Splinter Cell Wiki
Splinter Cell Wiki

"I am a soldier. I've served my country for twenty years. But if I'm captured or killed, I know that nobody will come to rescue me. I won't even get a funeral. Because the nation I protect can never admit that I exist. So my death would go unremarked, my bones would go uncleaned. I don't know if that day will come... but I do know that it must not be today. I am invisible. I am relentless. I am Sam Fisher. I am... a Splinter Cell."
Sam Fisher in a trailer for Chaos Theory.[1]

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is the third game in the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series of video games developed and published by Ubisoft as well as endorsed by American author Tom Clancy. The story of Chaos Theory is a recurrence to the first Splinter Cell game and its information warfare theme. This is the first game in the series to be rated M (for mature 17+).


Ubisoft Montreal returned to develop the third title in the franchise. In doing so, they used a modified Unreal Engine 2.5 to create a more detailed game. From the point where when it rains, Sam becomes wet. They also added Co-Op storyline that works side by side with the main campaign. Michael Ironside returns as Sam Fisher while Don Jordan returns as Lambert who was previously voiced by Dennis Haysbert in the last game. This is also the first game in the franchise in which it is rated M for mature. It is unknown why Ubisoft Montreal decided to go with this rating but speculation suggests they wanted a more realistic Splinter Cell game than in the past. A demo was released for OXM in which the lighthouse mission can be played. Chaos Theory was later remade for the Nintendo 3DS as called Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 3D and it is also part of the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Trilogy for PlayStation 3.


In 2007 China and North Korea are unhappy with Japan's new Information Self-Defense Force as they believe it violates Article 9 of the post World War II constitution (there is a news report about the I-SDF in a cutscene in Pandora Tomorrow), which restricts Japan from possessing any armed military force capable of striking outside its own borders. China and North Korea set up a blockade in the Yellow Sea and the United States is forced to respond, as per their agreement with Japan following World War II. They send their most advanced ship, the USS Clarence E. Walsh, into the Yellow Sea hoping China and North Korea will back down.

Meanwhile across the world, Sam Fisher is sent by Third Echelon into Peru to rescue a programmer who worked on reverse engineering the Masse Kernels.

Somewhere off the coast of Peru


Sam Fisher is dispatched to a lighthouse off the coast of Peru. He infiltrates via zodiac to find and rescue a computer programmer - Bruce Morgenholt - who has been captured by a Peruvian revolutionary group known as 'The People's Voice', led by Hugo Lacerda. It is revealed that Morgenholt was kidnapped by Lacerda so his knowledge of Philip Masse's information warfare algorithms could be obtained. Sam discovers that Lacerda was hired by a third party for the kidnapping and his group have been paid in advanced weaponry and equipment, beyond that of usual terrorists. When Fisher locates Morgenholt it is too late, as he discovers he has been tortured to death by Lacerda's thugs. Fisher is also sent to assassinate Lacerda as a target of opportunity. While on site Fisher locates the information that was extracted from Morgenholt concerning the Masse Kernels and the team promptly has it deleted. Sam then learns after interrogating a guard that Lacerda has left the area aboard a ship called the Maria Narcissa, which has suspected involvement in illegal arms trade. Extracting from the top of the lighthouse, Fisher quickly regroups as he and his support team move to intercept the Maria Narcissa out at sea.

Maria Narcissa, Pacific Ocean

Fisher preparing to assassinate Lacerda

After leaving the lighthouse, Sam sneaks aboard the Maria Narcissa to assassinate Hugo Lacerda. He locates more of the weapons crates, which William Redding suspects may being used to pay off Lacerda's debts to other organisations. Fisher is ordered to place tracking devices on them, in an attempt to uncover any network of terrorists. He then moves to scan the bill of lading on the shipment of arms that he discovers is on board the ship. Third Echelon tracks the shipment to a bank in Panama. He later delves deeper into the vessel to locate and finally assassinate Lacerda, who is protected by a pair of unidentified mercenaries. After completing his objectives, Sam extracts the vessel via a lifeboat.

