Review by DandyQuackShot
The Best is Always the First in a Series
The title of this review is going to say it all about Rainbow Six. Believe it or not, Rainbow Six is a novel written by Tom Clancy about an international task force that has the ability of deploying anywhere around the world to thwart acts of terrorism and hostage taking. Headed by John Clark, a regular of the Tom Clancy books, the game itself is based closely with the plot of the book in which an eco-terrorist organization threatens to destroy humanity with a deadly virus if I remember right. Rainbow Six got me into reading the book due to the awesome way in which you can strategize playing this game. That's right, a Rainbow Six game in which you strategize how to go about a mission. This is the only non-linear console Rainbow Six game that exists. You will get to choose up to four characters to use in a mission and determine the routes they will take using an easy to use waypoint maker and you will go through a lot of missions based from the book to take down terrorists in a variety of situations. Rainbow Six is the only game of the series that utilizes strategy instead of the later games in the series in which strategy is being able to tell your squadmates to breach and clear a room while following a linear path to take down load after load of terrorists with no real background.
Rainbow Six allows for up to four players to be in the game or using the computer players to control a preset path while allowing players to switch between teams. You can have up to four teams and choose from a roster of characters with different abilities and skills to add to the team you want to take into a mission. You can choose each characters weapons and gadgets and uniforms. The characters are featured from the book with a few new characters as well as generic reserves. If you lose a character in a mission he or she wont be available throughout the rest of the campaign. Once you have chosen the four characters you want to take into a mission you will be able to go into a planning screen in which you get a map of the mission with some of the locations of the enemies marked with an X. You can easily set the path you want your computer players to take and they will automatically move along this route while taking out enemies along the way. You can also use this planning part to determine your own way around a mission so you wont get lost or can find the quickest or safest way to a hostage. The mission will start off your four players at a safe spot/ending spot in a game and your computer players will take off on the route you preset for them. If they walk into an ambush they will get killed and if you walk into an ambush you will die and be switched to the next available team. The missions usually involves rescuing hostages and the only way to end the mission is to either get the hostages to the area where you first began the mission or kill all of the terrorists on the map.
The controls are relatively easy to use although it is a complex layout. You use the C buttons to move around and the right trigger to run. The targeting crosshairs are the same with all Rainbow Six games as running or holding down the trigger will cause you to lose accuracy. There isnt much of a breaching system to take beyond having a demolitions expert or recon expert quickly set a charge or unlock a door.
The game stays relatively close to the book as far as the missions go. Of course the book is a whole lot more in depth than what you will read in the intelligence and briefing screens. The story is very complex, but to keep it short the summary is an eco-terrorist organization tries to use a bunch of other terrorist human resources such as the Russians etc to procure a deadly virus to start spreading around the world while they build a biodome in South America to quarantine themselves from when the virus breaks out and starts killing off the human race. Throughout the game you will conduct all kinds of different missions in various locations in an attempt to keep one step ahead of Rainbow Six. The game ends with the Rainbow Six having to assault the very expansive biodome that the tree huggers have set up. The book is a bit more lighthearted in how Rainbow deals with the eco-terrorists than the game, but there is my spill for you to read the book.
Well the graphics arent all that much to gloat about. This is what happens with all PC games that get transferred to a console. The graphics take a heavy hit with characters that are not detailed nor are very clear looking. The mission accomplished pictures at the end of the missions are the best portrayal of this as the characters look pretty bad. All of the Rainbow characters look the same so if you forget what character is who there is not much of a way to determine who is who unless you have different uniforms for each. The music is awesome with the classic Rainbow Six theme and various clips played when you are sneaking around and opening doors or completing missions. There isnt much dialogue beyond your team saying when they are taking fire, spotting enemies, shooting enemies, or when one of your gets killed. The weapons are probably the least effective in sound with all of the primary weapons either silenced or just very suppressed in sound.
Rainbow Six offers a very challenging and lengthy campaign with no other side items to do such as a multiplayer or extra missions. The lack of side items beyond the campaign is offset by the non-linear missions being variable enough so that you can plan missions out many different ways. The menu offers a quick mission mode in which you can play a mission you have gone through before with all of the assets you begin with if you started a new campaign. You can also load an old campaign or mission bearing in mind you may not have all of your roster if you lost an operative in that campaign. So no P.E.C mode and no peering from behind cover, but you get a great strategy game the way this series was supposed to be played.
Final Recommendation 8.25/10
Rainbow Six is definitely worth the buy for any diehard Rainbow Six fan. This is how the series should have stayed as far as a complex and interesting plot goes and the recognition of how diversified the Rainbow Six team is. With later games giving you a linear experience with just three players going through and the only strategy being able to tell your guys to Stack Up, Rainbow Six offers planning and could have been one major innovation after another had these later games stayed true to the original. The sound and especially the graphics do suffer, but this has always been the case with the series all the way down to Rainbow Six Vegas 2. Rainbow Six is a great game with a very original concept brought to the table.
Product Release: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (US, 11/17/99)
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