The NSA stages multiple bank robberies and killings to set up Fisher to infiltrate a domestic terror organization known as John Brown's Army (JBA). He is sent to Ellsworth Prison in Kansas where he is placed in the same cell block as Jamie Washington, a JBA member. With indirect assistance from a Splinter Cell Co-op double team, Fisher helps Washington escape, and is welcomed into the JBA.

At their compound, Sam finds an e-mail written by JBA member Cole Yeagher. If he chooses to send this information to the NSA, they will extract Yeagher for interrogation; if he chooses to send it to the JBA, Emile kills him.

Sam is then sent to hijack a train in Grand Central Station, carrying a large sum of money, gold, and jewelry. Because Lambert pretends to be an arms dealer, Sam has access to his NSA equipment.

After the JBA constructs a bomb using red mercury, Emile sends Fisher to Cozumel to test it by blowing up a cruise ship. If the player chooses to sabotage the bomb detonation, Sam and Enrica are severely beaten. Unlike Version 1, this decision does not affect the ending of the game.

Sam is then sent on a mission to take over a Russian oil tanker in the Sea of Okhotsk. Two computers on the tanker have an e-mail to Emile from an anonymous sender who intends to blow Lambert's cover as an arms dealer.

Emile then goes to a meeting in Kinshasa with Allejandro Tawkfir and Massoud Ibn-Yussif, allies of the JBA, to buy more red mercury. He orders Fisher to kill Hisham. If the player lets him go, he will receive an adrenaline syringe, which does not make an appearance for the rest of the game. Fisher uncovers information that sets up a mission for a Splinter Cell co-op double team to sabotage a chemical bunker owned by Takfir. An e-mail on Massoud's computer reveals that there is a mole inside the NSA.

When Fisher returns to the headquarters, he discovers that Lambert has been taken hostage, and the terrorists are about to send off the Red Mercury. Sam has to choose whether to place information on the JBA server backing up Lambert's cover, or plant information that proves he is with the NSA. At the end of the mission, Director Williams seems strangely indifferent to the death of Lambert, if the player chooses that route. He can also choose to disable two of the red mercury bombs.

Unlike the other version, regardless of whether you save Lambert or not, the mission starts with the JBA discovering that Sam is a spy, with Williams authorizing the Fifth Freedom. Simultaneously, the Splinter Cell double team focuses on disarming multiple Red Mercury bombs in the Tanker headed for Los Angeles. Enrica, unable to kill Fisher, helps him by setting off the sprinklers in one room. After Sam kills Emile and disables the last bomb, Enrica comes looking for him, and is shot by a Splinter Cell agent. As a result, Sam kills the agent and removes his subdermal for his cochlear implant. He then accuses Williams of murdering Enrica, and vows revenge.

If Sam disarms the bombs in Nashville and Los Angeles, the end newscast will say that a potential terrorist attack has been stopped. If only one of the bombs is disarmed, the newscast will report on a bomb, whichever one was not disarmed, exploding and killing many. If neither of the bombs are disarmed, the newscast will say that two bombs have gone off in Nashville and Los Angeles, killing many people. If Nashville is destroyed, it is also noted that the President has been killed due to a visit. He is succeeded by his Vice President.

Features

Both versions

  • Fisher is given objectives from two separate parties, the JBA and NSA, sometimes forcing the player to choose between them in order to progress.
    • Due to the fact he is "working" for two different organizations, Sam is faced with several choices in the game that affect his trust with the JBA and the NSA, represented by the "trust meter". Trust on either side affects Sam's weapon arsenal: completing NSA objectives will unlock a high-tech arsenal, while completing JBA objectives will unlock a lower-tech lethal arsenal.
    • A non-linear storyline that changes based on the objectives the player completes (those of the JBA or NSA).
  • Multiple endings are introduced.
  • The lock-picking mini-game returns and a new bomb defusing game is introduced.

Version one

  • Two alternate single-player missions, eight all-new merged versus and co-op maps and interactive cutscenes.
  • Daylight missions, in which Sam does not have his goggles. Also, in the regular areas of the JBA HQ, Sam's only maneuver is walk.
  • Regenerating health (a similar element was introduced in Call of Duty 2) and a simple three-state (hidden/exposed/alert) stealth meter, as opposed to the past light and sound meters.
  • The Playstation 3 version includes an, as of yet, unnamed female Splinter Cell; in the Xbox 360 version, she's available in a download by Xbox Live.
  • The computer hacking mini-game returns, and new mini-games are featured that let you decrypt e-mails and defuse bombs.
  • A new type of level, where Sam has a little less than a half-an-hour to complete multiple objectives. He can choose what order to do them, and does not have to do all of them. The more you do for one side (or both sides), the more trust you can receive.

