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May 24, 2004
Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
10/6/2004UbiSoftUbiSoft Shanghai1-4 $99.95

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Sam Fisher is back!
Here we go again... Yet another stealth action game. Sigh. Oh wait a minute. This is the sequel to one of the best stealth games of all time, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. Once again the story plays a major part in the game and this time the game is partially located in East Timor, on Australia's doorstep. In fact the five locations of the game are Jerusalem, Paris, Los Angeles, Dili and Jakarta - certainly an interesting and quite different mix which is great to see. Anyway here's the story (which is apparently being written by the same author of the first game)...

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Sneaking up on an enemy.
U.S. troops become controversially embroiled in a conflict between East Timor and government-supported Indonesian guerillas. Guerilla Militia leader Suhadi Sadono has made himself nearly invulnerable, planting scattered smallpox carriers around the world, to be released in the event of his death. Fisher must defend and assist the US military, both locally and from remote locations until Suhadi’s terror-driven “insurance policy” can be subverted and the guerilla faction decapitated

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In a tight squeeze.
Gameplay remains intact from the previous game in the series. The developers are promising a less linear game then last time which should help in the longevity of the title. Sam Fisher (the games hero) has an array of weapons on offer including pistol's, grenades, and machine guns, as well as several items such as an optical fibre camera for use under doors. The developers are promising much more movement with the camera including the ability to angle it upwards.

UbiSoft have released a trailer showing some of the gameplay as well as Sam performing a few new moves. One of them is his ability to climb outside a moving train and move along the carridge. As you can also see in one of these screenshots it is now also possible for Sam to shift his weight from one side to another while between two walls. How will this alter the gameplay? Well it could allow for better targeting around corners. It will also be possible to drop through trapdoors, hang from the cieling and doa quick dash accross doorways to reduce the chances of being spotted.

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Peering around the corner.
Online gameplay will also be available in the this game, although UbiSoft have remained pretty tight lipped. From the promo videos it appears as if it will support 4-players. You can also put a fair amount of money on UbiSoft making use of the USB headset - especially as Rainbow Six 3 and Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm will also make use of the headset for online gameplay. During this online gameplay players will be able to select from the low-equipped mercinaries, or the highly equipped spies.

Only a couple of weeks before the expect March release date UbiSoft announced that they were delaying the PS2 (and Gamecube) versions to concentrate on finishing the XBox and PC versions of the game. Indeed this wait would turn out to be three months with a release now scheduled for June 10th, but all has not been in vein with UbiSoft confirming that PS2 owners will get an all new mission to complete which is set in the Jungles of Indonesia. The game will now include post mission stats and scoring, which wasn't present in the XBox or PC games. New pathways and booby traps will also be included to add to the gameplay while the PS2 game will include support for the USB headset for mission status information. All-in-all this makes the wait for this game all the more worthwhile, and looks set to make an excellent game on XBox and PC even better.

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Check out the grass.
Graphics in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow have also been improved considerbly. As well as Sam's new moves the development team are including improved lighting - something which still stands out from the original game. The locations, and in particular the Indonesian jungles look particularly impressive with grass moving and enemies suitably camoflaged in the jungle greens. The game will also include more civilians for Sam to try and avoid when firing on the enemy and the general level of detail through the levels has been improved significantly.

There is little doubt that Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow will be a massive title when it gets released. With familiar and refined gameplay this game promises to take UbiSoft's hit series to an entirely new level. Prepare for an Australian release in mid June.