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Developer: Redstorm Entertainment
Publisher: Redstorm Entertainment

Requirements:
Computer: Pentium(C) 233 Mhz with 3D hardware acceleration OR Pentium(C) 26 with MMX (Software rendering).
32 Mb of RAM required (64 Mb RAM recommended)
Operating System: MS Windows 95/98
Video: Software rendering only: 2D 16-bit SVGA 4 MB Video Card
3D Hardware Support: Direct 3D compatible video card required. Supports 3DFx, Voodoo, Nvidia, Riva, and Matrox G200 Chipsets. For list of supported cards see http:/www.redstorm.com
CD-ROM: 4x or better
Sound: DirectX compatible sound card required
Hard Drive: 200 MB of uncompressed space.
Requires DirectX 6 (included on CD) or better.
Supports Internet/Network play using TCP/IP, modem connection requires 28.8 connection or faster

Da Introduction:

Rogue Spear (more properly referred to as "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear") is the brilliant sequel to 1998's award winning title "Rainbow Six". It successfully builds on the unique features that made the first title such a stunning achievement. As such the differences are incremental rather than radical, and most of the differences are therefore simply improvements. Most noticeably the all-new graphics engine offers greater levels of detail, larger game environments, and greatly improved character animations. The controls are the same as for Rainbow Six, with a few changes to bring the controls more in line with those used in many other 3D games such as Quake or Unreal.

Like it's multi-award winning predecessor Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear places you in control of a team of anti-terrorist operatives battling terrorists in a variety of settings all around the world, with most of the action takes place in the former Soviet Union. Faced with an ever-challenging series of situations, you must select your people, equip them for the mission, plan their actions, and then take part in resolving the situation successfully. The action takes place in a very convincing and compelling 3D environment that has an air of realism and detail missing in other 3D shooters - perhaps because many of Rogue Spear's settings are real-world locations (the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art for instance). The action is brutal and unforgiving - no powerups or spare ammo clips lying around here - one shot usually kills and you only make one mistake.

Da Graphics:

The graphics in the game are superlative. The mission environments are lovingly rendered with great attention to detail - even in areas most player will seldom see. The game features a number of settings that really show the quality of the graphics and design very well - my favorites are probably the Opera house in Prague and the burnt out city in Kosovo. The addition of weather effects such as rain or snow adds challenge to the gameplay and pizzazz to the visuals. A new observer mode allows you to see the action going on around you if your character managed to catch a round, by letting you see through the eyes of the moving character.

Character animation and representation are very well engineered, and the movement of your troops and your opponents is very lifelike and purposeful. Obviously a lot of attention went into the improvements in this section of the game. The 3D models look more realistic than they did in Rainbow Six, and the character animations are vastly improved as well.

Da Sound:

Game sounds and music are quite well done, never detracting from the game but augmenting the gaming experience nicely. Sounds are truly 3d and form a very useful clue to what is happening around you (which can be very important while you are hurriedly trying to reload your weapon).

Da Combat:

Combat in Rogue Spear, particularly in multiplayer modes, is nothing short of stunning. Unlike practically every other 3D shooter on the market, Rogue Spear requires you to be cautious, plan your actions and really check your environment before you make a move. In most cases it only takes one hit and you're down, so cover and concealment become important issues in this game. Hong-Kong cinema-style leaping into a room with guns blazing is definitely not the order of the day with Rogue Spear. It is the sense of realism projected by Rogue Spear that makes it such a compelling gaming experience - and probably the best online gaming experience available today. Other shooters (and I have played a few of them) are enjoyable, can be challenging and are certainly entertaining - but few if any can approach the seriousness of Rogue Spear. It is obvious that the design team went out of its way to ensure that this game provided the most convincingly real environment possible. It is this sense of realism and the edge of seat play that results from the one-shot-kills damage system that will keep me playing and playing Rogue Spear long after I have put the other 3D shooters back on the shelf. In this sense Rogue Spear is not perfect - but it's very close.

Da Gameplay:

Gameplay in Rogue Spear can be divided pretty clearly into 3 stages for each of it's 18
missions: Gather information, equip your troops and plan their actions, and execute your plans.
In this, it follows the same pattern as Rainbow Six, and there are few differences between the two. In Rogue Spear there are new weapons to choose from, including 3 different sniper rifles and several new assault rifles, and now you can bring along snipers to pick off your terrorist opponents when you give the command. A very useful new feature is the ability to lean around corners to check them out, rather than exposing your entire body to harmful bullet impacts. This is a really useful feature that I can see appearing in the next generation of shooters.