MCAS Banco De Panama, Panama

Fisher accesses the vault computer

Sam is immediately sent to Panama to track down the lead that was uncovered on the Maria Narcissa. As it turns out, this is the second time that Fisher has been at this particular bank, as he was part of a CIA team that raided the bank for Noriega's drug money in 1989. In order to disguise the true intent of the "job", Fisher is instructed to rob the bank as well as retrieving any critical information regarding the Masse Kernels. Third Echelon acquires the help of a man who "specializes" in cracking bank vaults, named Thomas "Turtle" Standish, to assist Fisher in cracking the bank's vault. While in the bank Sam discovers that Abrahim Zherkezhi, who was Morgenholt's partner when deciphering the Masse Kernels, is involved in the plot. He also uploads several fake emails to various computers on site to make the robbery look like an inside job. Once inside the bank, Sam successfully enters the vault to look for more traces of the Masse Kernels. After retrieving info from the vault computer, Echelon discovers a 512-bit encryption with connections to an unknown person named Dvorak. Sam then steals $50,000,000 worth of French government bonds, successfully covering the intelligence operation with a guise of a bank robbery. After exfiltrating over the bank wall, he then returns to the NSA for debriefing.

New York City, New York

Japan and the Eastern Seaboard suddenly witness a simultaneous blackout. Though the source and reasons for it are unclear, Third Echelon immediately recognises it as an information warfare attack. Shortly after, the I-SDF sends a message to Third Echelon indicating their suspicion that China and North Korea might be responsible for the black outs. After discovering his involvement in Panama, Irving Lambert orders Sam to head to Abrahim Zherkezhi's penthouse in New York City to investigate a possible lead on the black outs. Sam sneaks past numerous men of the National Guard, who have been deployed to maintain stability in the area during the blackout, and infiltrates the penthouse, only to find it heavily guarded by the same mercenaries who defended Lacerda. Upon interrogation of a guard, Sam learns that the mercenaries are in fact employees of Displace International - a private military corporation run by Douglas Shetland, an old time friend and brother-in-arms of Sam. The guard also informs Fisher that they were assigned by Displace's Director of VIP Protection Milan Nedich.

As he moves through the penthouse Fisher taps the security cameras spread around the area. Arriving at another worn-down apartment joined to the penthouse across a roof, Sam discovers that 'Dvorak' is in fact an infinite state machine that is maintained by a peculiar elderly man. An output stack from Dvorak reveals that the Masse Kernels were being run recursively through Dvorak in order to incrementally increase the algorithm's accuracy.

With these new leads, Sam is sent to infiltrate Displace International in an attempt to determine if they are working in conjunction with Zherkezhi or if he's acting alone.

Displace International, New York

Fisher infiltrating Displace's main server room

Sam infiltrates Displace International to understand the true intentions of the company and more specifically, those of Milan Nedich. Lambert orders Sam to not kill anyone as Displace International has many very substantial private security contracts with the Pentagon around the globe. In order to retrieve the critical information necessary, Sam has to access Displace's mainframe supercomputer deep in Displace's offices. After dropping into the main server room, the support team attempts to access the information only to find that a Displace employee has already deleted all traces of compromising information from this computer. The login-alias points to M. Nedich - who is revealed to be Milan Nedich. Lambert states that Sam should check his office on the upper floor of the building for further information.

As Sam retreats from the server room, the black out ends and power is restored. En route to Nedich's office Sam overhears a conversation that uncovers Milan Nedich to be Milos Nowak, also known as "the Bosnian Barber", who was a Bosnian War criminal. Sam then breaks into Nedich's office where information on his computer reveals Zherkhezi is being hidden at a safehouse in Hokkaido, Japan. Sam extracts with the information through the fire exit.

Hokkaido Island

Fisher watches as Shetland slays an unsuspecting Zherkhezi with a katana

As Sam drinks in a hotel bar, Doug Shetland arrives and offers Sam a job with Displace. After refusing his offer, the two have a brief conversation regarding Nedich. Sam advises Shetland to cut loose his dirty employee, but Shetland says he cannot do so. He suggests that if Sam has any evidence against Nedich to bring it to him and he will help bring him in, but he won't send his employee up the river just because Sam 'says so'. As the two are talking, a live World News Media (WNM) report shows the USS Walsh, currently stationed in the Yellow Sea to ease tensions between Japan and the countries blockading it, is hit and destroyed by a North Korean anti-ship missile.

