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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (GCN)
Publisher:  Ubisoft Developer:  Ubisoft Shanghai
Genre:  First-Person Shooter Release Date:  06/15/2004
ESRB:  Mature More Info on this Game
By Steve Steinberg | June 30, 2004
A rainbow finally appears for GameCube owners.
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Pros Cons
Challenging and complex gameplay; logical controls; strongest 'Cube squad-based shooter. No online play or ability to issue verbal commands; multiplay modes are barebones and lackluster.

When I first heard I was getting write about a Rainbow Six title, I was thrilled. Cool, I thought, a sneak peak at the upcoming Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow for the Xbox. As it turns out, what I got to wrap my thumbs around was GameCube version of the original console RS3. Seven months after it first appeared on the Xbox, and more than a year after it debuted on the PC, the Nintendo crowd gets its long-awaited chance to do something about international terrorism. This version has taken its lumps in the gaming press, but despite its shortcomings, it still delivers some deep and gripping action.

Just in case you've spent the last year or so on your own anti-terrorism campaign and couldn't be bothered with the goings on in the gaming world, here's what Rainbow Six 3 is all about. You play as Ding Chavez, the leader of a small squad in a special division called Rainbow. And while the bubbly and slightly effete Rainbow name may make him sound like the lead singer in a new Japanese all-girl pop band, Ding's four-man unit is, in fact, part of an elite international anti-terrorism task force. In RS3, your job is to travel to such diverse places as Switzerland, Croatia, Venezuela, and even New Orleans to thwart a plot designed to really screw up the world. It's classic Tom Clancy-brand stuff.


When snowball fights turn ugly.

The game is a nifty combination of first-person shooting and tactical strategizing. Surprisingly easy-to-use controls let you issue commands to your men as you make your way through the game's 15 levels. In effect, it's the ultimate in console quarterbacking. A botched call or blown play here won't just result in a loss of a dozen yards, it could cost you your life or that of one of your men. Given the realistic tone of the game -- it doesn't take a barrage of bullets to snuff you out and you can't just start breaking open crates to find health boosts -- it means you very rarely have time to relax or catch your breath. Even when there's nothing happening on-screen, you never know if some sniper is silently lining you up in his sights. It makes for some intense action that'll challenge your decision-making skills as much as your button-pushing skills.

But, then again, most of you already knew all of that. The question most gamers want to know is how the thing stacks up to the Xbox and PS2 versions. I really expected the gameplay to be hamstrung by the limitations of the 'Cube controller. On the Xbox, the game used up just about every available button, trigger, and stick. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the game plays on the less versatile controller. Despite the loss of a button and the clickable sticks, commanding your men still became second nature and quite easy before very long. The layout is extremely logical and economical, with most of your actions performed with the centrally located A button and the ultra-cool delayed Zulu command -- a call that lets you be somewhere else when your men go into action -- being issued with the Z trigger.


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