Version two

  • The game's plot is told as a huge "flashback" of Sam reiterating what happened to NSA Director Williams. Version 1 takes place in the present.
  • An additional single-player mission with alternate ending, a new Spies vs. Spies online mode, an extended co-op mode and LAN. The story has also been altered almost completely in these versions of the game; one change of note is inclusion of a HUD very similar to Chaos Theory's.
  • The player receives the SC-303 Compact Launcher in a few missions, which shoots only non-lethal rounds.
  • The PS2 version includes two exclusive "flashback" missions: one mission has Sam rescuing his daughter from a cargo ship (the level design is borrowed from the Yugoslavia mission in Splinter Cell: Essentials), and the other has Sam escaping captivity from a German bunker (level design borrowed from the SEALs mission in Essentials). The Playstation 2 version featuring exclusive levels is not new to the series.

Gameplay

As part of the JBA, Sam must complete objectives set by them to gain their trust as well as complete objectives from the NSA. The decisions he has to make will become increasingly difficult as he progresses through the game. Earlier decisions, such as deciding whether or not to free all of the prisoners during the prison breakout, will just affect his score, but as the game progresses, Sam is faced with serious choices that could kill thousands if made wrong, but may blow his cover if he does not do it.

Despite this, Sam must make the JBA trust him, in order to gain access to the restricted areas of their base and complete NSA objectives. If he is seen in restricted areas before he is allowed to go there, it will dramatically affect his trust with the JBA. Similarly, if he is caught using an NSA gadget or picking a lock in JBA HQ, he will be killed on sight.

He is also watched by the JBA in most of his missions, if he is seen completing NSA objectives or is thought to be doing something out of the ordinary, his trust will go down. Killing people apart from those ordered to be taken out will affect his NSA trust in the same way.

Multiplayer

Version one

Upon joining the game, the player selects one of two sides: the Spies of Third Echelon or the Mercenaries of Upsilon Force. The choice of side affects the player's mission objectives, equipment, and overall play style.

Spies of Third Echelon

The Spies of Third Echelon are extremely fast and agile, much more so than the Mercenaries. The Spies have a variety of almost superhuman acrobatic maneuvers that allow them to navigate the map and infiltrate areas that their opponents cannot reach on foot.

The mission objective of the spies is to retrieve two encrypted files from four terminals scattered around the map. The spies use their wrist computer to hack the terminal. The closer the spy is to the terminal, the faster it can be hacked. All progress made whilst hacking any terminal is cumulative for that particular spy until he is killed, when the information will be lost. To win the game, the spy team must retrieve 2 files and return them to their starting point. The spy team can also win by killing all of the Upsilon Force members, but this method is risky and not advised. The whole mission takes place in less than 20 minutes, otherwise Upsilon wins the match.

  • Wrist computer - A powerful wrist computer with a range of ten meters which they can use to manipulate their environment remotely. While hacking, Spies enter a first-person view and can only change the direction in which they are looking, and walk. The wrist computer can turn off lights, break glass using ultrasonic sound waves, hack security doors, turn off the main electrical generator, and cause the mercenaries' EM vision and other equipment to malfunction.
  • Night vision goggles - capable of standard light amplification and infrared night vision, and thermal vision capable of sensing heat
  • Gadgets - capable of carrying one
    • Syringe - restores the health of the Spy or his teammates
    • Flashbang grenade - blinds mercenaries for a short time
    • Smoke grenade - creates a thick cloud of smoke that impairs a mercenary's movement and vision, and can knock one out after extended exposure
    • Jammer - can be dropped on the ground to create a fake presence on the mercenary's HUD
  • Proximity Detector - always active device that detects the presence of a mercenary's within 10 meters, giving off a "heartbeat" style noise that gets faster as the spy gets closer

Mercenaries of Upsilon Force

The Mercenaries of Upsilon Force are heavily armed with a variety of ways to neutralize intruders. They have a melee attack that knocks their opponents to the ground and temporarily stuns them. They have the ability to sprint for a limited period of time, reducing their turning and aiming accuracy. Mercenaries can also sprint into a spy, knocking them down and stunning them temporarily. They can rappel down certain surfaces, allowing them to move to lower floors quickly.

The mission objective of the Mercenaries is to defend the four terminals from attack by the Spies. The Mercenaries win when they kill all of the Spies or when the timer runs out before the Spies can successfully return two files. Mercenaries receive an audio and visual alert whenever a terminal is being hacked and also can see which Spy is currently hacking and how much of the file has been retrieved.

  • Rifle - The Mercenaries have an assault rifle capable of fully automatic fire. The rifle has unlimited magazines and each magazine contains 40 rounds. It has a scope capable of 4x optical zoom for sniping.
  • EMF Goggles - shows all electrically-active devices in the area, including a spy that is hacking or using night vision or thermal goggles
  • Motion Sensor - always active device that outlines a fast-moving spy in white
  • Torchlight - a flashlight attached to the mercenary's rifle
  • Grenades - launched from the mercenary's rifle
  • Drones - remote-controlled flying cameras capable of exploding
  • Proximity Detector - always active device that detects the presence of a spy within 10 meters, giving off a "heartbeat" style noise that gets faster as the spy gets closer. Mercenaries have a visual aid to their detector, in the form of 3 coencentric rings. Closer rings represent proximity while a dot in the center represents extreme proximity.

Version two

Some console versions have a Spy vs. Spy mode, with players able to play as Third Echelon or the Upsilon Force spies, and also has a co-op mode intertwined with the single player portion of the game.

