Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Essentials is a video game in the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series of video games, developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. Essentials was released for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld gaming system in 2006. It was the first Splinter Cell game to be developed exclusively for a portable entertainment system. Taking place one year after the events of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, the game follows former Third Echelon Splinter Cell agent Sam Fisher as he recalls events in his life after being captured by Third Echelon operatives.
Despite featuring box art that is shared with Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Essentials features levels that are different and take place at different times. Essentials features brand new missions, as well as recreated missions from the previous games in the series that have been reworked to play on the PSP.
Ubisoft Montreal had been in development of Splinter Cell: Essentials from at least 2005, with Ubisoft Montreal officially announcing Splinter Cell: Essentials on January 12, 2006. Once announced, Ubisoft Montreal providing additional details regarding the gameplay, story and more as it was scheduled for spring of 2006. Following the announcement, previews of the game were shown to journalists as more info regarding specific missions and returning features from the classic Splinter Cell series were included in the game. It was revealed that Ubisoft Montreal utilized the Unreal Engine 2.0 for Essentials, but toned down to run properly on the PlayStation Portable.
The game begins on January 3, 2009, one year after the events of Double Agent. Sam Fisher sneaks into Elysian Fields Cemetery to visit the grave of his daughter, Sarah, on the anniversary of her death. Fisher is arrested at the grave site, taken into custody and interrogated. During this time, Sam recalls past events, that are then played as missions.
The first flashback mission is set in Colombia back in 1992. Fisher is at this time a member of the Navy SEALs. His commanding officer, Douglas Shetland, has been captured by FARC guerrillas. Going against the direct order of the commanding officer, he performs a solo rescue mission of the commander. . The second flashback sees Sam back at the GFO Oil Rig during the Georgian Information Crisis. In the final mission, Sam steals the evidence and escapes.
- Elysian Fields Cemetery - Washington, D.C., U.S.A. | 3rd January 2009, 19:30 Hours
- Norte de Santander - Colombia | 2nd May 1992, 16:47 Hours
- Oil Refinery - GFO Oil Rig - Georgian Waters, Caspian Sea | 27th October 2004, 9:38 Hours
- Belgrade City - Yugoslavia | 15th February 1999, 23:20 Hours
- Steel Factory - Warsaw, Indiana, U.S.A. | 3rd August 2006, 20:25 Hours
- Manhattan Garment District - New York City | 30th June 2007, 23:27 Hours
- United States Penitentiary - Ellsworth Federal Penitentiary, Kansas, U.S.A. | 16th November 2008, 20:10 Hours
- Delta Atlantic Warehouse - JBA Headquarters, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. | 16th December 2008, 23:10 Hours
- National Security Administration HQ - Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S.A. | 12th January 2009, 23:20 Hours
- Hesperia Railways - Paris to Nice, France | 2nd April 2006, 21:52 Hours
- Heroin Refinery - Kundang, Indonesia | 12th April 2006, 15:12 Hours
- Television Free Indonesia - Indonesia | 20th April 2006, 21:43 Hours
For decades Sam Fisher has served in the shadows, defending US interests - first as a Navy SEAL and then later as an elite covert operative with Third Echelon, the NSA's ultra-secret special operations section. Over the years Fisher has confronted countless threats to global security, but such constant vigilance has come at a steep price. While on a mission to Iceland, Fisher learned that his daughter Sarah had been struck by a drunk driver. Despite heroic efforts to rush back to the states to see his child, Sarah died of her injuries less than an hour before he arrived.
Devastated by the loss of his only child, Sam disappeared from sight. When Homeland Security agents finally located Fisher in New Orleans, their worst fears were realized. Surveillance photos showed Fisher in the company Emile Dufraisne, a known domestic terrorist.
Now, a year after Sarah's death, Sam Fisher is one of America's most wanted criminals. Third Echelon wants answers: Why did their best agent throw away decades of service and join forces with Dufraisne? Only Sam knows the full story, and the truth is far more sinister than anyone suspects.
Born: Classified. Height: 5'10" Weight: 170 lbs
The field operatives of Third Echelon are America's best-equipped and most highly trained covert agents, sent alone into crisis spots all over the world. Relying on the most advanced espionage tools and awesome physical abilities, these agents execute sensitive operations that the US government cannot officially acknowledge. Among this elite cadre of operatives, Sam Fisher is a living legend. One of the first agents recruited into Third Echelon in the 1990s, Fisher led an illustrious career as a covert operative until the tragic death of his daughter Sarah in 2008.
Colonel Irving Lambert
Born: 1961, Batcave, South Carolina Height: 6'2" Weight: 270 lbs
The Director of Operations at Third Echelon during Sam Fisher's time with the agency, Lambert was responsible for briefing and supporting Third Echelon operatives in the field. A man with over 30 years experience in intelligence operations, Lambert personally recruited Fisher into Third Echelon and has acted as something of a mentor to the maverick agent ever since. When Fisher disappeared following the death of his daughter, Lambert took an extended leave of absence for undisclosed reasons. He hasn't communicated with the agency since.
Born: 1974, Boston, Massachusetts Height: 5'8" Weight: 128 lbs
Anna Grímsdóttir was a civilian computer programmer and communications specialist in the mid-1990s when Irving Lambert recruited her into Third Echelon. As a key member of the field support team, her job is to maintain secure OPSAT communications and provide information analysis and computer support at a moment's notice. Frequently called upon to perform miracles of research and invasive work and invasive network operations on the fly, she is one of the most highly skilled technical specialists the agency has.
