Games I Own: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear
Posted on 12th Jul 2010 at 10:14 by Matthew Lambert with 27 comments
I know that there was a story weaved in between the missions, and I know at the time I probably followed it to some degree. However, I was only 10 when I first played it, so the significance of weapons of mass destruction and global terrorist threats were lost on my young mind. All I knew for certain was that you had to save hostages (the precious cargo!), and stop bombs going off, shooting any bad guys who crossed your path.
Shooting terrorists was just a small part of the gameplay though. The planning stages for each mission were incredibly detailed. You could customise up to four teams per mission, planning who was in them, what weapon loadouts they had, and exactly what route they would take. While each mission came with a pre-planned route, getting the most out of the game was about making your own from square one.
Fact: Special Forces men are constantly constipated
Part of the reason I never completed Rogue Spear is that I was obsessed with doing every level perfectly, without any men getting injured. Perfecting a plan was what I had most fun doing, and it was as much a strategy game for me as it was a shooter. The real feeling of satisfaction from being part of your plan as it comes to fruition was immense. And then you could ramp the difficulty up a level and try again, tweaking your scheme as appropriate.
Beyond the planning stages, small things like being able to switch between your various teams, and switching between 1st and 3rd person viewpoints emphasise the game's reliance on tactics, teamwork and co-ordination. No matter how many times I replayed the missions, it was these elements that constantly made the game fun. Unlike many modern shooters, there was no dependence on big, over the top, cinematic sequences.
The other reason that I didn't complete it is that even on lower difficulties the missions could be very punishing. One loud noise too many or one slow reaction was all it took for you to fall victim to the relentless enemy AI. Those crafty terrorists were insanely accurate and quick, and you could easily be disabled by a single bullet. Conversely, your team members were unfortunately quite useless - the AI was certainly imbalanced.
In fact, the abilities of your team mates was probably the most disappointing aspect. Though amusing at first, seeing the world's most elite soldiers struggling to fully understand the concept of a ladder and getting stuck quickly became annoying, especially if it ruined a smooth infiltration.
Though the other counter-terrorists could all too often be the Achilles' Heel of your plan, sometimes their blood was on your hands. You couldn't help but feel awful after giving the Go command to one of your teams, then hearing a vicious fight and seeing them flatline one by one. Their injuries and fatalities were permanent too, which only increased your guilt. Lose Chavez, and he won't be coming back to life for future missions.
I love it when a plan comes together
Once a mission is complete, you could replay each map in Terrorist Hunt, where you had to hunt down and kill 30 terrorists. Alternatively, you could forego the friendly AI altogether in Lone Wolf, where you were simply required to reach a designated point by yourself without dying. These modes and the pull of finding the perfect plan were what made the game so replayable for me, rather than any multiplayer mode. I simply found no attraction in playing against or with other real people, as I've always preferred single player games to multiplayer ones.
Crouching, peaking round corners, flashbangs, silencers, and travelling all over the world. That's exactly the cool life I imagined all Special Forces had, and it's exactly the experience Rogue Spear offered. The voice acting was awesome, and the graphics were great for the day too. The realism was occasionally shattered by the odd clipping glitch, but generally Rogue Spear was incredibly tense as you were never sure if you'd be looking down the barrel of a shotgun around the next corner.
Rogue Spear was a game that had me feeling genuinely scared, guilty and relieved at various points. Maybe it was because I was so young and hadn't had my heart turned cold by years of exposure to evil corporations' gory games, but there are few games that have given me such strong emotional reactions, which is why it will always remain a firm favourite of mine.
Number of times completed: None.
Random Trivia: The term "Rogue Spear" was invented by Clancy and refers to the possession of nuclear weapons by a non-state entity.