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Publisher: MacSoft    Genre: Action
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: G3 @ 300 MHz    RAM: 96 MB    Hard Disk: 84 MB    2x CD-ROM

Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear
March 5, 2001 | Kit Pierce

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Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear is a sequel to the popular title Rainbow Six, which places you as the commander of a top-secret multinational covert-ops team battling terrorism around the world. With surgical precision, you enter a zone, strike, and get out, all the while advancing an intriguing plot.

Let's be honest here: Rainbow Six was not the most fabulous game in the world. It was a very good idea that didn't seem to be very mature -- AI, graphics, and multiplayer all had some flaws. Its sequel, Rogue Spear, is really close to being a perfect game, though. It's taken the Rainbow Six idea, refined it, retooled its graphics, sent its bad guys to terrorism school, fixed some major gaffes in multiplayer mode, and returned as a very mature game. At the very least, it's addicting.

To reduce in-game load times, I opted for the 500+ MB full install. When I realized that all that added was the incredibly large intro movies that, if present, play every time the game is launched, I reinstalled with the 300 MB standard option. Even after all that hard drive space, Rogue Spear requires you to have the CD in the drive. Understandable, but annoying.

Happily, the game CD comes with Game Ranger if you don't already have it, and a Rogue Spear mod conversion utility (yes, it supports mods, but more about that later).

I wasn't fully prepared for the experience I was going to have with Rogue Spear when I received my copy. I was expecting more of a twitch experience like Quake or Unreal. I'm not sure why, but I was. That's why I jumped right into the first mission after quickly reviewing the key mappings in the games options menu. What's to know? You're a covert-ops commando with big guns blazing going in to kill terrorists and rescue hostages.

I suppose that attitude is why I got my tail utterly decimated within the first two minutes of the first mission. Time to read the manual. And what a great manual it is, too. Not only is it very easy to read and follow, not only does it describe, in detail, every piece of weaponry and article of gear a covert-ops team could ever want, it gives you a walk-through of the first mission in the game. Hands-on experience is a very valuable thing. Having a great manual doesn't hurt, either.

Rogue Spear doesn't simply throw you into the middle of a mission and force you to figure your way out. It tries to give you as realistic an experience as possible (without the prerequisite boot camp and command school) in planning and executing precision military operations. And what simulation would be complete without the inclusion of a proper training and proving grounds? Rogue Spear offers a comprehensive training course to take you through the paces and help you familiarize yourself with the controls of the game, the planning phase, and the actual command or one or more strike forces.

It's a good idea to take the time to learn these tutorials well and perfect their lessons with zero casualties because once you're playing an actual campaign, if one or your team members dies, they're dead for good. If they're wounded and merely down, they'll heal, but they'll be off your duty roster for a while.

There are a plethora of controls to get yourself comfortable with in Rogue Spear. The pre-mapped (and very essential) keys leave only a handful of spare keys on your computer unmapped by default. There's a quick-reference card included with the game as well as one printed on the back of the CD-case. The publishers were awfully thoughtful in this respect, but do yourself a favor and memorize the keys. You don't want to accidentally order a "frag room" command when you meant to give a "go code bravo" command.


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