Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 Review

Strategy and team-based combat tactics against an intelligent terrorist threat? You won’t find it here folks…

Maybe it’s just us, but we’ve found it pretty tough to get excited about Rainbow Six, ever since… well, ever since we played through the game’s opening Training section. It really dampened our enthusiasm for the game proper. In short – the presentation is dull. The grainy FMV wouldn’t have looked out of place in a game produced a decade ago, and the generic ‘rousing’ Clancy-style cinematic music is totally lacking in imagination, while the in-game visuals are universally drab.

There’s a whole world of greys and dirty browns for you to discover and. give or take a handful of levels, not much else. Dull featureless corridor after dull featureless corridor links up room after room filled with bland-textured crates, steaming pipes, barrels and boxes. There’s nothing that inspires. Granted, there are some outdoor and ‘lighter’ areas to play through – but again, they’re not the most detailed in the world and ultimately you’re still going through the same gameplay processes as you are in the predominantly interior missions.


Design-wise, the levels aren’t too hot either. Doors are barricaded left, right and centre, forcing you down predetermined paths, and while on occasion there are multiple doors to the same area there are hardly any opportunities for you to make creative decisions about how you tackle potential threats from, or encounters with, the moronic terrorist opposition.
The enemy Al in the game is practically nonexistent. They can run away, take cover in obviously predetermined positions, snipe from gantries or just crouch or stand where they are and shoot at you. In fact, their behaviour is so pathetic that, on retrying certain sections, you can predict where they’ll be or where they’re going to run to if you give them the opportunity to leg it. As a result, the tougher sections of the game – where you find yourself dying and retrying – become more a test of memory than of any skill.

You could argue that for a ‘Tactical Ops’ title (or whatever the hell Clancy calls it) presentation isn’t the point. It’s supposed to be about strategy, awareness of the environment and setting up intelligent waypoints for your team and all that stuff. Which we concede is true. But unfortunately Rainbow Six 3 doesn’t exactly perform well in this area either.


In its defence, the interface is remarkably intuitive, so it’s far easier to get to grips with than previous Rainbows. You can order your team to hold positions, to follow you or move out to certain

You’ find yourself choosing

rooms/waypoints/whatever simply by aiming at the spot you want them to go to. You can also order them to pile into a room, stun the enemy with a flash grenade and clear it out, either then and there, or by issuing a delayed ‘Zulu’ command that lets you co-ordinate your actions with theirs. It’s this latter option that’s most useful. On occasion, you’ll find areas that have two access points. You can order your team to take one door while you take the other and enter simultaneously, using your team’s actions to distract the enemy long enough for you to rescue hostages or plug the enemy in the skull.

Aside from that, we found ourselves playing the game as though it were a stealthy FPS. We’d go creeping around a corner just enough to expose an enemy’s limb and then we’d shoot him in the arms or legs until he died. After that, we simply had to repeat the process in every room and around every corner. You won’t be surprised to hear that Rainbow Six quickly gets repetitive.

…the gun with the best scope

So, has it got any redeeming features? After all this is supposed to be a pretty good game – right? Well, the co-operative mode is quite a good laugh, we suppose, but it hardly makes up for a lack of an online mode (which is where we’d imagine the game really excels). Also, there are times when it manages to be quite atmospheric. However, it still pales in comparison to many of the other, similarly themed titles out there. Both instalments of Conflict Desert Storm are infinitely superior to this, offering a wider choice of strategies and a heightened sense of combat along with a selection of skirmishes and missions to tackle.

Splinter Cell, although not quite the same as this, offers more in the way of atmosphere, stealth and (at times) strategy – and the same can be said of 10’s Hitman and the quite excellent Freedom Fighters. While neither of the latter titles have the same ‘Clancy-esque’ theme, they and Splinter Cell all shine at things that Rainbow Six tries so hard – but fails – to deliver.

After everyone telling us how great this is supposed to be, we’re left wondering what on earth all the fuss is about.

A wider variety of exterior locations would have been nice. Trouble is, even when you are outside, you’re never doing anything particularly different. Or exciting.

One of the better levels – at least in so far as there’s a better mix of objectives. You have to free a hostage, then defend the exit point from mobsters. Not bad.

Unfortunately, enemy skins are repeated from level to level. You kill this guy about a hundred times over.

Team mates are best used where you have trouble spotting the enemy as they’re petty eagle-eyed.

Nearly every weapon in the game has a sight of some description, which comes in very handy.

Here we go then, the start of a new level. You’ve got your team mates to help you out if you need them – but why bother? Just walk to the first corner and strafe round nice and slow until…

…you can see a lapless guard’s arm poking out from behind his ‘cover’. Aim and deliver a few metal slughs to the elbow and he’ll fall over like a doped racehorse. Just like in real life, eh?!

In a rather generous touch, the collision detection is a bit squiffy, letting you score easy kills. Shame really, because it negates the need to be specific about the weapons you choose before the mission.

Press and hold the A button to call up a Turok-style option wheel with which to issue commands to your team. However, it’s none too versatile compared to command issuing in games like Desert Storm.

So it’s back to hiding round corners like a pansy then. “Creep a bit more, creep a bit more, creewe have visual on the arm sir, repeat, we have visual… going for the elbow… again. Over and out.”

Fairly atmospheric.
Enjoyable co-op.

Dull presentation
Dumb Al.
There are far better games out there…

Dull level design and a noticable lack of detail throughout.

Clancy-style tunes and some rather pleasant gun effects.

Doesn’t really make the PC work hard enough

Tough going and you’ll want to see it through to the end.

Nowhere near as clever as it sould be. There are better, prettier and more enjoyable shooters worthy of your time. 65/100

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