The IP Shack #5: Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory

We’d like to introduce you to the IP Shack. The IP Shack is all about giving our gamers (staff and readers) a space to rant about the games that aren’t currently spamming the industry with videos, screenshots, teaser trailers, previews, or any related pre-purchase buzz. The idea being that we’ll take a discussion point from a game old or new, whimsical or technical and share some thought on it. We kind of see it as a revisit to existing game IPs (hence name…the shack part is because we like candles) to look at them from quirky angles.

Like I said it’s still barely out of a ‘beta’ phase so expect some experimentation over the coming weeks. We could be waffling about the online days of Splinter Cell back on the PS2, and about all the glitches and scary voices. Or speculation on Raiden’s sexual preferences, why Nolan North seems to pop up in every bloody game, the best puzzle on Portal, whatever. But all you really need to ‘get’ is that this is a little bit less serious and restricted than articles normal dictate, so relax, don’t feel guilty about liking Bayonetta, and come inside the Shack. This week we discuss Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.

That’s Splinter Cell’s third game for those of you who haven’t delved into the world of videogame espionage, and I still think it was one of the greatest stealth games to date. Sam Fisher has since found himself with some dreary security issues and a very light trigger finger. Many would argue that there hasn’t been a truly genuine entry into the stealth genre since Chaos Theory but I don’t want to moan right now. Obviously some of the bestselling game franchises are soaked in a very weak stealth sauce (Assassin’s Creed, Batman etc), and many games have their crudely constructed and poorly executed ‘sneaky mission’, but on the whole, this is fact.

Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was fantastic for the more devious gamers because we know that stealth is so much deeper than the shadows it typically loiters in. The storyline was almost a background noise for me next to the allure of calculated and controlled silence, flicking on my night vision goggles, then suddenly snatching a guard behind a box in a whisper – it felt intelligent and involving. The multiplayer modes allowed for arguably the finest iteration of real teamwork in any genre, and the potential for feeling and/or exciting fear was ludicrously apparent.

I still remember the surge of adrenaline I would get when a mercenary (dude with the guns..guard job) would be charging after me down a dark and narrow corridor whilst my buddy would be patiently waiting to drop down behind him from a pipe hidden up above in the darkness. It felt so monumentally satisfying when deadly webs like this came together, I can’t compare it to any other online game.

Or when you could have just stolen one of the virus tubes (called ND133’s I believe) as the game mode required, and be flat against the back of a chair when the mercenary team rushes in to the room you’re hidden in and begins searching for you. That mixture of pure terror and excitement was like an unbelievably addictive drug.

Some of you may be aware that the HD Splinter Cell Collection is on its way (which included Chaos Theory, Pandora Tomorrow, and the original game) but like me very much doubt the multiplayer will be included in the next generation remastering. Knowing this does make me feel slightly disappointed but at the same time illustrates just how big a gap there is in this market. Where are all the stealth games with their completely unique cat and mouse – hide and seek multiplayer modes? I shouldn’t be feeling stealth nostalgia; there should already be a next generation successor.

Considering how action packed and gun crazy most ‘stealth’ games have become at the moment, surely SOMEONE is noticing the gaping hole… hiding in the shadows till the time is right perhaps? Are gamers too FPS brainwashed at the moment for a more elegant gaming experience? Rubbish, just show us what you’ve got.