There are six Game Modes in these Spy vs. Spy matches: Team Hack, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Key Run, Sam Vs. All, and Countdown. Team Hack has players trying to retrieve data by hacking into enemies computers and securing their own computers, similar to "Capture The Flag." Deathmatch and Team Deathmatches pit players against each other. Key Run is similar to Team Hack, except retrieving a Key to hack into the other team's computer is the main item to capture. Sam Vs. All is reminiscent to Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence's Sneaking Mission game mode, in which one player who is Sam Fisher must play as a lone wolf and hack into computers defended by an Upsilon spy team. However, the key difference is that Fisher lacks the equipment from the single-player mode, and is nearly identical to normal spies. Countdown is similar to Deathmatch, except players must outlast each other by getting more kills to extend their time limit.

Co-op

Like Chaos Theory, cooperative missions are available that tie in directly to the storyline. They have the spies provide covert support for Fisher, either helping him with his objectives or acting on intelligence he has gathered. The first mission takes place in Iceland shortly after Sam Fisher is pulled out. The spies are sent in to complete Fisher's mission by blowing up the plant. Next, the spies go to Ellsworth Prison to start a riot, providing a distraction to allow Fisher and Jamie Washington to escape. Thanks to intelligence provided by Fisher, the spies are able to sabotage the chemical bunker in Kinshasa owned by Tafkir and Massoud, as well as getting valuable intel. The last mission happens in conjunction with Fisher taking down the JBA. The Splinter Cell duo, under the command of Assistant Director Williams, sabotages multiple Red Mercury bombs on a cargo ship heading for Los Angeles.

Reception

The United Kingdom, American, and Australian versions of the Official Xbox Magazine gave the Xbox 360 edition of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent a 9 out of 10. The UK magazine said that it was "rupturing quality and oozing tension", calling it "stealth gaming of the highest calibre, full of imagination and augmented by an excellent two-way Trust system that leaves you pondering every choice you make and then having to deal with the consequences." The UK OXM also gave the PlayStation 2 version an 8 out of 10.

IGN gave the Xbox and Xbox 360 version of Double Agent an "Outstanding" 9.0 out of 10, the PlayStation 2 version an 8.7, the Windows version a 9.0, the Wii version a 5.5 for poor graphics and motion sensing, and the PlayStation 3 version a 7.9 for degraded particle effects. TeamXbox.com rated it 9.1 out of 10, USA Today 9 out of 10, GameTrailers.com 8.9 out of 10, and 1Up.com a "Dynamite" 8 out of 10.

Nintendo Power gave the GCN version 7.2 out of 10 and the Wii version 6.0 out of 10.

GameSpot reviewed each version separately, giving the Xbox and Xbox 360 version a "Great" 8.5, the Windows version a "Great" 8.0, the PlayStation 2 version a "Great" 8.2, the PlayStation 3 version a "Great" 8.0, the Wii version a "Fair" 6.2, and the Gamecube version a "Fair" 6.7. The major difference between them is the level of online multiplayer, graphics and the controls which differentiates one from another.

GameSpy gave the Windows version 2.5 out of 5 stars, citing many bugs and high system requirements.[1]

Awards

  • Received IGN's award for Best Xbox Action Game of 2006[2]
  • Received IGN's award for "Best Original Score of 2006" for the Xbox 360[3]
  • Nominated by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences for "Best Action/Adventure Game", "Best Male Performance", "Best Sound Design" and "Best Original Music" of 2006[4]
  • Won TeamXbox's "Best Action Game"[5] and "Game of the Year"[6] for the Xbox version.
  • Won Gamespy's "Game of the Year"[7] and "Best Action Game"[8] for the Xbox version.
  • Won Official Xbox Magazine's Action-Adventure Game of the Year - February 2007
  • Won Official Xbox Magazine's Co-op Game of the Year - February 2007

Soundtrack

Michael McCann (under the alias Behavior) was lead composer for the game's soundtrack. For Version 1, McCann composed all music, except the Main Theme, which was composed by veterans Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan. For Version 2, McCann handled all music except the cinematics, which were composed by Cris Velasco and Sascha Dikiciyan.

References

  1. ^ pc.gamespy.com/pc/tom-clancys-splinter-cell-4/751217p1.html. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.
  2. ^ bestof.ign.com/2006/xbox/1.html. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.
  3. ^ bestof.ign.com/2006/xbox360/23.html. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.
  4. ^ interactive.org/awards.php?winners&year=2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.
  5. ^ features.teamxbox.com/xbox/1829/TeamXbox-Game-of-the-Year-Awards-2006/p5/. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.
  6. ^ features.teamxbox.com/xbox/1829/TeamXbox-Game-of-the-Year-Awards-2006/p5/. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.
  7. ^ goty.gamespy.com/2006/xbox/index6.html. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.
  8. ^ goty.gamespy.com/2006/xbox/index6.html. Retrieved on 2007-07-05.

External links

Awards Preceded by
Jade EmpireIGN Xbox Game of the Year
2006 Succeeded by
Incumbent
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