->''"You have the right to freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. From want. From fear. These rights would not exist without a fifth. The right to protect all other freedoms, by whatever means necessary. It's my freedom. It's my duty. It is my war."''

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.
%% Note to editors: examples for Conviction and Blacklist go lower on the page in the respective folders.
%% Additionally, please do not add any more [[foldercontrol]]s to this page: usage opens all folders on the page, rather than one section.

Developed under Creator/TomClancy's license by Creator/{{Ubisoft}}, ''Splinter Cell'' is among the most prominent franchises in the [[StealthBasedGame Stealth]] video game genre. The first game introduced Sam Fisher, a former Navy SEAL who is being brought out of retirement by his old commander, Irving Lambert, to take part in a new NSA initiative called Third Echelon. Third Echelon is a black-ops program involving the insertion of a single operative -- Sam -- into sensitive, high-security situations to gather intel and, where necessary, neutralize targets, all without being seen or heard. To that end the players have to navigate creatively, time their movements with extreme caution and patience, and make use of Sam's high-tech gadgets, most notably [[GogglesDoSomethingUnusual his trademark headset, which provides night vision and thermal vision]], and his [[VisibilityMeter light meter]], which allows the player to use light and shadow to utmost advantage.

To date, the series consists of:

* '''''Splinter Cell''''' (2002), the first game, in which Sam investigates a Georgian dictator engaged in terrorist activities, was stealth in its purest form; Sam was almost completely balanced with his enemies in terms of killing power, and a number of missions forbade him from killing any enemies or even causing an alert, so a very heavy emphasis was placed on avoiding confrontation altogether.

* '''''Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow''''' (2004), about a terrorist plotting to release a virus, expanded the game to include multiplayer capabilities, with a versus mode and specially designed co-op levels, as well as some new moves such as shooting while hanging from pipes and a few new gadgets. Triggering alarms was even ''more'' unforgiving than in the first game.

* '''''Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory''''' (2005), about the theft of a weaponized computer algorithm, added to gameplay considerably, most notably with a host of optional secondary objectives in any given mission, but also with a more open-ended environment; new moves like the "inverted neck-break"; several neat new gadgets; a sound meter in addition to your light meter; a reworked graphics engine; noticeably more believable enemy AI; and a statistical breakdown of how you performed in a mission, giving added incentive to achieve perfect stealth. To this day, it is widely considered to have been the high point of the series.

* '''''Splinter Cell: Double Agent''''' (2006) was a major break from the formula. It involved Sam going undercover with a terrorist organization to prevent a series of bombings, and in addition to more traditional missions it provided missions where the player could choose which objectives they completed, choices which affected the storyline, and even unlocked additional missions. There are two versions of this game, "Version One" for next-gen consoles and PC, and "Version Two" for old-gen and Wii; both versions follow the same basic story, but the tone is noticeably different between the two. In Version One the player's choices could be described as between idealism and pragmatism -- Sam finds himself in a position where he can either perform a horrible deed, or lose a lot of trust within the terrorist organization. Version Two is much darker, allowing the player to have Sam actually betray the NSA.

* '''''Splinter Cell: Essentials''''' (2006) is a GaidenGame released for the UsefulNotes/PlaystationPortable. It is set after the events of the then-upcoming ''Double Agent'', and was created to bridge any gaps. It was built on the engine of ''Pandora Tomorrow'' and its plot is based on an internal investigation into Sam's past operations for Third Echelon due to him being considered a traitor (which, in fact, he is not - the files for those cases had been tampered with). While there are new levels, the game is essentially a collection of CallBack and NostalgiaLevel material.

* '''''Splinter Cell: Conviction''''' (2010) was to continue with Sam on the run and investigating his daughter's death. A further departure from the original tone and gameplay, ''Conviction'' starts with Sam in Malta, where some leads point him to a thug named Andriy Kobin. Before he can get the answers he needs, he's captured, prompting him to escape and link up with old friend Victor Coste. His search for answers takes him down a path he had thought he would never take, uncovers truths he thought impossible and has him racing to foil a far-reaching conspiracy. Conviction was well-received despite some fan controversy, and was even named Game of the Year by the [[Podcast/MachineCAST Machine AWARDS]], although it remains the lowest-selling title in the series.

* '''''Splinter Cell: Blacklist''''' (2013) takes place six months after ''Conviction''. Sam Fisher is now the head of a new clandestine organization that works directly for the President of the United States - Fourth Echelon. Meanwhile, several of America's enemies have [[LegionOfDoom banded together]] to give the US an ultimatum: remove any and all American military presence in their countries or they will launch "the Blacklist" a series of escalating terrorist attacks on US targets. The gameplay is similar to ''Conviction'', but with more stealthy moves and faster action.

Due to the sudden GenreShift of the series, ''Conviction'' naturally resulted in a BrokenBase, with numerous fans crying that the series had [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks become another generic shooter and was irrevocably ruined]]. Of course, things weren't helped when Creator/MichaelIronside, the voice of Sam who openly [[OneOfUs liked Splinter Cell for being a different, non-actiony series]], promptly left the role at the time of ''Blacklist'', when no longer contractually bound to the series. Despite all of this, however, the series still has a strong following, and while it has changed significantly in gameplay, it maintains its defining themes and individuality, and stays the same at heart.

There are also some [[Literature/SplinterCell spinoff novels]] that take the series in a different direction from the games.

Due to its high popularity, the original trilogy is available as an [[UpdatedRerelease HD re-release]] available on PSN. Now has a [[Characters/SplinterCell character sheet]] that needs much [[NeedsWikiMagicLove Wiki Magic Love]].
!!The stealth games contain the following examples:


