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Name: [tntvillage.org] [Mac ITA - ENG] Splinter Cell - iP2P Group
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Category: Games - Mac
Size: 1401 MB
Date Add: October 02, 2008
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Spl1nter_C3ll.rar - 1401 MB
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[SIZE=16][color=blue]Splinter Cell[/SIZE][/color]









[b]Review



It’s been a while since Mac users have had a really well done third person adventure title. A game where you don’t have to worry about a “point” system to buy skills, or “experience points” so your character can level up to become more powerful. A game where gamers get to see the entire character and all of the gorgeous movements, and not just a gun swaying to-and-fro at the bottom of their screen. A game that feels as if it is almost too close to home with a story-line basically ripped from the headlines. An intelligent game that will test your patience as you wait, hidden in the shadows for the guards to pass by, while you have an unconscious one at your feet. Yes, the time has come for this game to finally emerge from the inky blackness of development and revel in the glorious light of appraisal from Mac gamers all around (well, fine. Not ALL around. But around…you know).



Thanks to Aspyr Media we finally have Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell on our wonderful platform. Yes, it has been a couple years since UbiSoft launched it for the Xbox console system. Do not worry though, the years have been kind to Sam Fisher and the Third Echelon because even playing the Xbox version cannot compare to the level of detail that you will get owning the Mac version. Just how great is this game you ask? Well, not better than sliced bread, if that’s what you are looking for. But for you carb friendly readers out there that don’t eat the bread it’s pretty damn good.



Seeing in the Dark

When Splinter Cell arrived on the Xbox platform it was touted as one of the best looking games around…now I know why. The graphics in this game are almost awe-inspiring. From the main character of Sam Fisher, to the backgrounds, to the trash strewn about the streets, everything has a depth of detail that immediately tells you that a lot of work was put to good use on creating a game that strived for realism. Let’s start with our buddy Sam.





Sam Fisher, being a splinter cell, must always rely on invisibility. Therefore, breaking some sort of fashion barrier, he must always wear black. But even in black, just rolling the camera around him a few times to capture all of the magnificent features of the character model is a treat. In doing so you get to view almost all of the various nuances about his physical persona, such as seeing clearly the definition in his muscles, the graying hair about the temples giving him an heir of a distinguished assassin, the weathered face of someone who must carry out a duty, not just for himself, but for the safety of the country, as well as the way he flips his night-vision goggles with a jerk of his head if his hands are busy. UbiSoft thought of almost everything physically that he would be able to actually do.



But he couldn’t do anything if he wasn’t required to be anywhere. Anyway, the locales in the game are gorgeous. You travel through three countries including Myanmar, the Republic of Georgia, and the U.S.A. When you get a chance to be outside, which occasionally happens, though most of your time is spent in buildings, just look around. Most of the time backgrounds end up being flat, boring, almost cardboard cutouts of a city or a landscape. Not so in Splinter Cell. Especially in the last level when you start outdoors just take some time to look at the background. You see the depth of the buildings and the lights twinkling away in the night. A beautiful touch; I just wanted to push some of those other flat backdrops down because of the way it detracted from the whole experience of making it real.



A nice graphical touch that worked real well in setting a realistic dynamic was the thermal goggles. Although in the highest resolution and very high detail the thermal goggles slowed down the game considerably. Still, it was still really amazing to watch, as you ended an enemy’s life, his heat actually leaving his body, changing colors from a sharp red to a dull green.



Although, what it all boils down to is the lighting. You wouldn’t be able to take in all of its splendor if it wasn’t for the incredibly dynamic lighting effects right? Well, if you wanted to play through the game using just the night vision goggles, I guess you could. But then you wouldn’t see it in glorious color and trust me, it makes a huge difference. The lighting, like I tried to mention before is incredibly impressive. What can I say about the lighting that hasn’t already been said? Nothing really, it would just be a rehash of everyone else’s reviews. So, on with the hashing! The part that still amazes me is how accurately UbiSoft was able to achieve such dynamic lighting with virtually no slowdown in the gameplay. Make Sam walk under a light and the shadow travels realistically along its path as if you walked under that same light. Put Sam right on the light’s edge, facing the light, and Sam’s front will be accurately illuminated to reveal all that’s hit by the light.



