As mentioned on our podcast, Rainbow Six 3: Gold Edition is now on Steam for a mere £4.99, this includes both Raven Shield and Athena Sword And I just wanted to reiterate and give you a few reasons why you should buy it.
The original Rainbow Six holds a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first PC games I brought (My very first PC game was MechWarrior 2, I got it for £9.99 from the bargain bin at PC World). I remember playing Rainbow Six more as a puzzle game then action, I loved the thrill of planning all my assaults to make sure everyone came out healthy and all the objectives where completed. Our PC at the time could not handle it properly, and even with the resolution turned down to 640×480 it would run at about 2fps.
I still completed it.
I loved it that much i put up with the pain of watching the world go by as a slide show with graphics so low it looked like in had been animated in MS Paint, I loved the realism, reading all about the weapons and the joy of a seeing the mission completed screen was about as high as 12 year old me could get.
So, yeah, I kinda liked it.
I brought all the expansions to both it and its squeal, Rouge Spear, and lost many hours of my life to them, Rouge Spear was my first entry into online game, preforming terrorist hunts mission with friends online, it introduce me to a world I didn’t know existed until then. So you can imagine my excitement when I learn’t Raven Shield was in development, I was at college at the time, and every day, during my lessons, I had the Raven Shield website open, I would check it every ten minutes, just to see if anything had been updated, I would spend hours trawling over every new set of screen shots, trying to make out details for the one and only game i cared about. And then came the release day, I remember waiting outside GAME to buy my copy, and rushing back home to get it installed.
So, yeah, I really liked it.
Anyway, Enough gushing, as I’m guessing you’ve got better things to do then let me ramble on about how much I loved this game, so lets get into why this game is so different, and why it like nothing you can get today. Rainbow Six: Raven Shield (as it was originally know, the 3 was added later) was released in 2003, set in the futuristic year of 2005, it was about a group of neo-fascist trying to start a new movement by causing a economic depression in south America. Yes, the story was about a bit out there, but then that’s what all Rainbow Six game have always been like.
The game itself is split into two parts, the Planning and Action Phase. In many way the planning phase was the main part of the game, in it, you select operatives and divide them up between three teams (Red,Green and Gold), you would choose their equipment, not just weapons, but you could give them special gear such as breaching charges to blow doors, or heartbeat sensors to look through walls. Once you’ve got the teams set up, you’d start planning the assault.
You would be given a map of the area to attack, areas would be marked where you could deploy your teams, where any objective like hostage are, and extraction zones to get them back out. You would place way points for each team, making them a route through the map, hopefully in such a way they would clear and coverage at the right points. In order to ensure proper timing of assaults on key areas, you could set go codes. During the mission, teams would stop at these points and wait for you to give the signal, thus ensuring areas were attacked at the right time. You could also give them special instructions such as: sniping at a certain area, throwing flashbangs before moving, and other actions.
The action phase is where your best laid plans would be carried out. You could take control over any of the teams (and switch between them in game) and guide them through the way points you’ve placed. Hoping you did your planning correctly. And if you didn’t want take part directly, you could view the game as a observer, and watch your teams carry out your orders. Inevitability, your first plan would likely fail, half your team would be killed/hostages shot/bomb set off etc. And you would have to go back to the planning screen to adjust way points, team configurations, equipment or scrap the whole lot and start again. This would mean you may well spend hours in the planning for some of the missions, the actual action phase? about 5 minutes. because of this, it’s better to think of the game as a puzzler, and less of an action game, with the goal being creating the best plan keeping your whole team alive whilst completing the objectives.
The AI of the game was overall pretty good, it did do some weird things, for example, getting stuck in doorways, sometimes terrorist would shoot at your team, and they would just stand their and let themselves be killed, which was especially annoying when it happens towards the end of a tense mission. But otherwise it was pretty good, terrorist would try and run away from grenades, investigate noises and sometime surrender, unfortunately, they didn’t understand the concept of cover and would just stand a shot at you.
So why have i picked Rainbow Six 3? well in my mind, this was the last of the ‘proper’ Rainbow Six games. Later ones dropped the planning phase and turned into generic cover based shooter, featuring your single team working it way through a fairly liner level from one end to another. In my opinion they ripped out the soul of the games and become less realistic and more action orientated. The world needs another Rainbow like game, if you know of any, please post in the comments.
Hopefully the above ramblings have made you appreciate, and want to give the game a try, £4.99 will give you hours of entertainment, and you wont be disappointed.
Thanks for reading