* ActionBasedMission: In the first game, the Kalinatek mission more or less forces the player to kill quite a number of enemies, and there are few opportunities to sneak past them. The ending of the abattoir mission is also an example.
* ActionPrologue: In both versions of ''Double Agent'', the game begins with a routine mission before Sam learns of Sarah's death and he goes undercover.
* AKA47:
** Sam's FN F2000 assault rifle and FN Five-seveN semi-automatic pistol are called the "SC-20K M.A.W.S." and the "SC Pistol" due to early licensing disagreements between Ubisoft and FN[[note]]the same disagreements that lead to the Five-seveN being called the "AP Army" in ''VideoGame/RainbowSix'', an earlier Clancy franchise that has otherwise gone out of its way to never use this trope[[/note]]. His "SC Protector" knife was modeled on the Gerber Guardian Back Up in ''Chaos Theory'' and Version Two of ''Double Agent'', while the ''Double Agent'' Version One knife was based on the Masters of Defense Keating Hornet.
** The first game was also inconsistent about this, where voice-overs would still refer to the SC-20K as an F2000, and the instruction manual also made mention of the F2000's name when talking about the underbarrel launcher.
* AirVentPassageway: Very common, particularly in the first two games where you would often find at ''least'' one per level. ''Chaos Theory'' onward toned it down.
* AlternateContinuity: There are two versions of ''Double Agent'', which play out differently in terms of storyline, though the end result is roughly the same in that Sam goes rogue after finishing off the JBA.
* AlternateHistory: The older games now qualify as this, as their NextSundayAD setting has long since passed without the sorts of events they predicted coming about.
* AmericaSavesTheDay: Goes through a full DeconReconSwitch during the series. In ''Splinter Cell'', Sam fights foreign enemies, [[spoiler:except for a mole at the CIA - and even then this is due to hackers taking advantage of a compulsive employee hoarding data on an insecure computer rather than active sabotage on the mole's part. In ''Pandora Tomorrow'' a rogue CIA agent, turned down by his agency, remains as the final enemy. In ''Chaos Theory'' the BigBad is North Korea, though the GreaterScopeVillain turns out to be an American mercenary army run by Sam's friend Shetland, and a rogue Japanese admiral; both being allies in the first mission.]] The terrorists of ''Double Agent'' are Americans, who attack targets on several continents. In ''Conviction'', Sam is a rogue agent, while the NSA and the Vice President have gone corrupt. He is back with the NSA for ''Blacklist'' to save America from a mix of both foreign and American terrorists again.
* AnarchyIsChaos: The villainous plan in ''Chaos Theory''; [[spoiler:Shetland plans on taking down the US government with a somewhat anarchic manner, which involves starting a third world war between nuclear superpowers and hope what comes out on the other side is better.]]
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent: In Version Two of ''Double Agent'', the final confrontation with Dufraisne is a traditional BossBattle, something the series never previously had, since it tends to err on the side of realism. That said, he doesn't take any more damage than mooks.
* ArtisticLicenseEngineering: Dvorak in ''Chaos Theory''. Infinite state machines can't exist in reality and making a "weaponized algorithm" more complex implies adding something, which would make the footprint bigger (you want your malware as small and unnoticeable as possible).
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: The [[https://cdn.lrb.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/presidential-palace.jpg actual presidential palace]] in Tbilisi (Georgia) looks nothing like the one featured in the first game, which is situated atop a cliff to add platforms for Fisher to climb.
* ArtisticLicenseNuclearPhysics: One of the plot points in the first game is a large stash of Americium-239, which is ostensibly going to be used for an atomic weapon. Not only is Americium-239 not a fissile isotope, but it also has a half-life of less than 12 hours, meaning that is there a ''very'' short window of opportunity to use it. Even using this isotope in a dirty bomb is impractical because its primary mode of decay is electron-capture which doesn't produce any radiation beside a harmless electron neutrino. On the other hand, when it does decay, it decays into Plutonium-239 (well, 99.99% of it does, the remaining 0.01% of it undergoes alpha decay into Neptunium-235, which can further decay into Uranium-235), which is ''much'' better for making a nuclear weapon. So, while they wouldn't have been able to make it with what they started with, all they had to do was wait for about twelve hours for it to turn into something they could really use, and in great quantities without having to refine it too much further; since this point isn't brought up in-game, it's hard to say whether the developers knew that and were averting AsYouKnow (at the expense of those who didn't) or just picked americium at random simply to avoid the more standard plutonium or uranium and [[AccidentallyCorrectWriting got lucky]].
* AssShove: Implied early in ''Pandora Tomorrow'':
--> '''Shetland:''' Maybe you've got a use for this storage device I pulled off the guerilla I killed.\\
'''Fisher:''' Thanks. How'd you hide it from your guard?\\
'''Shetland:''' Just wash your hands when you're done with it.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking:
** In ''Pandora Tomorrow'' Sadono can kill you with one shot (from a pistol, no less); however, since Sadono cannot be taken hostage if he spots you (a requirement to complete the mission), it's more of a NonStandardGameOver.
** [[spoiler: Shetland]] in ''Chaos Theory'' also survives a fistfight with Fisher long enough for a HannibalLecture and MexicanStandoff.
** Emile and Carson in ''Double Agent'' are both able to actually break out of a hold when Sam goes to grab them. Carson even manages to force Fisher to drop his knife when he tries to use it. Downplayed in both instances, though, as Fisher still quickly and easily snaps both of their necks, Emile's with a simple punch to the jaw.
* BagOfHolding: In the first game, Sam could collect [[HealingPotion med kits]] to carry with him [[HealThyself for healing]], but the game never shows where he keeps them.
* BalconyEscape: Used several times throughout the series.
* BaldOfEvil: All the games have bald villains: Grinko was TheDragon in the first one, Norman Soth was the Dragon in ''Pandora Tomorrow'', [[spoiler: Douglas Shetland]] was a villain in Chaos Theory, ''Double Agent'' had Emile Dufraisne, ''Conviction'' had [[spoiler: Calvin Samson]], ''Blacklist'' had Majid Sadiq.
* BadBoss:
** The commander of the North Korean missile battery in ''Chaos Theory'' shoots one of his subordinate troops in the face for not being able to offer an explanation for the launching of the missile that sank the Walsh. Admittedly, said subordinate was the only other person in the missile battery who could have launched the missile without authorization.
** Domestic terrorist leader Emile Dufraisne, BigBad of ''Double Agent'', is most definitely one of these. Besides being a generally harsh and abusive boss overall, his actions including having Sam and Enrica tortured for "incompetence", likewise [[YouHaveFailedMe personally killing Enrica because he suspected a mole in the event that you prevent the destruction of the cruise ship]], and trying to blow up his own base with a nuclear warhead (taking all his men down with him) when the FBI show up to arrest him. For that matter, it's also outright noted in Enrica's personnel files that the only reason she even stays with the organization is that Emile will turn her in to the police for a murder committed before joining the JBA if she tries to leave.
* BilingualBonus: ''Chaos Theory'' players who can speak Japanese will probably predict that [[spoiler:rhe Red Nishin Gang (read: '''Red Herring''')]] [[DontExplainTheJoke isn't actually the brains behind everything]].
** Also, on the PC version of ''Chaos Theory'', there is an option to have enemies speak in their native language. So, when you're in Peru and Panama, bad guys will speak in Spanish, if you're in Seoul or North Korea, they'll speak Korean, if you're in Tokyo or Hokkaido, they'll speak Japanese, so on and so forth.
* BigBadDuumvirate: Typically, the games have two villains to take down: a foreign enemy and his [[WesternTerrorists American ally]].
** ''Splinter Cell'': Kombayn Nikoladze and Kong Feirong (the only game without an American enemy. It does however have a Canadian enemy in Philip Masse).
** ''Pandora Tomorrow'': Suhadi Sadono and rogue CIA agent Norman Soth.
** ''Chaos Theory'': [[spoiler: Douglas Shetland and Admiral Toshiro Otomo, including the entire ISDF organization.]]
** ''Double Agent'': Emile Dufraisne, Massoud Ibn-Yussif and Alejandro Takfir, making for a Big Bad Triumvirate.
* BlatantItemPlacement:
** Sam regularly finds ammo for his rare handgun and grenade-launcher's tools in the levels. This has been lampshaded on one occasion, see UnusableEnemyEquipment, below.
** ''Chaos Theory'' lampshades this in an email amongst North Korean soldiers asking how the hell they managed to get their hands on 5.56mm NATO ammo when none of their small arms chamber it. One level later, you can also interrogate a North Korean soldier in the middle of a war zone who will justify this: they've deliberately been stashing 5.56mm bullets [[CrazyPrepared just in case they needed to use enemy weapons]].
* BlatantLies:
** When you grab Nikoladze in the first game and interrogate, he acts like he has no idea what the Ark is. He keeps the act going even when Cristavi's elite guard rush in and hold both him and Sam at gunpoint. He finally drops the act when one of the guards outright spells out for him they know what the Ark is (a nuclear suitcase bomb) and even continues lying to save himself by claiming Sam has the activation key for it.
** When Sam Fisher gets a guard into a chokehold or speaks to a noncombatant who isn't explicitly an ally, he tends to come up with elaborate cover stories to extract important information out of them. For example, when trying to recover a phone with a suspect's picture on it:
-->'''Security guard:''' Who are you?\\
'''Fisher:''' I'm from the phone company, there's been a recall.
** Also, in ''Pandora Tomorrow'':
-->'''Fisher''': I need information.\\
'''Guard''': I -- I don't speak English!\\
'''Fisher''': I'd be willing to bet your neck that you do.\\
'''Guard''': I know a little English...
* BreakingTheFourthWall: In the fourth level of ''Chaos Theory'' ('Penthouse'), a living room area with a couple of guards contains a television. On the screen is... the title screen cutscene loop for ''Chaos Theory'', with the soundtrack of the Paris cryogenic lab mission from ''Pandora Tomorrow''. If the guards had ever come off shift and played the thing, they might have had quite the shock.
* BulletProofVest: Sam apparently has one built into his suit, and enemy soldiers also start wearing them if you trigger an alert. Reasonably, the only major effect is that they can survive one additional bullet before dying. In Chaos Theory, enemy bullet proof vests can stop pistol rounds fairly effectively, but not rifle rounds.
* ButThouMust: ''Chaos Theory'' has a teeny-tiny one. There is one enemy at the very end of the first level who must be knocked out or killed before you can call for extraction to end the level (though this is justified as Sam could not safely board a helicopter with an enemy guard right beside him.) The rest of the game allows you to [[SelfImposedChallenge sneak by]] [[VideoGameCaringPotential absolutely everyone]] without a whole lot of trouble. Except in ThatOneLevel (the bathhouse), and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O20QikERQ4k even that can be done]]. Your reward is basically a BraggingRightsReward, but [[HundredPercentCompletion you'll feel warm and fuzzy inside]].
** At the end of the second level, it's impossible to nonlethally take out Hugo Lacerda after interrogating him; no matter which button you press, it will result in Sam killing him. The same thing goes with Milan Nedich in the fifth mission. To make up for it, these two don't actually count against 100% stealth like any other kill would.
* CallBack: Most of the levels in ''Essentials''.
* CallForward: ''Essentials'' was released before ''Double Agent'', but takes place after it and features a level from it as a callback.
* CaptainObvious:
** Due to an 'oversight' in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' one of your team will announce the alarm state has returned to normal...seconds after you've heard the same thing over the radio from the bad guys.
** [[MissionControl Lambert]] is prone to bouts of this. Sam [[DeadpanSnarker reacts accordingly]].
--> '''In ''Pandora Tomorrow'':'''
--->''(Elevator stops.)''\\
'''Lambert:''' The elevator stopped, Fisher.\\
'''Fisher:''' [[SarcasmMode Thanks Lambert]].
--> '''In ''Chaos Theory'':'''
--->''(Sam has to upload eight forged emails)''\\
'''Lambert''': That's 4 forged e-mails Sam. 4 more to go.\\
'''Sam''': [[SarcasmMode Thanks. I've always found it hard to count past 3]].
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Every [[TheSmartGuy technical support team member]] when Sam works for Third Echelon. Vernon Wilkes Jr. had [[DroppedABridgeOnHim getting shot to death]] as an excuse. But D.P. Brunton, William Redding, and Hisham Hamza? Remember those guys? Of course not, because they disappeared after each of their respective games.
** Then there's Frances Coen. She showed up in the latter half of ''Splinter Cell'' to replace Wilkes, returned in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' to serve as Sam's main field transporter, then was mentioned in a single line of dialogue in ''Chaos Theory'' before vanishing off the face of the earth. Come to think of it, Sam's team keeps getting switched up in every game with the exception of Lambert & Grimsdottir. [[spoiler: And we all know what happens to Lambert...]]
** Wilkes is brought up in Version Two of ''Double Agent'', where Lambert uses his name as an alias when pretending to be a gun runner to get close to Sam. [[spoiler:His cover is blown when an anonymous email to the JBA's leader tips him off to the fact that the real Wilkes had been dead for four years.]]
* ClearMyName: Sam in ''Essentials''.
* ComputerEqualsMonitor: [[AvertedTrope Averted]] in ''Chaos Theory''. Fisher can turn off or even shoot out the monitors and still access its computer with his OPSAT. Moreover, remote hacks with the OPSAT require locating the actual computer tower rather than the monitor.
* ConcealingCanvas: In one of the early levels of the first game.
* ContinueYourMissionDammit: A staple of the series - when you dawdle too long when accomplishing your objective, Lambert and/or Grim will admonish you and tell you to get moving.
* CoolOldGuy: In the early games, he has the ability to do some limited acrobatics and scramble up the railing from a ledge with a little effort despite being 47 at the start of the series.
* CosmeticAward: The last equipment unlock in ''Double Agent'' is night vision that sees in color rather than in all green. Most players say this is actually worse than the regular night vision - not to mention that, even if you do every single gear-unlocking bonus objective, you only get to actually use it for one or two levels.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: The moment Fisher hits [=0HP=], he promptly crumples into a ragdoll heap.
* DamnYouMuscleMemory: The controls for hanging from a pipe or ledge were completely inverted between the first two games. Where you once had to press 'jump' to jump down, and 'crouch' to "crouch" against a pipe (i.e. pull your legs up), you later press 'jump' to bring your stance ''up'' and 'crouch' to drop ''down''.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Progressively with each installment. ''Pandora Tomorrow'' gave the player the option to [[spoiler:shoot an unarmed woman with only a moment's notice.]] ''Chaos Theory'' had one of the [[BigBad main villains]] [[spoiler: turn out to be Douglas Shetland, a man who was a hero in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' and also one of Sam's [[ItsPersonal best friends,]]]] though the game in general is a bit LighterAndSofter than the previous two installments. ''Double Agent'' had Sam be falsely convicted of armed robbery in order to join up with a terrorist group after his daughter is killed by a drunk driver, and the player gets the option to [[spoiler:shoot Lambert in the ending.]]
* DeadManSwitch: Sadono's insurance policy in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' is placing smallpox devices on US territory. To delay the activation of the devices, he makes phone calls that postpone the releasing of the pox for one day. Should he get killed or captured, the lack of phone call would release the pox.
* DeadpanSnarker: Seems like a requirement to join the Third Echelon, since the majority of the black humor comes from the interaction between Fisher, his handlers, and the mooks unlucky enough to be interrogated by him.
-->'''Fisher:''' I'm going inside to meet your friends. Anything I need to worry about?\\
'''Mook:''' They have guns.\\
'''Fisher:''' [[LampshadeHanging I'm shocked and amazed]]. What else?
* DecapitatedArmy:
** In the first game, the support team outright tells Sam that when he takes out Grinko, his mercenaries will [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere give up and go home]] now that there's nobody to pay them. Sure enough, the mission immediately ends once you've hollowed out his skull.
** In ''Pandora Tomorrow'', the capture of Suhadi Sadono causes the Darah Dan Doa to back down, effectively ending the conflict in East Timor.
** In ''Chaos Theory'', the death of Doug Shetland puts Displace out of business permanently, and some of the remnants became part of the JBA, as heard in a conversation in ''Double Agent''. Now that the government knows what they've been up to, those who remained standing surely had a lot more explaining to do.
** The capture of Admiral Otomo also cripples the Japanese I-SDF, as he eventually makes a full confession for his part in the conspiracy in Asia.
* DefectingForLove: In Version Two of ''Double Agent'', Sam develops a genuine romantic attachment to Enrica, and is very pissed when [[spoiler:she's killed by Third Echelon]]. In the First Version, though, Sam's just playing her for info, and is perfectly happy to kill her in cold blood in order to achieve OneHundredPercentCompletion (although she does help Sam by unlocking a coded door for him if you let her live instead, but you can kill her before she walks away after the door is opened. You have no option to knock her out.).
* {{Determinator}}: Sam, full stop. What would cause most people to shy away is just another day at the office for him.
* DevelopersForesight:
** In the first game's training level, the assault course ends with Fisher acquiring a lockpick at a locked door. Should a player then perform the assault course ''backwards'' and return to the beginning, they can now access the locked observation room, and have a conversation with Grim. [[VideoGameCrueltyPunishment Or smack her in the head and have to start entirely over.]]
** It's possible across most of the games to figure out the code to a keypad by looking at the keypad with thermal goggles shortly after someone else enters the code, rather than having to find a data stick somewhere in the level that has the code. This doesn't become mandatory until the abattoir level (two levels away from the end), in which you can read an email from Grinko [[LampshadeHanging admonishing his men]] for the various security holes the player has been able to take advantage of because of sending door codes through unencrypted mail, but as long as you can stay close to someone as they're passing through a coded door without being spotted, you can use this trick from the instant you get the thermal vision mode starting from the fourth level.
** In ''Chaos Theory'', there's a sequence in the "Penthouse" mission that requires activating an archaic supercomputer. First-time players will undoubtedly need both Grim's and the nearby Engineer's exposition to explain what it is and how to work it; second-time players who jump right in to get it over with will instead get additional dialogue [[GameplayAndStorySegregation where Sam explains things and what he is doing.]]
** Some major characters have interrogation sequences despite how difficult they are to hear. In Version 2 of ''Double Agent'', the final fight has Dufrasne firing at Sam with a minigun from across a [[LaserHallway trip mine maze]]; despite this, players who saved enough flashbangs can get close enough to grab him, allowing players to hear a secret conversation [[SkewedPriorities (provided the nuclear bomb has enough time left)]].
** In both versions of ''Double Agent'', it's noted that Jamie Washington has an artificial pacemaker. Since the OCP is available in Version 2's ending, [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential especially cruel players can send him into cardiac arrest with it]], causing him to keel over and die silently.
* DirtyCop: The Georgian police in ''Splinter Cell''. A few seconds past MissionControl describing the cops "as crooked as a Virginia fence", Sam overhears two cops KickTheDog by harassing and threatening a drunkard. You can also find an email in the level noting a corpse with a skull caved in by what appears to be the same sorts of batons those police carry.
* TheDogShotFirst: Or rather, shoots if you don't. One major defining moment in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' has MissionControl abruptly order you in the middle of a mission to gun down your ally, an unarmed woman who has helped you through the entire level. [[spoiler: If you comply, they don't even bother to explain why, admonishing an angry and confused Sam that "it's not your job to question!". If you refuse, the woman, an Israeli Shin Bet agent, shows up at the end of the level with two other Shin Bet snipers to try and blow you away. A very pissed off Mission Control explains that Israel wants the WMD you just acquired for itself, and that there are no diplomatic consequences for killing an American agent who doesn't officially exist.]] Whoops!
* DragonTheirFeet: Every game in the series up to Double Agent has you mopping up the last co-conspirator in the final level after having already disposed of the BigBad in the second-to-last level. In ''Splinter Cell'' it happens in "Kola Cell", a Xbox-exclusive downloadable level, and in ''Double Agent'' it's a bonus level for achieving the Best Ending.
* DyingAlone: Occasionally crops up with major character deaths, such as [[spoiler:Enrica]] in ''Double Agent (Version 2)'' and [[spoiler:Irving Lambert]] in ''Double Agent (Version 1)''. Also noted humorously in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' when Fisher looks over Soth's file:
-->'''Coen''': What do you think?\\
'''Fisher''': [[DeadpanSnarker The world is small, nasty, and complicated, and everybody dies alone.]]\\
'''Coen''': [laughs] What do you think ''about Norman Soth?''\\
'''Fisher''': He's small, nasty, and complicated. But I guess how he'll die is up to him.
* DynamicEntry: Plenty, far from limited to {{Goomba Stomp}}s or bashing doors open into people.
* EasterEgg: Version 2 of "Double Agent" has a secret mission only accessible by co-op in Ellsworth Prison where you rescue baby seals, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbSXFKefmKw seriously]].
* EliteMooks:
** The Georgian Special Forces in the final mission of ''Splinter Cell'' and the I-JSDF commandos in ''Chaos Theory'' are... disappointing. They wear night-vision goggles, but that just means that it's a little easier for them to spot you if you move rapidly near them. They still can't see you in normal darkness even if they have a perfect line-of-sight, as long as you move slowly and/or are more than a dozen or so feet away from them.
** BigBad [[spoiler: Shetland's]] personal bodyguards, on the other hand, have thermal vision goggles and were the only enemies in the entire series who can see you perfectly even in pitch darkness.
* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous: The series as a whole. The player character is a former Navy Seal who travels the world, engaging in highly-dangerous operations with top-of-the-line equipment and upgrades.
* EnemyChatter: Happens in several installments, so much so some objectives can be done by hearing or recording the right chatter.
* EnhancedInterrogationTechniques: The first four games incorporate this, with Fisher often using psychological means to terrify or confuse mooks into giving up information. This was later removed from the series, however, with ''Conviction'' going with [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique direct physical torture]] and ''Blacklist'' doing away with interactive interrogations.
-->'''Mook''': Forget it, I won't tell you anything!\\
'''Fisher''': ''(laughing) Are you crazy? We're on the 60th floor!''\\
'''Mook''': Wha-- whaddya mean?!\\
'''Fisher''': Y'know, it's not true that you go unconscious before you hit the ground. ''[[MookHorrorShow You see it coming the whole way.]]''\\
'''Mook''': You-- ''you wouldn't!''\\
'''Fisher''': You wanna convince me not to?
* EnterSolutionHere: The code for a huge number of keypads in the games can be found on computers or in the posession of guards. If you have found the code to a keypad, it'll be displayed when you enter the screen to type it in.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: The game opens with Lambert entering a secure interview room, only to find Fisher has broken into the place ahead of time and is waiting for him.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: In the Abattoir level from the first game, one of the enemy soldiers voices his displeasure over his boss deciding to murder captive U.S. soldiers and webcast their killings over the Internet, calling it "barbaric". Some of the mercs in the Kalinatek level also express seeming displeasure with the night's grisly work.
* EyepatchOfPower: Archer and Kestrel from ''Conviction'' are rendered in the loading screen with sonar goggles covering only one eye. The same goes for [[spoiler: the enemy Splinter Cells.]]
* ExpansionPack: The ''VideoGame/RainbowSix 3'' companion disc for the Xbox features three downloadable missions for the original ''Splinter Cell''. Most versions of ''Chaos Theory'' also included a disc with them for that respective version of the original game. These discs are now the only way to legitimately download these extra missions, ever since Microsoft discontinued online support for the Xbox.
* {{Expy}}:
** Suhadi Sadono from ''Pandora Tomorrow'' is a charismatic guerrilla leader who resembles UsefulNotes/CheGuevara both in looks and clothing style. In one cutscene, an American college student is seen wearing a Suhadi Sadono t-shirt similar to the Che Guevara t-shirts worn by real-life college students. He is also similar in name to Agusto César Sandino, and like him, gains much support and popularity from his people based on his opposition of U.S. military domination in his homeland.
** In-universe, ''Double Agent'' has a few to previous ''Splinter Cell'' characters:
*** Emile Dufraisne is a CompositeCharacter of several allies from previous games. His status as the BigBad and leader of the JBA who often gives orders personally to Fisher while he's on the job makes him the Lambert expy, but he's also got shades of the various runners (Junior Wilkes, Coen, Redding) in his tendency to transport Fisher to the mission sites, as well as [[spoiler:Douglas Shetland]] for his typical more hands-on approach to those missions, and his plans to essentially restart America by killing a lot of people.
*** Grimsdottir in turn gets DecompositeCharacter[=s=]. Enrica Villablanca shares her status as [[TheSmurfettePrinciple the token female of the group]] and the second most talkative and helpful of the support staff behind Emile, but any and all [[PlayfulHacker technical wizardry]] she performs to more directly aid Fisher actually comes from programs written by the otherwise-rarely-seen Stanley Dayton.
* FaceHeelTurn: In ''Chaos Theory'', [[spoiler:Douglas Shetland goes from Sam's old friend and a supporting ally in the previous game to the BigBad.]]
* FinalBoss: Version 2 of ''Double Agent'' ends with a "boss fight" against Emile Dufresne. The fight has a lot of PuzzleBoss elements, but is still very much a "traditional" video game boss fight. This is not seen anywhere else in the series.
* FlatWhat: In ''Chaos Theory'', a random interrogation will lead to the following exchange:
-->'''Guard:''' I ''knew'' it, I KNEW there were ninjas here!\\
'''Sam:''' ''What.''
* ForegoneConclusion: For those who played ''Essentials'' (released before both versions of ''Double Agent''), the confirmation of Lambert's death at Sam's hands in ''Conviction'' isn't a surprise.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Late in ''Pandora Tomorrow'', it's revealed that the US-based PMC Sadono makes his "Pandora Tomorrow" calls to is [[spoiler:Displace International]]. While not a smoking gun owing to the fact that it's an obvious script error (Grim mentions the name as if she's never heard of it before despite Sam working directly with them one mission prior, nobody comments on [[spoiler:Shetland's outfit]] suddenly having direct ties to Sadono, and the debriefing makes it clear the bad-guy PMC is actually the "Armed Guardian Services" from multiplayer), it does foreshadow [[spoiler:Shetland being the BigBad of ''Chaos Theory''.]]
* FormFittingWardrobe: The stealth suits.