I could rave all day about the lighting and graphics, but the truth is from light there is shadow, and there are some flaws in the graphics. For instance, let’s take the lighting once more. Like I said the light will accurately illuminate Sam just as if you were standing there, and a shadow will be cast. Here is the flaw. The shadow’s edges aren’t that good. I know that the farther away you are from the object on which the shadow is cast the fuzzier it was get, but isn’t the reverse supposed to happen as well? Not in this game. The closer you are to the object on which the shadow is cast it still has a fuzzy outline. And sometimes when you are against a light coming through blinds or slats in wood, the horizontal lights suffer greatly from jagged edges. I did have the graphics on the highest detail and resolution so that’s not the problem. Speaking of resolution, the cinematics before each level could’ve used a resolution boost as well. The pre-level cinematics look as if they are set on 800 x 600. A real downer in my book.



Playing in the Dark

The story starts with two CIA operatives that went missing on an investigation in Georgia. Fisher is sent by the new Third Echelon team to find out what happened to them and discovers that there is a whole conspiracy threatening the entire world. Usually I am not into the whole realism scenario, but this works for me. It worked very well. The gameplay was fun, easy to use, and quite addictive. Was it challenging? Not really, although there were multiple points that I wanted to redo just because I wanted to see if I could do it without getting spotted. Which is another whole way to play the game, but that comes later.



In Splinter Cell Sam Fisher has at his disposal an arsenal of high tech gadgets, weaponry, and stealthy acrobatic moves that would put Solid Snake to shame. First of all, his high tech gadgetry is really fun to use. From wall mines, to diversion cameras, to his exceedingly handy night/thermal goggles, to the tiny under-the-door flexible camera, you get to, and almost have to, use all of these gadgets to get through some levels. I would have to say that the diversion cameras and the wall mines were the most fun to use. Just plant a wall mine beside a door, get someone’s attention, then back up a distance and watch the fun as they get exploded upon! They don’t explode with the explosion they just die horribly in one piece. The diversion cameras are fun because you shoot them near a guard and it catches their attention. Then by pressing the alternate fire button you let loose a gas that knocks them unconscious. WHEE! Okay, enough of the toys, how about some of the physical moves Sam gets?



Starting you off in the game is a training course that is your basic tutorial. Sam’s moves range from ledge grabbing to pipe climbing, from putting your back against a wall to the almighty split-jump (AKA a Russian). Although, it’s the coolest move by far in Sam’s arsenal of acrobatics, I never really found a place where I needed to use it. It’s probably just there for visual flair because it really is hard to imagine a man in his late thirties, maybe even early to mid forties, holding himself in place by jumping and performing a Russian. An interesting mechanic that was added because we don’t have pressure sensitive controllers for computers yet is the ability to run. Wait, what do I mean you ask? Being a game based around stealth Sam is going to be sneaking or walking ninety percent of the time, although there will be occasions that you want to run around. You accomplish this feat by rolling your mousewheel up to accelerate, and each click represents on measure of acceleration, and down to go back to sneaking again. It sounds really funky at first and when you start to play with it during the tutorial mode, but it starts growing on you after a little bit and you really start to appreciate the level of control you have over how fast Sam gets to move.





When you pass the physical course you get into the more stealthy training. First you start of with Lambert, the leader of Third Echelon, telling you all about lights and shadows and how they effect your game. There is also a meter in the lower left corner of the screen that signifies if you are lit up like a brothel or as invisible as a ghost’s shadow (a fun well written line from the mouth of Lambert). Then you have to get through a locked door. Here is one point of the game I found way too simple, lock picking. In the console versions you had to find the correct point of the analog stick where the lock started to jiggle by rotating the analog stick all around. Then once you find that point you wiggle the analog stick back and forth in that direction. Like I said before, we don’t have sticks, we have keyboard keys. You just have to find the right movement key, w, a, s, or d and once you press the right key and the lock jiggles just keep pounding away on the key until the lock moves up a notch. Rinse and repeat until the lock gives. I think maybe a little simple, but overall it works.



Once through that door comes the section of the course that I used most of the game, shooting out the lights to get passed a guard or a security camera. You can shoot out any light that isn’t protected by some sort of cover, making a pitch-black corridor easily traversable when you use the night/thermal goggles. Although something that doesn’t happen is when the glass shatters it doesn’t remain on the ground. Why that matters is because your footsteps make louder or softer noises depending on the terrain you are walking on, and stepping on broken glass isn’t really that quiet. Which is a whole other section of the tutorial level. So if the guards didn’t hear the initial shattering of glass, they will just go over wondering why the light is out. Then you can sneak up behind, grab them, and pound them over the head while they are trying to figure out what happened to the lights.