The information gathering and planning stages may not be your cup of tea. The interface is fairly involved and trying to plan the actions of multiple teams as they move through their environment can be a rather complex task - I have to admit I mostly went with the mission plans suggested by HQ when I was play testing Rogue Spear. This mission planning stage is one of the elements of Rogue Spear (and Rainbow Six of course) that marks them apart from other similar games but seems overly complex to me. Granted when I am reviewing a game I try to experience as much of it as possible (often in a short period of time) so I can focus on relating the gaming experience to you the reader, but this section of the game was very frustrating and offered such a wide variety of options that I tended to simply click on the default settings and get on with it.

The game comes with an editor so you can produce your own missions if desired - a nice touch we have come to expect in 3D games. Unfortunately the manual does not mention the editor and the interface is a tad arcane. Hopefully in future versions of this title they will provide more information on the editor and simplify the interface somewhat.

The team AI in Rogue Spear leaves something to be desired. Occasionally your team members will simply stand by while one of their teammates gets shot up. Often if you die, your entire team dies with you - and often for the same reason. On the other hand, Enemy AI - originally a problem with Rainbow Six - is greatly improved and terrorists react to your actions, kill hostages without notice and pay attention to the introduction of grenades to their environment. This is a major improvement over the original game - and shows the Redstorm people are really working to improve the software.

Naturally the missions are the heart of the game, and they are tied together very nicely with a compelling and logical storyline that integrates with the events in the missions. The missions are nicely varied in nature, and provide enough variety and challenge that you don't get bored by repetitious scenarios.

While the single player missions are very entertaining and challenging, I think it is in multiplayer mode where Rogue Spear comes into its own. There is an ineffable value in knowing that the opponent you just capped is a real person sitting at some distant keyboard. Rogue Spear offers a wealth of multiplayer gaming options:

1. Survival - A free for all game won by the last person standing
2. Team survival - Players chose either the Blue or Gold team, and the last team surviving wins.
3. Scattered Teams - A team survival game where the players start scattered all over the map instead of starting together in their home base.
4. Terrorist Hunt - A team survival game with 30 randomly placed terrorists thrown into the mix. Your team can also win by killing at least 16 terrorists before the other team.
5. Scatter Hunt - This is the same as the Terrorist Hunt game noted above, only the players start out scattered all over the map.
6. Assassination - A variation on the team survival games where each team has a general that they must defend from the other team. You can win by killing off the other team or by killing their general.
7. Scatter Assassination - logically enough, this is the same as Assassination, only the players start scattered all over the map.
8. Save Your Base - A team survival variant in which each team has a base that they start separate from. They must race to their base and disarm the bomb that is there before they other team can do the same with the bomb in their base.
9. Double Bluff - Not only are you in a team survival game here, but you also have to escort hostages back to your base. Each team starts in their base with a hostage, if either team kills a hostage, that team loses.
10. Stronghold - This is a team survival variation in which one team must stop the other team from entering their base. If a member of the attacking team can gain entrance to the defender's base and remain there for 3 seconds (a very long time in Rogue Spear) they win the game. Eliminating all members of the other team also results in a victory.
11. Double Stronghold - This variation is the same as Stronghold above, but both teams defend their base and attack the opposing base.

I did experience problems with the multiplayer game experience - mostly joining a game to be inexplicably kicked out of the game at some point during play - and obviously this area can use improvement. However, with all of the above variations, knuckle-biting tension as you stealthily move through a truly deadly environment, and up to 16 players, the multiplayer version of Rogue Spear is a real winner. The game is playable over a network, or via the Internet using Mplayer, the MSN Gaming Zone, and (with the 2.05 patch) Gamespy.

Da Conclusion:

Rainbow Six was a revolutionary contribution to the 3D shooter genre. Rogue Spear is an evolutionary contribution to that genre - with most of its improvements lying in the expanded multiplayer portion of the game and the spectacular graphics - that should prove eminently satisfactory to any fan of the 3D genre. Despite the problems that the game suffers from, the gameplay is so fabulous that I highly recommend this game. In fact, I recommend you stop reading this review now, and go purchase a copy of Rogue Spear. This title gets a Player's Choice Award!

