Rainbow Six 3 rewrites the book on close-quarters combat, but it may be too drastic of a change for veteran warriors.
With Rainbow Six’s legendary history in first-person shooting, the team deservedly grabs the spotlight in its first mission on the Xbox. But while the group continues its long-standing quest to weed out pesky terrorists, its updated tactics still need a little rejiggering.
Obey My Command
Even though it’s a freshman on the Xbox, the Rainbow Six series is still considered senior in its genre. You guide a group of elite international commandos whose sole objective is to dismantle known terrorist organizations within the Tom Clancy world. But don’t mistake this version for the PC Rainbow Six 3 game. Everything has been redone from the ground up, including Rainbow Six’s reputable control scheme.
Rainbow’s controls have been streamlined, eliminating the once complex pre-planning that fans of the series either really loved or really hated. Once you pick your equipment, you dive right into your missions, which usually involve hostage rescues, defusing bombs, and eliminating a bunch of baddies in close-quarters battles. You have a limited number of orders you can give to your three-man squad (either through simple button presses or voice commands using a headset), most of which are several ways of storming a room. Other commands include securing hostages or just staying put and covering an area. Ding Chavez, the player who you play as throughout the entire game, issues the commands. Unlike in other Rainbow Six games, you can’t switch between characters, so if Ding receives a ding in the head, you must start all over again. This will annoy experienced Rainbow Six players, while new recruits won’t mind as much.
Clear and Bangin’
Visually, Rainbow Six 3 truly shines on the Xbox. The game uses the Splinter Cell graphics engine, producing some really awesome detail in each level. The lighting and shadow effects mixed with your team’s covering movements all make for an authentic takedown. And when your gang lines up for a “Clear and Bang” maneuver, it’s like you’re really watching S.W.A.T. or Special Forces tactics in action.
The game’s sounds are just as exciting. Exploding gunfire from some really nasty weaponry blasts at just the right note, while a ringing tone sweetly deafens the ears when grenades explode near you.
Support the Rainbow Coalition
Despite all the equipment adjustments, Rainbow Six 3, unfortunately, is still off target when it comes to gameplay. Level designs have been rudely affected by the game’s streamlined modifications—there’s no longer multiple entryways or paths that you can take. There’s only one course that you can follow, taking away the many strategies you could have done to clear an area. The result: a linear path with scripted enemy A.I. where your approach centers on memorizing enemy movement and positions rather than actual team tactics.
Disappointing gameplay will plague anyone who has ever experienced previous Rainbow Six games. On the other hand, if you’re new to first-person tactical shooting, this game is a perfect starter. There aren’t any confusing menus or complicated button setups—just go in and liberate the savage terrorists. And for even faster action, this Rainbow Six smartly supports Xbox Live. Don’t expect a pot of gold at the end of this Rainbow, although there is something worth…er, shooting for as a solid pick-up-and-play action game.