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Red Storm Entertainment



M (Mature)



Q4 2003



- Amazing Xbox Live gameplay
- Improved squad command features, including voice commands
- Better graphics than either Ghost Recon title



- Single-player game doesn’t measure up to online game
- For an M-rated title, headshots aren’t as bloodily satisfying as they could be
- Some weapons aren’t very effective in online play



Review: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon - Island Thunder (XB)

Review: Splinter Cell (XB)

Review: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 (PC)



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Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3

Score: 9.0 / 10


rainbow six 3 xbox review           rainbow six 3 xbox review


For Xbox owners looking for the ultimate tactical shooting games, look no further than the Tom Clancy lineup of titles from Ubisoft: Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, and the newest and best of them all, Rainbow Six 3. While Splinter Cell may be the best-looking of the bunch and the two Ghost Recon can stand on their own merits, the balanced combination of a solid single-player game with an incredibly entertaining online gaming environment places Rainbow Six 3 headshots-and-shoulders above not only its own crowd, but everybody else’s in the growing tactical shooting genre.

Gameplay focuses more on enclosed indoor environments as compared to the Ghost Recon games, which targeted on the strategy of tactical outdoor jungle, beach and urban area fighting. In Rainbow Six 3 you’re not battling against guerilla armies this time, you’re chasing and striking at a clandestine network of terrorists,




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which requires more stealth and gunfights in confined spaces with hostage’s lives at risk in a gameplay style closer to Splinter Cell than the Ghost Recon titles.

Although this is the same type of squad-based tactical shooter in its single-player game as the Ghost Recon titles, how you issue commands to your squad has been revamped for the better in a few different ways. First, instead of


commanding your squad by first going to the map menu (as seen in Ghost Recon and Island Thunder), now you can point your reticule to where you want them to move, hit the corresponding command button, and they will move. No more issuing orders from a map without seeing the terrain or environment you are sending your team into. Now you have to complete visual bearings on where they are headed.

And it isn’t only the “move” command that’s at your disposal. You can order them to cover, open doors and clear the room, regroup, climb, and hold their position. Whatever the current in-game situation calls for, you can order your team to do. And these commands are very important, because the key to completing missions in the single-player mode is to make your team do all the work while you stay in the shadows, so to speak, and devise the correct strategy to beat the terrorists.

But the most ambitious addition to Rainbow Six 3’s order commands is the ability to use your Xbox Live headset to issue verbal commands to the A.I. squad members. The inclusion of the voice commands in the single-player portion of the game was a great idea, but it is a bit on the uneven side in its actual application during playing sessions, particularly when it comes to the “move” edict. If you order the squad to open and clear a room, it works practically every time. But when it comes to the “move” order, the bread-and-butter command you’ll use, the A.I. has an anarchistic approach to accepting the order of not. It’s a great idea to have voice commands in the game, but it needs to be refined a bit more in any future titles in the Tom Clancy lineup before it can earn raves.

You won’t get any argument from me when it comes to debating if Rainbow Six 3 merits its “Mature” rating. This is small-scale war you’re involved in, and killing and being killed produces bloody casualties. But I felt a bit of a letdown when it came to eliminating terrorists with a clean headshot . Maybe I’m just too bloodthirsty, but I know I’m not alone is enjoying a lot of crimson carnage in my wargames. Rainbow Six 3 has its share, but it can’t come close to Counter-Strike’s bloodbath or even the cranium-exploding headshots of the much inferior Solider of Fortune II: Double Helix.


rainbow six 3 xbox review           rainbow six 3 xbox review

Splinter Cell set a gold standard for visuals. Sam Fisher’s adventures where dramatically enhanced with out-of-this-world graphics, including ridiculously realistic lighting effects. While not quite the overall quality of Splinter Cell’s amazing visual presentation, Rainbow Six 3 is much better looking than the Ghost Recon titles and is definitely enhanced to a new level by those same wonderful Splinter Cell lighting effects (albeit on a lesser scale) that actually influence your gameplay options and decisions while hunting terrorists through environments with little light sources to guide you.

Yet another stellar visual effect is when you’re unfortunate enough to get caught in the path of a flash grenade or worse, a tear gas grenade without a gas mask. A flash grenade will blind you and let any nearby enemies pick you off. Gas will produce a realistic disorienting visual effect. You will have blurred vision, and moving around only makes matters worse, for it’s impossible to gauge your true sense of direction until you get away from the gas’ ground zero area and clear your head. If you’re lucky, you will avoid any enemies until the effects of the gas wear off, but usually (especially online) your head will clear from the bullet that’s just passed through your skull.

Sound effects play a big part in Rainbow Six 3. In single-player missions, enemies making noise can alert you to their presence. You’ll also be able to judge how far away or close an enemy is from your position based on the volume of the gunfire and explosions relative to your position.

Speaking of guns, Rainbow Six 3 has the expected arsenal of terrorist-killing rifles, machine guns, and pistols as well as supporting incendiary devices. There is also thermal and night vision goggles you can use in the nighttime and hard-to-see levels, where danger could be around any dark corner.

Most rifles have scopes of varying magnifications that make killing the opposition a lot easier. But when it comes to online action, many of these weapons are useless if you have any ambitions of winning because of low accuracy rates or too much recoil. My advice is to find a good reliable weapon of your liking and stick with it through Xbox Live gaming to have any chance of success.

The single-player game and its storyline of hunting terrorists creates an enjoyable gaming experience. But as good as Rainbow Six 3 is as a single-player tactical shooter, it is spectacular online for those Xbox owners with Xbox Live. If you were on the fence about signing up for Xbox Live, Rainbow Six 3 will push you onto the side of the fence of willing subscribers. This is without a doubt Xbox Live’s best shooter-style title right now.

There are plenty of online modes in Rainbow Six 3: team-based, solo, or even co-op mission modes, where you play missions from the single-player game online with other team members. You can customize what weapons are available, if re-spawning is allowed, time limits, and a bunch of other options, so you can set up the game the way you want to play. No matter what online mode you choose, Rainbow Six 3 is seamlessly smooth online with almost no lag whatsoever and 16 players running around killing each other on a good and well-devised selection of levels is a great online time that not many games can match.

The third time’s the charm for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series. Rainbow Six 3’s has the complete package for shooting game fans, especially those that have Xbox Live as part of their Xbox gaming arsenal. This is the best online shooting experience available today, including the recently-released Xbox translation of the PC sensation Counter-Strike.

- Lee Cieniawa

(December 8, 2003)


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