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Game Over Online ~ Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials

GameOver Game Reviews - Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials (c) Red Storm, Reviewed by - Cody Nicholson

Game & Publisher Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials (c) Red Storm
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 233, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 55%
Date Published Thursday, October 12th, 2000 at 08:40 PM

Divider Left By: Cody Nicholson Divider Right

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six series continues to be one of the most popular and best selling franchises over the past few years. It put Red Storm Interactive on the map and has rocketed them into one of the fastest growing gaming companies in the industry. With four titles in the Rainbow Six series already under their belts, you knew it would only be a matter of time until Red Storm eventually succumbed to shady marketing schemes. Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials is just that, a game that will undoubtedly capture the attention of Rainbow Six fans alike, that is until they realize it's well, little more than an encyclopedia.

Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials comes with a pair of CDs. The first CD is a training program, while disc two is a comparably petite mission pack. Covert Ops Essentials can be played as a stand-alone game or selected as a mod for those owners of Rogue Spear: Urban Operations. If you're looking for added gameplay, visuals tweaks, new weapons or anything of the sort, Covert Ops Essentials will be a letdown. There's nothing new here in terms of the actual game, but there is an interesting, yet misplaced, multimedia reference.

The bulk of Covert Ops Essentials comes in the form of a comprehensive training program. Red Storm has provided an overwhelming amount of detailed information relating to anything and everything counter-terrorism. You can read up on a number of subjects from the Covert Ops database including counter-terrorism history, psychology, negotiations, tactics, equipment and much more. There are also plenty of interviews with real life operatives and movies depicting techniques and tactics. Once you've read up on any number of subjects, you can then take a series of Comprehensive Review Examinations because really, who doesn't enjoy taking exams? The exams are organized to test a variety of areas including explosives, sniper tactics, historical operations, future terrorism and more. As you pass each test, you earn ribbons and medals to keep track of your progress. As interesting as it was to learn more about real-life counter-terrorism, most gamers probably won't have the patience to wade through all the information. That mission disc will jump out of the sleeve before you know it.

The mission disc consists of nine new missions, albeit six of them are training missions. The three other campaign-style missions are actually quite challenging, which even furthers my pain that they only included three full-scaled levels. The first mission takes place in a Bolivian jungle as you attempt to rescue a general and his aids that have been captured. The second mission takes up residence in a research station in the Arctic Circle while the third mission takes place in a nuclear missile silo in North Dakota. This trio of missions are arguably some of the best Rainbow Six levels to date. The waterfall in the jungle level, complete with a rope bridge over a chasm, is one of the nastiest levels I've played thus far. Clearly designed for advanced players, these three levels are a lot like foreplay, they get you all worked up for more action but wait, stop right there. Look, but don't smell. Smell, but don't touch, Touch, but don't taste. Oh, you tease you.

The six training missions take place in a variety of locales including a hospital, a trailer park and a junkyard. Each of these missions are quite small in design but, in single-player, can be played in any number of gaming modes such as Terrorist Hunt, Lone Wolf and Hostage Rescue. Covert Ops also support multiplayer games with up to 15 operatives. Covert Ops sports a number of multiplayer modes including Survival, Team Survival, and Assassination, among others.

Red Storm Interactive has done something very unique with Covert Ops Essentials, they've combined an expansion pack with a multimedia counter-terrorism reference. It might have worked if they had actually included... an expansion pack. Nine, cough*three*cough, missions doesn't quite constitute an expansion pack to me. It also would have helped if the information from the training program translated at all to the missions provided in Covert Ops Essentials. Gamers aren't going to improve their skills by reading up on sniper tactics and then heading out into the battlefield known as Rainbow Six. So, what you're left with is an encyclopedia that will probably interest fans of Tom Clancy and those interested in learning more about terrorism, but as an expansion pack in the Rainbow Six series, Covert Ops Essentials is a poor shot.


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