Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear
Just when you thought it was safe to hang up your Kevlar vest and put away your MP-5, you get the call in the middle of the night: "We have a hostage situation at the Metropolitan Museum." Welcome back, my terrorist hunting friends, to the new and improved version of Rainbow Six called Rogue Spear. We pick up where we left off last time at the end of 1999, but now it is the year 2000 and we have more hostages to save and more bad guys to send to bad guy heaven. For you newbies, I should explain that Rogue Spear is a first person counter-terrorist game in which you plan and participate in real world missions using some of the tactics that elite teams use around the world. Red Storm has given us 16 new missions, but each one can now be played either using your team of operatives or you can go it alone and try to kill the bad guys. There is also a training section for first timers to learn how to use the various weapons in the game.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
I love it when a game makes your hands sweaty and your mouth dry. You don’t know if a terrorist with a hostage is lurking around the corner, willing to kill the hostage at a moment’s notice. Well, that is just what you’re in store for when you play Rogue Spear. You begin each mission with an intelligence briefing and then move on to picking the best operatives and equipment for the job. The most important part of this section of the game is the actual planning of the mission (what doors to go into, where to snipe from, quickest and safest route for escorting hostages) and if you don’t take this part seriously, you will have dead hostages on your hands and this is even before we get to get in there and kill the bad guys. Once you get to the action phase of Rogue Spear you know this isn’t Kansas anymore, this is serious stuff. The bad guys know you are coming and are waiting to kill the hostages and you if you make a wrong move.
Rainbow Six became famous for its awesome multiplayer games and with Rogue Spear they have tried to do the same. There are a few bugs on the multiplayer side; games seem to lag a bit if you get more than four people playing. I also noticed that with more than six people the game tends to warp. Which can be frustrating when you are hot on the tail of your buddy and you suddenly find yourself back around the corner from which you came. If Red Storm works the kinks out with a patch fix then Rogue Spear will be just as popular as the original for multiplayer.
The enemy AI is vastly improved from the first Rainbow Six. Terrorists will not hesitate to kill hostages, nor do they just stand there and watch as one of their buddies gets killed; instead they will come looking for you. If you are playing the single player game where you are using fellow team members the AI is great, but when you play in lone wolf mode with just you and 30 terrorists, they become dumb in some situations. If you find a nice spot and kill a guy, his buddies will come check out what happened, so you can then kill them also. After awhile it reminded me of stacking firewood as far as being able to kill 10 guys in one doorway.
If you have played the first installment of this game you will be able to tell really quickly that this is where the game designers really went at it with the improvements. All of the buildings have so much more texture to them this time; it’s like night and day between the two versions. The weather effects have also really helped the overall feel of the game. You could be on a mission inside Russia with snow falling around you and if you move you can see your tracks in the snow, which makes that pretty cool. I also liked the rain effect that was added to the game; in outside missions, it could really hamper your visibility while trying to take out a terrorist. The terrorists and operatives in the game are also a lot crisper in detail, making the killing all the more fun. One down side I noticed was the fact that after the bad guys are shot and have fallen to the ground, you can still see their arms sticking through walls -- I was hoping Red Storm might have fixed that one. Overall the graphics kick as much butt as they did last time, but with a few surprises thrown in for the loyal players that we have become.
You get almost all of the same sounds in Rogue Spear as you do in the original Rainbow Six with a few tweaks here and there. The terrorists are a lot more vocal when they get shot this time; they die in a most vocally dramatic way. The hostages have a few more screams in them, but are pretty much the same as last time. All in all, I would have to say that the audio is a slight improvement from last time, but that is okay since the audio was great in the first installment.
P-233MHZ with MMX, or PII-266MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win 95/98, 4X speed CD-ROM drive or better, Direct 3D-compatible video card, DirectX-compatible sound card, 200 MB hard drive space.
The manual in _Rogue Spear _is a basic manual with the exception of the mission walkthrough, which is helpful for beginners. The multiplayer section of the manual is also very helpful for first time online players.
This is a simple and fast bottom line. If you have played Rainbow Six _you will love the changes to the game and will love all the new weapons to play with. All the new people out there will love the gameplay and the graphics, but be warned this is not a mass carnage shooter. I prefer to call this a thinking man’s shooter, because if you are not careful either you or your teammates will end up dead and that doesn’t do any of us any good in the fight against terrorism. So on that note, gentle reader, I give _Rogue Spear a score of 89/100. Go out and buy it, you’ll like it.