Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear

The original Rainbow Six title attracted not only the obvious shooter crowd, but also strategy types who were intrigued by the game’s novel planning aspect. Rogue Spear delivers and improves in ways Rainbow Six players could only dream of. Learning from past blunders, Red Storm perfected the existing elements of the game while adding new features that fit seamlessly into gameplay. In every conceivable way, Rogue Spear was the Rainbow Six game the original was meant to be.

snap48_1One of the groundbreaking features of the Rainbow Six series is its mixture of shooter action with careful tactical planning (through the use of the Mission Planner). Rogue Spear betters the concept, offering a plethora of mission planning options. Players will also benefit fromthe addition of several new commands such as “Cover” and “Snipe” (more on snipers later), opening up entirely new mission strategies. Of course, if you’re completely uninterested in the finer points of mission planning, you can just go lone wolf or load a default plan.

Sniper support is another star. Almost a sub-game in itself, placing and controlling snipers is a brand new skill set for the Rainbow Six team—jump in one of the snipers, and you’ll find a new ultra-zoom level accompanied by sniper sights. A whole suite of sniper rifles is available for your shooting pleasure, most of which will be recognized from the Eagle Watch expansion. Using rifles ranging from the classic M14 to the Barret Model 82 .50 caliber, you’ll be raining death from afar on the hapless terrorists.

Replayability has been radically increased by the addition of “Lone Wolf” and “Terrorist Hunt” play modes. In the original Rainbow Six, after you had cleared a mission you could only go back and hope to drop the enemy faster, or with fewer team members. In Lone Wolf mode, you get dropped on the map of your choice facing 30 terrorists that are all bent on your destruction. Gone are any mission objectives or handicaps such as hostages, allowing you to blast your assault rifle on full auto, without fear of consequences to said hostages. If you’re not so overconfident as to go it alone, the Terrorist Hunt mode will let you bring a full team into the same environment.

The most significant improvement to the game engine is the behavior and appearance of the computer-controlled bad guys in the game. Enemies are considerably smarter, they set ambushes for you, lie in wait along your avenues of advance, re-deploy to more favorable positions, or even surrender if they see their buddies get capped by you. These AI Tangos are almost unsettlingly crafty, displaying a very convincing set of priorities and faux intelligence. Your own troops have had similar improvements, but they still can be frustrating at times (a good reason to play multiplayer).

snap88_1Multiplayer has gotten a heavy treatment, too. All the successful features from Rainbow Six have been held over, including co-op mode. We get new play modes, options to limit weapons or kit items, and an easier-to-use interface. Map design takes camping and sniping into account—no more Road standoffs. Multiplayer stability seems rock solid, and there’s support for just about every major online gaming network built-in. So in short, Rogue Spear has just about every right feature you’d expect from a well designed sequel, and it’s a great move forward for the series.

System Requirements: Pentium 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win95

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