Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3
Gamecube Version

Review by Old Rooster
July 2004

"Lead the world's deadliest counter-terrorist force. When a terrorist plot threatens to tilt the balance of peace between the United States and Saudi Arabia, Team Rainbow is the only answer. You must execute your mission with deadly force in order to protect the innocent and ensure peace!"

Most of us have heard of and, perhaps, read one or more of the superb techno-thrillers by Tom Clancy. The ex-insurance man has enjoyed great success with his topical forays into the shadowy worlds of espionage, terrorism, military hardware, intelligence-gathering and governmental machinations. He has earned particular rapport with the armed services and characterizes his novels with incredible detail as well as heart-stopping tension.

In the late 90s, Clancy brought his considerable talent and reputation to the creation of PC games imbued with the spirit of his novels. Beginning with the Rainbow Six series, his franchise has gone on to include Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell, all of which have add-ons and new versions out and upcoming.

Spawning a subgenre sometimes termed "squad-based tactical shooter," these thinking person's action games move well beyond the classic Doom-type, "if it moves, shoot it, many times!" first-person shooter. All of Clancy's efforts involve, to one degree or another, planning, thinking ahead, at least several failures with initial attempts, Thief-type sneaking, one-hit kill, and a very high degree of tension.

In the Rainbow Six series, as exemplified in this latest iteration, we are presented with a team of four elite counter-terrorists, whom you control. After being presented with your overall mission, done with excellent cutscenes, you are challenged with 15 specific missions, each with a series of objectives. These goals range from hostage rescue to disarming a bomb to killing all of the bad guys. Locations include New Orleans, a snowy village, London, the Cayman Islands, and more.

The essence of this series is planning, perhaps taking as much time and effort as the actual execution of the mission. You are first allowed to equip your squad of four with a range of "Clancy-type" weapons, often designed for very specific purposes. Fortunately, the game will make this choice for you, if you're anxious to just get on with it. Having done that, you're off and running—or sneaking! When entering a building, for example, to perform a rescue, you need to not alert the hostage-takers in such a way as to lead to the execution of the hostage if you're heard coming. So placement of your team, along with "go points" and related commands, becomes critical well before you use your tear gas or flash-bang grenades, let alone take down the terrorists. The squeak of a door opening or the slight fall of footsteps becomes a cue that alerts you to the threat of imminent danger. Moving ever so carefully through the floors of the building to the final room or other destination can be literally sweat-inducing!

The Three Ms

The Rainbow Six games for the PC are outstanding. I've played them all, and I finished the PC version of Rainbow Six 3 some months ago. The graphics, using the Unreal engine, are colorful and detailed, sound effects in 3D are compelling, ability to manage (HUD interface) and give orders to your team is very effectively done. Mouse control, such as using the wheel to open a door, has been embellished over the years. Improvements are such that Six 3 is clearly the pinnacle of a classic series. You don't have to get bogged down in detail any more than you desire, and you have a range of options available to enjoy the experience. Further, multiplayer matches and teamwork options compose the primary enjoyment for 50% of Rainbow Six fans.

So how does the Gamecube version perform and compare? Unfortunately, three Ms come to mind: mouse, multiplayer, and movement. As with any first-person game, console versions really suffer, in my opinion, by not having mouse capability. Especially with the subtle improvements made with the PC version, my 'Cube experience was a considerable letdown. Movement of the characters is also not as precise and, for those addicted to or expecting multiplayer, all you'll have is a potential two-person co-op, split-screen option. At least the PS2 and XBox versions offer an online possibility, but not so with any of the 'Cube games, including, unfortunately, Rainbow Six.

Having said that, and being a bit "glass half-empty" at first, let's look at the brighter side of the game. All 15 missions from the PC version are represented. Although simplified a bit in terms of linearity and length, as well as team options, the tension is still evident. Graphics and engine framerate are excellent (much like Splinter Cell for the 'Cube), and sound effects seem much like the PC version. The story and settings are varied and interesting. The A.I. of enemies and your teammates is well-done, i.e., they behave as you might expect given a particular situation. High-tech weapons (heat vision and heartbeat sensor) are at your disposal.

Therefore, I'm offering a qualified Thumb Up rating for Rainbow Six 3 for the GameCube. The PC version is easily at a Gold Star level. This Clancy-inspired thriller provides a thoughtful, tense and tough gaming experience. So if you have a PC that will run it, get that version. It controls better, is more flexible, has multiplayer and is a lot cheaper! If you are PC-deprived, get the XBox or PS2 versions for the multiplayer option. However, if the Gamecube is your only way to play games, then you will undoubtedly enjoy entering the dark world of the Rainbow Six team. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: June 15, 2004 (Gamecube version)

Available for: PlayStation 2 Game Cube Windows Xbox

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System Requirements

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP only (XP recommended)
800 MHz PIII (1.3 GHz P4 recommended)
128 MB RAM (XP users: 256 MB RAM required) (512 MB recommended)
32 MB DirectX 8-compliant 3D video card with hardware T&L (128 MB recommended)
DirectX 8.1-compatible sound card
DirectX 8.1 or higher (DX9 included on the disc)
16X CD-ROM 16x or faster (not recommended for use with CD-RW drives)
2 GB free hard disk space
Windows-compatible mouse required
Multiplay: High-speed Internet connection for play on (56k modem supported but not recommended)

Where to Find It
Gamecube 49.99
PS2 37.88
Xbox 39.99
PC (Gold Pack) 39.99

Prices/links current as of 7/11/04
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