Have you ever wanted to play hide and seek in an improbably ugly house with deformed terrorists? No? What if guns were thrown in? Maybe? If so, Rainbow Six just might be the game for you.
What originally was intended for the PC has come to the PlayStation - with mixed results. The keyboard control, which some found cumbersome, is now gone, but most of the functions have been retained. Both sticks and most buttons (including those of the sticks themselves) are used in the game. Also gone are pesky things like "good graphics." While it's quite obviously possible to make an attractive PlayStation game, it seems as though the developer didn't feel that way. Although it would've been possible to retain the team-controlling gameplay, the developers clearly felt that a standard FPS would be good enough for console owners. Thanks, guys, but there is plenty of more adroit competition in that arena.
Through a mixture of extremely blurry game-engine FMV with a large black border and the startling revelations of a dramatically English-accented woman, we learn that international terrorism is on the rise, and that the development of a crack team of professionals with a silly name is the only possible solution to this problem. That team goes by the code name "Rainbow." Perhaps the team hoped the terrorists would be caught off guard by the name. Unfortunately, the team members don't have special powers or glittery costumes - it's all distressingly military. At any rate, the Rainbows are dispatched to exotic locales (ugly houses, ugly jungles, ugly oil platforms, etc.) and instructed to shoot exotic terrorists (Belgians, Africans, Russians, etc.) and save exotic hostages (white people).
The game's setup is thus: Three team members are dispatched to various locations on the perimeter of the enemy compound. You can switch between them at will. There is a fixed goal (saving the ambassador, for example, who is hiding so craftily in the middle of a room as to be beyond detection by mere terrorists) and a somewhat mutable number of terrorists. Terrorists must be dispatched by shot, and they aren't particularly suspicious. Perhaps they're partially deaf. They have a tendency to pop back up if you switch team members, but they will stay dead if you don't. There is actually no need to switch characters if you accomplish the mission using just one man; it's actually obviously advantageous to ignore the team-play gimmick.
The control is best described as "awkward." The left analog stick moves your character forward, back, and from side-to-side, and the right turns your character. Your highlytrained, hardened soldier has an amusing proclivity for getting caught on doors frames. At times, you must crouch to get through a normal-sized opening - these Rainbows must be tall. The doors are entirely peculiar, actually, because they can't swing open unless you back up about six feet. This is probably a good idea, because there might be terrorists just around the corner, although they do have a tendency to be somewhat apathetic until shot at. Once the terrorists are dispatched, it's time to hunt for the hostage (or bomb, or other mission objective). The hostages are so deformed-looking you'll be tempted to shoot them - but that would force you to have to do the whole thing over again, and ten minutes of mood-killing blue and yellow wallpaper is enough. Apparently, Belgians like their embassies tacky and dysfunctional, which might be why their country is so small. At any rate, press forward - to more walking and killing! This game is simply about military men with boring guns in ugly places saving ugly people. Awkwardly.
The aesthetics of Rainbow Six are just plain bad. There's really no other word for it. The environments are just... ugly. Everyone looks deformed, and everything looks tacky and extremely low on detail. The music is... music, and extremely infrequent at that. The sound effects consist of gunshots (which sound like gunshots) and men shouting informative things like "Got him!" when you shoot somebody. "Aesthetically bankrupt" is not an inapplicable phrase, here. Cool tinges like the blurring effect, which Metal Gear Solid did first and better, are about all you can hope for, and even they only happen during the key-lime nightvision mode.
A cool hybrid strategy-FPS was ripped from the PC and plopped down into PlayStation in an entirely uninteresting way. While there may be a good number of missions, and many options within each - you can choose team members (but anyone can hold a gun) and guns (but guns are... guns). There are multiple difficulty levels (the terrorists become less oblivious and the damage more realistic) but you're probably not going to want to become good enough at this game to move through it without a scratch. You probably won't be able to look at the first mission more than twice before you get sick of the wallpaper. The team-leadership idea, which was innovative on the PC, has been completely removed, and while it is possible to use your team members, there really isn't much of a reason to. What remains is an uninspired FPS with some weird hostage-saving minigame tacked on.