Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory Diaries Part One
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.
Due to the age of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, I am using a widescreen fix which is available at http://thirteenag.github.io/wfp#scct . It was released in 2005, and rather than a tutorial mission, it has tutorial videos narrated by Ironside that are brilliant to watch. Unfortunately, I have had to do a bodge job to get screenshots, and add it as a non-Steam shortcut so that the Steam overlay recognises it.
It was 2007, and a China/North Korea coalition had blockaded Japan for reasons unknown, which was the backdrop on which Third Echelon was brought into things. Sam was sent in because Peruvian separatists “The People's Voice” led by Hugo Lacerda had kidnapped a guy called Bruce Morgenholt. He was part of Project Watson, which was established to look into the so-called Masse Kernels, the programming which enabled Georgia to conduct cyber-terror attacks on America in the first game.
The mission was to destroy any information Morgenholt may have given, try and save him, and if I could: kill Lacerda. I received briefings from Colonel Lambert, Anna “Grim” Grímstóttir, William Redding, Captain Arthur Partridge and Douglas Shetland.
Lambert and Grim were series stalwarts, and I had met Shetland in Pandora Tomorrow a couple of times, but the other two were new. Partridge was in charge of the aircraft carrier I was to leave from, and I assumed Redding was taking over from D.P. Brunton as a liaison within Third Echelon.
I arrived on a beach a short distance from the lighthouse where Morgenholt was being held. I snuck into a cave where two separatists were exploring. I grabbed one and used him as a human shield while I shot the other, before interrogating and chucking my victim into a crevice. Sure, he didn’t say “monkey” but I still did it.
I continued through the tunnels and came across a crate full of weapons. I was told to scan it, and any others that I came across, so that Third Echelon could find out where they came from. I took out another separatist before heading upstairs. The sound of Morgenholt being tortured echoed through the hallways, and the torturers discussed what they were doing.
One of them decided that he was no longer having fun, and left his mate to torture the smoking corpse. I hopped over a wall and landed on him, knocking him out before turning around and shooting the other guy. I let Morgenholt’s corpse down from where it was hanging, then searched the area for any intel. There was nothing, but Grim called in to tell me that I needed to look for a server.
Quickly checking under the door with my optical cable, I picked the lock and went outside. There were some tents set up, and my thermal goggles told me that there was someone inside the closest one, as well as someone wandering around. I went around the tents and through a random section of hallway, unfortunately I someone spotted me thanks to a light.
I managed to dodge past them and over a low wall, sneaking into the next building and up some stairs. There was a separatist listening to radio, and another sleeping nearby. I ignored both and continued into the next room where someone was looking out of the window. I interrogated him, learning that the server was actually just the laptop on the other side of the room. After knocking him out, I accessed it and instantly deleted the relevant data. I figured I would have to at least hack it.
Leaving the room into the oncoming storm, I avoided two chatting separatists and interrogated a third who was trying to access some unprotected data lines. He wasn’t happy that the data had already been deleted.
At the bottom of the hill was the path to the lighthouse, so I shot the lone guard patrolling outside, before heading inside. There was a radio operator speaking to the cargo ship Maria Narcissa (Sam had a fun conversation with Grim about that), before I shot him and headed up. I was to call for extraction once the light was out, so I waited for the light to turn past me before climbing up. The man patrolling the top of the lighthouse spotted me, but I shot him before he could do anything about it, and called for extraction.
Lacerda had gotten aboard the Maria Narcissa, so I was being sent there next. There was no way of knowing what he knew about the Masse Kernels, so taking him out was imperative. I’m not entirely certain how I wound up on board the ship, but did enjoy Sam asking Lambert if there was a “three alarm limit”, and the colonel saying no as this wasn’t a videogame.
I took down two of the crew before jumping across to the stacks of cargo. I snuck to the end, and dropped down well past one of the guards, before entering the ship. Someone was napping, so I shot him and then a light before going into the first cargo hold. I went into the next section and found a crate of weapons, which I was told to tag and did so.
As I left this second hold, Redding told me that some sections of the ship were flooding, and I should activate the bilge pump to clear them out. Quite why the crew hadn’t yet done so, I was not entirely sure of. I found someone in a workroom with a grinder (and insufficient ventilation), who told me the bilge pump was here before getting knocked out. I went through a crawl space and found two people talking about the pump -- one trying to activate it, the other bitching about it not being activated yet. I grabbed the complainer and knocked him out, before dropping behind the second guy and knocking him out in the shadows.
Once the pump was active, I could enter the previously-flooded compartments. Since one of the extraction plans was to grab me out of the ocean, should things go wrong, I was surprised that I hadn’t been given a rebreather -- but there you go. I went into the hold and found the bill of lading on Lacerda’s crate, as per my mission objective, before getting told to head up to the office to check the transit ledger.
I ducked into a crawl space on a whim, and managed to avoid two crewmen that I didn’t even realise were there. Heading down a level, Grim warned that there was gas present -- a single spark (say, from a gun discharge) would blow us all to hell. I observed for a moment, then followed and grabbed a crewman, knocking him out and stowing him in the shadow. I hopped across one of the engines, getting spotted.
Hidden in the shadows, an armed man came in search of what he saw moving -- only to get snatched and stowed before his mate received the same treatment. I continued through the ship, headed for the office on the mid-deck. Spotting another crawlspace, I got inside and went around to the other end of the deck, listening to two people complain about Lacerda. Once they split up, I took down the guy sat at a desk, then his mate. I continued up the ship to the bridge, knocking out a crewman and getting spotted by the captain. I shot him dead before realising I was in the wrong place.
I returned to the office and opened up the drawers behind the first guy I dropped. Grim said that the name on the falsified ledger clearly showed that it was code for a weapons shipment, then suggested I head for the top of the ship to check the crew manifest to find where Lacerda was. Up I went on the outside stairs, and dropped a couple more guards, one of whom told me that there was a ladder straight to where I would need to extract from. Inside the office was a lone crewman who was promptly knocked out and dumped in the corner, so that I could check through the records.
Lacerda’s location obtained -- the captain's quarters -- I went back down to greet him. As I had cleared the way on the way up, it was quite easy going. I heard him before I saw him, talking to his mercenary bodyguards about how he was mistreated and would get his revenge. I shot him with an airfoil round, then gunned down his men before putting a few bullets in Lacerda himself. Mission complete, I headed back upstairs for the ladder I had been told about.
I went down and along a gantry to the launch, extracting myself from the ship. I had to make for MCAS Banco de Panama in Panama, to find out who Lacerda to carry out the kidnapping of Morgenholt…