Brood War finished up a huge year of addons in 1998.
1999's first anticipated addon has now made its way to shelves.
Eagle Watch adds more to the entertaining and innovative
Rainbow Six, allowing you to break out your strategy skills for a
little more action in it's (for now) unique teambased first person
Continuing on in the timeline started with R6, it moves
into 2001. New extremist groups are rising in new areas and a
special operative's job is never done. Nicely, your technical boys
have also been hard at work, field testing a couple of nice new
guns for you to use. The H&K G36K and H&K G3A3 assault rifles
have been added as primary weapons, and adding the Spec Ops
Desert Eagle .50 Caliber pistol to secondary weapon options.
In addition to new weapons, there of course is new
levels. The campaign gets an additional five levels, a tad bit low
by today's addon standards. Red Storm should have included at
least half as many levels in the addon as the original game had
(which of course was sixteen). Oh well, maybe Red Storm will
thrill us by putting out a second mission pack in another four or
five months to give a few more levels. It does also add a number
of new training levels. This was a very thoughtful idea, since the
original R6 was a little bit of a behemoth to the new gamer. The
new training exercises not only allow you to hone your fighting
skills, but also help to improve your planning strategies.
Even with only five new levels, I must say, the new
levels are nicely done. The graphics are clear and there's a good
level of detail, as good as, if not better, then in R6. All five have
some interesting point of conflict, unlike R6 where they weren't
landmarks you could relate to. The missions take place at the
Russian space shuttle's launch pad, the Taj Mahal, Big Ben, the
Forbidden City, and the US Senate. Now being in places that are
somewhat well known and definitely a little more prestigious than
some druglord's jungle mansion, doesn't mean you should tread
lightly. These new missions (though not so much the first two) are
chock full of lots of mad terrorists who have nothing better to do
than tote some nice automatic weapons around and shoot the
occasional hostages. Just because they have hostages, doesn't
mean they won't shoot at you. It can be a bloodbath out there if
you're not careful (even if you are careful sometimes). The
missions are all hostage rescue missions, unfortunately, so there's
little variety to the goal of the missions. A couple of missions will
require you to disarm bombs in addition to saving the hostages,
but a little more variety of mission objectives would have been
Another new feature in Eagle Watch is the Full Watch
Mode. Yes, now you too can coach your team to victory. Ahem.. so
it's not football, but it is one bigtime strategy game. For those of
you who might have picked up R6 as a strategy/wargame, and
suddenly found yourself strapping a M-16 and chasing down
terrorists in a first person, giving you headaches, or aggravating
your arthritis, be not afraid for now you no longer have to do the
dirty work. You plan it out just like before, and you get to just sit
back and watch your plans. You still get to call out the Go Codes,
so there's enough interactivity to keep it interesting. I had a couple
serious problems of teams getting stuck while playing in this mode
and since I couldn't switch into those units, I was pretty much up a
creek and had to restart.
The sound is quite good. It features support for the new
3D audio standards and does a relatively good job of creating the
atmosphere using positional sound. It's not the best, but it's good.
The music is low-key and fits the game nicely. Speech is well done
and for the most part very helpful to the gamer. It's not a step up
from R6, just pretty much more of the same.
Multiplayer is enhanced as well. You now have six new
multiplayer games including assassin and scatter. I played these
new game types and found a couple of them to be entertaining,
but there's still nothing like a good deathmatch. The new boards
make for some interesting multiplayer gunfights as well so it'll
liven up the multiplayer aspect of the game quite a bit.
Some minor gripes I have about Eagle Watch are still
directed at the original Rainbow Six. Load times are still too high.
Red Storm should have thought about maybe caching levels, so it
wouldn't have to constantly reload the mission every time you
replay it. It does cache during the level which makes for a little
above average disk accessing. This can sometimes cause your
game to freeze for a second or so (usually at the most in-opertune
time .. argh!).
Overall, Eagle Watch adds up to a pretty good addon. As
a start to the addons of 99, it comes out nicely done and has
enough new ideas to give R6 a fresh face. While lacking in a
multitude of levels or weapons or whatnot, it does provide a nice
addition to the unique experience that Rainbow Six created.
Highs: Interesting new levels, lots of terrorists to kill, decent new
Lows: only five new levels, the R6 engine still needs some
refinement, Full Watch is shaky