* GaidenGame: ''Essentials'' isn't actually essential to keeping track of the series' plot, but it does cover up any questions you might have about the leap from ''Double Agent'' to ''Conviction''... or was supposed to, before ''Conviction'' hit DevelopmentHell.
* GasLeakCoverup: At the end of the first game, the National Guard evacuates an apartment building in Maryland to defuse and remove a nuclear bomb planted there by terrorists. The government tells the public that the building was evacuated due to a gas leak.
* GoodGunsBadGuns: Lampshaded in the beginning of ''Chaos Theory''. Sam's used to the bad guys using [=AK=]s, so he can immediately tell just from the firing noise that something's off when they turn out to be carrying [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Individual_Combat_Weapon enhanced versions]] of the AUG; a side-objective for this and the next mission is to scan and then tag crates of weapons to find out where exactly small-time guerillas are getting advanced hardware from. Later inverted in ''Conviction''; only enemies in the first two levels drop Skorpions and Desert Eagles, and only in Diwaniya, Iraq and co-op are [=AK=]s dropped; in all other missions the enemies are using "Western" guns.
* GoodIsNotNice: Fisher is this in trumps. In a nutshell, he has zero sympathy for [[DrunkWithPower powerful monsters]], [[JustFollowingOrders the "innocent"]], or [[DirtyCoward cowards]] (to name a few groups).
* GoombaStomp: Landing on enemies is one way to knock them out.
* HannibalLecture: [[spoiler:Shetland]] in ''Chaos Theory'', who explains it's all because America is sick and dying, and a start-over is necessary. [[spoiler:One done through international nuclear war to be exact.]]
* HealThyself: In the first three games. In the first game, they were an equipment item that could be picked up, with you being able to carry five at one time and using them one at a time to heal a small chunk of health. ''Pandora Tomorrow'' switched to wall-mounted kits that you used as you needed, with their supplies represented by red lights on the side that turned off as you used the kit's contents, equaling about as much as a full set of five kits from the first game. ''Chaos Theory'' switched to depicting actual medical supplies in the kits, which Sam would actually take out and use for himself, though as such the number of times he can heal himself with them is reduced to three at most, if he first hits the kit after only a small amount of damage. ''Double Agent'' and onward switched over to RegeneratingHealth.
* HowWeGotHere: The plot of ''Essentials''. Also, the FlashForward sections of ''Conviction'' can also be considered this.
* HumanShield: Sam can take most enemies hostage by putting a gun to their head in the first game and ''Pandora Tomorrow'', and putting a knife to their throat in the later games. Most enemies will hesitate to shoot him unless Sam is aiming his pistol at them.
* HyperspaceArsenal: {{Averted|Trope}}. Sam only ever has a pistol, a rifle, and starting from ''Chaos Theory'' a knife, all of which are visible on his person whether he's using them or not. Played a bit more straight with his various other gadgets, but he's still realistically limited to a handful of each at best, and even then it can be explained in that most of those gadgets ''are'' pretty small so that they fit into his SC-20K's underbarrel launcher.
* IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten: Several choices the player must make in ''Double Agent'', although pretty much every one has an obvious "correct" choice, obvious because one of the choices will be a [[HundredPercentCompletion bonus objective]] (such as opening the cell doors for the JBA), unlocks bonus content or expand the level (such as [[spoiler:not shooting the CIA agent]]), be the only option that isn't completely stupid when taking the trust meter into account (such as [[spoiler:shooting the kidnapped helicopter pilot in Version One, which will provide a much-needed boost to JBA trust right at the beginning of the game]]), or be opposite of a choice that immediately gets very direct negative feedback. There is one decision in the game which doesn't have such an obvious solution ([[spoiler:whether to let the JBA destroy the cargo ship]]), but even that fits the pattern when the Prima official StrategyGuide recommends that the player [[spoiler:lets them destroy it]].
* IKEAWeaponry: To an extent. Sam's SC-20K in ''Chaos Theory'' can mount a less-lethal munitions launcher, a foregrip, a semiautomatic shotgun, or a 20 millimeter rifle barrel for sniping.
* InCaseYouForgotWhoWroteIt: "TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL". Ironically, he ''didn't'' write any of it past the concept, and only had say in a few areas.
* TheInfiltration: The entire point of ''Double Agent''.
* InSeriesNickname: Anna Grímsdóttir goes by "Grim" to most, and occasionally "the [[IceQueen Grim Reaper]]" to some.
* InstantThunder: Played so straight it very well may be a parody - the Jakarta level in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' is set during a thunderstorm in which the thunder is heard ''before'' the lightning is seen. This may be because [[CaptainObvious lightning lights up everything]], making you visible for a split second when out in the open, and not having any advance warning for it would be unfair.
* InsurmountableWaistHeightFence: Despite all the climbing, the game can get quite picky about certain things.
* {{Irony}}: In ''Pandora Tomorrow'', a bad guy is first identified via the alias "Mortified Penguin", a parody of the names of FOXHOUND in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid''. The irony comes in the fact that the game this takes place in is called ''Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow''. While both parts of the name have meaning within the story, they're both cool-sounding codephrases that don't obviously mean anything unless explained (Lambert even notes that the ridiculous sound to the name is probably the point, "like the smiley face on a cobra's hood"). Just like the names of the FOXHOUND members, in fact. Moreover, the subnames for sister Tom Clancy series ''VideoGame/RainbowSix'' included similar things like "Rogue Spear" and "Athena Sword".
* ISurrenderSuckers: A staple of the series.
** Sam pulls this in a scene very near the end of the first game, when Georgian forces have him at gunpoint, and another in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' where he exits a doorway at the Kundang camp and a bunch of soldiers on the other side hold him up. He's rescued by, respectively, [[spoiler:a well-timed blackout organized by Grim allowing him to get to cover and start shooting, and assistance from Displace snipers distracting the soldiers from him]].
** [[spoiler: Douglas Shetland]] tries to pull this on Sam during their final confrontation in ''Chaos Theory'', roughly three quarters of the way through the game. Even if Sam goes for it, all that happens is [[spoiler: Shetland gets a knife in the chest for his trouble, rather than a bullet to the head]].
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Surprisingly averted, with Sam instead using threats, mind games, and [[Creator/MichaelIronside a scary voice]] to get information.
** If you get hit by an enemy's sticky shocker in ''Chaos Theory'', you're treated to an interrogation scene where you can pick your own cuffs while enemies rough you up with this.
** Played straight in ''Conviction'', where Sam beats the crap out people he wants information out of.
* JustAStupidAccent: In the first game and ''Chaos Theory'', foreign enemies would always speak English to each other in whatever accent matches their ethnicity. Sometimes it would be so bad it got to the point of {{Narm}} (just listen to the North Korean soldiers). Thankfully this trope started to stop with ''Double Agent'' and was absent from ''Conviction'' and ''Blacklist.''
** Bizarrely averted in ''Pandora Tomorrow.'' For whatever reason, almost all the voice actors in this game didn't bother to use any kind of accent. Thus, you get the rather hilarious situation where Indonesian militants, Syrian mercenaries, Israeli police officers [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and a French train conductor]] actually sound more American than Sam does (which in itself is funny on another level, as Michael Ironside is Canadian). That same game also averts this trope in a different manner in the Jerusalem level, where you can sneak by two Ultraorthodox rabbis who are speaking in Hebrew to each other. Also averted in that same game's final mission, where the terrorists you are hunting are all Americans.
** Averted in the PC version of ''Chaos Theory'', where there is an option to have bad guys speak in their proper languages.
* JustifiedTutorial: The first game starts with a training mission, with Sam noting that he hasn't been on the field since he left the Navy ten years prior.
** In ''Chaos Theory'', the "Penthouse" mission's {{Mooks}} are civilians and cops, meaning Fisher is seriously scolded for being discovered or violent towards the mooks, and can have his non-primary objectives cancelled for doing so. The reason for this becomes apparent in the next mission, as Fisher is not allowed '''any''' kills and alarms can make it nigh-unbeatable by extension.
* KarmaMeter: In ''Double Agent'', as you have to infiltrate the terrorists without helping them out ''too'' much. The way it's presented is more in line with an AllianceMeter - you have one meter representing the NSA's trust in you, and another for the JBA's - but in practice it's almost entirely a bog-standard karma meter, as completing side-objectives in the JBA headquarters between missions (like putting together mines or having a go at the shooting range) are essentially the only things in the game that allow you to gain trust with one faction without taking an equivalent hit to the other.
* KickedUpstairs: Shetland's bio from the first mission of ''Pandora Tomorrow'' mentions a "Bagram incident" where, back when Shetland was still with the Marines, a man under his command mistakenly shot an American soldier, causing a storm in the media. Although he was found not guilty, the Marines "promoted" him to a desk job "just shy of civilian work", which he stayed with for about three months before leaving and shortly afterward founding Displace.
* KnightTemplar: ''Chaos Theory'' has [[spoiler: Douglas Shetland, whose goal is to trigger a war between the United States and North Korea to "fix America".]]
* LampshadeHanging: Late in the first game, TheDragon sends out an email telling his men to stop sending door codes to sensitive areas through email, due to a "security catastrophe" caused by this.
* LaserHallway: Used in several of the games.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In ''Chaos Theory'' when Lambert warns Sam that the boat he's sneaking aboard has an alarm system:
-->'''Sam''': Don't tell me... three alarms and the mission's over?[[note]]This is a reference to the previous two games, in which triggering three alarms in one mission would indeed cause you to fail that mission.[[/note]]\\
'''Lambert''': [[ThisIsReality Of course not, this is no video game, Fisher.]]
* LighterAndSofter: ''Chaos Theory'' compared to the first two instalments. The music is much more upbeat, Sam's snarky humor is at its peak, the enemy dialogue has a lot more humor in it (especially when they are talking to each other, or some funny EasterEgg interrogations), the missions all have much more vibrant, colourful and lively locales, Lambert's witty dialogue is at its best, and the overall tone of the game is quite a bit less dour. Which is not to say the plot itself is LighterAndSofter, though - the first level features [[ColdBloodedTorture Morgenholt's torture]], the Seoul mission gives you a SadisticChoice and of course[[spoiler: Shetland is your BigBadFriend]], and all the while you're trying to avert a nuclear war.
* LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition: Most installments of the series have had these.
* LittleUselessGun: Sam's standard guns pack comparatively little punch compared to those of other video game protagonists; pistol headshots are sometimes not even guaranteed kills and centre-of-mass shots even with the assault rifle can come across as a waste of ammo. This is probably due to Sam using subsonic ammo, trading stopping power for discretion. Averted in ''Conviction'' and ''Blacklist'', where a variety of different guns are available, giving the option of more firepower.
* LockpickingMinigame: In the original game, you are shown the innards of the lock you're picking, with a varying number of pins, which you have to set one by one by figuring out which WASD button triggers each one and pressing it repeatedly until it sets.
* LocomotiveLevel: In ''Pandora Tomorrow'', there's a surveillance mission that takes place in, [[TrainTopBattle on]] and underneath a French high-speed train.

* {{Masquerade}}:
** The entire modus operandi of Third Echelon. They're so top-secret, they don't even share their existence with the CIA. As the blurb on the original game announced: "should you be captured or killed, all knowledge of your existence will be denied."
** Even more, each [[MeaningfulName Splinter Cell]] (which consists of a handler [Lambert], a tech expert [Grim], an operative [Fisher], and a support specialist [who tends to get killed]) has absolutely no knowledge of any other Splinter Cell operated by Third Echelon. They are completely independent from each other so that if one Cell gets burned, their knowledge is limited. It's implied several times that Sam's extensive knowledge of Third Echelon itself is also not normal.
* MotiveRant: Done by [[spoiler: Shetland]] in ''Chaos Theory''.
* MultiPlatform: Every game except ''Essentials''. ''Double Agent'' is notable for having two different versions depending on the platform.
* MultipleEndings: ''Double Agent'', with which ending the player gets depending on the player's trust with the NSA and what he does at three specific points where he must make a decision.
* MusicalSpoiler: The games are fairly quiet, focusing on ambient background music... until the player alerts an enemy, at which point different music starts. The music even reveals how sticky the situation is, because the music varies between different levels of the enemies' awareness of the player. Finally, when the music starts to fade, the player is in the clear.
* NewMeat: The rookie Splinter Cell who joins you in the first mission of Version One of ''Double Agent'' demonstrates some skill, but his over-eagerness gets him killed before the end. In the sixth-generation version, however, the new guy not only survives but returns later in a mission.
* NextSundayAD: The first few games in the series take place two years after they were released. ''Splinter Cell'' was released in 2002 and is set in late 2004, with some bonus missions taking place in early 2005. ''Pandora Tomorrow'' was released in 2004 and takes place in 2006. ''Chaos Theory'' was released in 2005 and takes place in 2007. ''Double Agent'' was released in 2006 and takes place in 2008. ''Essentials'' was released in 2006 and one of its missions takes place in early 2009.
* {{Ninja}}: A RunningGag in the earlier games is that Fisher will often overhear guards talking about an intruder and one of them will say it's a ninja, only for the other to call him crazy for thinking so.
** ''Chaos Theory'' in particular has the most well-known instance, where after the requisite conversation, you can grab either of the guys who had it, and then interrogating him has him promptly go full FanBoy mode, so enthralled by the fact that it really ''is'' a ninja that even the threat of murder just has him respond "killed by a ninja, [[SkewedPriorities cool!]]", before asking if you'll kill him with your blowpipe or if you have any [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makibishi tetsubishi]] on you.
** Lampshaded at one point in the first game: [[spoiler:while trying to carry an unconscious computer analyst out of the CIA for interrogation, Lambert warns Fisher ahead of time about someone from the CIA chatting with Wilkes and their interrogation specialist. Fisher asks how they got spotted, only to be told that they weren't trying to hide - there's nothing wrong with people from different agencies talking on public property, it's the "SIGINT ninja" carrying an unconscious CIA employee out of the building that would be an issue.]]
* NintendoHard: The pre-action games as a whole, both due to [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard a major enemy advantage]] and the gameplay requirements, which are strongly oriented towards sneaking, timing, and planning. As noted by Lambert, weapons are always a last resort, as playing the game (for example) like ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' will only get you killed; even choosing the "armed to the teeth" loadouts in ''Chaos Theory'' and ''Double Agent'' aren't recommended on anything above normal difficulty.
* NoGearLevel: In Version Two of ''Double Agent'', you fight a final boss battle against Dufraisne inside a maze of laser tripmines; he's got a heavy machine gun, you're unarmed (navigating the maze to reach your discarded pistol is a large part of the fight). Of course, it is possible to rush him and stab him, as well as kill him with a frag grenade.
** In the first few levels of the first game, you only have a pistol and don't get your fancy rifle until the CIA level near the middle of the campaign.
* NonindicativeName: Somewhat. John Brown's Army doesn't have anything to do with abolitionism and is a curious name for a RightWingMilitiaFanatic organization. That said, one of John Brown's tenets was that the only way to abolish slavery was armed insurrection against a corrupt government that condoned it, so it works in that sense.
* NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom: {{Zigzagged|Trope}} as, while there is always a set of objectives and a place/person to reach, the game often lets you chose one of several paths you take to get there. Both ''Chaos Theory'' and ''Double Agent'' take it further, even letting you ignore minor objectives and continue on after setting off multiple alarms.
* NoSuchAgency: Third Echelon does not officially exist, and the government will deny any knowledge of its existence. Fourth Echelon in ''Blacklist'' is a {{deconstruction}} of the concept: Sam's organization is so secret no one can know about them, but nobody in the US intelligence community is willing to share information with someone they don't trust.
** Seems to be averted in ''Conviction'', where Third Echelon has its own publicly-accessible headquarters in Washington, D.C.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: In the first and third games, NPC characters will speak English with whatever accent that matches their nationality. However, in ''Pandora Tomorrow'', outside of a single group of civilians in Jerusalem, everybody speaks speak English with generic North American accents. So, you get the funny result of Israelis, Frenchmen, Syrians, and Indonesians all speaking English with fluent U.S. accents.
* OccupiersOutOfOurCountry: The motivation of a few of the enemies in the series, notably Suhadi Sadono in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' who demands that all U.S. forces leave Indonesia & East Timor.
* OptionalStealth: ''Chaos Theory'', despite being a stealth game, allows the player to just run through the game if they want, going so far as to let players choose an "assault" loadout that gives them extra ammunition and grenades and more lethal gadgets instead of stealth tools.
* PacifistRun: The number of people you have to kill to win any given entry in the series is never more than one, though certain missions make it NintendoHard to pull this off. ''Conviction'' seems to make this even harder, since only hostage-taking and the distraction cam is guaranteed non-lethal. This sometimes leads to GameplayAndStorySegregation, where Fisher will be instructed to kill someone but knocking them out will also work.
** ''Pandora Tomorrow'' averts this. You ''must'' kill all the members of the terrorist group in the final mission. Even if you knock them out, Brunton will contact you on the radio [[ButThouMust and insist that they need to be dead.]] Which means that you then have to [[KickTheSonOfABitch plug a few bullets into their unconscious bodies.]] Justified in that these men were planning to [[MoralEventHorizon detonate a smallpox bomb in LAX]].
** Also averted in ''Chaos Theory'', where you have to kill three people: [[spoiler: Hugo Lacerda, Milan Nedich and Douglas Shetland]]. Two of the three are even grabbed and interrogated, after which [[ButThouMust Fisher automatically kills them even if the player hits the button to just knock them out]]; to compensate for players who actually are doing pacifist runs, these three kills aren't counted at the end-of-mission score screen.
* PaintingTheMedium:
** Done cleverly as a form of SelfDeprecation in Chaos Theory [[note]]as it is the first in the series that does not trigger a game over after at most three alerts[[/note]] - during the opening of the second level:
-->'''Lambert:''' Fisher, we just pulled up Celestinia's dry-dock report for the ''Maria Narcissa''. They have a newly-installed central alarm system.\\
'''Sam:''' Don't tell me - three alarms and the mission's over?\\
'''Lambert:''' Of course not! This is no video game, Fisher.
* PapaWolf:
** In ''Double Agent'', Sam thought his daughter had been killed by a drunk driver. By the time ''Conviction'' rolls around, he's found out that it was [[FromBadToWorse really murder]]. He is ''not'' happy. And then he finds [[spoiler:out it was faked for his and Sarah's protection. ''By Lambert''.]]
** A bonus level in ''Double Agent'' had Fisher's daughter kidnapped by a group of terrorists, and Sam was coming to her rescue on an unsanctioned mission. Lambert was able to get a hold of him at the start, and told Sam to let him send in a group to take care of them. Sam counters by asking if it were Lambert's children, what would he do. Lambert said he'd "send you (Sam Fisher) in."
* PresidentEvil: The BigBad of the first game is the President of Georgia.
* PrisonRiot: Sam uses one as cover to escape from Ellsworth in ''Double Agent''.
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Armed Guardian Services (ARGUS) in ''Pandora Tomorrow'', and Displace International in both there and ''Chaos Theory''.
* ProductPlacement:
** Quite a bit. For example, during a pivotal scene in ''Chaos Theory'', a purple Ubisoft blimp is clearly visible, [=SoBe=] vending machines are found inside CIA HQ in the first game, and a major plot reveal in ''Conviction'' is done using a Cisco telepresence call. That last one could have been done over the phone, except for the possible reason that [[spoiler:Grim wanted to look Sam in the eye when she told him about Lambert's deception.]]
** Sam chewing Wrigley's Airwaves in cutscenes in ''Chaos Theory''. And the dramatic inner city zipline that just happens to start atop an 8-foot tall neon Axe Deodorant sign. In fact, you may struggle to find a single level in ''Chaos Theory'' without one branding or another.
** ''Double Agent'' has Sam use a Nokia phone whenever he goes SafeCracking.
** The [=OpSat=] prominently displaying the Palm or Sony Ericsson logo in a couple of the games is a particularly unsubtle example.
** There is an Axe deodorant billboard in the Penthouse level.
* PunchclockVillain: Occasional, such as "Penthouse" in ''Chaos Theory''; Lambert warns that the people policing the streets during the blackout are volunteers and/or cops, and he severely scolds Fisher if he kills any of them.
* PutOnABus: Frances Coen from the latter half of the original game and ''Pandora Tomorrow''. In the game she acted as Sam's field runner, and assisted him during several missions. She did not return in ''Chaos Theory'', although it is mentioned that she was assigned to Japan to spy on a Yakuza organization called the Red Nishin. No mention of the character has been made since.
* RageAgainstTheReflection: Intro to ''Double Agent''.
* RedHerring: In ''Chaos Theory'', this is the literal name for the Red Nishin yakuza gang. [[spoiler: They are also, of course, ''actual'' red herrings. Displace's evil mercenaries are here to meet with agents from the rogue ISDF, not the Nishin.]]
* {{Retcon}}: The year in which Sam's ex-wife died. The manual for the Xbox/PlayStation 2 version of ''Double Agent'' mentions under Sarah's biography that Regan died in the 1980s. However, according to ''Conviction'', she was still alive circa 1991.
* RuleOfCool: When the first game was in development, Tom Clancy (who insists that games using his name maintain a certain level of realism) rejected the idea of Sam Fisher's "trifocal goggles" because at the time goggles with both thermal vision and night vision would have been impossible to create. The game's developers convinced Tom Clancy to allow the goggles by arguing that having Sam switch between two separate pairs of goggles would have made for awkward gameplay.
* RuleOfFun: The lights on Sam's goggles and other gear are ''not'' diegetic and do not exist in-universe; according to promotional materials, they're entirely for gameplay's sake, to make it easier for the player to actually see where their character is in the dark.

