Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 22
  2. Negative: 9 out of 22
  1. Unfortunately the addition of the excellent multiplayer modes and the surprisingly well executed DS conversion aren't enough to make it a must-buy. [NGC Pocket]
  2. 75
    A first-rate game. Don’t forget that it’s on the Nintendo DS, or your standards might be set incredibly high.
  3. The game is virtually unplayable using any of the vision modes and without them you are doomed to play the game in total darkness or not at all.
  4. Unfortunately, all of these [features] are dragged down by a poor frame rate and cumbersome controls. The scope of this game is certainly impressive. It's just not much fun to play.
  5. 55
    There are even certain instances where you can find yourself focusing on your stealth tactics rather than struggling with the interface, and in those instances the game plays out quite well. It's just too bad those are the exception rather than the rule.
  6. 45
    Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory tries so much, and yet fails on so many levels. Unless you're a true fan of the franchise, we'd advise you to steer clear.
  7. Overall, Splinter Cell Chaos Theory for Nintendo DS is just full of problem after problem, but even without the bugs and glitches, the game is simply dull compared to its console counterparts.
  8. The console versions of the Splinter Cell series are virtually perfect. It's really hard to accept anything less regardless of what system it's on.
  9. 50
    Although far from perfect, this is still shaping up to be the best portable version of Splinter Cell to come out to date.
  10. 20
    It's over-ambitious, poorly implemented control setup puts it squarely in the rank of games that tried too hard to utilize the hardware rather than offer a fun, interesting experience.
  11. While the DS is a very versatile machine that can adapt to different play mechanics thanks to its stylus and touchscreen, there are some things it obviously shouldn't attempt. This is one such thing. Avoid like a trip-wire.
  12. If you're a die hard Splinter Cell fan, you might learn to live with the shonky control system and poor quality graphics. It's not as if the game is completely unplayable, after all. However, it's not varied or involving enough for our tastes, and the ratio of frustration to enjoyment is far too high.
  13. I'm being generous with the 3. That tells you how bad this is.
  14. It's long, and the levels and gameplay are solid throughout. [Aug 2005, p.85]
  15. Although buoyed by a nice touch-screen look system and a fine series of multiplayer options, the reality is that this theory rests on ground most shaky. [Aug 2005, p.56]
  16. I honestly see no real reason to buy this game. Unless you only own a GCN and desperately want to play the Spies vs. Mercs minigame, then I would advise you to get the console version.
  17. A mediocre experience at best. There's a lengthy single player mode that has a lot to offer, but doesn't do anything particularly well. The controls are tedious and the graphics are slow and blocky.
  18. A castrate of its GameCube counterpart, Splinter Cell for the DS lacks many of the levels, abilities, features, pathways, and audio enjoyed in said console version. Bungled load times and inherent slowdown (in simple menu navigation!) is completely unacceptable on such a powerful handheld.
  19. Any way you slice it, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is a poor game and you’d have to be Sam Fisher’s number one fan to grab this rendition of the franchise.
  20. As a fan of stealth-action in general and the Xbox Chaos Theory in particular, playing the DS version is like reuniting with an old friend...who's gained weight, lost his hair, had his limbs chopped off, his brain sucked out, and been through one of those car-crusher things. And smells. Like cat pee.
  21. This frustration is compounded by the choppy, stuttering frame rate of the 3D visuals, making the already convoluted controls feel twice as sluggish. Even the menu screens seem slow to respond - a sure sign that the DS is being pushed beyond its capabilities.
  22. On one hand, you have gorgeous visuals, tense action-paced music, and a hefty single player mode (8 levels which should take you around 30 minutes to an hour each). However, the other side of the coin features linear missions, sloppy controls, framerate issues and an overall buggy design.

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