Following on from this, Sam embarks on a mission to infiltrate the hideout that Abrahim Zherkhezi is being held at in order to kidnap him and assassinate Nedich. Sam locates Nedich, who confesses that Shetland is in fact, the mastermind behind the operation. He assassinates Nedich and then begins to prepare to kidnap Zherkhezi from the area when Shetland arrives. Shetland murders Zherkhezi in cold blood to prevent any information on the situation being leaked. Sam takes chase in an attempt to catch Shetland but fails, causing Shetland to go underground and drop off Third Echelon's radar.

North Korea/South Korea

Sam confirming a direct impact of the airstrike he designated on the downed EA-6B Prowler in Seoul

Although capturing Shetland seems to be the logical course to discover the truth behind the incident, there is urgent need to dispel tensions in the region after the sinking of the USS Walsh. If a war erupts, it will see the United States along with Japan and South Korea engaging North Korea, who would be actively supported by China and elements of the old Soviet Union. A conflict of such a scale would erupt into World War III, so Third Echelon quickly inserts Fisher into a missile battery located in North Korea, which was responsible for firing the missile that sank the USS Walsh. Sam infiltrates the battery and discovers that attack was intentionally launched, but not by North Korea. Sam then taps into the launcher's system BIOS where Grim and the team manage to trace the attack no further than Seoul, South Korea. Before leaving, North Korea declares war and invades South Korea along the demilitarized zone (DMZ), in a pre-emptive strike, due to a now paranoid North Korean leadership. Another missile is launched from the battery and Sam scrambles to disable it before it hits another US target, the USS Ronald Reagan.

After Sam finished disabling the missile, he exfiltrates the battery and quickly deploys to Seoul, South Korea's capital, in order to trace the true source of the attack. He makes his way through the war ravaged city, finally arriving at the South Korean data trunk where the information is stored and retrieves the relevant files. Sam then heads to the roof and uploads the data to a passing EA-6B Prowler jet via secured encrypted point-to-point laser transmission. He completes the uploading but the jet is shot down by a surface-to-air missile. To ensure that the data does not fall into North Korean hands, Sam is required to move to the crash site to laser designate the wreckage for an US Air Force F-117A Nighthawk's airstrike. Before doing so, Sam safely moves the unconscious pilots to safety. He finally extracts from Seoul via UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

Bathhouse, Japan

Douglas Shetland finally reappears on Third Echelon's radar in Japan. He is located at a bathhouse owned by a criminal organization known as the 'Red Nishin' and it is suspected that he is meeting with someone important in order for him to risk breaking his cover. In order to discover who exactly he is meeting and exactly what he is doing with the Masse Kernels, Fisher must infiltrate on site. Frances Coen, Sam's old field runner, asks if Sam can tap the phone lines in and around the bathhouse, as she's been trying to gain access to the location for months.

As Sam moves through the establishment he discovers that Shetland's men have converged on the area like a flashmob, with individual objectives and each singular soldier having no knowledge of the overall operation. To discover who Shetland is meeting with, Sam must access the owners records. Fisher discovers that Shetland is apparently meeting at the back of the bathhouse with members of the Red Nishin. He also sees a pair of I-SDF assault soldiers, whose presence raises people's curiosity, seeing as both the I-SDF and Third Echelon were supposedly working together. Upon interrogation, one of the I-SDF soldiers reveals he is working for a bureaucrat name Kaneda. Lambert suspects that the Red Nishin may have sold Shetland out to the I-SDF.

