Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory



Third entry in series demands strategy and force.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Sam Fisher has a very pragmatic view of his missions, which often leads to some brutal (but not necessarily lethal) attacks on relative innocents -- like security guards and National Guard members.


Some pretty brutal violence, including gunplay, knifings, and some off-screen torture. However, players can complete the entire game and kill only a couple people, and killing innocents results in immediate mission failure. In fact, the game rewards players who choose stealth over violence.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while the game emphasizes stealth, players can still exact a fair amount of violence on their adversaries: pulling people off of cliffs, cutting people's throats, and throwing them down elevator shafts or off of buildings. The main character takes a very pragmatic approach to his missions, coldly removing whatever "obstacles" stand in his way. This game has an online component, which Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for kids under 12. The star rating given this game is based on quality of gameplay and is not an endorsement of the violence.

What's it about?

TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL: CHAOS THEORY is the third installment of the popular and acclaimed series. North Korea and China, fearing the expansion of Japan's military, have responded by blockading the island nation. On top of that an American computer scientist with access to potentially dangerous data has been kidnapped in Peru, heightening the U.S. government's fears about the state of the world. Players control espionage expert Sam Fisher, who travels around the globe sneaking into increasingly secure buildings to collect data about the unfolding political events.

Fisher is outfitted with spy tools that give him the option to attack his enemies with lethal or non-lethal force. Chaos Theory is packed with puzzles and Mini games, keeping players' nerves on edge and brains working overtime. Much of the gameplay is spent surveying the environment, looking for ways to avoid the many barriers that stand in Fisher's way.

Is it any good?


Players are required to think creatively and use their nifty tools to solve problems, often without resorting to violence to meet objectives. In fact, players' performances at the end of their missions are rated much higher if they avoid all interaction with adversaries and do not employ violent methods. And while Chaos Theory has much to offer, it demands a fairly mature mind to handle its technical details and heavy themes.

Despite the emphasis on stealth and strategy, Chaos Theory delivers its fair share of gut-wrenching violence. One mission objective requires players to assassinate a South American rebel leader while another features the grisly remnants of a torture session gone too far. Additionally, the themes of political upheaval, international terrorism, and global war may not sit well with younger players, connecting a tense and nerve-wracking game experience with a narrative that resonates with some real-world anxieties.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the moral choices behind the pragmatism presented in this game. Are a few human lives an acceptable cost if you are preventing a world war? Are covert government operations a necessary tool for keeping citizens safe?

Game details

Platforms:Windows, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox
Available online?Not available online
Release date:March 30, 2005
ESRB rating:M

This review of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 13 year old Written byDr WTH common sense April 9, 2013

Don't listen to common sense media, just read the adult reviews

I have never laughed as hard as I did when I read this review. "Not for kids" hahahahahahahaha. First of all, because most of the levels are set in dark places, if there is blood, you can't see it. Second, the ONE torture scene in this game is only heard, you can't see what's actually happening. And most importantly, YOU GET A HIGHER MISSION RATING IF YOU DON'T KILL ANYBODY!!!!!!!! In my opinion, this game is no worse than the original T/12 rated splinter cell. I also think that Sam Fisher is a positive role model. 10/10. Best and last of the old-school splinter cells.
Teen, 16 years old Written byBig Daddys Drill February 17, 2010
love the game its a lot of fun will really test your gamer skills
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byunderonehalo April 9, 2008

a hard compelling game that (usually) gives u a choice kill, or don't kill.


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