Saturday 1 February 2020

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (N64 review)

Developer: Saffire Corporation
Publisher: Red Storm Entertainment
Released: 1999

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six is a tactical first-person shooter that was first released on Windows in 1998.

It consists of 12 missions and your objective is to capture John Brightling, chairman of the biotechnology company Horizon Inc, who is developing a virus to kill every human on the planet. You control all four squad members and have the ability to select uniform, weapons and equipment before each mission. The gameplay is seriously intense and part of this is due to the mixture of open spaces and tight corridors that you'll need to work in; the latter really ratchets up the tension as the cramped environments give you little room for error. And there's the cinematic music which does a superb job of creating a tense atmosphere and always seems to ramp up at the right time. The level design is tight with diverse locales and I love that you can be strategic and choose different paths to flank enemies; having the map visible in the bottom-left of the screen might seem like cheating, but when you're navigating huge maps and looking for the final terrorist you'll really appreciate it! The controls works well, but there are a few awkward button placements where you need to take your thumb off the analog stick, such as pressing the d-pad Up to open doors and the L button to change magazine. I do like the forgiving auto-aim though, which reminds me of Goldeneye 007 (1997, N64). Your CPU teammates are helpful in taking out enemies on higher platforms, although they do have an annoying tendency to randomly open doors during stealth missions! Another gripe is when you peak around a corner and shoot an enemy, only to hit what appears to be an invisible pane of glass that surrounds the door.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six is a serious, but highly accessible take on the tactical shooter genre that keeps you engaged by switching up the locations and wrapping compelling missions around them. The best part is how many ways you can approach these missions which acts as a tantalising hook to keep you coming back for more.

Random trivia: The game was released on two other home consoles, the Sega Dreamcast (2000) and Sony PlayStation (1999).

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