Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Eagle Watch

Eagle Watch gives a CT tour around the world.

snap102_1Rainbow Six: Eagle Watch comes with a mere five levels. That’s a disappointingly low number, but they’re at least notably big and well designed. They’re also stocked with the usual numbers of terrorists, or ‘tangos’ to the initiated. While the levels in the original game were diverse if not exactly specific, Eagle Watch is a short tour of famous landmarks around the world. Try not to get distracted by awe-inspiring glimpses of the space shuttle. Then snipe into the Taj Mahal’s ornate atrium, and clean up the clockworks of Big Ben.

Planning is a huge part as always, but with the provided default plans you can probably steam through this mission pack in under two hours. In an interesting twist you can use something called Full Watch to simply watch the AI do their thing on the ground without your interference, essentially reviewing your scheme unfold. This effectively transforms Rainbow Six into a full-fledged strategy game. Unfortunately, this novel feature won’t work with the original levels.

snap95_1The new weapons are no big whoop. One shot from an H&K assault rifle kills ’em just as dead as one shot from the pistol. Yawn at the addition of four new characters and spotty manual. But you’ll sit up and take notice when you try the new multiplayer modes and especially the new training modes and maps. Rainbow Six was already a unique addition to multiplayer first person shooters, a refreshing twist on running and gunning. Now it’s even better, with a great capture the flag variation and even more team game options.

The enemy AI is still wonky in places, standing around dumbly at inappropriate times. It relies on superior numbers and uncanny instant accuracy to present a challenge. But the friendly AI is smarter. Your men aren’t just doorstops and hallclogs anymore: they’ll spot tangos you didn’t see and rack up their own kills this time around. The rather small number of maps notwithstanding, Eagle Watch does add some welcomed improvements to a clever if flawed tactical game.

System Requirements: Pentium 166 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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