Splinter Cell Chaos Theory Quick Game Guide

Tom Clancey's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory game


Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is the third installment in Tom Clancey's Splinter Cell series of games and is available on PC as well as all major consoles. The hints and tips you will learn in this guide are simply the basics of getting through the single-player campaign easily and are based on our experiences with the game on the Xbox. For this guide, we will focus only on the single player mode and will be spoiler-free. While the tips described here are geared more towards the Xbox version of the game, they can be applied to just about any version and still work quite well, as they are the vital elements to success in your missions.

It is important to note that there are some significant changes in this latest installment of Splinter Cell; in addition to a few new moves, and the co-op portion of the game on the Xbox and PC, the game itself is more forgiving than its previously released versions Splinter Cell and Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow. Specifically, the 'Mission Failed' message will appear less often, as you now have more of a grace period during the missions to be seen, and still continue. (Without throwing a controller across the room.)

The Most Important Aspect of the Game — Stealth!

If there is one thing, and one thing only that you gain by reading this, it should be the fact that Splinter Cell Chaos Theory is a stealth shooter, so laying low, sneaking around, and breaking necks unnoticed will play a key role in your success. As mentioned before, this version is a bit more forgiving, but if you try to go in like Rambo guns blazing, you'll be flat on your back before you see the fifth enemy. So be sure to use caution, deliberate yet careful movements, and if you decide to use a weapon, be as accurate as possible.

Some Finer Points About Stealth — and Detection
Several factors come into play when navigating Sam Fisher around the missions, and each and every one of them will be a determining factor of the enemies detecting you in their areas. Here are some of the most important ones to keep in mind:

  • Light - But Not Just Light Bulbs and Streetlights
    • The affect of light on Sam is the most obvious indicator of how well he can be seen by others. Fortunately for you and me, his suit has a sensor on it which lets you know the current light level on his body and is displayed by an indicator on the bottom right of the screen (this is very useful when on night-vision, or heat-vision). Taking out lights with a silenced weapon will alert the guards that something is up, but they'll normally just consider it a blown bulb. One thing to keep in mind even while in a dark and seemingly safe location, is the careful use of your weapons, as the guards will see and detect the flash of your rifle firing, which brings us right to the next most important aspect to stealth.
  • Sound - Opening Doors, Walking, and Landing Quietly Is Important
    • It's not hard to understand that if you fire a weapon, the guards and nearby enemies will hear you, but the game is much more sensitive to sound than ever before. Guards will hear you if you quickly open a door, shoot a light out, walk too quickly, or drop off a ledge without using what is known as a soft landing. For this reason, you must be extra careful with the sounds you make.
    • On the Xbox version of the game online, the voice communications between teammates even become a factor; talk too loud, and the guards will hear you. Opening doors slowly, via the 'open stealthy' mode will minimize the chances of being heard, as will walking slowly, and deactivating lights without shooting them. Sound can also work in your favor, tossing a bottle or can in the opposite direction creates a perfect diversion for you to either sneak by, or creep up on a guard who has gone to investigate the noise.
  • Environmental Factors - Something to Keep In Mind
    • We have almost covered the basics of the environment above, referring to the streetlights, doors, etc.; but to truly use it to your advantage and go unnoticed, there are a couple of things you can do. First off, use stealth mode to open any doors, after you have looked under it with the optical camera, and then close the door behind you. Just like a guard will notice a broken light bulb, they will also notice a door that you have left open. The same goes for light switches and computers, try to leave every area is it was when you entered it, to avoid detection.

Saving the Game at the Right Spots

In Chaos Theory, you can save your game at any point, but you will definitely want to use this option to your advantage, and there are several points in the game where saving your progress will play a crucial role in your overall success. For example, if you have eliminated the guards nearby a retinal scanner, and are forced to hack the scanner to get to the next area (we'll touch on hacking a bit later), it would be wise to save. An unsuccessful hack attempt will trigger an alarm, and while we did say this version was more forgiving, there are still missions where you are only allowed to set off a certain amount of alarms before the mission is called off. We also recommend saving after you have refilled your health at any point in the game, as long as the current save would benefit you more than the previous save, keeping the alarm stages in mind.

Know the Moves Sam Fisher Can Perform

Without going into great detail, it is vitally important that you know exactly what your character can and cannot do. There are two very valuable resources in this area, namely the game manual and the in-game training videos. If you have rented the game and do not have the manual, then definitely take a look at the training videos to see what Sam can do; there are a ton of slick maneuvers at his disposal, and using them in the right place at the right time will save you a lot of frustration. Having said that, we do want to point out at least two or three moves that we have found to be particularly useful.

This is not an inclusive list of moves.

  • Crouching
    • When Sam is in the crouched position, he walks a bit slower but makes much less noise and is harder to visually spot. Unless you are in an area that you are certain is free of threats such as guards or cameras, always operate in the crouched position. In addition, using weapons in the crouched position creates more accurate shots, as you are in a more stable position. To crouch, simply press the B button.
  • Back to Wall
    • If you click the left thumbstick while you are standing or, preferably, crouched near a wall, Sam will stand up with his back against the wall. In this position, it is harder to be seen, and you can also peer around corners easier.
  • Close Attacks
    • Using a weapon to kill an enemy is noisy, but close attacks are silent. In Chaos Theory, Sam comes equipped with a knife. Aside from breaking locks (which should really be picked), the main use for this weapon is the close attack. When near an enemy, either behind or in front, simply press the right trigger to perform a lethal close attack. Alternatively, you can also perform a non-lethal attack by pressing the left trigger in a similar situation. As some missions require that you do not kill anyone, it is important to know how to kill and how to knock out your opponent.

    Doors, Hacking, and Lock Picking

    When it comes to doors in the game, it can be a touchy subject. There are a ton of options and different ways to get through many of the doors found in the game. Some of them are locked and can be broken or picked open, while others are electronically locked and need to be hacked (assuming you don't have a guard captive that you can force to open the door for you). I used to waste time trying to force the guards to open electronically locked doors, but in the end, found it was much easier to just hack the keypad, or in an ideal situation, grab the key code from a computer earlier in the level.

    Hacking Is Simple — Just Focus
    The way the actual hacking screen is presented is a bit intimidating at first, as you see several lines of code on the left and four sets of changing numbers on the right. The key to effective hacking is to totally disregard everything you see on the left; instead, just focus on the numbers at the bottom right. Use your left thumbstick to move left and right between the four numbers, as they light up bright green, press the X button to lock it into place, and instantly become ready for the next number to light up. Repeat the process until all four numbers are locked in, and your hacking is complete.

    Game on!