* SadClown:
** While Sam Fisher doesn't come across as very depressed in the first three games, it doesn't stop GallowsHumor from being a part of the character's personality.
** [[AllThereInTheManual According to the manual]] for ''Chaos Theory'', Fisher's dark sense of humor is a coping mechanism he uses to defuse the tension and stress he is often under due to the dangerous positions he often finds himself in during a mission.
* SaveTheVillain: In ''Chaos Theory'' [[spoiler:Admiral Otomo tries to commit seppuku. Sam has to save him so someone will still be alive to take public responsibility for the entire sorry mess.]]
* ScareChord: The original features a creepy piano sound every time the enemies get suspicious.
* SceneryPorn: All of the games are known for their excellent graphics, the original Xbox version making one of the largest technological leaps of that generation. There was even a developer's commentary video included on the disk just to point out some of the more impressive things they managed to pull off.
** [[spoiler: In ''Chaos Theory'', in the confrontation between Sam and Doug.]]
* ShipLevel: ''Chaos Theory'' has the Cargo Ship, while ''Double Agent'' has Cozumel and the second half of the Sea of Okhotsk.
* ShownTheirWork: In ''Chaos Theory'', the foreign locales are very-well and accurately detailed. In the Seoul level, the storefront shutters are yellow, blue, and red, just like the real ones in South Korea. In the Bathhouse level, the Japanese bathrooms have squat toilets, which are very common in Asia.
* SkeletonKey: Used in the early games; in the first, there's a lockpick that shatters the pins to unlock almost any door, and the third had a "telemetric lockpick" that allows Fisher to open a dual-lock vault.
* SniperScopeSway: The games require you to hold your breath to get a steady shot when using a sniper scope, with the time you can hold it [[OxygenMeter limited]].
* SpyCatSuit:
** Sam's suit isn't quite as fetishistic as the one in ''Franchise/MetalGear'', but it's rather close. The novel says it's more or less a full length wetsuit that makes sure no sound comes out while he's moving, and it does feature camouflage and lots of pockets and gear strapped on.
** The Double Agent multiplayer versions exposed the character's arms. [[http://www.videogamer.com/ps3/tom_clancys_splinter_cell_4_/screenshot-2.html A female spy]] was added later on, and she's pretty much there just for fanservice.
* StarCrossedLovers: [[spoiler: Sam and Enrica in Double Agent.]]
* StrongerWithAge: Sam's abilities simply get more fearsome with time, considering he soon upgrades to knives and corner grabs in the later, pre-action-reboot games.
* StupidSacrifice: [[spoiler:Lambert's (canonical) death]] at the end of ''Double Agent''. It benefits Sam very little, as Dufraisne is about to nuke the JBA headquarters, and Sam's cover is simply blown a little later stopping Dufraisne.
* SuperDrowningSkills: In the first games, though Sam learns how to swim in between Chaos Theory and Double Agent. Presumably he had to pick it up pretty fast [[CutscenePowerToTheMax during that final cutscene]], which is odd, since the first thing we see Sam do in the Splinter Cell series is... deep sea diving.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Sinister, ObviouslyEvil 3rd Echelon Director Williams is replaced by sinister, ObviouslyEvil 3rd Echelon Director Reed between ''Essentials'' and ''Conviction''. Given the two characters are very similar in personality and serve a virtually identical role in the plot, one wonders why they didn't simply keep Williams as the BigBad.
* SwissArmyGun: The SC-20K is this to an extent in ''Chaos Theory'' and ''Double Agent'', having a number of usable attachments; averted in ''Conviction'' where it's just another long gun weapon.
* TakeAThirdOption: Completing optional objectives sometimes gives the player more options on how to tackle situations that appear later, which would otherwise be hidden.
** Defied early and late in ''Double Agent'' -- early on, Fisher is ordered by the JBA to kill a pilot of a helicopter he captured or not for reputation with either the JBA or NSA. The game does not allow you to traverse your aim over to anyone else, such as the leader of the JBA standing right in the room. Later, Fisher has to either [[spoiler:kill Lambert to maintain his cover, or kill Jamie Washington to save Lambert]]. If you like, you can fire your shot into the air -- in which case, you immediately get headshotted by Washington, resulting in a Game Over.
* TakeThat:
** Numerous digs at other video game franchises, including ''VideoGame/MetalGear'', ''Franchise/PrinceOfPersia'' (which had a remake series starting around the same time by Ubisoft), and ''VideoGame/HalfLife'' ("crowbars are for geeky video game characters"). And [[SelfDeprecation previous]] ''Splinter Cell'' games ("don't tell me, three alarms and the mission's over?").
** In ''Pandora Tomorrow'', clothing featuring the face of Suadi Sadono becomes fashionable in the west, and it's implied that many of the people who buy the shirts do so for fashion reasons and not because they support the man's cause. This is very likely a jab at college students who wear Che Guevara t-shirts but know little to nothing about the man himself.
* TapOnTheHead: Sam knocks out numerous guards (including civilians and U.S. National Guard) with blows to the head. Subverted in one instance in ''Chaos Theory'', where the captain of the ship ''dies'' if you knock him out by any method (you can see his body cooling down in thermal vision).
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: Averted for the most part, guards are very thorough and will follow your trail of destruction if you're reckless enough to leave one behind. However, whoever is watching the camera monitors still can't seem to figure out that something is wrong when all the cameras are being put out or that they should call for outside support when Sam walks in front of the camera with relative impunity once all of the guards are dead. ItsProbablyNothing is a recurring line in each game.
* TheLastThingYouEverSee: One of the best features in Multiplayer. If a Spy player manages to get a Mercenary player into a chokehold, he can [[PreMortemOneLiner whisper into the player's ear until snapping his neck]].
* TheWarOnTerror: The premise of the whole series.
* ThisIsReality:
-->'''Irving Lambert:''' Fisher, we just pulled up Celestinia's dry-dock report for the ''Maria Narcissa''. They have a newly-installed central alarm system.\\
'''Sam Fisher:''' Don't tell me - [[ContinuityNod three alarms and the mission's over?]]\\
'''Irving Lambert:''' Of course not! This is no video game, Fisher.
* ThrowingTheDistraction
* TooKinkyToTorture: Sam's interrogation technique is usually effective, but there is always at least one guard who's too stupid or crazy for it to have any meaningful effect. For example, in ''Chaos Theory'', one guard assumes that Sam is a ninja and is so occupied with babbling on about how cool ninjas are that Sam is completely unable to get any useful information from him. Even threats of imminent death only make the guard excited about how cool it would be to be killed by a ninja - another mook (a Japanese soldier on guard duty) claims he is NotAfraidToDie, refusing to spill any information.
** TruthInTelevision as 90% of the actually well-paid, fiercely loyal, and well-trained guards don't succumb to Sam's scare tactics, while grunts, cheap guards and civilians even, do.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: This has been, to greater or lesser degrees, always true when attempting a [[SelfImposedChallenge ghost run]] in any of the ''Splinter Cell'' titles, but it quickly hits near impossible territory when trying for a complete StealthRun or PacifistRun of ''Conviction''. It is possible, but it seems like the developers go out of their way to discourage it in that title.
* TrickArrow: The under-mounted grenade launcher on the SC-20K has been modified to fire all sorts of non-lethal takedown ordinance, including airfoil rounds, taser darts, and mini-cameras that also release sleeping gas on command.
* UnusableEnemyEquipment:
** Sam cannot pick up most enemy weapons, or ammunition from them unless the user had it in a satchel. Being unable to take ammunition is justified for his pistol, as it uses 5.7x28mm ammunition, which is rare in every country and is not likely to see major service in any time setting the ''Splinter Cell'' games take place in due to its RealLife performance issues. However, Sam's rifle fires the very standard 5.56x45mm ammunition from standardized magazines. Many of Sam's adversaries carry weapons that use the same ammunition.
** At the same time, however, loose ammo pickups for both of his guns and the various items he can launch from his underbarrel launcher show up in some ''very'' strange places, including oil rigs in the Caspian sea, Internet startup companies in D.C.[[labelnote:*]]That one ''was'' a fake company set up so the Georgians could closely monitor an intelligence leak in the CIA headquarters nearby, but none of the guns they use in that level share ammo with Sam's[[/labelnote]], the streets of Jerusalem, the maintenance hallways of LAX, and a Panamanian bank. In ''Chaos Theory'' this is lampshaded a couple times: there is an e-mail Sam can read in a mission set in a North Korean missile battery wherein a mook is complaining that 5.56mm ammunition was provided to them instead of the 7.62mm rounds any of their weapons actually use. In the next level, interrogating a North Korean mook has him reveal that he and his buddies have been deliberately stashing enemy ammo, just in case they need to use enemy weapons [[CrazyPrepared for some reason]].
* UnwantedAssistance: Dermot Brunton, the inter-agency liaison between the CIA and Third Echelon in ''Pandora Tomorrow'', is mostly treated this way despite how little he says. In their very first interaction in the game, Sam essentially asks him politely to shut up and let Lambert do the talking. Lambert's opinion isn't much better, as Grim's personnel file for him (where she more or less makes it clear that she's the only member of the team who actually likes the guy) mentions that she thinks Lambert wants to punch him out at times, and in one of the files she sends you in the last mission she mentions he's been "demoted to mop duty" midway through.
* UpdatedRerelease: The original trilogy has an HD re-release on the [=PS3=].
* VisibilityMeter: Sam Fisher has a "stealth meter": a slider that shows how exposed he currently is. Justified by the fact that the stealth meter is one of Sam's in-universe gadgets connected to dozens of light sensors sewn into his stealth suit that dynamically measure the illumination around him. In ''Chaos Theory'', the meter is expanded to include the amount of sound Sam is making against the ambient noise of the environment; ''Double Agent'' then switched to a simplified system, where the light on the back of his shoulder and on the lenses of his goggles would change colors depending on the light, with green indicating full invisibility, yellow for lit up enough to be spotted, and red for actually having been spotted.
* WeaponOfMassDestruction: What many of the game's plots revolve around stopping.
** ''Splinter Cell'': An unprovoked invasion on a neighboring country by a PresidentEvil leads to a revelation that he has sold nuclear material to a [[RenegadeRussian renegade Chinese general]] who wishes to start a war by nuking Taiwan. And then a nuclear suitcase bomb by said President Evil is revealed to be hidden somewhere in American soil.
** ''Pandora Tomorrow'': Five smallpox bombs have been hidden in various locations by the terrorists and are on a DeadManSwitch unless they are reset every 24 hours on their boss's orders, which makes killing the BigBad impossible.
** ''Double Agent'': The John Brown's Army developing [[FantasticNuke Red Mercury bombs]], which are more or less non-radioactive nukes, with plans to detonate a few on American targets and sell others to allies in Shanghai.
* WesternTerrorists: Quite a few of the enemies in the series, such as [[TheCracker Phillip Masse]], [[RogueAgent Norman Soth]], [[spoiler: Douglas Shetland]], and the entire John Brown's Army organization.
** In the final mission of ''Pandora Tomorrow'', you can grab one of the terrorists and interrogate him. Sam identifies him as an American based on his accent (from Virginia, by the terrorist's own admission) and calls him out on being an American trying to kill thousands of other Americans. The terrorist's response is that there [[NoTrueScotsman aren't many "real" Americans left these days.]]
* WhamEpisode:
** The Battery level of ''Chaos Theory'' is chock full of Whams right from the beginning, where [[spoiler:a North Korean anti-ship missile is launched at the USS ''Clarence E Walsh'', and an information-warfare attack [[PointDefenseless cripples its defenses]] and leaves it a sitting duck to be sunk by that missile. Sam infiltrates the battery that the missile came from to learn whether it was an intentional act of war or Dvorak was used to autonomously launch by a third party. Right as Sam checks the launcher and confirms the Dvorak fingerprint, Grim states that she can't trace the origin of the launch signal any farther than South Korea's capital, opening the real possibility that they are trying to manipulate America into war... and then [[UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar North Korea commits]], leaving you to abort another missile before you can finish up here, and sending you off to a war-torn Seoul for your next mission.]]
** The ending of ''Double Agent'' where [[spoiler:you can kill Lambert or, in "Version Two", blow his cover.]] It was later confirmed as canon.
* WhatTheHellPlayer:
** Although killing civilians, hostages, or anyone else you're not supposed to would normally just result in an [[NonstandardGameOver instant game over]], in ''Pandora Tomorrow'' you could blow up a French security guard witness with no penalty except for Lambert complaining about how Sam's lost his mind. Likewise, in ''Chaos Theory'', killing civilians or U.S. soldiers simply gives you a 0% score and a serious chiding from MissionControl instead of instantly ending the game.
** There's considerable hilarity to some of Lambert's exclamations; it's a lot of fun trying to [[GottaCatchEmAll Catch Em All]]...
-->'''Lambert:''' Fisher! You just ''killed'' an innocent man!\\
'''Sam:''' Sorry. I thought he was the enemy.
** In some situations, Sam actually demands What The Hell MissionControl. For example, in ''Pandora Tomorrow'', after having a female Shin Bet agent escort him through the city at great personal risk to herself, [[spoiler:Fisher is ordered in the last few seconds he sees her to kill her. If you, as the player, do so (you ''do'' have the option, interestingly), then the first thing Sam says at the beginning of the next scene is "Tell me what I just did, Lambert." When he finds the answer unsatisfactory, he berates his boss for poor decision-making and claiming that shooting unarmed women for little reason is [[NotSoDifferent mighty close to terrorism]]. Said Shin Bet agent actually was planning on betraying you, though. If you refuse to shoot her in the five seconds it takes for the elevator to get moving, she'll be waiting for you with a sniper rifle and a few similarly-armed friends when you start to move back out of the level.]]
* WhenYouComingHomeDad: Occasionally mentioned, as Sarah is left alone while Sam is on missions. [[spoiler:Becomes the reason for Sam becoming a double agent in the fourth game, as he has no family left to go home to, and thus completely commits his life to espionage.]]
* WhyDontYaJustShootHim: Averted, as Sam never gives them the chance since he avoids confronting his enemies face-to-face, preferring to take them out with a minimum of drama at long range or from behind; the few times he presents an opportunity like this, the bad guys hesitate anyway, such as [[spoiler:grabbing Sadono near the end of ''Pandora Tomorrow'' - nobody shoots because they don't want to risk killing their own boss]]. Played straight in ''Conviction'', though. During the final confrontation Director Reed has multiple opportunities to just shoot Sam, but instead just continually goes off on another tangent in his MotiveRant.
* WithThisHerring:
** Sam's earlier missions have his only firearm being his pistol. Him having to retrieve his rifle from a certain location was probably intended to justify this, but it doesn't explain why the NSA or Third Echelon couldn't have issued him an interim rifle before he retrieves the SC-20K.
** ''Pandora Tomorrow'' actually gives him the SC-20K in the second mission, but drops him in the fourth mission in Jerusalem without it, telling him where to pick it up. When [[LampshadeHanging he complains]], Irving says the guy it's with was doing some modifications to the acoustics, and he's pretty much the only person nearby with those kind of skills.
* WouldHitAGirl:
** In the first game, if you do strike Grim during the training mission where she appears in person, you get an instant game over (justified as there really is no reason to do it, and you and her are coworkers). You can likewise kill Frances Coen when she takes over as Sam's runner halfway through the game for an immediate game over.
** In the Jerusalem level of ''Pandora Tomorrow'', you are ordered to [[spoiler:kill a Shin Bet agent supposedly helping you]]. However the player can choose not to, which will come back to bite them later on in the level.
* WorstAid: How does Sam save the villain of ''Chaos Theory'' from a self-inflicted knife wound? By ripping the knife right out, obviously. The original game possibly does poke fun at this sort of thing, however, where a wounded technician in the Kalinatek level asks the player to carry him to the infirmary. Sam promptly carries him there [[OverTheShoulderCarry across his shoulders]] the same way he does any unconscious or dead guards he needs to move out of the way, and the guy exposits for another minute before checking out.
* YouCantThwartStageOne: In the first mission of ''Pandora Tomorrow'', you walk right past a room with BigBad Sadono, and can easily put a bullet in his head without endangering yourself or any hostages, even potentially saving one who's about to be gunned down for [[HeKnowsTooMuch knowing too much]] (this all takes place a week ''before'' Sadono implements his "Pandora Tomorrow" scheme to release smallpox bombs if he dies). However, if you do this, you get an instant Game Over for not following orders, as Lambert wanted to leave Sadono alone until more intel could be gathered.
** Short-circuiting the entire plot in this manner does, however, reward you with one of the more memorable Game Over exchanges:
-->'''Lambert:''' Fisher, what was that?!\\
'''Sam:''' I killed the bad guy.\\
'''Lambert: ''' [[LameExcuse It's not that simple! We can't work that way! The mission's over!]]
** Similarly, in the train mission of the same game you can easily kill [[TheDragon Norman Soth]] and presumably foil Sadono's smallpox scheme before it begins since Soth was the one responsible for procuring the smallpox bombs and sneaking them into America. However, if you do this you will similarly be met with a "Mission's over, Fisher!" communication from Lambert.
** Likewise, killing Dufraisne or Moss in ''Double Agent'' at any time before the endgame results in an instant Game Over.
* YouHaveFailedMe: In the Battery level in ''Chaos Theory'', a North Korean colonel shoots one of his own men after the soldier failed to ascertain what happened when a missile launched itself at a U.S. ship.
* YouLoseAtZeroTrust: In ''Double Agent'', if you lose all trust with either the NSA or JBA, you lose the game.
* YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters: True for ''Pandora Tomorrow'', where Sadano is a hero among Indonesians and even some left-wing westerners.

