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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory - A look at the demo Xbox

Published by Ubisoft
Developed by Ubisoft
Release Date: April 2005

Ubisoft have been excellent in their support for the Xbox. Whilst they have provided many top notch titles for the console, the one that most will consider the best is Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and its sequel, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. The Splinter Cell series has taken the stealth genre to new limits and amazed gamers with the superb lighting effects and graphical detail. The next game in the series, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is due for release in early April and we've taken a look at the recently released Xbox demo of the game.

The demo gives you the task of rescuing an American by the name of Bruce Morgenholt who has been captured by a Peruvian separatist group known as the People's Voice. Hugo Lacerda, their leader who is 'preaching information warfare' is believed to have captured Morgenholt, who has access to some vital information that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. Your job is to rescue Morgenholt, destroy any information he's divulged and if possible take out Lacerda. It all goes wrong early in the mission you find that Morgenholt has been tortured and killed.

After reading the briefings you'll be taken to a screen where you can chose your equipment. You'll have a choice to equip for stealth, assault or simply go with the recommended option before finally beginning the mission. Once you begin the mission you'll feel right at home if you've played any of the previous Splinter Cell titles. Essentially the controls are the same that you've experienced in the other games, but that's not to say there are no differences. Sam can now use a knife to silently take out his victims. He can now also finish them off, by breaking their necks and such like, after interrogating them if the situation demands it. There's a few extra devices at his disposal too, such as the modular SC20K, and on the whole the game feels even more polished (which is saying something) than Pandora Tomorrow.

Graphically the game retains the high standards of Pandora Tomorrow and I would even say it surpasses the previous games in certain areas. The character models appear to be slightly more detailed. The textures in the small section of the game that's on show in the demo also seem superior. Once again the lighting effects and shadows, which always made the series stand out from a visual point of view, are absolutely first class. You would be hard pushed to find a better looking game on the Xbox if the truth be told, especially one that also manages to keep a fluid and constant frame rate.

You'll want to know how deaf gamer friendly Chaos Theory is and if the demo is anything to go by there might be a few problems for deaf gamers. The Xbox demo comes with a selection of tutorial videos which includes a 'what not to do' movie. These are not subtitled and whilst we hope this is rectified in the final version it seems unlikely given how close the release date is. The briefings (and there are five of them from five different people) are all in text as well as speech which is most welcome. Conversations with Lambert are subtitled although there aren't any subtitles for nearby enemies. Mission goals and notes can be accessed at any time from the pause menu.

Chaos Theory certainly looks to be another classic Splinter Cell game from Ubisoft. The single player game alone looks very special indeed and should be just as interesting as the first two games. Of course you also have more multiplayer options this time around too. The game will have a co-operative mode which will allow 2 players (online and offline) to team up and play the whole game through. The missions will also have multiple ways of completion so the replay value should be high. In fact from the demo we've played and the list of features the final game will offer it's fair to say that Chaos Theory should be the best Splinter Cell so far.