Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 100
    Visually, the game is just beautiful—the eye-popping lighting in particular is remarkable. The audio also shines.
  2. It’s all rendered beautifully, possessing a realistic quality that will likely be unmatched for quite some time. Animation is incredibly fluid and the attention to detail is impeccable.
  3. The sound in the game is also phenomenal. The sound is so well done that you can sit still and listen, and you'll be able to tell the direction that guards' footsteps are coming from and whether or not they are coming towards you.
  4. The graphics in Splinter Cell are unsurpassed. The lighting effects are incredible, the character models look great, and the animations are realistic.
  5. 94
    Splinter Cell is the hardcore's game made excellent by an engaging storyline and a sinfully addictive journey into ordinary places that become extraordinary simply due to the change in how we tackle each of their unique problems.
  6. Takes stealth gameplay to the next level with unbelievable open-ended stealth gameplay coupled with gorgeous graphics, grim high-quality voice acting, and ambient music to always keep you on the edge.
  7. The PC installment of the game is every bit as spectacular, if not even more intuitive, than the Xbox game. 'Nuff said people.
  8. The need to overhear one more conversation, hack into one more computer and pick one more lock is something that'll keep you going into the night, and quite possibly into the early hours of dawn.
  9. Ideal for those new to the genre and experienced gamers who consider themselves more 'middle of the road' when it comes to shooters.
  10. It's not all stealth. Ubi Soft's Montreal studio did a terrific job sprinkling the missions with spasms of frenetic action and tech-savvy stunts. [Mar 2003, p.84]
  11. 91
    One of the most tension-packed, visually stunning games you're likely to play this year.
  12. Splinter Cell's gameplay is perfectly adapted to the mouse and keyboard.
  13. While I do not feel it takes the accepted throne of stealth action games, Splinter Cell is highly polished, and extremely solid as a game.
  14. Combine Splinter Cell's pure stealth action with the world of Tom Clancy and you've got one hell of a techno-espionage title made even better on the PC. [Mar 2003, p.82]
  15. The mouse takes the place of the analog stick and really smoothes things out. It's much easier to aim your gun at cameras, light bulbs and human heads, and you can make Sam run faster than ever before. It all comes together to make Splinter Cell one of the best action/stealth games to ever grace PC.
  16. Once it gets started, the tension on each level is practically unbearable, and the final room of the final level provides the perfect ending to a game that sneaks up on you and never lets go. [Apr 2003, p.72]
  17. While the gameplay is somewhat linear, the gadgets are fun to mess with and there are plenty of different moves to do to finish the missions.
  18. In some ways it's even better than the original version. In most ways, though, it's exactly the same.
  19. Very probably the greatest secret agent game around.
  20. The other thing that got incredibly annoying is Irving Lambert, your debriefer and operations coordinator and hearing him say “this missions over”….. “this missions over”.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 193 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Aug 17, 2011
    supremo! Sam fisher rocks! Kick the people finding flaws in this is much better than hitman where if u wear enemy cloths then no one recognises you.oh come on it is impossible to unrecognise top most honour killer agent 47 in any getup specialy because they have those barcodes on the back side of head.
    Splinter cell rocks man!
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 22, 2014
    I can say this is a well developed stealth/action game. This is when Ubisoft actually put some heart and soul into this franchise. It's an outstanding game with a simple, but quite unique gameplay element - hiding in the dark.
    Even though it was made in 2002, the game manages to run OK on Windows 7 64-bit. The controls are something you need to learn, but in the end they make the game quite enjoyable. The shooting mechanics are a bit under-powering, but I guess that's to make you feel like you should be sneaking instead. I loved all of the interesting features such as lock-picking, shooting surveillance cams, rappelling down buildings, grabbing officers to bypass a retinal scanner, using zip-lines and scaling all sorts of obstacles as well as getting into tight places.
    The story is really well written, it gives a very honest feeling of actually working for national security - to prevent any threat to the nation. It's amazing how it teaches you about how information warfare works (thanks to Tom Clancy, may this man rest in peace). The cutscenes are very good as well. The characters seem alright and well detailed and the dialogue is superb. Michael Ironside does a great job voicing the main character, Sam Fisher, making him sound cold and brave, alongside a pinch of sense of humor. Also, Irving Lambert's voice actor Don Jordan
    The level design, while at first a bit confusing, is not bad. I like how it gives more than just one option to pass an area: shall I sneak behind a guard and knock him out or climb up a pipe to get up on the roof and then strike him from above? Speaking of guards, I am a little bit disappointed with the AI. It seems at certain points their field of view is superhuman and they can sometimes hear me when I'm sneaking as slowly as possible.
    This may seem like a burden for your temper, but thankfully the environment in the game is very nicely done. Many places are quite detailed and there's quite some variation as well. There are some areas in the game that make it sound like breaking into them would be insane, but in the end you can actually pass through them. The graphics, for 2002, are quite stunning. Though most of the time the player is accustomed to using night-vision, but while the goggles are off, some very fine details can be seen like the clouds, the faces of the NPCs and the guns.
    To top it all off, the sound quality is amazing. It feels like not one bit of quality was sacrificed when it comes to hearing gunfire, explosions, dialogue and the ambiance. I have to say I love the music too, especially when guards get a bit alerted and there's a sudden piano chord followed by a tense, ninja-esque soundtrack. But when things start to get messy, there's a perfect action theme for the upcoming combat. Overall, the last mission's soundtrack has got to be the best though.
    In the end, this game was a great starter for an interesting franchise. I believe this is when Ubisoft was a respectful game developer, unlike now, unfortunately.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 4, 2014
    I have played many stealth games and after playing through this game I am still not convinced that this is one of the best stealth games but it was still enjoyable and well made for it's time. The controls was ok but there are problems with the gameplay when descending from a ledge to another ledge and jumping from a ladder to a ledge which can make you miss the ledge. This was annoying but with many tries it finnaly worked. The difficulty of this game was very hard and not because of how smart the A.I was or how the level design was built, but reather the recoil and accuracy of the weapons which made the game harder in a unrealistic way and also those times when you had to kill your way through to complete a level was a bit annoying. You can get used to it but still it could have been more enjoyable if the shooting mechanics could of been better.

    The difficulty was unrealistic how the A.I could spot you with their eyes in the back of their heads which also made the game bad. Some might disagree with me and say that I made too much noise but was not the case here, the A.I knew that you were behind them all the time quite often but this could be a bug or the A.I. was inconsistent.

    Being the first game in the Splinter Cell franchise it is still a enjoyable stealth experience but it is disappointing to me that the A.I is inconsistent and the weapon handling is bad.

    The story is good but not great but how the story was told was quite interesting.
    I would like to have a longer story campaign with more stealth gameplay but they wanted to balance the variation of the gameplay by having more shooting rather than stealth which is unfortunate because I still think that this game needed more stealth moments and If the shooting mechanics would have been better, well then I would have enjoyed having those crucial shooting moments in the game. Despite those flaws this game Spinter Cell is a very good stealth action game and I recommend those that love the stealth game genre to play it.
    Full Review »