!!The action-stealth games contain the following examples:

* AbnormalAmmo: In ''Blacklist'', Sam's crossbow can fire EMP chaffs, sticky shockers and sleeping gas.
* ActionBasedMission: Transit Yards in ''Blacklist''. It is notably the only mission in Blacklist without a Undetected check, having a shootout at the very beginning of the level, [[UnexpectedGameplayChange two FPS sections as Briggs]], and forced detections and shootouts at the very end of the level. While the beginning shootout, FPS sections and the middle part of the level as Sam are possible to sneak through (Though tough due to it being a daylight mission and mines being everywhere in the middle Sam section), the ending section is not, and you have to knock out or kill a certain amount of enemies in combat in it.
** Also Charlie's side missions, which focus on killing or knocking out huge waves of enemies with few hiding spots, the enemies already being on alert, and more and tougher enemies as the Mission goes on and you progress through the waves. Briggs' side missions too, with a UAV section at the end of Smuggler's Compound that is almost impossible to sneak through (The only way being to make sure whoever is currently controlling the UAV doesn't fire a single shot, and the player on the ground carefully picking off the snipers, dogs and sentries with gas bolts and proximity shockers while moving forward and hiding as best as they can from everything else), the second half of Missile Plant requiring you to knock out or kill a huge number of enemies, the scrapyard at beginning of Voron Station being very hard to get through Undetected (The first sections having two dogs and a lot of guards in a small enclosed area, and the second having multiple guards and Heavies that need to be killed or knocked out to progress including a HVT, with both sections having a huge number reinforcements if you get detected. The rest of the level is fairly easy to sneak through, though), and Abandoned City outright forcing you to get detected and gun down waves of enemies at the end of it (Despite the level having Undetected and Non-Lethal checks, they are impossible to achieve due to this).
* ActionPrologue: In ''Blacklist''.
* ActionizedSequel: The series post-''Double Agent''.
** ''Conviction'', based on the emphasis of the "Mark & Execute" feature, and the reduction/removal of features used to distract and incapacitate rather than kill.
** ''Blacklist'' was at first shaping up to be even more of this, with a variety of new offensive moves such as running "Executes", but it also features more stealthy options to accommodate, ample opportunity to stealth one's way through every level without being seen or so much as killing a single person like in games of old and an added Perfectionist difficulty that takes away melees from the front and Mark & Execute.
* AKA47: {{Averted|Trope}} in ''Conviction''. All of the guns are called by their real-life names. The only one that isn't is highly fictionalized.
* AllThereInTheManual: The events that happened between ''Conviction'' and ''Blacklist'' (including the formation of Fourth Echelon) only occur in a tie-in graphic novel that's included with the ''Blacklist'' Collector's Edition.
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent:
** The Iraq level in ''Conviction'' is played as a straight-up, ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar''-esque shooter where you have no access to suppressed weapons and there are little to no stealth mechanics involved, let alone options for stealth. This is because [[spoiler:you're not playing as Sam, but as another SEAL entirely - Victor Coste]].
** In the Philadelphia level in ''Blacklist'', the player takes control of [[spoiler:Briggs as he goes to disarm two of the four Blacklist bombs in the trainyard]]. This segment is played from a first-person perspective. Later subverted when [[spoiler:the hooded character you control in the final mission, "Site F" (who is controlled in third-person) turns out to be Briggs, not Sam]].
* ApologeticAttacker: Briggs softly apologizes right before killing [[spoiler:the Secretary of Defense]].
* AscendedExtra: Grim goes from being a VoiceWithAnInternetConnection to a main character in ''Conviction'', though she still keeps some of her old role. Taken further in some of the side materials such as [[http://endwargame.us.ubi.com/article.php?news_id=8702 one of the "anecdotes"]] for ''VideoGame/EndWar'', she outright became Director of Third Echelon. ''Conviction'' [[RetCon makes this unlikely]], [[spoiler:what with Third Echelon being destroyed and replaced by Fourth Echelon in ''Blacklist''.]]
* AnAssKickingChristmas: Blacklist takes place around the holiday season. One mission in particular has you infiltrating a shopping mall. Bonus points for the cheery little Christmas song that plays when you're slitting terrorists' throats.
* AuthorAppeal: ''Conviction'' has this, though unusually for such a trope, the effect is not so much on story or themes so much as on gameplay. The project's ([[DevelopmentHell eventual]]) creative director Maxime Béland thought that the kind of slow-paced, careful observation and timing that were used in games like ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' and the previous Splinter Cell titles was boring, equating such movement speed to being like that of a "grandma". The "Mark & Execute" feature is something that he carried over from his previous project, ''VideoGame/RainbowSix: Vegas'', which [[WordOfGod he admits in interviews]] is simply a gameplay device and has no in-universe justification for why its mechanics work the way they do. The grayscale tones that the world adopts when Sam goes into hiding were inspired by his hobby of black and white photography.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Completely averted though in ''Conviction'' -- "bosses" (read: interrogation targets) may shoot at you but don't have better perception than the mooks, and they're subdued just as easily.
* BadassCrew: In ''Blacklist'', Sam assembles a team of elite operatives from several different agencies.
* BadCopIncompetentCop: In the ''Blacklist'' "Transit Yards" mission, Sam tails Sadiq's lieutenant into a subway station, wherein the lieutenant takes a HumanShield. An on-duty officer, who has no knowledge of what has happened, threatens the lieutenant and then shoots him in the head (despite Sam telling him not to, while also pointing a gun at the lieutenant), and then decides to arrest the man in a black-ops suit wearing specialized goggles on his head. His behavior is lampshaded in the next scene, when Charlie (who is talking to Sam after he's released from the station) calls the officer "Philadelphia's finest".
** It can also be seen more like "uninformed cop." From the cop's perspective, the lieutenant was a terrorist in the middle of a terrorist attack who was holding a gun on an innocent hostage, and the only one telling him not to shoot was someone in tactical gear with no official identification. Cops are trained to put the safety of innocents first.
* BagOfSpilling:
** Somewhere between ''Double Agent'' and ''Conviction'', Sam appears to have lost the ability to knock enemies out without killing them. Excluding one portion of a mid-game level, whenever you walk up to an enemy in ''Conviction'', the button prompt for a hand-to-hand takedown appears as "Kill". The justification is that Sam just doesn't care anymore. The knockout ability was restored in ''Blacklist''.
** Also in ''Conviction'', the non-lethal gadgets - airfoil rounds, sticky shockers, sticky cameras with knockout gas canisters. This can be justified in that he no longer works for Third Echelon and hasn't the access to the same resources he used to. Like the preceding example, non-lethal gadgets were restored in ''Blacklist''.
** Although Sam has access to more firepower in ''Conviction'', even the upgraded version of his old gun he stumbles across no longer has the launcher attachment.
** Sam can no longer switch his weapon over to his left hand to shoot around corners from ''Conviction'' onwards.
* BalconyEscape: Used several times throughout the series.
* BaldOfAwesome: In ''Double Agent'', Fisher gets sent to prison in order to infiltrate the terrorist group. His head gets shaved in the process.
* BaldOfEvil: ''Conviction'' has Dmitri Gramkos and ''Blacklist'' has Sadiq.
* BadBoss: Tom Reed, Director of Third Echelon in ''Conviction'', shoots a pilot for wanting gas money. This is a man who is running a national conspiracy which doubtless requires of hundreds of thousands of dollars at least.
--> "Fuel isn't free, man!" ''*bang bang*''
* BatmanGambit: In ''Blacklist'', the Engineers declare that they will carry out terrorist attacks until all American troops abroad are taken home. [[spoiler: Sadiq correctly predicts that the US command will not comply to the orders, but will try to prevent the attacks, by evacuating the Secretary of Defense to a bunker in Denver. This move allows Sadiq to extract American nuclear weapon codes, which is his actual objective.]]
* BeatingADeadPlayer: Enemies in ''Blacklist'' will continue to shoot your corpse long after you are dead.
* BerserkButton: Near the end of the second act of ''Conviction'' [[spoiler:Sam learns that his friend, Lambert, faked Sarah's death to stop a mole from using her as leverage against Sam. When Sam learns the truth he becomes so enraged that he gains the ability to instantly execute any enemies unfortunate enough to enter his line of sight.]]
* BigBadDuumvirate: ''Conviction'', like its predecessors, fits the trope with villains Andriy Kobin and [[spoiler:Tom Reed, the director of Third Echelon]]. {{Averted|Trope}} in ''Blacklist'', however, as Majd Sadiq remains the central focus of the game's plot.
* BlatantItemPlacement: ''Conviction'' has "Weapons Stashes", which include every weapon you've picked up or bought, complete with refills. In the traditional sense, ''Conviction'' also averts it; Sam now gets [[BottomlessMagazines unlimited pistol magazines]], and enemies have a certain range of weapons depending on the mission. Only a few of the later missions have a Weapon Stash at the beginning of the mission (Diwaniya, Iraq and Washington Monument have none), so all long guns would have to be taken from enemies until reaching one.
* BlatantLies: Appears in ''Conviction''. When Archer (one of the co-op characters) grabs an enemy soldier, the last thing anyone ever says to them is "Keep quiet, and I promise I won't hurt you."
* BloodierAndGorier: ''Conviction'' has some brutal [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique interrogation]] scenes, some of which are important to the plot.
* BondOneLiner: Sam starts using these in ''Conviction'', to let the player know the area's clear, as well as randomly after dropping down on enemies or grabbing them from behind. [[spoiler:'That never gets old' indeed]].
* BottomlessMagazines:
** All pistols in ''Conviction'' have unlimited reloads.
** The AK-47 you're forced to use in the Iraq flashback is also given unlimited reloads.
** ''Blacklist'' also gives you unlimited pistol ammo-but only on Rookie difficulty.
* BrickJoke: The FramingDevice of ''Conviction'' is Vic Coste's interrogation by [[spoiler:Black Arrow]]. In ''Blacklist'', [[spoiler:the ending shows that Vic is to be one of the chief interrogators of Majid Sadiq in Guantanamo Bay, a direct reversal]].
* BroadStrokes: ''Conviction'' makes references to one exclusive element from each version of ''Double Agent'' - Sam shooting Lambert in New York City (from Version One, as opposed to Sam enhancing/compromising Lambert's cover as an arms dealer in Version Two) and Sarah Fisher dying in 2008 (from Version Two, as opposed to 2007 in Version One). This of course disqualifies either version from being completely canon and creates a degree of irreconcilability, as no mention is made of other choices the player had to make (such as whether or not to blow up the cruise ship in Cozumel and killing or sparing Hisham in Kinshasa).
* BulletProofVest:
** Explicitly shown in ''Conviction'' first during the "flash-forwards" to the ending, then in the Downtown mission when [[spoiler:Sarah]] gives him a tactical vest. The difference in protection is negligible, especially since the more useful portable EMP backpack was ruined, and was useless due to the events in the preceding scene.
** In ''Blacklist'', the enemy Heavy Infantry play this extremely straight, being completely invulnerable to body shots or electric attacks like the sticky shocker. Sam can also upgrade his ops suit for greater levels of protection.
* ButThouMust: ''Conviction'' adds segments that are impossible to get through without killing enemies (or at least knocking them out with a throw). For example, the first portion of the tutorial requires that the player kill two thugs. Sneaking by the thugs is possible, but doing so causes the camera to turn around as an objective projection reminds the player to kill them.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: No appearance or mention is made of William Redding and Lawrence Williams in ''Conviction'' despite their heavy involvement in ''Essentials''. The same goes for Charlie Fryman, who is a significant minor character in ''Conviction'', but is never heard from again.
* CombatPragmatist: Sam, particularly in ''Conviction''. [[RedOniBlueOni Archer and Kestrel]] also fulfill this in the ''Conviction'' prologue.
* ComicBookFantasyCasting: In ''Conviction'', President Patricia Caldwell is transparently an {{Expy}} of Hilary Clinton. With Meryl Streep's face, no less.
* CompetitiveBalance: In ''Blacklist'', players are given flexibility with their playstyle, [[PanderingToTheBase appeasing both pre- and post-reboot fans]]. Player score is determined by three areas: [[invoked]]
** Ghost: focuses on remaining hidden and non-lethal/indirect assaults. Effectively a swift version of the old approaches.
** Panther: with specialties in [[ConfusionFu flanking and outsmarting]], and lethal attacks. Akin to the aggressive but quiet approaches introduced in ''Chaos Theory'' and ''Double Agent''.
** Assault: which sacrifices stealth for a [[DifficultButAwesome risky-but-powerful]] approaches. Favors the ''Conviction'' fans, but fixes several issues it held.
* ControllableHelplessness:
** In ''Conviction'' [[spoiler: Grim holds Sam at gunpoint]] and you can't do anything about it other than advance or stall futilely.
** Played with in ''Blacklist''. Near the end of the final mission, Sam is escorted in cuffs out of the Site F bunker by one of Sadiq's men. However, Sam voluntarily let himself get captured (as [[spoiler:Briggs was sent to draw out Sadiq himself]]), and after a few moments of being forced to walk forward to the airfield, Sam easily subdues his captor when the order to engage is given.
** In the final mission of the ''Blacklist'' co-op campaign, a chopper explodes and knocks Sam and Briggs unconscious while they're escaping the Voron facility with the package. The ensuing sequence has the two players taking out Voron soldiers while laying on the ground near-incapacitated.
* CoolOldGuy: In "Conviction", Sam can hop up from one tiny ledge to another, run up walls and even scale an entire building with his bare hands with minimal effort despite being 54.
* CountingBullets: Played with in ''Blacklist''. When Sadiq has Sam held hostage during the "Abandoned Mill" mission, Briggs assumes that the former's weapon (a Makarov) only has one round left in the chamber, and tells him as such. Sadiq pulls the trigger anyway, but his mag is empty. Sadiq then mocks Briggs for being wrong before running away.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: The moment Fisher hits [=0HP=] he promptly crumples into a ragdoll heap.
* CrueltyIsTheOnlyOption:
** Added as a feature in ''Conviction''. The most obvious are the {{Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique}}s scenes, but more subtly are place in the game where Sam is required to kill {{Mooks}}.
* DarkerAndEdgier: Even moreso than the earlier games, which get grim rather quickly. ''Conviction'''s premise is that Sam has left the NSA and is investigating his daughter's death when he stumbles onto a treasonous conspiracy against the President being conducted by [[spoiler:Third Echelon]], finding out along the way that Sarah's death wasn't an accident. ''Blacklist'' features probably the most competent enemy Sam has ever faced, an entire series of massive terrorist attacks being committed against America, and is very humorless, with even the slight GallowsHumor found in ''Conviction'' absent.
* DefiantToTheEnd: Subverted in ''Blacklist''. The Secretary of Defense is defiant for a time, but eventually breaks under torture.
* {{Determinator}}: Showcased especially when, against all recommendations and fears in ''Blacklist'', he [[spoiler:poisons himself with VX nerve gas to place a tracker, and continues fighting his way through the remainder of the ensuing mission while insisting that he is fine, even [[ComplainingAboutRescuesTheyDontLike berating Briggs]] for saving him instead of killing Sadiq]].
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything:
** While playing the very last level of the ''Conviction'', you may get the impression you have seen it before, provided you watched [[spoiler: ''xXx: The State of the Union'']].
** ''Blacklist'' reads like a play-by-play re-enactment of the last three seasons of ''Series/TwentyFour'', including a female president who negotiates with terrorists and ignore the advice of the lead character, a female operator/tech support, a nerdy programmer, a support character who doesn't approve of the lead's actions, liberal usage of ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight and the villains attacking key American installations and officials. Not helping matters is that the lead villain is mocapped and voiced by Carlo Rota, who plays Morris in said series.
* DownerEnding: ''Conviction's'' [[spoiler:the Co-op campaign . The only solace in it is that Reed ends up dead and Kobin gets hurt badly by Sam in the singleplayer campaign]]. The co-op ending for ''Blacklist'' retcons this so that [[spoiler:Kestrel was merely wounded, not outright killed, and he is later rescued from Voron by Sam and Briggs. Archer is still dead, though]].
* EnemyChatter: Happens in several installments.
* EqualOpportunityEvil: The Engineers are mentioned to be borderless. While most of the higher-ups are Arabs, their leader is British, and the regular mercenaries include Americans, Arabs, British, Mexicans, and Russians. While you don't encounter any female Engineers in-game, it is implied in the Gone Dark missions that female Engineers do exist.
* EvilBrit: Sadiq.
** The Mooks in Abandoned Mill and Hawkins Seafort all have British accents.
* EvilGloating: In the end of the White House mission in Conviction, Reed gloats to Fisher about his master plan. Reed does so long enough for Fisher to "mark" all of the enemies, as well as grab Reed when he gets close enough to him, allowing Grim and Sam to kill all the rogue Splinter Cells.
* {{Expy}}: Victor Coste in ''Conviction'' is an Expy of Victor Sullivan from ''{{VideoGame/Uncharted}}''. His backstory is also extremely reminiscent of Douglas Shetland's from ''Pandora Tomorrow'' and ''Chaos Theory'', he is a private security contractor who was once an enlisted sailor serving with Sam; both Shetland and Coste were also personally involved in rescue missions involving Sam. ''Essentials'' has a mission where you play as Sam rescuing Shetland from FARC guerrillas in Colombia in 1992 and ''Conviction'' [[spoiler:has a mission where you play as Coste rescuing his commanding officer, Sam, from Republican Guard soldiers in Iraq in 1991.]]
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Third Echelon itself]], where as a whole with the exception of [[spoiler:Grim and her techie friend, Charlie Fryman, who has some serious hero-worship for Fisher]], their tactical personnel are to a man loyal to the BigBad and resolute in hunting Sam down, not to mention seemingly being OK with [[spoiler: assassinating the President of the United States]].
* FacelessGoons: Omnipresent, of course, but special notice has to be given to you playing one in the Iraq flashback level of ''Conviction'', tasked with rescuing your squad leader. [[spoiler: You're Victor Coste, rescuing Sam.]]
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:Sarah Fisher]].
* FinalBoss: ''Blacklist'' has an [[{{Callback}} extremely similar]] ending fight to ''Double Agent'' (Version Two) with Sadiq, right down to Sam losing his weapon and having to use the environment to evade the boss for a bit.
* {{Fingore}}: In the final mission in ''Blacklist'', Sadiq has one of his men cut off [[spoiler:the U.S. Secretary of Defense's]] finger in order to compel him to give up vital information.
* FlashForward: Several times in ''Conviction'' to [[spoiler: the White House and being held at gunpoint by Grim.]]
* FollowTheLeader: ''Blacklist'' taps into the same "Occupy Wall Street is coming to get you" zeitgeist that ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'' and ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps2'' did. By the time the game was released (late 2013), Occupy had already fizzled into obscurity.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: In the final mission of ''Blacklist'', the hooded operative not only doesn't sound like Sam when he's climbing up walls, but his kill/knockout animations are different. [[spoiler:This is because the player character is Briggs, not Sam]].
* FramingDevice: Conviction is told by Vic... oddly enough, as an interrogation by [[spoiler:Black Arrow]].

