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Rainbow Six
Platform:  Dreamcast
# of Players:  1
Developer:  Pipe Dream
Publisher:  Red Storm
Features:  VMU, Jump Pack Compatible
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Hatred. I felt it as I went from menu to menu, customizing, optimizing, compromising. I didn’t want to worry about the proper uniform or the most efficient tactical maneuvering. I didn't care what the fucking names of each and every little drone under my command were. When I play an action game, I want action. I want relentless explosions and unnecessary violence.

But this is not an action game… this is a "simulation game." You must "pay attention." You must "look before you leap." You must "think." I am not familiar with mixing complex thought processes with the chunking sound of an automatic weapon.

Rainbow Six, however, changed me… if only for a short while. I'd been waiting for this goddamn game since the very inception of the Dreamcast. Though I don't remember why. I suppose I expected a game similar in style and ferocity to Quake, but maybe a little more realistic. Emphasis: a little. I was not expecting the overt realism and eye-gougingly difficult play mechanics that encompass and complete the covert SAT that is Rainbow Six. Furthermore, the game accrued wide journalistic acclaim throughout the gaming community for being the first real "thinking man's FPS (first person shooter)." In this case, "thinking," to me, means that I will have to think about what high-powered weapons to use while mowing down waves of chainsaw alien-zombies. With this in mind, Rainbow Six did not satisfy.

Almost immediately, I was shot down by a war-crazed terrorist while trying to rescue an ambassador held hostage. A one hit kill was not welcomed. Unlike most games wherein death is a factor, damage to the body is not as forgiving. If you're shot, you're down… probably dead too. Instead of having a said number of lives, you have a team of compatriots that will succeed your original character as the "controllee."

You must be alert at all times. You must not get distracted, you must think of nothing but the mission, don't breathe, don't blink. If any of these rules are violated, the enemy will find you and kill you. You must clear your mind of everything, every little pontification that does not revolve around Rainbow Six. I ran into the embassy, guns drawn looking for those fascist evil bastards. I mean what kind of goddamn animal thinks he can shirk the government by overthrowing a high priority US embassy and kidnapping a very important diplomat. Well anyway, I was caught with my pants down as I turned a corner and one of those bloodthirsty terrorists blasted me between the eyes. I had to replay the same mission about five or six times before I figured out how to complete the mission without having any of my boys die.

The graphics are clean, but simplistic. Everything has a fine look to it, but the architecture and landscape is so juvenile and/or flat that it doesn’t feel like there’s any difference between open and closed areas in the game. It all feels like a bunch of corridors, as complex as Doom. However, each of the levels are relatively large and there’s no pop-up, warping, or collision detection problems (at least none that I found). The character models look jagged, but they work… at least it’s not the Playstation version. It seems that they could’ve fleshed out the game a bit more instead of leaving it all so LEGO-like. Some more varied textures would’ve been nice.

The sound effects are phenomenally well done. nice, juicy samples that sound like they were recorded in the heat of a firefight. Character voices sound a bit grainy, but they’re definitely passable. And as for the music, if you saw Clear and Present Danger, you know what to expect.

The control is really where the game begins to bottom out. I have never experienced a control scheme that was this weird before. All of the buttons that should do something in all logical sense, do something utterly awry. Plus the turning in the game is way too slow especially since the enemy can take you in a split second. You’ll never know what hit you and that gets increasingly annoying. All of this and some of the worst loading times (and screens) create a truly spine twisting package.

Rainbow Six took so goddamn long to hit the shelves, I expected something really spectacular. I don’t know why. I can say that if you are a fan of arduous labor with little gratification, I’d recommend picking this up. As for me, I gotta go play some Quake 2 to get myself off of this “thinking” trip.

Chris Shade

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