This title reviewed by DA GAMEBOYZ contributor Atho
atho@pagans.org

Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear

 

Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear

ESRB: Rating Pending - RP
Platform: PC Games
Category: Action Games
 
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Developer: Redstorm Entertainment Publisher: Redstorm Entertainment Requirements: Computer: Pentium(C) 233 Mhz with 3D hardware acceleration OR Pentium(C) 26 with MMX (Software rendering). 32 Mb of RAM required (64 Mb RAM recommended) Operating System: MS Windows 95/98 Video: Software rendering only: 2D 16-bit SVGA 4 MB Video Card 3D Hardware Support: Direct 3D compatible video card required. Supports 3DFx, Voodoo, Nvidia, Riva, and Matrox G200 Chipsets. For list of supported cards see http:/www.redstorm.com CD-ROM: 4x or better Sound: DirectX compatible sound card required Hard Drive: 200 MB of uncompressed space. Requires DirectX 6 (included on CD) or better. Supports Internet/Network play using TCP/IP, modem connection requires 28.8 connection or faster Da Introduction: Rogue Spear (more properly referred to as "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear") is the brilliant sequel to 1998's award winning title "Rainbow Six". It successfully builds on the unique features that made the first title such a stunning achievement. As such the differences are incremental rather than radical, and most of the differences are therefore simply improvements. Most noticeably the all-new graphics engine offers greater levels of detail, larger game environments, and greatly improved character animations. The controls are the same as for Rainbow Six, with a few changes to bring the controls more in line with those used in many other 3D games such as Quake or Unreal. Like it's multi-award winning predecessor Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear places you in control of a team of anti-terrorist operatives battling terrorists in a variety of settings all around the world, with most of the action takes place in the former Soviet Union. Faced with an ever-challenging series of situations, you must select your people, equip them for the mission, plan their actions, and then take part in resolving the situation successfully. The action takes place in a very convincing and compelling 3D environment that has an air of realism and detail missing in other 3D shooters - perhaps because many of Rogue Spear's settings are real-world locations (the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art for instance). The action is brutal and unforgiving - no powerups or spare ammo clips lying around here - one shot usually kills and you only make one mistake. Da Graphics: The graphics in the game are superlative. The mission environments are lovingly rendered with great attention to detail - even in areas most player will seldom see. The game features a number of settings that really show the quality of the graphics and design very well - my favorites are probably the Opera house in Prague and the burnt out city in Kosovo. The addition of weather effects such as rain or snow adds challenge to the gameplay and pizzazz to the visuals. A new observer mode allows you to see the action going on around you if your character managed to catch a round, by letting you see through the eyes of the moving character. Character animation and representation are very well engineered, and the movement of your troops and your opponents is very lifelike and purposeful. Obviously a lot of attention went into the improvements in this section of the game. The 3D models look more realistic than they did in Rainbow Six, and the character animations are vastly improved as well. Da Sound: Game sounds and music are quite well done, never detracting from the game but augmenting the gaming experience nicely. Sounds are truly 3d and form a very useful clue to what is happening around you (which can be very important while you are hurriedly trying to reload your weapon). Da Combat: Combat in Rogue Spear, particularly in multiplayer modes, is nothing short of stunning. Unlike practically every other 3D shooter on the market, Rogue Spear requires you to be cautious, plan your actions and really check your environment before you make a move. In most cases it only takes one hit and you're down, so cover and concealment become important issues in this game. Hong-Kong cinema-style leaping into a room with guns blazing is definitely not the order of the day with Rogue Spear. It is the sense of realism projected by Rogue Spear that makes it such a compelling gaming experience - and probably the best online gaming experience available today. Other shooters (and I have played a few of them) are enjoyable, can be challenging and are certainly entertaining - but few if any can approach the seriousness of Rogue Spear. It is obvious that the design team went out of its way to ensure that this game provided the most convincingly real environment possible. It is this sense of realism and the edge of seat play that results from the one-shot-kills damage system that will keep me playing and playing Rogue Spear long after I have put the other 3D shooters back on the shelf. In this sense Rogue Spear is not perfect - but it's very close. Da Gameplay: Gameplay in Rogue Spear can be divided pretty clearly into 3 stages for each of it's 18 missions: Gather information, equip your troops and plan their actions, and execute your plans. In this, it follows the same pattern as Rainbow Six, and there are few differences between the two. In Rogue Spear there are new weapons to choose from, including 3 different sniper rifles and several new assault rifles, and now you can bring along snipers to pick off your terrorist opponents when you give the