* GameplayAndStoryIntegration: In ''Conviction'' co-op, players can Execute enemies that their allies have Marked or share in Executions, with both of them killing a different enemy at the same time. In the last level of the single player campaign, [[spoiler:Grim holds Sam at gunpoint to get close to Reed and prevent him from killing President Caldwell. Once you reach the Oval Office, you have to Mark all of the enemy Splinter Cells in the room; in the following cutscene, Grim kills half of them, Execution-style, while Sam kills the other half in the same way, much like a co-op Execution.]]
* GasLeakCoverup:
** A gas leak is the reason given in the "Washington Monument" level of ''Conviction'' to clear out the area so the mercenaries can go in to hunt down Sam.
** Used again in ''Blacklist'' to cover up the vehicles Grim destroyed with a UAV in Tehran. [[BlatantLies Of course a gas leak could destroy a dozen SUVs while leaving everything else around them okay]], but [[JustifiedTrope the Iranian government goes along with it]] since they are no more eager than Fourth Echelon to engage in a shooting war with the U.S.
* GasMaskMooks: The last part of the stages in ''Conviction'''s Hunter multiplayer mode has these, as does the Washington Monument stage after aforementioned GasLeakCoverup.
* GenreBlindness: Despite having clearly been briefed on Sam's abilities and tactics, Black Arrow mercenaries in ''Conviction'' ''will'' split up to search for Sam and walk within melee range of cover points.
* GetIntoJailFree: In ''Conviction'', the setting for the first mission past the OpeningNarration. In ''Blacklist'', [[spoiler: Sam needs to pose as a prisoner at the Guantanamo prison.]]
* GunshipRescue: You get to hide from a helicopter on the enemy's side [[spoiler: some time before Vic's own chopper shows up to blow it away]] in the "Michigan Ave Reservoir" level of ''Conviction''.
* HarderThanHard: The promised Perfectionist difficulty in ''Blacklist'' is a return to classic stealth play, removing melees from the front and Mark & Execute.
* HeelFaceTurn: [[spoiler:Andriy Kobin]] in ''Blacklist''. He even becomes an official team member at the end of the game.
* HellishCopter: The prologue mission in ''Blacklist'' begins with Sam and Vic's chopper being hit with the force of a massive explosion and crashing just outside the perimeter of an army base.
* HeroicBSOD:
** [[spoiler:Kobin kills either Archer or Kestrel, while they are at grief on how they've had to kill the other.]]
** In Conviction's single player, when Sam infiltrates [[spoiler:Third Echelon]] this gets invoked since he's so upset over [[spoiler:Lambert's work and eventual death by Sam's hand to protect Fisher and his daughter]]. To put it into perspective, Sam is so pissed the player gets to stride out of an exploding building in constant slow-mo with automatic marks and infinite executes for a scene.
* HumanShield:
** In ''Conviction'' taking human shields will give Sam the ability to execute (counting as a melee "kill"), and several of the Challenges involve using human shields. However, he can only knock out a hostage by "throwing" them, as if he's standing still they're killed. (Unfortunately since dead bodies can't be moved in ''Conviction'', the only way to "hide the body" is to throw a human shield out of enemy view.) They're not as good at stopping fire this time around, as enemies are less hesitant to fire and the bodies will only take so much damage -- and even less when the enemies are eventually only using long guns -- before Sam discards them.
** In ''Blacklist'', one of Sadiq's lieutenants takes a human shield while exiting a Philadelphia subway station. [[spoiler:The cops shoot him before Sam can grab him for questioning]].
* HyperspaceArsenal: Although there are some limits on how many weapons and gadgets Sam can carry in ''Blacklist'', he can conceivably hold a primary/secondary weapon, several types of grenades, a Tri-Rotor drone and extra ammo clips.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: In ''Blacklist''. Grim says this, nearly verbatim, when she's forced to justify her usage of a drone to destroy the Iranian forces pursuing Sam and Griggs while they're escaping from the embassy.
* IHaveYourWife: Used by ''[[{{Antihero}} Sam]]'' of all people in ''Blacklist'' against an Iranian general's wife & son to get access to a fortified base in the heart of Tehran. He even shows the general a live video feed proving that he can have them killed at any second. [[spoiler:Although it turns out Sam was bluffing about it.]]
* ImpairmentShot: In the Abandoned Mill mission in ''Blacklist'', the camera wobbles and goes blurry as [[spoiler:Sam suffers from the effects of nerve gas poisoning]].
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: In the "American Fuel" mission in ''Blacklist'', Sam forces the vehicle Sadiq's lieutenant is escaping in (an ambulance) to crash into a guardrail, and the latter is impaled by shrapnel. Sam can either choose to end his misery after interrogating him, or send in a medical team to extract him.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: ''Conviction'' with Mark & Execute.
* ImprovisedWeapon: In ''Conviction'', [[spoiler:Sam finds and [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique interrogates/beats up]] Kobin at Third Echelon headquarters.]] The target tries to fight back by snapping off an American flag mounted in the room, which doesn't work and instead lets Sam stab a flag through his shoulder, [[RuleOfSymbolism which feels strangely symbolic]].
* InfinityMinusOneSword: Beating each of the side mission chains (Grim, Charlie and [[spoiler:Kobin]]'s) in ''Blacklist'' unlocks the best armor for each playstyle (Ghost, Panther and Assault, respectively), as well as several powerful guns. In the single-player campaign, they can make certain levels a cakewalk, while you pretty much need the fully-upgraded assault gear to survive the final co-op missions.
* InformedAbility: Sam is stated to be a [[CombatPragmatist Krav Maga practitioner]]. Up until ''Conviction'', his hand to hand combat moves don't even remotely resemble Krav Maga. Then again, the novels are of questionable canonicity, so this can be excused.
* InfraredXRayCamera: Clancy wanted it changed to something more realistic, but Ubisoft stuck to their guns, resulting in Sam's new Sonar Goggles in ''Conviction'' basically combine the functions of the old goggles, and let him see and mark his foes through walls. In ''Blacklist'', these are upgraded to include "Sonar Infrared" to act in much the same way with the addition of seeing their live or dead state, or other similar functions.
* InkSuitActor: Eric Johnston provides the mocap work and voice for Sam in ''Blacklist'', along with Carlo Rota doing mocap work for the game's primary villain, Sadiq.
* InSeriesNickname:
** Anna Grímsdóttir is "the IceQueen of Third Echelon" by ''Conviction''.
** In ''Conviction'', Archer likes to call Kestrel 'chief'. [[spoiler:This is used as part of Kestrel's IronicEcho if Archer shoots him]].
* InterfaceSpoiler: A minor example in ''Blacklist''. When you visit the mission selection screen for the first time onboard the Paladin, it informs you that you are going to extract [[spoiler:Andriy Kobin]], which isn't revealed until the mission cutscene (or even later, if you do any of the side missions beforehand).
* IronicEcho:
** ''Conviction'': [[spoiler:Kestrel repeats a much earlier phrase said by Archer that "Orders are orders.", followed up by "Right, chief?" ('chief' being Archer's InSeriesNickname for him.) if Archer kills him. This is implied to be the canon based on the fact that Archer's corpse is on display in Kobin's mansion, implying he was the second kill.]]
** ''Blacklist'': [[spoiler:When Sam interrogates him about the location of Sadiq, Nouri says that Sadiq is "right behind [him]", and he knows all about Fourth Echelon. In the climax, when Sadiq asks Briggs where Sam is, Briggs responds "right behind you". Not literally, but it's pretty close.]]
* ISurrenderSuckers: A staple of the series.
** In ''Conviction'', the game ends [[spoiler:with Sam, with Grim's help, breaking out of handcuffs to take out the other Splinter Cells before neutralizing Reed. "MARK EVERYONE"]] ''indeed''.
** In ''Blacklist'', the general Sam is escorting into the Iranian Embassy's server room turns on him and takes him hostage. Sam drops his weapon and lets the general ramble for a moment before giving Grim the signal to cut the power in the room.
*** [[spoiler:Sam himself pulls this at the end of the game, allowing himself while disguised as an Air Force General to be captured by the Engineers so he can get a chance to take out Sadiq.]]
* IWasNeverHere: In ''Conviction'', at the end of the game [[spoiler:President Caldwell says something amounting to this about Sam's presence, with a gun pointed at Reed]].
--> '''Army Ranger Captain''': Drop your weapon! On the floor, now!\\
[[spoiler:'''President Caldwell''': Captain, thank you for rescuing me. Now I don't see anyone else here but us. And I'm sure you don't either.]]\\
[[spoiler:'''Army Ranger Captain''': ''(after a moment)'' No ma'am. Let's get you out of here.]]
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique:
** ''Conviction'' features this; the first gameplay footage is of Sam beating answers out of a thug in a restroom. Possibly a JustifiedTrope since Sam has gone rogue and has few resources aside from himself, making it difficult for him to coax information out any other way.
-->[[spoiler:'''Lucius Galliard:''']] Your advanced interrogation techniques need work.\\
'''Sam Fisher''': ''*slams the guy through a piece of the landscape*''
* JigglePhysics: Grim, in ''Conviction''. Very noticeable near the beginning of the third level (Price Airfield).
* KilledMidSentence: This happens ''a lot'' to the enemy goons in ''Conviction'', given how they never seem to shut up until they get dropped by a headshot from the shadows.
* KnightTemplar: The Engineers in ''Blacklist'', who are trying to force the U.S. to pull their military forces out of all foreign countries they are currently stationed in (All 153 of them) in retaliation to atrocities America has committed in those countries and/or the belief that American influence is corrupting/has corrupted those countries by unleashing devastating terror attacks on major U.S. cities. Notably, some of the Engineers themselves are American.
* LampshadeHanging: In ''Conviction's'' penultimate mission, a Black Arrow operator in front of the [[spoiler:White House]] gate is telling two others what a bad idea it is to (unknowingly) give Sam Fisher a great way to breach their perimeter:
-->'''Black Arrow trooper:''' You just parked a couple hundred gallons of highly explosive fuel in the middle of our defensive position, where people may be shooting at it with guns. How fucking stupid are you?
* LaserHallway: In ''Conviction'' the lasers can only be seen through goggles; in ''Blacklist'' they are visible to the naked eye.
* LaserSight: Used by some Mooks in the first few games, optional for Sam, and can be purchased as an upgrade for several guns in ''Conviction'' and ''Blacklist''.
* LastSecondEndingChoice: ''Conviction'' can have you choose whether Sam executes Tom Reed or not. [[spoiler: If you don't, Grim shoots him anyway, so the the only thing it really changes is the tone of the scene.]]
* LateArrivalSpoiler:
** Seeing as how ''Conviction'' is a franchise relaunch, it explains most of the plot of the preceding four games in its intro and first couple missions. This means [[spoiler:Lambert's death]] is canon, and is summarily said as such in the opening of the game.
** The marketing and trailers for ''Blacklist'' play up the fact that [[spoiler:Third Echelon is gone and Fourth Echelon have taken their place.]]
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: In ''Conviction'', Sam assures his worried daughter in a {{Flashback}}, who is scared of the dark, telling her that the dark can be used to hide yourself from bad guys. Which, of course, he and the player has been doing for the entire series.
* LeftHanging: Interested in that Megiddo group that apparently [[AncientConspiracy pulls the strings of the U.S. government?]] Well, ''Blacklist'' isn't.
* LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt: In universe, Sadiq simply refuses to believe that [[spoiler: Briggs]] would kill [[spoiler: the Secretary of Defense]] in cold blood. ''[[spoiler:He's wrong.]]''
* LimitedLoadout: In ''Conviction,'' Sam and the two co-op characters Archer and Kestrel are only able to carry one main weapon (a rifle or shotgun) and a pistol. Sam can carry every type of gadget at once but the co-op characters get just any two at a time.
* LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition: Most installments of the series have had these.
* LocomotiveLevel: The Philadelphia mission in ''Blacklist'' has Sam pursue one of Sadiq's lieutenants through a trainyard, and then through a subway train.

