Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
Based on the Tom Clancy book of the same name, Rainbow Six is a strategic action game where you're the commander of a fictional group of elite soldiers out saving the free world from tyranny. It boasts a plot most action-oriented games can only dream of. Mission briefings provide all the info you could ever need and then some. But the strongest part of Rainbow Six is the precise planning that is required to succeed. Take the Quake approach and you might just make it to the final showdown; although with it taking just one shot to leave a man in a pool of his own blood, you'd have to be the best damn Quakester this side of Jupiter.
Each of your potential combatants is blessed with an array of attributes ranging from marksmanship to aggression. You have only a few of the best candidates; if you lose them you'll have to rely on an inexhaustible supply of 'reserves', so it's advisable to mix up your eight-strong team a bit. You can certainly get through the easy level with reserves alone, but try the 'elite' setting (with added mission objectives) and you'll soon find out why it's best to keep your top bods alive.
Because the bulk of the missions involve liberating hostages, in many cases it isn't necessary to go in killing everyone in sight - just get the poor bastards out alive. In certain instances your detection will result in failure, so it's pretty important to choose the right people and equipment for each job: demolition experts are pretty handy with a shotgun and can diffuse bombs quickly; recon troops are fast and lightly armoured; and electronics experts can deactivate security systems. For those missions where stealth is vital, it's wise to equip your specialists with heartbeat sensors so you can detect patrolling guards. Then there are the weapons: HK MP5, flashbang grenades, M-16A2 and the trusty Berreta 9mm. All this and we haven't covered the action part yet.
Now Listen Up, People
After you've assigned all your operatives into squads, it's on to the planning stage. It may look quite complicated but after a couple of minutes it becomes second nature. Teams (Blue, Red, Green and Gold) are simply given a set of waypoints to follow. You can set the speed and alertness of the team, and unless you're in direct control of them at the time, they'll follow your orders to the letter. Specialist orders can be set up at specific locations, like flashbombing rooms or diffusing bombs, as well as prompted orders where teams will only move on when given the word. This means you can arrange for two teams to position themselves on either side of a room, bursting in together only when you give the go-ahead.
With your game plan saved, it's time to commit to the action. By default you lead the Blue team, and as soon as you start, the other teams will scuttle off in the direction you've ordered them to go. Within seconds you'll hear them engage the enemy. If your plan is sound and the recon information you've been given was correct, then you should succeed. Probably, though, something will go wrong. Whole teams can be wiped out by one terrorist, and if your timing is out there may be no one around to provide back-up. You can change orders halfway through by taking direct control, but if that becomes a necessity then you're probably screwed anyway. Casualties will be high, and it might be best to formulate a new plan of attack.
Graphically, Rainbow Six is slightly disappointing. The motion-captured characters look good but the environments are simplistic though varied. It would have been nice to see furniture collapse in the wake of a well-placed grenade; the fact that you can't really make use of cover very effectively means the game fails to meet the high standard of realism it's set for itself; a greater range of movement and a few more specific orders would certainly have pushed the score up a few notches.
Intelligence-wise, your troops can end up getting themselves into all sorts of trouble: instead of covering each other, they tend to go through choke points tightly packed, and usually get cut up pretty bad; send everyone to ascend a ladder and one or two will just get confused and walk around in circles unless you take direct control.
But none of these problems are enough to detract from the overall sense of excitement this game can bring. While you can blame your troops for occasionally being dim, the overall responsibility for failure is down to planning. And while there are few opportunities to get into huge firefights, Rainbow Six is one of those rare games where the level of tension more than makes up for its failings.
Like Spec Ops, Rainbow Six is incredibly addictive. Unlike Spec Ops, however, Rainbow Six is a game that, thanks to its replayability, makes it something you'll keep going back to time and time again. For the dedicated Quake fan who's been longing to apply a bit of strategic thinking, Rainbow Six could well be the game you've been waiting for.
What we thought
"Rainbow Six is a game that, mm thanks to Its replayability, makes It something you'll keep coming back to time and time again. For the dedicated Quake fan who's been longing to apply a bit of strategic thinking, Rainbow Six could well be the game you've been waiting for."
What you think
- "It ran like a dream on my timid P166. The atmosphere, sound and graphics made it instantly the most realistic looking game I've played. The missions are very well made and are so replayable - especially in the Spanish fair ground mission. "This game is a great change to the norm and could finally cause my copy of Quake II to pick up some dust. I think it should have got at least 94%. Everyone involved with the game deserves a well-earned pat on the back."
Download Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
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2018-12-19 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six game added.