The human shield is a move where a player uses a hostile combatant to deter others from attacking them. Players can take enemies as a human shield, which may (or may not) cause the other hostiles to not fire at the player. Depending on the title, using a human shield will allow the player to take little to no damage as long as long as the enemy grabbed is still alive.
Using a human shield is a tactic used by individuals with the objective of protecting themselves by using another individual as protection. Players can take enemies as a human shield in order to either escape areas or as extra 'health' in order to pursue the others in open combat. Taking an enemy as a human shield can create a dynamic sense of tactical awareness, or improvised means to get through an area. Depending on the title, the effectiveness of taking an enemy as a human shield can vary between Splinter Cell titles.
Normally in first four titles, Essentials and Blacklist the enemy tends not to fire. HVTs will also use players as shields against other players. While the player is using NPC as shield. In Conviction however, enemies seems not care their own teammate and still firing; this means the human shield is a lot less reliable and only buy player some time to shoot back without the fear of getting killed. If Sam wishes to stay undetected, this tactic is rarely used as it is easy to attract attention and even cause alarms, which is not a situation the player wants, especially in first two games. In Pandora Tomorrow and Essentials however, Sam must use Human shield to grab Sadono alive and at the same time, keep him from being shot by his bodyguards.
In most games, the NPC human shield can be forced to cooperate in order to help Sam in his objectives. Some were used to operate retinal scanners so to access doors or access computers, most notable NPC was Kombayn Nikoladze to access the scanner to a safe where the Ark was or Kong Feirong to patch into a computer. In Pandora Tomorrow, Sam had to abduct Suhadi Sadono from Indonesia and had to use him as human shield so to take him away from his DDD guerrillas. In Chaos Theory and Double Agent, Sam uses his combat knife instead of his pistol, but he can draw it to shoot enemies or use the OCP. He also can use either Non-lethal or lethal means to take them out, except on objectives that are required his targets to be killed. In Conviction and Blacklist, while using human shield, the player will be holding his gun aimed forward. The players has the choices either executing them silently while idle, throw them which will render them killed, or smash their faces against the wall. There is also the non-lethal way to execute them and carry enemy whilst taking them out.
Enemy human shield
In Deniable Ops or Coop in Blacklist, one player can be taken as a human shield by the enemy. The player will remain idle while he suffocates under the enemy's choke-hold which is linked to a timer that will kill him once it reaches to zero. The teammate must help release the player by executing his captor, either shooting his uncovered areas, usually the head, or hand to hand combat from behind. The captive player can provide a window of opportunity to the teammate by resisting his hold and attempting to flee, only the enemy to persist by bringing him back at the cost of some choke time, giving the teammate a clear shot on the captor.
- This move has been present in every Splinter Cell title to date.
- The ability to actually move forward while taking a human shield was not introduced until the second game, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tommorow.
- Sam uses his combat knife from Chaos Theory and Double agent.