Splinter Cell (Sniper)
Genre: Stealth/Action
Developer: Gameloft
Publisher: Ubi Soft

Before the proliferation of 3d games, developers pushed to make 2d titles more and more detailed, resulting in games such as Flashback and Out of this World. Now comes a mobile Splinter Cell, featuring some of the best 2d graphics I've ever seen; gritty, fluidly animated, and as life-like as any 3d game I've seen. The N-Gage version is particularily beautiful, as the colors are much richer due to the larger available color palette compared to the GBA.

Like the graphics, the sound package is exceptional. The songs, while short and somewhat repetetive, are moody and atmospheric, matching the visuals. The sound effects are crystal clear and of premium quality, although the voices fail to convey the varying ethnicities of your opposition like the console versions do. Another suggestion would have been to make more use of dynamic music depending on how close a baddie is, though the game works fine without this particularity.

To best preserve the feel of the console version, a 3/4 overhead or isometric view would have been sagacious. Alas, the developers chose to make a side-scroller, and the ability to sneak- which is what Splinter Cell is about- suffers. The developers creatively took the "sticky cam" idea and turned it into a way to view the level around you. And while the levels are all similar, the lock-picking/safe opening/turret jamming elements are simple and fun actions that, along with the map designs, make for a rhythmic and well-paced expression of the console version's gameplay.

Gameloft did an exemplary job in porting what was already a good GBA game, and improving the graphics. As well, they added multiplayer support, which I'm unable to try, but have heard that it's cooperative and exceedingly well implemented for those that have a friend with an N-Gage. The mini-games and repetetive nature of the gameplay is a curse and a blessing: this is a title you could play over and over to relax and, importantly, have fun. At the same time, a mobile title that is more true to the console version is conceivable.

Sniper's verdict: