Review: Rainbow Six 3

Everybody and his mother knows Tom Clancy. The writer's conspiracy filled books have been have made into countless games and movies, on the GameCube we've got Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell to prove it. So is there any reason to get excited over Rainbow Six 3? It seems like there's a new game with the Clancy-approval stamp coming out every few months, they all seem to have realistic weapons and stories filled with Middle Eastern terrorists, why should we buy this one? Well, this one is a little more special than other recent Tom Clancy games, it's the first Rainbow Six game on the Cube. The first Rainbow Six game was one of the games that kicked off the great Tom Clancy craze as well as a wave of squad based FPS games. But can this third Rainbow Six title live up to its reputation? Read on to find out.


Clancy keeps it real

As always in Tom Clancy games, the presentation is well polished. The story is explained in detailed cutscenes between the missions. It's not an original story by far (think terrorists, corrupt governments and chemical weapons), but the cutscenes look nice and are short enough not to detract from the missions. Rainbow Six is the name of an international group of special forces, specialized in dealing with terrorist threats. In this title you play Domingo Chavez (Ding to his friends) and you lead a team of four Rainbow Six agents through a number of terrorist situations.

To resolve these situations you have quite a number of weapons at your disposal, ranging from handguns to light machineguns and from sniper rifles to grenade launchers. All of them are modelled after real weapons so they all look, sound and feel just like they should. Not that the average person on the street would notice if the MP5A5 had too much range, but it's nice to see so much detail has gone into making this game.

The levels you get to use all these weapons in look very nice; they range from a snowy village to a quiet district in New Orleans. There's dynamic lighting to make darker areas even more interesting and there are nice details like curtains you can peek through with your heat vision. The player and enemy models look nice but they move a little sloppy, especially your teammates seem to walk a bit like wooden dolls. Except for these animations and a few lo-res textures the game looks pretty good.


Controlling Ding

All these guns and dynamic light sources are nice, but it's what you get to do with them that really matters. In Rainbow Six 3 you get to shoot your way through fifteen terrorist-filled missions. Most of them involve securing hostages, but some of them let you do things like disarming bombs or chasing enemy leaders. Before every mission you get a short briefing and the option to change your equipment, but usually you're better off using the weapons the game chooses for you.

Every weapon has it's own aiming cursor, the bigger it is the easier it is to hit enemies with. The cursor even shrinks and grows when you walk or crouch, so running around with guns blazing generally isn't a good way to tackle a mission. Shooting terrorists and walking around with a Gamecube controller works pretty well, and even controlling your team of Rainbow Six operatives isn't too complicated. The A button is context sensitive, from a distance it can be used to send your team somewhere or have them interact with the surroundings and from close you can use it to interact with things like doors or bombs yourself. You can even put your team in front of a door ready to open it and clear the next room on your command, so you can walk around to another door to take the next room from two sides simultaneously. You can only give commands to your entire team though, so putting a sniper on a balcony to protect the rest of your team is out of the question unfortunately.

Something that's not impossible but pretty irritating is the use of the D-pad. To crouch you press down on the D-Pad, to lean around corners you press left or right and to use the zoom on your weapon you press up. The Cube doesn't have the most accurate D-pad though, so crouching often causes you to lean right and leaning left can easily have you zooming in.. not ideal.


Artificial Unintelligence

Games that try to offer you perfect realism need really good artificial intelligence, unfortunately Rainbow Six 3 doesn't quite deliver enough on this front. The enemy AI is not great but it does the trick. The enemies usually patrol or just wait for you to come by, if they see you they try to take cover and shoot you. If they feel outnumbered they'll try to run away, but only to ambush you further on. The only exceptions to this standard behaviour are scripted events. Sometimes walking across a certain point triggers events like snipers popping up in high windows or garage doors opening up rooms with more enemies. The first time you see an event it may scare you a bit, but the next time you walk around that corner you know you can already aim at the highest window to shoot the sniper before he can even see you.

Your team AI is a little more advanced than the enemy AI, but it still makes your teammates do stupid things quite often. Your team executes your commands fairly well most of the time, but especially the way they clear a room is not ideal. If you command them to clear a room they storm in and shoot every enemy they see. Useful in rooms with a small number of enemies, but send them in to clear a large room and you'll almost surely lose a teammate. Unfortunately there's no way to command them to take cover in a room before they start shooting. They also have the nasty habit of standing in your way. Especially when you are walking very slowly or going up stairs they pop up in front of you often, sometimes even while you're shooting, which is not very convenient. If you use your team mainly to cover your back you won't have too much trouble with them, but it's a shame they're not a little smarter.



The Gamecube probably was a very challenging platform to develop a Rainbow Six title for, because a lot of compromises have been made. One of coolest things you can let your team do is execute a command on "Zulu", this means they wait before executing it until you've yelled "Zulu" at by pressing Z. If a room with enemies has two entrances you can ready your team at one door with a flashbang and take the other door yourself so you surround the enemy. To do this you do need a room with two doors though, and unfortunately these are quite rare.

Most missions are very lineair, you just follow the trail of the doors you can open until you reach the end of the level, the times you can choose multiple paths can be counted by a three year old. Linear missions aren't the worst things that can happen to an FPS, but a bad multiplayer mode is. Rainbow Six 3 was a huge success on the X-Box and the Playstation 2 because you could lead a team of real gamers into battle if you went online with the game, this added a great deal of longevity to the game. On the Gamecube we don't get an online mode. Instead we can play co-operatively through the same levels we've played through in the single player mode, but only with two players. There's no commanding your team anymore in multiplayer mode, just you, a buddy and lots of enemies. This may stretch the longevity a little, but it's hardly a replacement for the online mode Sony and Microsoft offer.

Final Say

Rainbow Six 3 is a nice game, but it doesn't offer enough to be anywhere near special. The AI is not above average and the lack of online modes hurts the longevity. After you've played through the missions there's not a lot to see. The menu gives you the option "Custom Mission", but choose this option and you'll find out you can only play through the single player missions again with a few enemies in different places. If you've finished Freedom Fighters and both the Conflict Desert Storm games and you're aching for more squad based FPS gameplay you might want to check out this one, but otherwise you're better of waiting for a game with a better multiplayer mode.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Entertaining, but not involving enough

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Enough weapons to take over London
Detailed levels


Simple AI on both sides
Disappointing multiplayer mode

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