command. A very useful new feature is the ability to lean around corners to check them out, rather than exposing your entire body to harmful bullet impacts. This is a really useful feature that I can see appearing in the next generation of shooters. The information gathering and planning stages may not be your cup of tea. The interface is fairly involved and trying to plan the actions of multiple teams as they move through their environment can be a rather complex task - I have to admit I mostly went with the mission plans suggested by HQ when I was play testing Rogue Spear. This mission planning stage is one of the elements of Rogue Spear (and Rainbow Six of course) that marks them apart from other similar games but seems overly complex to me. Granted when I am reviewing a game I try to experience as much of it as possible (often in a short period of time) so I can focus on relating the gaming experience to you the reader, but this section of the game was very frustrating and offered such a wide variety of options that I tended to simply click on the default settings and get on with it. The game comes with an editor so you can produce your own missions if desired - a nice touch we have come to expect in 3D games. Unfortunately the manual does not mention the editor and the interface is a tad arcane. Hopefully in future versions of this title they will provide more information on the editor and simplify the interface somewhat. The team AI in Rogue Spear leaves something to be desired. Occasionally your team members will simply stand by while one of their teammates gets shot up. Often if you die, your entire team dies with you - and often for the same reason. On the other hand, Enemy AI - originally a problem with Rainbow Six - is greatly improved and terrorists react to your actions, kill hostages without notice and pay attention to the introduction of grenades to their environment. This is a major improvement over the original game - and shows the Redstorm people are really working to improve the software. Naturally the missions are the heart of the game, and they are tied together very nicely with a compelling and logical storyline that integrates with the events in the missions. The missions are nicely varied in nature, and provide enough variety and challenge that you don't get bored by repetitious scenarios. While the single player missions are very entertaining and challenging, I think it is in multiplayer mode where Rogue Spear comes into its own. There is an ineffable value in knowing that the opponent you just capped is a real person sitting at some distant keyboard. Rogue Spear offers a wealth of multiplayer gaming options: 1. Survival - A free for all game won by the last person standing 2. Team survival - Players chose either the Blue or Gold team, and the last team surviving wins. 3. Scattered Teams - A team survival game where the players start scattered all over the map instead of starting together in their home base. 4. Terrorist Hunt - A team survival game with 30 randomly placed terrorists thrown into the mix. Your team can also win by killing at least 16 terrorists before the other team. 5. Scatter Hunt - This is the same as the Terrorist Hunt game noted above, only the players start out scattered all over the map. 6. Assassination - A variation on the team survival games where each team has a general that they must defend from the other team. You can win by killing off the other team or by killing their general. 7. Scatter Assassination - logically enough, this is the same as Assassination, only the players start scattered all over the map. 8. Save Your Base - A team survival variant in which each team has a base that they start separate from. They must race to their base and disarm the bomb that is there before they other team can do the same with the bomb in their base. 9. Double Bluff - Not only are you in a team survival game here, but you also have to escort hostages back to your base. Each team starts in their base with a hostage, if either team kills a hostage, that team loses. 10. Stronghold - This is a team survival variation in which one team must stop the other team from entering their base. If a member of the attacking team can gain entrance to the defender's base and remain there for 3 seconds (a very long time in Rogue Spear) they win the game. Eliminating all members of the other team also results in a victory. 11. Double Stronghold - This variation is the same as Stronghold above, but both teams defend their base and attack the opposing base. I did experience problems with the multiplayer game experience - mostly joining a game to be inexplicably kicked out of the game at some point during play - and obviously this area can use improvement. However, with all of the above variations, knuckle-biting tension as you stealthily move through a truly deadly environment, and up to 16 players, the multiplayer version of Rogue Spear is a real winner. The game is playable over a network, or via the Internet using Mplayer, the MSN Gaming Zone, and (with the 2.05 patch) Gamespy. Da Conclusion: Rainbow Six was a revolutionary contribution to the 3D shooter genre. Rogue Spear is an evolutionary contribution to that genre - with most of its improvements lying in the expanded multiplayer portion of the game and the spectacular graphics - that should prove eminently satisfactory to any fan of the 3D genre. Despite the problems that the game suffers from, the gameplay is so fabulous that I highly recommend this game. In fact, I recommend you stop reading this review now, and go purchase a copy of Rogue Spear. This title gets a Player's Choice Award! This title reviewed by DA GAMEBOYZ contributor Atho atho@pagans.org



 
 

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