Born: 1969, San Diego, California Height: 5'11" Weight: 180 lbs
Although Third Echelon operatives perform their missions alone, their activities would not be possible without a dedicated "leg-man" who makes sure that each agent has everything he needs to get the job done. William Redding is such a man, responsible for everything from acquiring supplies to planning infiltration and escape routes for the agents to follow. Redding's bespectacled, bookish demeanor seems out of place in the rough world of clandestine ops, but he and Sam Fisher made an excellent team.
Born: 1970, New York City, New York Height: 5'10" Weight: 165 lbs
Agent Williams is an NSA bureaucrat who entered the intelligence field by way of the State Department. Since that time he has risen steadily through the ranks by virtue of ruthless politicking. Despite the fact that he has no field experience, Williams was named acting Director of Operations in the wake of Colonel Lambert's sudden departure, and since then he has made a number of sweeping changes to agency operations. Though inexperienced, he has at least one influential patron in the upper reaches of the government...
Born: 1985, Harlingen, Texas Height: 6'2" Weight: 220 lbs
Edward Blake was recruited into NSA from Texas AGM University, where he was pursuing a double major in Political Science and Psychology. After joining the agency he became a field analyst specializing in the debriefing of foreign intelligence assets. Despite a notable lack of patience and a willingness to resort to physical methods of interrogation, his success record is one of the highest in the agency.
- According to released material from Ubisoft two maps from Splinter Cell Essentials are connected to maps from Splinter Cell: Double Agent. These include the levels, United States Penitentiary and the Delta Atlantic Warehouse level. Like the other two versions of Double Agent, the maps are original exclusive levels (thus inconsistent with the other two games in series).
- Ubisoft Montreal developed both Essentials and Double Agent Version 2.
- The Double Agent missions in Essentials follow closer to the events in Double Agent Version 2 than Version 1.
- In Essentials and Double Agent Version 2, Sarah's gravestone lists her birth and death as 1985–2008, Sam escapes from a prison in Kansas with Jamie Washington after first beating up or killing another inmate, and the JBA Headquarters is located in New Orleans.
- Both Double Agent Version 2 and the "Double Agent" levels in Essentials take place at approximately the same time, between January 2008 and leading into December 2008 (winter months).
- Essentials indicates Sam Fisher joined Third Echelon and met Anna Grímsdóttir in the 1990s. The Caspian Sea mission file was later tampered with, claiming that Fisher was almost killed when US forces attacked in the middle of the operation, it claimed he went on record blaming Lambert and the NSA for it. This was not true. Anna Grímsdóttir had discovered the lie and went on to explain the real events on the GFO Oil Rig to help clear his name.
- Essentials founding of Third Echelon in 1990's seems to follow the chronology of the Splinter Cell (novel), Operation Barracuda and Checkmate which implied that Third Echelon had been around quite a bit longer than 2003 (though Sam Fisher was still the original Splinter Cell). Third Echelon had new plans to expand upon the Field Runner program within the 2005/2006 era (previously most missions were completed by lone wolfs). The Third Echelon Headquarters had been moved around D.C. previously (every couple of years) to 2005–2006's location near the White House (though they also maintained one under Fort Meade during that time). Sam Fisher and Irving Lambert had known Anna Grímsdóttir for years (from the time she was brought into Third Echelon).
- Unlike previous Splinter Cell games Essentials has no difficulty settings.
- The HUD System is similar but not identical to Chaos Theory.
- Essentials shares most of its elements with Pandora Tomorrow.
- The sound and music are largely reused from Pandora Tomorrow. Some guards even whistle the its main theme.
- Medkits are identical to the ones seen in Pandora Tomorrow.
- Missions statistics are seen at the end of each mission, similar to the PS2 version of Pandora Tomorrow.
- A few features from Chaos Theory are present in Essentials such as: Bashing doors open, breaking locks with knife and combat animations.
- A bug has Sam using the wrong animation when killing an NPC from a chock hold. The animations are swapped.
- Essentials contains some flashback missions from previous games in the Splinter Cell series, and bonus missions are reused from Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. They are modified for portable platform use and slightly different from original ones.
- Some unique weapons or equipment, like the M32 rifle, are seen in the game.
- There is a game file called P_0_0_0_TRAINING which contains dialogue of training for Sam, taking place on a ship It is possible that the starting mission was removed from the game.
- The Belgrade City level takes place on 15th February 1999. But the data sticks from enemies have letters dated by late numbers, 17 April 1999, 17:58 - 18 April 1999, 09:31. They contradict the mission date from the boot screen.
- According to dialogue in Essentials, Emile Dufraisne was successful in some of his terrorist attacks:
- "We think it was his daughter's death that pushed Fisher over the edge. He disappeared from sight after her funeral, and turned up several months later in the company of Emile Dufraisne."
- "The same Dufraisne behind the recent terrorist attacks? My god. Do you think Fisher helped them?" A cutscene then shows a large explosion going off in an unnamed city.
- "Splinter Cell Targets PSP" IGN, Article retrieved 2/2/15.
- "Splinter Cell Essentials" - IGN, Article retrieved 2/2/15
- "discover in exclusivity the very first map of the upcoming Splinter Cell: Double Agent", "Play for the first time as a double agent, from the next opus of the Tom Clancy: Splinter Cell series."