Downloadfile (2).jpg

Working his way to the appointed meeting place, Fisher hides in a vent overlooking the steam room and uses the microphone to pick up on the conversation between Douglas Shetland and Kaneda. Surprising everyone it is revealed that Otomo and the I-SDF are Shetland's partners and are there to meet with him, not take him down. It is Kaneda's intention to purchase the information warfare algorithms from Shetland, but not his intention to pay for them. A gunfight breaks out, with Shetland fleeing as the only remaining survivor. Sam is forced to track down Shetland through a gunfight between Displace and the I-SDF. To cover his tracks, Shetland sets timed bombs for Sam to disarm before the entire place explodes. Sam successfully disables all the bombs before confronting with Shetland above the roof. A Mexican standoff ensues, with Shetland explaining his 'Chaos Theory'. He explains that throughout his life as a soldier nothing has changed. He empathises with Sam that the idealized America of freedom and liberty, which they as soldiers believe in and have shed their blood for, is long gone. All that is left is nothing more than a "sick old lady who should have died a long time ago". One who is only kept alive by the "life support of whispered backroom deals". It was Shetland's intention to instigate World War and profit as a leading private military corporation (PMC) in the US in an attempt to usurp the U.S. as the world's superpower and "hope that whatever came out the other side was better". As Shetland explains this to Sam he instills in him the values of "Honor, courage, and fidelity" and explains that he knows Fisher "understands these things more than any government". Shetland says that because of these values, Fisher won't shoot his old friend and comrade. Sam lowers his weapon and Shetland takes it as an opportunity to get the drop on Fisher. Sam quickly prevents the attack, stabbing Shetland in the stomach and launching him through a window where he falls into the water.

Kokubo Sosho, Japan

Fisher confronts Admiral Otomo in the sub basement of the Kokubo Sosho

Sam's final task is to stop Admiral Otomo from using the Masse Kernels that he acquired from Shetland. Sam infiltrates the I-SDF headquarters in Japan. He makes his way into the building before finding US hostages, he rescues them before going to find Admiral Otomo. Sam enters an area of the building where top secret meetings are held, in which Sam enters a vent to pick up the meeting through his microphone. There it is revealed that Otomo attempting to manipulate the Japanese government by forcing the J-SDF to repeal the post-war constitution under his threat of launching a North Korean ballistic missile via the Masse Kernels "Chaos Theory" algorithms acquired from Shetland, on an unspecified Japanese city if necessary, hence justifying the demand for repeal. When the generals send special forces to eliminate Otomo, which are killed, Otomo proceeds to use the Chaos Theory algorithms to force-launch a North Korean ballistic missile at a Japanese city, to force the Japanese public into re-militarisation. After the meeting was finished, the G-SDF sends an assault team in attempt to stop Otomo, but it is wiped out by I-SDF assault troops. Shortly after this, Otomo claimed the J-SDF "fool" and he initiate thse launch. Lambert gives Sam the Fifth Freedom to stop Admiral Otomo. Lambert also orders Sam to bring Otomo in alive, that he may admit his responsibility in attempting to start war between the U.S. and the North Koreans. If it is revealed that the crisis is the work of a rogue Japanese officer instead of any country, all governments involved will stand down and the crisis will end. Sam enters an elevator where it takes him deep within the building to an underwater area. He then makes his way to find the servers containing the algorithms and destroy them before Otomo can launch the North Korean missile, and then evades all the I-SDF guards, finally making it into Otomo's office. Instead of giving up, Otomo performs seppuku, but Fisher saves his life. They extract through the ocean via blowing up the window.


As Admiral Otomo stands trial before the United Nations, the President makes a speech thanking Third Echelon, though of course he does not use the name, referring to them only as the "unsung heroes of the intelligence community", The Third Echelon team appreciates the thanks, well aware that this is the fullest extent of public acknowledgment of their work that they can and will ever receive.


Solo campaign

Co-op campaign

Version 1 (Xbox/PC)

Version 2 (PS2/GCN)


Multiplayer Maps

Version 1 (Xbox/PC)

  • Aquarius - France, AQUARIUS Marine Center, 11 March 2008, 9:58 PM
  • Bank - Kansas City, Kansas, 19 April 2008, 8:32 PM
  • Club House - Hokkaido, Japan, 10 March 2008, 11:20 PM
  • Deftech Belew - Deftech-Belew Research Center, 19 April 2006, 9:32 PM
  • Factory - Mannheim, Germany, 10 March 2008, 3:41 PM
  • Missile Strike - North Korea, 10 March 2008, 9:32 AM
  • Museum - San Francisco, California, 11 March 2008, 9:32 PM
  • Orphanage - Near Glasgow, Scotland, 8 February 2008, 8:20 PM
  • River Mall - Tucson, Arizona, 19 April 2006, 7:32 PM
  • Station - Hoboken, New Jersey, 10 March 2008, 3:20 AM
  • Warehouse - Albuquerque, New Mexico, 19 April 2006, 7:32 PM

