The last Rainbow Six title was released for the GBC
soon after the acquisition of Red Storm by Ubi Soft
and was generally well received if a little ambitious.
The events in Rogue Spear take place just after the
campaign in the PC version which I'm aware means absolutely
nothing if you haven't actually played the game. To
summarize this title is a challenge in itself, much
in the same way that Metal Gear Solid, was so I'll keep
this introduction really short in the hopes that the
review will explain just what you're getting yourself
As the leader of Rainbow Six you control a covert
international team combating terrorism around the world.
Your work obviously demands a cool head and leadership
skills second to none and in order to survive this title
you'll need these and more. All missions start out with
an initial and detailed briefing and then it's off to
recruit your team. Here you're greeted with a whole
host of men of very different skills and nationalities
and although most teams consist of four members, some
missions will only require a single operative. It's
also important to mention here that once a man is killed
he'll no longer be available for other missions so bringing
everyone back alive is always important.
The missions themselves require both stealth and
firepower so relying on one of these aspects alone will
lead to failure and as you can't save mid-mission it
is essential to work out some plan of action. It's also
a good idea to mix your team members as recruiting sharp
shooters with recon specialists will greatly increase
your chances of success. Many of the early missions
require your team to enter a building, dispose of the
terrorists and escape with the hostages alive but things
get more difficult very quickly and by the time you
reach level five you have to employ some very different
skills. This is a pure recon mission where the objective
is to enter a building and plant bugging devices without
being seen. The problem is that the whole area is very
heavily guarded and just to make things a little more
interesting surveillance cameras are everywhere.
After this missions become more complicated and the
area to be covered considerably wider. There's something
here for everyone and the whole game is very well designed
with a learning curve to suit most players needs. If
all this wasn't enough there's the link up which can
handle up to four players in co-operative or death match
modes. This is a wonderful addition where the whole
game becomes like a handheld version of 'Laser Tag'
which was popular in the early 90's and will have you
shouting instructions to all your team members. The
save feature too should be applauded as it contains
5 separate slots which record your progress automatically
after each mission. Why can't all games be this simple?
Obviously the control system here is complicated.
Very complicated, and anyone who wants a quick blastfest
is urged to look elsewhere. Those who have the patience
to sit down and master the controls though will suddenly
realised just how clever the interface actually is.
The majority of the instructions you give your team
require three different button presses but this becomes
second nature in no time at all. Realising just how
involved this game is those good people at Ubi Soft
have included a separate card listing the controls which
makes playing the game a lot smoother initially. Other
developers would do well to follow suit.
The graphics here are well above average and the
GBA's advanced color palette has been put to good use
allowing better depth of field which is important as
everything is viewed from an above perspective. The
menu and introduction screens are also constructed with
great care and attention to detail. Overall you're treated
to a style and quality of presentation that puts some
other recent GBA titles to shame.
Sound & Music
The audio side of this title is absolutely fantastic
and the quality will hit you as soon as the initial
theme music kicks in, reminiscent of espionage/thriller
movies. The real treat though is the sound effects which
are not only clear and varied but used in such an intelligent
manner that they heighten the tension until even the
screech of a bird has you jumping from your seat. Your
ears will be bombarded with the sounds of the wind and
your footsteps changing as you move over various terrain.
In addition your team will on occasions shout directions
to one another and rescued hostages sound genuinely
frightened when you escort them to safety. Outstanding.
For anyone who enjoyed Metal Gear Solid on the GBC
and has been praying for an Advanced version this could
be what you've been waiting for. Rogue Spear features
some of the most involving and immersive gameplay I've
ever witnessed on a handheld and I have no problem recommending
it to anyone. The only real downside is that there are
only fifteen missions which may be challenging for the
average gameplayer but 'die hard' gamers may be less
satisfied. An instant, very memorable GBA classic and
an essential addition to your collection.