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Splinter Cell 3DS

Chaos dreary

Ubisoft's 3DS Launch Day Tree bears many fruits, but few are ripe, and this is one of the greenest specimens.

It's easy to see how the unwary could get suckered into plucking this one: a 3D-erised handheld port of one of the best stealth games of all time (even if time hasn't been especially kind) is a lip-smacking prospect, or at least it is until you think about practicality.

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There are top-range military aircraft out there that have simpler controls than Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, so it would require one hell of an optimisation job to get it working competently on the 3DS. Did it get one? Well, what do you think?

Weapons, goggles and contextual actions have all been dumped onto the touch screen, but with no real elegance. When you approach a closed door, all the traditional options flash up at the bottom of the touch screen - Open Door, Open Door Quietly, Bash Down Door, Disassemble Door With Cordless Screwdriver, Optic Cable.

But instead of just tapping on the one you require, you instead have to laboriously scroll your way through the options and then confirm using a pair of buttons that are tucked away in the touch screen's corners for your inconvenience. Equipping weapons is a minor nightmare as well, but since they're supposed to be a last resort, we can forgive them that one.

Chaos dreary
A far more insurmountable flaw is the fact that you can never see what's going on, which is kind of a big deal in a game that's all about stalking your prey and using level layouts intelligently. It isn't entirely the camera's fault, although using the face buttons to haul it around is more sluggish than we'd have liked; it's more to do with the fact that Sam Fisher takes up around 50% of the screen at the best of times.


The levels haven't been designed for life on the small screen and boy does it show. Well, actually, they don't show, but we digress...

So instead of making you feel like a nimble super agent, Splinter Cell 3D casts you in the role of a blundering great lummox, forever doomed to trigger every alarm and awaken every guard he stumbles past. It makes you look bad, and it makes the 3DS look bad.

It's the very antithesis of stealth, in fact. Get the chainsaws out - even the most devout environmentalists wouldn't lament the falling of this tree.

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The verdict

Dark, dreary and awkward. You'd have more fun spending the afternoon trying to pronounce the noise Fisher's goggles make. Pyooooaeeeee?

Nintendo 3DS
Action, Action