Version 1 (Xbox/PC) Downloadable Content

  • Polar Base - Antarctica, 8 April 2008, 3:30 PM
  • Steel Squat - Brooklyn, New York, 20 October 2008, 2:30 AM

Engine and Gameplay Mechanics

The graphics in Chaos Theory introduce a variety of improvements, from the addition of normal mapping, and HDR lighting, parallax mapping, refraction, heat and water distortion. Also, using goggles is more realistic as it makes the screen look like a lens, including distortion at the edges. In previous games, it would simply apply the effect without the lens or the edge distortion. The game also features a number of significant upgrades to the series' basic gameplay. Chaos Theory is even the first game in the Splinter Cell series to use ragdoll physics.

Stealth Mechanics

Chaos Theory features refined stealth mechanics. In addition to the standard stealth meter, the game also includes an aural monitor that accurately measures the noise that Sam makes, along with the ambient noise of the environment. It is important for Sam to generate less noise than his surroundings; otherwise, the enemy guards may hear him.

The AI detection has been altered as well. In former installments, after Sam left a certain area, the game would sweep the previous area for any bodies in a well-lit spot. If any were found, an alarm would be triggered. In Chaos Theory, the bodies have to be discovered by a patrolling guard (or an active surveillance camera) in order to trigger an alarm. This allows Fisher to leave corpses in lighted areas as long as he has shut down any security systems which might detect bodies. AI is more reactive, noticing doors being left open and cuts in fabrics cut by the player.

Being spotted by enemies will still trigger alarms, thus causing enemies to become more alert and combat-ready (such as causing them to wear ballistic vests and helmets). However, triggering too many alarms will no longer cause the game to end automatically. Even killing civilians or friendly soldiers won't cause Fisher to fail the mission, although doing so will cause Fisher to be seriously chastised by his superior, and cost him significantly in his mission score as well as canceling certain mission objectives.

Close Quarters Combat

Chaos Theory adds a combat knife to Sam's close-quarters combat abilities. Sam can use the knife in multiple ways, such as threatening an enemy during an interrogation, or killing an enemy in close-quarters combat. Also, it no longer matters what direction Sam attacks from when using melee attacks, nor does it matter if enemies are aware of his presence, as opposed to earlier games in the series where he had to attack from behind and the enemy could not be alerted to him in order to take them down in one hit. He also has the option of using lethal or non-lethal force in close quarters combat or when holding an enemy. As an expansion on Sam's ability to shoot while hanging upside down, he can choke or break the necks of enemies below him. He also has the ability to pull people over railings while hanging off a ledge and throw bodies off of cliffs or over railings, even onto other guards. However, the ability to shoot around corners has been removed, although this is balanced by being able to switch the side of Sam's body the gun is on while in a firing position.


General combat has been improved. The SC-20K can be configured with 4 different attachments. Foregrip, Launcher, Shotgun and Sniper. The sniper attachment is capable of penetrating through some materials. Some thinner materials such as certain doors can be shot through.

Artificial Intelligence

Enemy artificial intelligence (AI) has been improved. The AI response to suspicious behavior is better, with enemies moving slowly and cautiously when investigating. Patrolling enemies will sometimes notice if a fellow guard is missing from their post and become suspicious. They appear to work closely with each other when suspicious or in combat. They use flashlights and flares, and may even throw them into dark areas. Enemies will now take cover, lean and shoot around corners, and use squad-based tactics when in combat. They will fire a large amount of rounds in a panicked state, so if detected, the player is advised to reposition themselves and attempt to sneak past or eliminate the enemy. Enemies may even become so frightened and start firing wildly into shadows. If a certain amount of alarms is triggered the enemy will wear more armor try and ambush the player by setting up furniture for cover.

Mission Statistics

Chaos Theory featured an Objectives Review and Mission Statistics given to the player at the end of each mission. Objectives review show which objectives were complete, failed or canceled. Mission statistics displays relevant information such as: Time, alarms triggered, enemies and civilians knocked out or killed. An overall Success Rating is given from 0% to 100%.


