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Sam Fisher

Splinter Cell: Conviction
by yo go re

I've never played a second of Splinter Cell, but I still recognize that Sam Fisher is a gaming icon. So when NECA added him to their Player Select line, I knew it wouldn't be long before I added him to my collection.

The Sam Fisher you knew is dead.

America killed him, asked him to make one sacrifice too many, cross one line too far. An unknown drunk driver killed him, murdering his daughter, taking away the one thing that humanized him just as he was realizing how important that was.

For years, Sam Fisher has been off the grid and on his own, chasing his daughter's murderer. But the trail leads to the last place Sam wants to see again: Washington, DC. Now Sam must work with old friends he can no longer trust, forced to save a country that used him and threw him away. For unless he can stand against both a vast, faceless enemy and a corrupt Third Echelon, he'll never know what happened to his daughter - or himself.

This figure is actually based on Splinter Cell: Conviction... sorry, on Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction, because you've got to get the owner's name on there, even if he did have as much to do with its creation as his goldfish did. Anyway, in Tom Clancy presents: Tom Clancy's Clancy Cell: Tomviction, Sam Fisher has given up his superhero-y stealth suit in favor of the more avuncular combo of cargo pants and a sweater. It may not seem as toyetic as the old design, but we have tons of guys in high-tech body armor - isn't it nice to get something a bit different for a change?

Sam was sculpted by Jason Frailey, who did a top-notch job on what is essentially an average suburban dude at his daughter's soccer game. Seriously, he's even wearing Crocs! Depending on what angle you view it from, the face looks like a cross between David Boreanaz and Jack from Lost. His stubble is sculpted, not just painted on, but you'll still want to check for coverage.

The articulation is everything you'd want. Sam has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, balljointed wrists, a balljointed torso, a swivel waist, H-hips, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge knees and balljointed ankles. It's enough for all sorts of ass-kicking spy poses, including the one it needed to be able to do. See, Sam Fisher was far from the first stealthy super spy to appear in videogames, so he needed something to help set him apart. Part of that was giving him a trademark move: to evade a guard, he'd leap up into the rafters and hold himself up with a split. Thanks to the hinge joints in the hips and the balljointed ankles, Sam can do his split jump! You may have trouble finding something to wedge him into, but the articulation is there.

We don't get a lot of accessories with this figure, but the ones we do get are very nice. His only weapon is the signature FN Five-seveN pistol painted silver and black with a laser sight under the barrel. He's got his EMP backpack, which is based on the 5.11 Tactical Select Carry Sling Pack; in the game it can emit a short-range EM burst to knock out electronics in a small radius around Sam. It could have used a few more paint apps, but the bright green patch on the strap, representing his OPSAT PDA, was a good one to get. Late in the game an EMP backpack wouldn't be much of an advantage, so he switches to a black bulletproof vest, and the figure includes that as well.

Finally, there's the trademark Sam Fisher item, the three-lensed night vision goggles. Basically just an excuse to let the player see where Sam is even when he's hidden in shadow, the three green dots of the goggles are the main visual identifier for the series. Well, that and Sam's stupid duck-walk, but you can see the goggles in promo art. The accessory fits on the head perfectly, and the earpiece even fits into his ear.

There are two packaging variations of Fisher: one wearing his backpack, the other wearing his vest. The accessories are the same for both of them, it's just a question of what he's wearing. Why do this? So shoppers will realize that the pieces can be swapped - yes, there are instructions in the package telling you how to trade the parts (remove the head and pull the arms out of the shoulder sockets), but people walking down the aisle at Toys Я Us might not realize that without being shown.

Sam Fisher is a good figure - nice sculpt, loads of articulation, accessories that make sense - and it's the first time this videogame icon has ever had a toy. Sure, he's not in his most familiar suit, but it still works for him. Of course, if he had been in the normal suit, it would have been a great base for custom versions of special agent Bob and secret agent Steve, two of the finest official unofficial Splinter Cells.

-- 05/29/11

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