How to Play Splinter Cell

If you're having trouble with the multi-platform game, Splinter Cell, here is a guide on playing the game. This guide does not cover any of the missions and is not a walkthrough.


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    Remember to use all of the tools and tricks listed below.
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    To make a reference to the book, "Splinter Cell: Checkmate", remember the six P's. Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Prior planning can allow you to make quick split-second decisions later on. Don't just dive into an area. Take your time to observe it and analyze the environment. Take note of where you can hide, where you'll be exposed, and where enemies travel. When analyzing your environment, use night vision, thermal, and the electromagnetic vision. Each mode is suited to certain conditions.
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    Use thermal vision. Thermal vision is excellent for identifying laser beams and spotting people quickly. Thermal can spot people regardless of lighting conditions. It's best used for obtaining a quick body count and looking "through" a door. In addition to spotting warm bodies and laser beams, the thermal vision can, within a certain range, pick up cameras and light fixtures. This can help you verify the locations of such items.
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    Use your night vision. The night vision gives you enhanced vision in areas with low lighting. Use it to allow you to distinguish your environment in such cases. This helps you with movement. While this vision mode will be used often, do not rely on it. It is very prone to washouts in moderate and bright lighting conditions. A washout is when your field of view begins to turn white due to excessive light reflection. In the instance of a washout, you will not be able to discern any shapes visually and will effectively be blinded.
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    Consider using electromagnetic vision. The electromagnetic vision can feel the most cumbersome since it gives you very little information. That "little" amount of information is, however, extremely important. It allows you to identify any electronic devices in the area. This includes, and is not limited to cameras and lights. The reason those are mentioned is because they are your greatest electronic threats. Cameras may be difficult to spot due to poor lighting and positioning. Use the electromagnetic vision to determine the location of electronic devices, then use the night vision or regular vision to determine exactly what each device is.
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    Plan your move before making it, and mentally rehearse it. As you play the game more, you'll get a better feel for what you can and can't do in a certain time span. If your planned action involves shooting several objects or enemies, whether it be lethal or non-lethal, practice the motion of moving from target to target first. When planning, also take into account the consequences and repercussions of your planned actions.
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    Have a primary (1st) plan, a secondary (2nd) plan, and a tertiary (3rd) plan. Sometimes, things just don't go the way you want. If you plan for multiple scenarios, you're less likely to be caught off guard. When planning your secondary and tertiary plans, they shouldn't duplicate the primary plan. Rather, they should branch off of the primary plan. The secondary plan is what you'll fall back to if something happens during the primary plan. The tertiary plan is what you'll fall back to if something happens during your secondary plan.
    • Sometimes the backup plans may consist of moving to a predetermined hiding location such as climbing onto something, or jumping up and grabbing onto an overhead pipe. They may also consist of direct action against the hostile forces. This may include attacking them with your weapons or with hand-to-hand combat techniques. In the case that you use your weapon, have it equipped for your preference prior to taking action. If you want to use sticky shockers, have the SC-20K set up with the launcher attachment and sticky shockers active before taking action.
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    Check, double-check, and triple-check your surroundings before moving into action. Use the optic cable if necessary before going through a door. Most doors can be "seen through" with the thermal vision. When double and triple checking, you needn't take as much time (as the primary check), but you need to check for obvious, and preferably obscure, changes. Quick sweeps around should suffice.
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    When you're set to go, execute your plan. Don't hesitate during your execution, but don't charge through with your plan if something goes awry or wrong. Be prepared to switch to your secondary or tertiary plans.
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    If your cover is compromised and you've been spotted and possibly identified or fired upon, don't panic. Quickly assess the situation. Enemies will respond more aggressively if they spot you and identify you as an intruder.
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    Know when you have been spotted and how. If they spot you, but do not cleanly identify you, they will behave more apprehensively. They will talk to each other and move slowly. Sometimes an enemy will fire at different things it perceives to have moved. For example, if you make something like an aluminum can move just at the edge of an enemy's field of view, he may fire on it out of nervousness. The same goes for you. In such cases and cases where enemies aren't quite sure where you are, but know you're around, they may hit you with a few rounds (bullets). Should this happen, the hits will only be glancing and the damage minimal.
    • If you are positively identified as an intruder, enemies will work aggressively to neutralize you. They will take cover and open fire on your position. They will also yell various things at you rather than talk to each other. If they hit you, their shots will be direct hits and cause significant damage to you.
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    • In either situation, it is possible to avoid returning fire altogether depending on certain things. If you're backed into a corner with nowhere to go, then you have to return fire, either lethally or non-lethally. If you're in the shadows, you can move to a different location and avoid further damage and having to return fire. Enemies will remain on alert in this situation.
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    Sometimes an enemy or civilian might move close to you or look near you/in your general direction. Don't assume that they know where you are or that they've seen you as this can cause you to take action when not necessary, but prepare for the event that they do.
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    In Double Agent on the Xbox, you can use the map to help you plan your moves and time enemy movement. While it won't give you 'real-time' information on enemy movements. It will let you map out the different movement patterns and find openings. Think of it as a loose "connect the dots". Every time the map refreshes, a dot is made. Connect each of the dots to get the entire picture for each enemy.
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    Use your environment. Use the split-jump in narrow corridors to avoid being trapped. Be open to the ideas of hanging off ledge and hiding behind objects to avoid detection.


  • Having your weapon out makes your noise level zero (Chaos Theory). Use this to help you move slower if you can't restrain yourself from moving quickly.
  • Don't be distracted by all the visuals, but pay attention to them. The key to success in Splinter Cell is being observant of your surroundings.
  • Patience. Stealth and speed don't always go hand-in-hand. This is a prime example of that. Take your time. If you want speed, go assault, but be prepared for a poor rating if playing Chaos Theory. Splinter Cell isn't really a first person shooter (FPS). Thus, it won't play out the same as other dedicated FPS games.
  • Once you start the game, you're going to be confused. Be patient, this is a unique game and there aren't many games like it.
  • Watch out for dogs! They are very good at sniffing you out, even in pitch black. When they start to bark, shoot at the head.
  • 2 %/points is/are deducted from your score each time you kill an enemy. Any enemy you kill will, after a few minutes of being killed, show up a dark blue on your thermal vision. Sam's not out to kill. He's out to get information. Each death avoided is one less death the (US) government would (hypothetically) have to account for.
  • If an enemy is below you, you can fall on top of them and if will knock them out.
  • Never attack civilians. It will decrease your score.
  • Move slowly when moving in to grab an opponent. This way you'll be less likely to bump into them and alert them before you can select the "grab character" option.
  • Never Ever Be Seen by an enemy.
  • Stay in shadows enemies take it hard to find you get lights closest black (or any dark color also wear black torso and pants).


  • Getting caught can sometimes end your mission, or at least get you in big trouble. It is very possible to not get caught in Chaos Theory and Double Agent.

Things You'll Need

  • A game system that has a Splinter Cell game.
  • Patience

Article Info

Categories: PC Action | Xbox