Speaking of guards, the A.I. in the game is way above average and it has to be for a high profile game like this. Again, take the light scenario that you just read up above. If you wait until a guard exits a room and go over and turn off the light when the light was currently on you will hear that guard say something like, “Hey! What happened to the lights?” and then footsteps coming your direction as the guard, naturally, comes back to check on what happened. Another nice touch is when you need to distract someone’s attention by throwing one of the many cans and bottles strewn about the environments. Which brings me to a question, how much do they drink over in the Republic of Georgia? Cans and bottles are in no short supply whatsoever! Okay, so you pick up a can and throw it across a guard’s vision. It will catch their attention, but unlike most games the guard will actually come back to where it was thrown instead of go over to discover what made the noise. A dangerous situation if you weren’t expecting that…yes that is a personal note. It happened to me more than once.



Near the beginning of the game and in some levels, which are often split up into various sub-levels, you are not allowed to use the fifth-freedom rights, meaning…you can’t shoot anyone! Kind of a bummer, but that is one way you can play this game. The game itself is not insanely challenging even on the one harder difficulty, the aptly named “hard” mode, but I did need to replay many moments to get them just right. This game will have you testing your patience and making sure you don’t have an itchy trigger finger. The levels themselves, along with being beautiful, are well designed so you can go throughout the game without using your gun at all, but if you want you can rampage and get through the game using lethal force when necessary.



A couple more quick items before I move on. Like I mentioned there are two difficulty modes, the first of which being “normal” and the second being “hard”. There is not a whole lot of difference between the two except that Sam seems as if he has less life and the enemies have more life. That’s kind of a downer. Lastly, the load times for levels are very quick. Really surprising considering the size of the levels and the graphical detail of each one.



Hearing in the Dark

What do you do for music during a stealth action game? Make it sparse. You really don’t need to listen to background music in a stealth game because you are wanting things as quiet as can be so you can listen for footsteps. But occasionally you get some music. It actually helps, although after a while it really starts to get annoying. There are three basic types of music sections, when an enemy thinks they spotted something, when they spot you and start firing, and when you are in one of the rare sections of the game where you are in a storyline driven firefight, meaning they know you are there and there is nothing you can do about it because it is part of the story. Although, like I said, those are rare. There are only about two times I can remember in the whole game that happened.





The sound itself is very well done. If you have surround sound or a two speaker set up like the JBL Creature Speakers I was using, listen carefully. You will make good use out of that speaker set up by knowing who said what and from what direction when you are trying to hide from the guards.



Even who said what is fantastic because the voice acting in this game is top notch with Michael Ironside providing the rough low voice of the Splinter Cell we all get to know and love known as Sam Fisher. Along with the voice acting the dialogue is well written and the voice actors perform it without flaw. In between levels are television news flashes telling the world about what is going on about “the Georgian Conflict”. Those are also well voice acted and actually entertaining to watch. I honestly prefer to watch those more than what is going on in today’s news. Sad, I know.



Striking from the Dark

To conclude we have a high-profile game from the well-known developers of the “Rayman” games, UbiSoft. With the help and blessing of Tom Clancy they were able to create a beautiful game and send it to the extremely experienced and recognized Mac game developer, Aspyr, so that they could port it to this phenomenal platform. Splinter Cell has incredibly awe inspiring graphics, a lighting system that almost rivals the real world, a sparse, but well done musical score, a high quality team of writers that scripted an exciting storyline and dialogue with excellent voice actors to pull it all off, and easy to learn game mechanics with fully customizable controls. I suggest using the keyboard and mouse and not a gamepad. I tried with the iShock II and gave up after fiddling around in the game for about five minutes.



What’s wrong then? It’s not that difficult and you could probably play through the game in about a week for the casual gamer, a single day for the more gung-ho gamers out there. There isn’t really that much incentive to go back and play the game again unless you want to try and do it without getting spotted and without using a gun. I would honestly wait to buy the game until it was about thirty dollars. Overall though Splnter Cell is a good game but may be a little too late for some.





Screenshots

































[b]Technical details



Size: 1,37 Gb (compressed)


Language: ENG - ITA

Genre: action/strategy

Developer: Ubisoft - Aspyr





System requirements:

OS: Mac OS X 10.2.8 or better. Mac OS X 10.3 “Panther” recommended.

CPU: PowerPC G4/G5 867 Mhz or better.

RAM: 256 MB. 512 MB recommended.

GFX: 32 MB Video Card

Compatibility: works on mac intels, too
Tags: tntvillage, Splinter, Cell, iP2P, Group
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