This is my ongoing exploration of the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell games, played in release order. I will chronicle my playthrough of each title in turn and discuss any recurring themes and noteworthy events. This time I continue Blacklist.
After breaking into - and out of - Guantanamo Bay, the Paladin was attacked, first physically and then digitally, with us out of action long enough for the American Fuel attack to go ahead…
We routed to Sabine Pass, Louisiana, where the “largest fuel site on the Gulf Coast” was. To be honest, it’s probably where they should have assumed the attack would take place. It had been hit by the same virus as the Paladin, as had every fuel depot in the country, shutting off all failsafes before a tanker had crashed into it. It was burning, and it needed to be stopped.
Parachuting in, I was told to assist some SEALs that were under fire. I introduced myself to the SEALs, then snuck around the Engineers using a pipe to shoot them from behind. It mostly worked, in that I didn’t die and they all did. Then I could enter the facility itself, with a bit of climbing.
My sonar goggles were blocked due to a drone operator, so I whipped out my Tri-Rotor and found him at the back, zapping him unconscious. I climbed a pipe to avoid some men, then up a set of stairs I knocked out a lone guard. I threw a proximity shocker, which took down three men, but I had to shoot a fourth several times as bullets began to fly at me. Instead of engaging, I legged it, seeking cover in the next section.
Climbing a ladder, I knocked out another lone man, in an area full of hostiles. I dropped down to the lower section and knocked out two more, and was spotted as an armoured man jumped over the boxes I was hiding behind. I grabbed him, somehow, but had to chuck another proximity shocker at a high value target, as well as a man who was running down some stairs towards me. I finally knocked the last guy out, thanks in part to his mate having dropped a smoke bomb.
After telling the firefighters that the coast was clear, Charlie told me that he could cure the virus if I plugged him into the facility computers. I had to make a firey, explodey climb up several walls, pipes and things I’m certain you shouldn’t climb on, before reaching it. Charlie took about 12 seconds to cure the virus, and the fire suppression systems activated. What’s more, he also found the leader of this attack, posing as a paramedic.
Leaving the control room, I climbed down to ground level, where I found the leader. He was not happy about us foiling him, literally throwing his walkie-talkie at one of his men. He made a break for it, and I gave chase after shooting his man in the head. The next one fell the same way as we went an admittedly convoluted way towards his escape vehicle. Two of his men fell to being knocked out, one to multiple gunshot wounds, and one I just ran past, before he reached his ambulance - and Charlie stopped him with the facility’s traffic barriers.
The man was happy to tell me that the final plan, American Blood, was already underway. In fact, the president was on her way to meet Sadiq right now, being extracted to the emergency bunker he was waiting in. I spared his life, because he was so forthcoming and I’d enjoyed the chase, and we set course for the bunker; Site F in Denver.
After being quickly spotted by snipers, I had to use my own sniper rifle to dispatch the half dozen enemies, before I could gain access to the fake weather station, knock out a guy and deactivate the giant fans. I left the building and climbed down through the ventilation system to gain access to the bunker, avoiding loads of laser sensors along the way.
Now inside the bunker, my sonar was jammed by a drone operator, so once again I sent my drone exploring. I shot an Engineer and the operator with the drone before entering the area myself, knocking out two men before being spotted. I shot the final one, then headed for the elevators at the end - which opened, almost getting me shot before I knocked the guy out.
I climbed onto the elevator, then up and around the catwalks and pipes before encountering more lasers. With care, I made my way to an access point, which I plugged something in to allow Charlie access to the system, then rappelled down to the floor. With the area crawling with heavily equipped Engineers, I decided to take the obvious approach - throwing an EMP at the ground and running past them when it went off.
The next section began simply enough, with two Engineers being hit by a proximity shocker, and an armoured one falling victim to the old “leaving a door open and knocking him out when he investigates” trick. I planted the virus Charlie had replicated on the first computer without being spotted, and having knocked out the lone guard. Things sadly went a little south from there, resulting in me wishing I’d bought those fragment grenades after all. I managed to somehow survive, and plant the virus in the next two computers, leaving a single Engineer conscious/alive as I activated the virus, shutting down the bunker.
Briggs surrendered to Sadiq, and I assumed it was because he was in cahoots with him - I’m not very trusting of newcomers. He was taken to where the defense secretary was being tortured, and as he cracked and began to input his information, I exercised Fifth Freedom and broke his neck. This did not please Sadiq.
After a bit of a beating, Sadiq ordered a withdrawal, ordering the hostages taken from wherever they were, to go with them. He intended on Briggs taking him to the Paladin, for their exit strategy, but unbeknownst to him, Sam had infiltrated the hostages.
Back in control of Fisher, I bashed the Engineer holding me, and friendly snipers began taking out the rest of them. I ran after Sadiq, who shot Briggs several times. Briggs demanded I go after Sadiq in a reversal of what happened in London, and Sam went.
Sadiq had a weapon, and Sam’s had just ran out of rounds, so I had to sneak around him to grab him. I managed to shoot him in the shoulder, but he beat the crap out of me and ran off. For some reason, the mission marker told me to head for the Paladin, so I began limping that way, only for Sadiq to jump me from behind. I grabbed his knife and avoided getting my throat cut, reversing the hold he had, and slicing the tendons in his leg.
After a few taunts that this wasn’t the end, and that I should kill him, instead I exercised my Fifth Freedom and tossed the knife into the snow. Reports would say that Sadiq was dead, but instead he was taken to a blacksite for interrogation. The Engineers had lost…
I have thoroughly enjoyed playing through Splinter Cell. Not all of them were hits (Essentials…), but all of them were well worth the time I spent experiencing the story.
I’ll admit that the first three games were the ones I have the fondest memories of. Although having Sam talking about retirement in the first game may have aged him quite a bit, given that Blacklist has him starting a new job a decade after the first game. Real talk: the guy is 60 in 2017.
After Chaos Theory, the game left the usual spy game, and switched to being about a highly skilled man taking on bad guys. Blacklist tried to return to it, but making him the guy in charge wasn’t something we’d seen before. He took orders, and carried them out. Being burnt by the agency changed the games dramatically, and he definitely wasn’t the same person in Fourth Echelon as he was in Third Echelon.
I think it’s best described as all of the games being kinda like a James Bond or Jason Bourne movie, with Blacklist being like the TV show 24. Which is ironic, given that Kiefer Sutherland took over as Snake in the last Metal Gear Solid game. Lots of moving parts and different characters doing lots of things around the badass main character, as opposed to the original basic outline of “awesome guy does awesome things”.
Again, I really enjoyed all of them for what they were, but I know I’m not alone in hoping that Splinter Cell 8 is more like Chaos Theory, even if they have to bring back the alarms. Just don’t bring back that damn whistling…