* MagicalDefibrillator: The co-op characters in ''Conviction'' get one. Taken to ridiculous extremes when you realize that the person being revived is ''still conscious''.
* MarqueeAlterEgo: Sam starts ''Conviction'' as a guy in a sweater with a gun. Over the course of the game he ends up acquiring first his signature pistol, then goggles that look just like his old ones--whipped up by a fanboy, no less--then a newer version of his trademark rifle, then a bulletproof vest, and now he looks more or less like good ol' Sam. [[spoiler:Which is why Grim stripping him of his weapons and goggles is a nice bit of symbolism about removing his defenses, making him vulnerable.]]
* MarriedToTheJob: Discussed in the credits of ''Blacklist'':
-->'''[[spoiler:Sarah]]:''' You're staying with them? With the job?\\
'''Sam:''' You know I have to. But I'll come back when I can.
* {{Masquerade}}: Changed in the later games, as Third Echelon starts to loudly proclaim their existence in their offices at NSA ([[spoiler: as seen in the infiltration level of Conviction]]) all the more bizarre. One can only assume Reed changed ''a lot'' after he was in charge.
* MenAreTheExpendableGender: ''Conviction'' seems fairly good in regards to gender equality, with a female President and of course Grim. Then you see that all of the enemies you face are male. This isn't quite as straightly pulled in other installments, however, for various reasons.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler: Briggs kills the Secretary of Defense before he can give Sadiq the national security information he was after. Considering how Sadiq was going to torture the Secretary to death, it was the only merciful option available.]]
* MickeyMousing: The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewF0_nDIrCc launch trailer]] for ''Conviction'' punctuates the beats to "[[Music/JohnnyCash God's Gonna Cut You Down]]" with gunshots and explosions.
* MotiveRant: [[spoiler:Reed's]] is an interesting example, as at specific points it is possible for Sam to [[ShutUpHannibal interrupt him]], and the rant segues from [[spoiler:Reed's desire for what he sees as an incompetent president forcibly removed from office,]] to delivering petty insults to [[spoiler:the helpless Caldwell and Sam]].
* MultinationalTeam: ''Conviction's'' co-op campaign (serving as a prequel for Sam's solo campaign), features the duo of Kestrel (Russian Voron) and Archer (American Third Echelon) teaming up to stop [[RenegadeRussian renegade Russians]] from selling some nukes. [[spoiler: Then, at the end of the campaign, you find out you've been stealing them for Reed, and you have to kill your partner. Whoops!]]
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: Played with in ''Blacklist''. Sadiq tells Sam at the end that if he is killed, several nations will rise up and attack the U.S. on a much bigger scale. [[spoiler:Sam TakesAThirdOption and fakes Sadiq's death, so that the latter can be interrogated for what he knows]].
* NebulousEvilOrganisation: Megiddo, a secretive, sinister organisation that plays a central role in the plot of ''Conviction''. According to Tom Reed, Megiddo has great influence in Washington, Moscow, and Beijing. President Caldwell would not cooperate with Megiddo, so they plotted to assassinate her and replace her with the VP, who happens to be controlled by the organisation. Although Sam foiled their plot, the organisation remains at large. Megiddo does not play a role in ''Blacklist'' aside from being briefly mentioned in a "Gone Dark" mission.
* NecessaryDrawback: In the guns of ''Conviction''.
* NeckLift: Sam gets the ability to grab interrogation targets by the trachea in ''Conviction'', letting him raise enemies to their tip-toes and drag and throw them around.
* NeckSnap: Briggs uses this to kill [[spoiler:the Secretary of Defense.]] Also very popular in hand-to-hand takedown moves in ''Conviction''.
* NewMeat: Subverted with Briggs in ''Blacklist''. At the beginning of the game, he's a new recruit from Langley who provides overwatch for Sam during missions, and later gets chewed out by Sam for choosing to save the latter's life instead of pursuing Sadiq. By the end of the game, however, he's a fully-realized Splinter Cell, to the point that [[spoiler:he's the player character during the final mission, and even goes as far as to exercise the Fifth Freedom to kill the United States Secretary of Defense]].
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler:It would seem the only reason Reed could carry out his plan is because Kestrel and Archer secured those EMP devices for him.]]
* NoCutsceneInventoryInertia: Averted in ''Blacklist''. The in-mission cutscenes have slightly different sequences based on which weapon Sam is holding. For example, in the Abandoned Mill mission, when Sam and Briggs reach the rooftop, the former will either shoot or stun the pursuing soldier based on whether Sam has a stun gun or pistol/rifle in his hand.
* NoGearLevel:
** In the latter half of the Abandoned Mill mission in ''Blacklist'', Sam loses most of his gear and gadgets after being captured by Sadiq. When Briggs arrives to rescue him, all Sam has is his sidearm, secondary weapon (if he brought one) and a stun gun.
** When Sam infiltrates a prison by disguising himself as a prisoner, he is armed only with a stun gun slipped to him by Briggs. He has no goggles, no HUD, and no other weapons until recovering his gear.
** The last section of "Site F" in ''Blacklist'' has Sam (who is only armed with his karambit knife) take on Sadiq in a snowy airfield.
* NoodleIncident:
** During the end credits of ''Blacklist'', Sam and Vic discuss an incident where Sam almost bought an ''elephant'' while they were serving a tour of duty. Charlie asks them why they wanted to buy an elephant, and Sam responds with, "It was a long time ago."
** In ''Blacklist'', the introduction played in the lobby of the Transit Yards mission includes Charlie telling an unknown speaker how he's got source code to help him in hacking. The speaker's response is "This better not be like that time you said you had root access to that bank in Sweden.", to which Charlie backfires with "C'mon, now why you gotta go bringing that up?"
* NoPartyGiven: Averted. Vice President Calvin Samson is explicitly identified as a Blue Dog Democrat in a bipartisan administration, which makes President Caldwell a Republican.
* NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom:
** Most of the levels in ''Conviction'' are extremely linear. Sam will stay on the right path because there is only one route at all - other doorways are blocked by [[InsurmountableWaistHighFence cleaning equipment]] or other obstacles.
** ''Blacklist'' averts this by rewarding the player for choosing to search around the level or try alternate paths, via "Exploration" bonuses.
* NotQuiteDead: [[spoiler:Agent Kestrel (of ''Conviction'''s co-op campaign)]] in ''Blacklist''.
* OccupiersOutOfOurCountry: Majid Sadiq in ''Blacklist'' takes this UpToEleven by demanding that U.S. forces leave ''all'' foreign countries they are stationed in - all ''153'' countries.
* OddCouple: In ''Conviction's'' co-op, the American spy, "Archer", is kind of a more dickish Sam, while the Russian, "Kestrel" is quiet and [[ApologeticAttacker actively regretful about having to kill his countrymen]], no matter how corrupt.
* OneDoseFitsAll: In the first game, the gas exuded by the smoke bombs and diversion cameras will knock every enemy out a fixed period of time after it hits them.
* OptionalStealth: ''Blacklist'' gives players the option of choosing to complete missions in "Ghost" mode (enemies are avoided and knocked-out rather than killed), "Panther" (stealth kills) or "Assault" (combat kills and straight-up gun battles).
* PacifistRun: Both averted and allowed in ''Conviction''. Averted in that even if you're able to sneak up onto Kobin in the second mission, you're told that you ''have'' to neutralize the guards before interrogating him. On the other hand, there's a Challenge for completing a level without firing a shot; fortunately melee kills that automatically use pistol shots don't count against you and it's actually very easy to complete at the Lincoln Memorial since you only get a weapon for the last third, at which point you start not far from the end of the level anyway. Technically, all enemies in ''Conviction'' are killed, even if you dispose of them with seemingly "non-lethal" methods. When guards find them, they explicitly act as if they are dead.
* PaintingTheMedium: ''Conviction'' and ''Blacklist'' use the rather cool technique of 'projecting' elements like mission objectives, backstory, and Sam's thoughts onto the surrounding environment. For example, as Sam approaches a mansion the words "Infiltrate the Mansion" appear on its facade like they're being beamed from a film projector. This also works in the Dev Diaries, where words, phrases, and titles will be projected on background elements. ''Blacklist'' has a similar style, with teammates appearing on the walls when they speak to Sam over the radio.
** ''Blacklist'' also does this in the briefing for the final mission. Normally, when the game asks if you're ready to start the mission, the camera focuses on Sam, and once you say yes, Sam starts issuing orders. In the final mission, Sam asks his team if they're going to work with him (since it's completely against orders), and the prompt to start the mission appears three times, focusing on each teammate in turn. Each time you say yes, that teammate tells him "Go for Denver."
* PetTheDog: In ''Blacklist''. At the end of the co-op campaign, [[spoiler:Kobin expresses concern and sympathy for what happened to Kestrel, even though he's the one who shot and delivered the agent to the Voron militia in the first place]].
* PostEndGameContent: After the end credits of ''Blacklist'', you can talk to each of your crew members for an extra post-mission conversation, as well as finish any leftover side missions.
* PresidentEvil: ''Conviction'' has [[spoiler:the Vice-President, with ThePlan intending on making him just President.]]
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Black Arrow in ''Conviction''. A heroic version is Paladin Nine Security run by Vic Coste in ''Conviction'' and ''Blacklist.''
* ProductPlacement: ''Conviction'' actually has dynamic product placement - background TV screens will change ads periodically and during one playthrough, the ads for the movie ''{{Devil}}'' updated to indicate that it was releasing that week.
* PunchPackingPistol: Subverted in ''Conviction'', where pistols are actually the weakest weapons in the game. Even the "super powerful" Desert Eagle is inferior when compared to the assault rifles. However, despite their low damage, pistols make up for this by having unlimited ammo and generally better mark & execute ability.
* RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil: ''Conviction'' features a tutorial in the shape of a flashback to when Sam's daughter was about six. After Sam comforts her and deals with her fear of darkness, along with telling her how he could use darkness as an advantage to protect her if needed, a group of burglars break into his house. After not finding anything, they plan to wait for his wife to come home, it leads to Sam offing them using the game's ''Mark and Execute'' command.
* RareGuns: Sam uses both the Five-seveN and the F2000. Mostly averted in ''Conviction'' where the wide majority of weapons are "common," but [[spoiler:only the few opposing Splinter Cells]] will have the F2000 ("[=SC3000=]").
* RedEyesTakeWarning: Given to the [[spoiler:opposing Splinter Cells]] in ''Conviction''.
* RedScare: Given a tip of the hat with the Russian Voron agent Kestrel for ''Conviction'' - his goggles glow red while the American agent's glow the series' iconic green.
* RegeneratingHealth: Version One of ''Double Agent'', ''Conviction'', and ''Blacklist'', as opposed to the first three games in which you need to use first aid kits to heal.
* RememberTheNewGuy: Victor Coste is one of Sam's oldest and best friends, but he is never seen nor mentioned prior to ''Conviction''.
* {{Retcon}}: [[spoiler:Sarah Fisher's death]] in ''Double Agent'' was never meant to be anything more than a tragedy. When the 2007 version of ''Conviction'' was lambasted and entered DevelopmentHell, Ubisoft scrapped the fugitive gameplay that they had worked on and scambled to cobble together a new story that didn't involve Sam being a fugitive.
* RenegadeSplinterFaction: [[spoiler: Third Echelon was supposed to be a secret sub-agency within the NSA but under Reed's reign this is what it has become.]]
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge:
** In every game before ''Conviction'', Sam has followed the rules. After he finds out that [[spoiler: his daughter's death was faked by Third Echelon, the people he had been working for, and specifically Grim and Lambert]], he finally crosses the line.
** The first two levels of ''Conviction'' are rather explicitly about Sam being on the hunt his daughter's murderers. He also detours from his [[spoiler:infiltration of Third Echelon]] when he finds one of them, having previously escaped his grasp, with his back turned while begging the BigBad for protection...
** And finally, when it turns out that [[spoiler:Lambert hired Kobin to find a woman who looked like Sam's daughter and throw her under a truck, and then outright lie that Sarah died in a pathetic way, all to "protect Sam"]], Sam has a few seconds to rationalize it out... and then slowly develops a semi-tranquil rage. How bad is it? You get unlimited execution marks for the rest of the level. Have fun!
* RogueAgent: After ''Double Agent'', Sam has been labelled one and since [[spoiler: Lambert is dead]], his chance to clear his name won't come until ''Convictions'', by which time [[spoiler: Third Echelon has sunk to the depts of becoming a [[RenegadeSplinterFaction rogue agency]].]]
** Sadiq and Jadid ''Blacklist'' were both former [[MI6 SIS]].
* RuleOfFun: While playing ''Conviction'', don't even ''think'' about how Mark and Execute or Weapons Stashes would work in real life.
* RuleOfSymbolism:
** At the start of ''Conviction'', the Third Echelon Sam knew has been metaphorically destroyed. [[spoiler:And then it ''literally'' gets destroyed, right after he finds out his best friend, Lambert, lied to him. Running Sam through a burning building while in an UnstoppableRage is pretty cool.]]
** It seems rather unlikely [[spoiler:the developers just ''happened'' to choose that an American flag mounted in the room would be picked by Kobin to snap off and attempt to defend himself with against Sam, which really only just lets Sam stab it through his shoulder.]]