Three different difficulties can be chosen when starting a new game: Normal, Hard and Expert.


The soundtrack was composed by Amon Tobin and Jesper Kyd. Amon Tobin mostly did the in-game music while Jesper Kyd composed the music for the cinematics and multiplayer. The soundtrack can be currently bought and only features music from Amon Tobin. Jesper Kyd has a couple of tracks on his website.

Collector's Edition

Collector's Edition

A Limited Collector's Edition was available for PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. Each version is packaged in a collectible tin, and the PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions include the following bonus features on an extra disc:

  • Exclusive G4 "Making Of" Video
  • Music from the official Chaos Theory soundtrack by Amon Tobin
  • Development Team video diaries
  • Spy Training Manual by Penny Arcade
  • Mega64 Videos

The PC version also contains the version 1.3 patch for the original Splinter Cell to add the Kola Cell, Vselka Infiltration, and Vselka Submarine missions that were originally only available as downloads on Xbox Live. The initial release contained a corrupt patch that would not install and had to be requested separately from Ubisoft, after which they would send a CD-R with the patch. The bonus disc can also be obtained with the GameCube version by contacting Ubisoft.com via e-mail.


PAL region cover

  • There is a crossover between Chaos Theory and the PlayStation 2/GameCube version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2. Both games feature the sinking of the USS Clarence E. Walsh and portray different sides of the Korean conflict.
  • The DS and N-Gage versions includes original level designs for each of the missions.
  • Red Nishin means "Red Herring" in Japanese. This foreshadows that the group was a "red herring" for the I-SDF.
  • This is the first game to have Sam Fisher use more quotes than just using Medi-kits, such as walking certain parts in missions, triggering an alarm or using whistling.
  • A background plot in the game involves two ISS astronauts that were trapped in the International Space Station after it was struck by a micrometeor. Guards mention this crisis in several of the game's missions. It is revealed that they were eventually rescued by a Chinese astronaut in the final stage.
  • By today's standards, the game would have been given a "Teen" rating due to the fact that the ESRB now allows more swearing and blood inside video games. This is actually proven by the 3DS version which is T rated and, aside from graphical downgrade, is more or less the same game as the PlayStation 2/GameCube versions.
  • Concept art and the box cover show Fisher hanging upside down with a knife behind an enemy, ready to strike. There is no feature to do this. It is possible that it was planned and then later scrapped.
  • Some TV's have images from Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow in the PC and Xbox versions.
  • When in the Displace mission two guards talk about a "new Prince of Persia game" and then he says "its a game of the year" this a reference to another Ubisoft game Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones which was released the same year as Chaos Theory was.
  • Some guards yell "Say hello to my little friend" when in combat. A reference to the 1983 film Scarface.
  • The rock music heard on the in-game radio is preformed by the band Kesshin. The two songs that can be heard are "One More Regret" and "Resonance".
    • A newspaper in the game can be seen with "Front man for punk band Kesshin off to jail - again" on it.
  • This is the first game in the series that Sam uses a knife to kill enemies and gives the player a choice between lethal and non lethal attacks.
  • The game was banned in South Korea until about 2007 (ironically, when the storyline takes place), since the game depicts a war between North Korea and South Korea, to avoid any tensions with North Korea.
  • Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory appears as a non-playable arcade cabinet in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas, where Team Rainbow attempts to rescue Gabriel Nowak (who is also a reference to a Chaos Theory character, 'Milos Nowak'). The arcade cabinet plays tunes from Chaos Theory, as well as gunshots from the SC-20K and the activation sound of the Multi-Vision Goggles.
    • On the side of the arcade cabinet is a promotional concept art image from Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, which is strange as the title reads "Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory".
  • The "Mission Statistics" feature was originally seen in the PS2 and GCN versions of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow as "Mission Information".
  • Chaos Theory was known as Splinter Cell 3 during development. An early demo was shown at E3 2004 with some features that have changed in the final release.
    • The health bar was originally seen down with the sound and light meter.
    • It showed Bruce Morgenholt being killed at Hokkaido instead of Zherkizhi.