Rainbow Six is highly unique - while it is played from a first-person perspective, and your character does have a gun, it is not exactly what would be classified as a "first-person shooter." What's Rainbow Six's hook? Strategy.
In R6, you lead a team of professional soldiers into the lairs of terrorists where you'll free hostages, diffuse bombs, and accomplish other delicate military tasks. What's unique about this game is that you can plan the mission in advance - a detailed map of the entire level is available, and you can set waypoints, where you can move your operatives to and have them perform various actions. This means while you and your backup are charging into the front of the building, your other team (controlled by either the computer in one-player mode or a friend in two-player mode) can be picking the backdoor lock or picking off snipers.
Control is tight, intuitive, and accurate. The default configuration is impeccable, and each option is both well placed and easily memorable - qualities that were sorely lacking in the PlayStation version. While just about every button has a function, it is not in the least confusing, and immersion is instant.
The graphics certainly do the job - realism is the order of the day, and Saffire went for just that. If you're looking for anything fanciful or artistic, look elsewhere. This is a military simulation, and it emulates the real world. The levels are expansive but not excessive. Everything has a striking tinge of realism. There is background info on the characters - lifted directly from the Clancy novel from which the game takes its name. There is also detailed information on each mission, the players, the factors, and the events that lead to the crisis you are trying to resolve. While you don't have to read this information (and, in fact, the game has a quick-start option that lets you skip the planning mode entirely and jump into the skin of a Rainbow Sixer), details like this are what set this game apart from the pack.There is atmospheric music, randomly played. At first it seems as though it's whispering a warning of imminent danger around the corner, but after a few false scares, it seems as though the tunes are triggered on the computer's whim and bear no relation to the level's action. While the music swells dramatically and sounds quite nice, its inappropriate placement grates more than pleases. The soldiers' clipped speech is informative, if repetitive. It's quite clear, and it lets you know exactly what's happening - sometimes your backup will take out a terrorist you didn't even see, and it's always nice to know precisely what's going on.
If you do choose to go the planning route, it's intensely configurable. Everything is selectable - operatives, gear, the locations where the Rainbows stop on the map, and what they do once they've gotten there, and it's up to you to come up with a cohesive plan to infiltrate the enemy compound with the fewest problems. Because this game follows the path of realism, one shot can kill, and it's important to make sure you've got a handle on the situation before it boils over. When they begin to lose their grip on the situation, the enemies will have no compunctions about killing a hostage or setting off an explosion, which means you must be quick and decisive for victory to be yours.
Twelve missions make up the roster - a sizable chunk of gameplay when you consider that there are multiple difficulty levels and a cooperative two-player mode. The game succeeds where its brother (in name only) for the PlayStation failed; instead of being a lame pretender to GoldenEye's throne, the original gameplay elements of Rainbow Six for the N64 kept it from being a boring "me too." While your enjoyment of this game is probably contingent on your enthusiasm for military situations - this game does deliver a military simulation on a very personal level.