* SaveTheVillain: In ''Conviction'', you can execute or spare the Big Bad. [[spoiler:Subverted in that if you spare him, Grim shoots him in the head anyway.]]
* ScareChord: A dramatic "actiony" noise happens when discovered.
* SceneryGorn: [[spoiler: Downtown Washington D.C. after the EMP bombs go off]] in ''Conviction''. Also, [[spoiler: the White House.]]
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight: In ''Blacklist'', after President Caldwell orders Paladin to be grounded and the team sent home, Sam decides to go ahead with the mission to infiltrate the Denver bunker and stop Sadiq anyway. The three other team members (Grim, Charlie and Briggs) are then given a player-controlled prompt whether they agree with Sam's decision or not.
* SequelHook:
** It may not be noticed immediately, but ''Conviction'' has one: [[spoiler: Reed]] may have been stopped, but [[spoiler: Megiddo]] is still out there.
** In ''Blacklist'', [[spoiler:there are 12 nations supporting Sadiq's operations, and will likely retaliate against the U.S.]]. Possibly a second one with [[spoiler:the unconscious Kestrel, who is rescued at the end of the co-op campaign and put in Paladin's medbay]].
* ShipLevel: The preorder or DLC exclusive Billionaire's Yacht in ''Blacklist''.
* ShootTheDog:
** In ''Conviction'', it's strongly implied that Lambert and Grim had some random young woman murdered in order to [[spoiler: provide a body that would match Sarah Fisher's appearance in order to convincingly fake her death]]. It's also stated that Grim has done this ''a lot'' for various national security purposes. However, Kobin makes no mention of murdering someone to do the job (nor having done so in past instances); he could just as easily have connections at morgues and the like.
** Both averted and played straight in ''Blacklist'':
*** Briggs averts this when he [[spoiler:lets Sadiq escape so he can save Sam.]]
*** In the Tehran mission, Grimm [[spoiler:launches a drone strike to protect Sam and Briggs.]] They argue over whether this was the right decision afterwards.
*** In the finale, Briggs gets two: [[spoiler:First, killing the Secretary of Defense so the Engineers can't torture his password out of him. Second, in a reversal of the first scene, he tells Sam to GoOnWithoutMe so he can capture Sadiq.]]
* ShootYourMate: [[spoiler: A much more literal version appears in the climax of the co-op story in ''Conviction'', where you are forced to kill or be killed by your fellow player's character. For this reason, only one player at a time can complete the "Survivor" Achievement. Then it turns out Kobin will kill the survivor anyway.]]
* ShortRangeShotgun: In ''Conviction'', used with the M-500 and averted with the SPAS-12.
* ShownTheirWork: The final mission of ''Blacklist'' takes place in a large underground bunker under UsefulNotes/{{Denver}} International Airport known as "Site F." This is actually a nod to a lesser-known [[UsefulNotes/ConspiracyTheories conspiracy theory]] that ''somebody'' [[labelnote:note]]Take your pick: the United States government, TheIlluminati, the New World Order, TheReptilians, TheGreys, etc.[[/labelnote]] maintains a secret ElaborateUndergroundBase under said airport. The evidence theorists offer for this is that the airport is the largest one in the U.S. and it has a massive tunnel network of unusual design, high volumes of electromagnetic signals coming from underground and many plaques and engravings at the airport having cryptic messages such as one referring to "The New World Airport Commission."
* SirSwearsALot: The Black Arrow mooks in ''Conviction'', '''and how.''' It's almost as if they always have to use the f-bomb or "asshole" in everything they say.
* SmokeOut: In ''Conviction'', a sign that [[spoiler: enemy Splinter Cells]] are coming.
* SmugSnake: Reza Nouri, good God, Reza Nouri in ''Blacklist.'' From the moment you meet this guy you'll probably want to punch him in the face.
* SnarkToSnarkCombat: Describes most of the conversations between Sam and Kobin in ''Blacklist''.
* SniperPistol: Averted in ''Conviction''; you can hit targets further than the indicated effective range, but landing a kill-shot is a different matter.
* StrongerWithAge: Sam's abilities simply get more fearsome with time.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Victor Coste seems to be essentially a [[spoiler: non-evil]] version of Douglas Shetland. Both are old friends of Sam Fisher who served with him in the US military, currently run a PMC, and assist Sam during his current assignment.
* TakeAThirdOption: In ''Blacklist'', when confronted with the choice to [[spoiler:put Sadiq on trial (allowing him to spill innumerable secrets about the US) or kill him (which would anger the Engineers' backers and start 'twelve wars'), Sam takes him prisoner using Fifth Freedom. With no body to identify him by or official trial during which to spill his secrets, all Sadiq has to look forward to is a long and miserable death in an interrogation area in Gitmo.]].
* TemptingFate: During the [[spoiler:White House]] attack in ''Conviction'', Sam comes across [[spoiler:the Vice President]], who has a death grip on the IdiotBall after seeing Fisher kill at least two squads of [[spoiler: elite Third Echelon soldiers]]:
-->'''[[spoiler:Samson]]''': You can't touch me. I got protection. I'm Teflon. So whatever you think you're gonna do to me, you can forget about it, [[UnderestimatingBadassery because I'm bullet proof. God damned bullet proof, ya hear?!]]\\
'''Fisher''': Oh, ''really?''\\
[Fisher [[ShutUpHannibal kneecaps him]] with a pistol]\\
'''[[spoiler:Samson]]''': [screams] YOU SHOT ME!\\
'''Fisher''': You ''really'' need to work on that "bullet proof" thing.
* TheBigBoard: The SMI in ''Blacklist''.
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: Discussed in the ending of ''Blacklist''. President Caldwell notes in an address that the individuals who saved the U.S. will never be identified, but their exploits will be remembered.
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: Averted in ''Conviction'' during the [[spoiler:Third Echelon]] infiltration.
* TheReveal: Numerous times throughout the series, naturally. Particularly noteworthy are those of Tom Reed's revelation as the mole inside Third Echelon in ''Conviction'' and Fisher's discovery that the I-SDF had been conspiring with Shetland the entire time in ''Chaos Theory''.
* TheWarOnTerror: Continued in ''Blacklist''.
* TokenEvilTeammate: Kobin gets elevated to being a member of the Paladin crew in ''Blacklist''.
* TomatoSurprise: You play a [[FacelessGoons Faceless Goon]] in the Iraq flashback level of ''Conviction'', tasked with rescuing your squad leader. [[spoiler: You're Vic Coste, rescuing Sam.]]
* TookALevelInBadass: In the more action-y ''Splinter Cell'' games, Sam seems to get faster, more agile, and more adept at killing. The explanation, as of ''Conviction'', is that he's not working for Third Echelon, and he doesn't need to hold back anymore. In ''Blacklist'', he's ''running'' Fourth Echelon.
* TrackingDevice: [[spoiler:In the AbandonedWarehouse in London, Sam sets a tracking device on a nerve gas container. The team tracks it down to Philadelphia.]]
* TrickArrow: The crossbow in ''Blacklist'' can be upgraded to fire EMP or non-lethal bolts.
* TrueCompanions: Sam and his small circle of support crew, along with Victor Coste. Victor even explicitly says that he and Sam are like brothers, and [[spoiler: Victor killed several platoons of Iraqis who had captured Sam in order to rescue him during Desert Storm.]] Later events cast an ironic light on these relationship.
* TwentyFifthAmendment: Part of ''Splinter Cell: Conviction'' was about Sam Fisher dealing with a plot to [[spoiler:attack Washington D.C. with a series of [=EMPs,=] then using the confusion to kill the current president so the Vice President, who is in league with [[TheConspiracy Megiddo,]] can take over.]]
* TwistEnding: In the Co-Op storyline of Conviction, [[spoiler:Archer is ordered to kill Kestrel over headset, after his superior couldn't get to him over his [=OpSat=]. Thing is, he's ''wearing'' the headset, and the [=OpSat=] is elsewhere in the plane...right next to Kestrel. Whoever wins the ensuing fight, Kobin kills them, and you can see Archer's body in the single-player campaign.]]
* UnexpectedGameplayChange:
** In ''Conviction'': [[spoiler:Sam flashbacks to his time as a SEAL during the Gulf War. His squad is attacked, the leader is captured, and the survivor is forced to go after them. Though some of the mechanics carry over, it plays more like a standard third-person shooter, with things like the removal of the Mark & Execute system, and the addition of strafing and unlimited rifle ammunition (handgun is usually all that is unlimited in ''Conviction''). Yes, ''strafing''.]] [[spoiler: You're playing as Vic Coste.]]
** In the iOS/Android version by Creator/{{Gameloft}}, several actual first person shooter section are enabled because the game uses the same engine as the ''Modern Combat'' and ''Rainbow Six'' series. The other goodies are all included.
*** The middle section of the Lincoln Memorial level has you chasing an assassin on foot. Sam even sprints, something you can't do in normal gameplay.
** In ''Blacklist'', you control Briggs during the Philadelphia mission as he attempts to disarm two of the four Blacklist bombs. This sequence is played from a first-person perspective (even though it switches back to third-person in transitional moments like climbing ladders). Briggs also doesn't have any of Sam's equipment or tactical functions, despite wearing a similar pair of goggles. He is also controlled for a brief SnipingMission.
** Also in ''Blacklist'', Grim is controlled for some use of cover fire in a UAV.
* UnlockableContent: In ''Blacklist'', concept art can be unlocked by searching throughout the Paladin for various pieces of recon intel. Also, several suits and weapons are unlocked if the various side mission chains (Grim, Briggs, Charlie, [[spoiler:Kobin]]) are completed.
* UnnecessaryCombatRoll: All the games allow you to roll, but in ''Conviction'' it's made especially easy to practically just roll around all the time. In fact it's arguably quicker and more effective to roll than to move along in a crouch, which is why many players will do this so much, although it can get [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYV6yTLLYzE#t=1m15s somewhat comedic]].
* UnstoppableRage: The end of the [[spoiler: Third Echelon]] infiltration, where Sam doesn't need the "Mark" part of "Mark and Execute" anymore. Also, the screen becomes orange-tinted, and the background music includes what sounds like Sarah's garbled voice speaking in the background.
* UnusableEnemyEquipment:
** Averted in ''Conviction'', where Sam can pick up enemy weapons, and with long guns up to three spare magazines; he won't get any grenade refills except at Weapon Stashes though.
** Also averted in ''Blacklist'', where enemy weapons can be picked up from the ground. Upgrading parts of the Paladin also allows you to purchase (and modestly upgrade) enemy weapons via the Black Market, if you really like some of the enemy kit. It's pretty expensive though, and money is usually better spent on your own gear.
* UnwantedAssistance: In-universe in ''Blacklist''. Sam chews out Briggs for choosing to save his life instead of pursuing and capturing Sadiq at the abandoned mill.
* UpgradeVsPrototypeFight: ''Conviction'' has this. While storming his former HQ, Sam Fisher battles several newer Splinter Cell agents. Of course, being the first Splinter Cell ever created, he easily trashes all of the Upgrades despite being outnumbered. However, he's also wearing the newest version of the Sonic Goggles, which allow him to move without losing image, and don't have the conspicuous "ping" that the other agents do.
* VillainHasAPoint: During his MotiveRant, Tom Reed says he was motivated to assassinate President Caldwell because she was threatening to shut down Third Echelon which would have left the country open to attack. Though this undermined by his true motivation being to simply stay in power, Reed is ultimately proven right in ''Blacklist'' when 3E's absence allows for a devastating terrorist attack on Anderson AFB and Caldwell being forced to create Fourth Echelon to combat the Engineers.
* VirtualPaperDoll: ''Blacklist'' allows the player to customize their gear, right down to the color of the lights of Sam's goggles and suit. Certain elements (like the various camouflage patterns) have no benefit during missions.
* WeakTurretGun: Averted throughout the series, but most conspicuously with the ceiling-mounted turret guns in ''Conviction'' during the [[spoiler: Third Echelon HQ]] mission, as you cannot even target them for attack, much less destroy them. Other times, there are ways of taking them down, but not by direct assault on them.
* WeaponOfMassDestruction: What many of the game's plots revolve around stopping.
** ''Conviction'': The ultimate goal of the BigBad is to [[spoiler: detonate EMP bombs in Washington D.C. and assassinate the president.]]
** ''Blacklist'': This game takes it UpToEleven by having ''multiple'' WMD threats occurring across the span of a few days, including both biological and chemical weapons in danger of being used on American soil with potential death tolls numbering in the ''millions.'' [[spoiler: Later subverted; the Engineers' ''actual'' plan is to force the USA into Continuity of Government protocol, so they can capture the codes to the ''American'' weapons of mass destruction.]]
* WeAreEverywhere: In ''Blacklist'', [[spoiler:Sadiq pulls this on Sam at the end, explaining that there are 12 other nations that are also allied with the Engineers (if not complicit in their attacks), who will rise up and attack the U.S. in the event of his death.]]
* WesternTerrorists: Majd Sadiq [[PlayingWithATrope plays with this]], as he may be ethnically Arab but he has a strong British background and was a former MI6 agent, and plenty of the fighters in his organization are Westerners (though his most trusted lieutenants appear to be Arab).
* WhamLine: In ''Conviction''.
-->'''Grim:''' [[spoiler:"I know Sarah's alive]]. How's that for starters?"
* WhatMeasureIsAMook: In ''Conviction'', colleagues of the mooks you take down [[EnemyChatter will stand over their body and vow to avenge their death]]. [[MoodWhiplash This is often shortly after they've been hurling curses and taunts at the unseen Sam]].
** This can slam right back into more MoodWhiplash when you ''kill'' the guy vowing to avenge the death, his body is seen, and ''another'' guy comes over to vow to avenge his death. And you kill ''him'' too! Thus, you can create a conveyor belt of vengeance that ends when you've killed everyone in the area, and you [[KarmaHoudini get away scott free.]]
* WhatTheHellPlayer: In ''Conviction'', where failing to save the scientist inside the Michigan Avenue Reservoir or killing civilians in the Downtown District are failure conditions.
** A subtle one, in one of ''Blacklist'''s pure-stealth side missions that sees you infiltrating an old British seafort to plant bugs, the main 'atrium' is patrolled by a guard dog. Whilst you can sneak past it, it's very likely you'll end up getting found out by it, which can easily lead to the alarm being sounded and thus immediate mission failure. Naturally, ''repeat'' failures caused by this particular canine may lead to frustrated players knocking out said dog and throwing it into the water outside the fort, leading to this;
'''Grim:''' That didn't sound good.\\
'''Grim:''' It says here the guy owns a prize-winning show dog...?
* WhenYouComingHomeDad: [[spoiler:Discussed thoroughly in ''Blacklist''. One of the calls Sam makes to Sarah Fisher has him implicitly state he won't be home for Thanksgiving due to the continuing nature of the Engineer attacks.]]
* WhyDontYaJustShootHim: Justified when Reed captures Sam in ''Conviction'', as he is arrogant, surrounded by five armed agents in the same room, believes Sam to be tied up and if the player waits too long to disarm him, Reed ''will'' shoot Sam.
-->'''Reed:''' What, no famous last words? Or do you need Anna to tell you what you should say? Or maybe just say: "Fuck, Tom Reed just killed me!"
* WithThisHerring: ''Blacklist'' both averts and plays this straight. President Caldwell gives Fourth Echelon usage of Paladin, a heavily-modified transport plane that boasts top-of-the-line equipment. However, you don't get any gear besides your default suit and pistol at the beginning of the game, and any upgrades you buy for the plane (including an upgraded medbay, radar and all of your additional weapons/equipment) have to be purchased with funds you acquire through the course of the campaign.
* WouldHitAGirl: Played with in ''Conviction''. Watch carefully now; [[spoiler:the player gets to try and hit Grim for jerking Sam around. Sam instead punches the locker she's standing in front of, because she was a trusted co-worker.]] When she reveals things that she had left hidden for so long, he doesn't have any trouble hitting her. And just to make his point clear, [[spoiler: he hits her twice. The first she was expecting. The second was just to make sure it hurt. From the second hit, it sounds like she's taken a bad hit to the jaw.]]
* WorstAid: Averted and inverted in ''Blacklist'': if you choose to spare the Engineer commander at the end of the Louisiana mission, Sam does ''not'' pull out the metal rod that has impaled him in the gut, but rather walks away and tells Grim to call a medic for him. On the flip side, Sam ''does'' pull it out if the "kill" choice is taken.

->'''Coen''': What do you think?\\
'''Fisher''': This page is small, nasty and complicated, and ''[[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife will ruin your life]]''.\\
'''Coen''': Heh. What do you think ''about the Troper?''\\
'''Fisher''': They're small, nasty and complicated. ''[[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment But I guess their edits are up to them]]...''