Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow is the follow up to Ubi Soft's stellar Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (2002). Bringing back the best aspects of original game, along with some new features, Pandora Tomorrow generates a great plot for the returning lead, Sam Fisher.

The script was once again penned by JT Petty, with characters based on those from Tom Clancy's novels and endorsed by the author. Set in 2006, the game opens with the background information that militia leader Suhadi Sadono's guerilla forces have occupied the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, taking many civilians and military personnel hostage.

You play the character of Sam Fisher, working for the NSA's Third Echelon and sent in to the Indonesian city not to free the hostages, but to destroy top-secret documents being kept in the embassy before Sadono's men find it.

From there the plot unfolds from a problem in Jakarta to a problem in Asia, as several factions of the Indonesian government and several small force militia's have had hands in Sadono's plans all along.

Once again, it is Sam Fisher's mission to use stealth in order to infiltrate the power structures and bring the corruption to an end, once again saving U.S. led endeavors in democracy.

Ubi Soft went all out on the gadgetry of Pandora Tomorrow. Because the concept of Splinter Cell is to use stealth, the main enemy of Sam Fisher is light. Ubi Soft did an excellent job improving over the original Splinter Cell's light meter, making it more sensitive and less enabling. While light problems in Splinter Cell kept many of us looking lost at a black screen, Pandora Tomorrow's shadowing and animation eliminated the problem.

The physics of the game were also greatly improved over the original, giving Sam more realistic movement features, as well as neat tricks such as the S.W.A.T. turn, allowing Sam to pass doorways without being detected. The controls feel much tighter this time around, though basic button configuration hasn't been changed. The sound is also better this time around, with much more depth and texture. To play this with surround sound would be like putting yourself in the middle of the action. Fisher also has the ability to whistle in Pandora Tomorrow, allowing him to confuse the enemy and set-up sneak attacks.

Pandora Tomorrow also includes a multi-player game, both online and off. Pandora's multi-player is the first time a game has used first-person vs. third-person gaming. With two sides to choose from to play, either Shadownet, a branch of the NSA, or ARGUS Corporation, the terrorists, your mission is either to prevent a global epidemic of small pox or start it. Shadownet players stay in third-person view while the terrorists play in first-person.

The multi-player brings a whole new range to the game, developing a more dynamic plot rather than the single-player game's linear storyline. It also provides the first opportunity in the Splinter Cell series for the use of heavy weapons, as they aren't exactly stealthy for the single-player games. Each side also has specific weapons and gadgets that the other doesn't. For example, Shadownet spies carry smoke grenades and have the ability to ease drop on the enemy's conversations, while ARGUS terrorists have motion vision and laser pointers to help detect even the stealthiest spy.

Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow was released in March 2004 and is available for the XBOX, Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, PC, and Gameboy Advance. Its predecessor is Splinter Cell; its sequels include Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory and Splinter Cell: Double Agent for the platforms and Splinter Cell: Essentials for the PSP.


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