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This chapter is from the book

Stealth Action Games: The Best Sneaker Series in the Biz

3D shooters have come a long way since the days of Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM. Although there are still great games out there—such as Painkiller and Serious Sam—that ask you to simply grab your shotgun and shoot everything that moves in order to survive, there are other games that demand a bit more discretion. Here’s a look at some of the most popular games in this competitive genre.

Metal Gear Solid

A landmark game for the original PlayStation console, Konami’s Metal Gear Solid (MGS) was one of the games that showcased how console games could be deep and engaging.

The series started way back in 1987 with the release of Metal Gear for MS-DOS and the NES. It wasn’t until the PS1 version of Metal Gear Solid that it really took off to become the behemoth that it is today. The name Metal Gear comes from the super weapon in the original game; a walking tank that carries nukes. The Solid suffix is in reference to the series’ hero, Solid Snake, and the fact that the world is in solid 3D.

Fans can finally rejoice now that we know that Metal Gear Solid 4 is slated for a 2007 release date. Even though few concrete details are available, seriously, playing an MGS game on a next-generation console? Sign me up.

Splinter Cell

The Splinter Cell games, published by Ubisoft, are part of the amazing Tom Clancy phenomena. It seems as if whenever you slap Clancy’s name on a novel or a video game, stores can’t keep them in stock. Of course, Clancy deserves a lot of the accolades because his books are riveting suspense thrillers and the video games based on his works are of equally high quality.

There have been three games in the series: Splinter Cell, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. All the games place you in the role of Sam Fisher, a member of the black-ops NSA organization known as Third Echelon.

The term Splinter Cell is a reference to a member of Third Echelon who has the use of Fifth Freedom, which is kind of like James Bond’s license to kill. Fisher is the first Splinter Cell, meaning he has free reign to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

The Splinter Cell games are a blast to play solo, but they have been a huge success on Xbox Live.

Thief

In 1998, while PlayStation gamers sank their teeth into Medal Gear Solid, PC gamers were introduced to Garrett, the stealthy main character of the classic Thief series from Eidos and Looking Glass Studios.

Thief: The Dark Project, Thief II: The Metal Age, and the 2004 Ion Storm release Thief: Deadly Shadows were all wonderfully made stealth games. Thief has also benefited from its PC roots by allowing gamers to modify the game and release additional missions and other user-made content.

It was a revolutionary game in that it was a first-person shooter, but the idea was to not be seen and to avoid fighting if at all possible. Garrett was not a warrior and he couldn’t take heavy punishment as your character can in a typical shooter.

Paramount Pictures is working on a Splinter Cell movie. Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) will handle the directing duties.

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