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Reviewed: Rogue Spear: Urban Operations
Author: Chris Kim       Date: May 9th 2000
Page: 2

The follow-up to the latest Rainbow Six game is Urban Operations, a mission pack to the excellent Rogue Spear. This new expansion set adds several new features and enhancements to the already excellent Rogue Spear game. This review will not cover the aspects already covered in the original review of Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear, but rather just the new features and enhancements found within the expansion pack.

When the original Rainbow Six came out, there was a huge rush of new gamers flocking to the new tactical shooter genre where players couldn't just run into a room and start blasting away at enemies, each step and shot had to be plotted correctly so they wouldn't be shot because one single shot could be lethal. This new genre started a craze of "real shooters" and claims that games like Quake didn't cut it anymore as fun. Soon after, the release of Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear, the sequel to the game, was released and refined the genre even further with cleaner gameplay and better transition of missions.

Attack on the Balcony
Sniper Down
Dead Man on Train

With the expansion pack, new missions, gameplay modes, and weapons are incorporated into the game. All of these are a not too significant in changing the whole concept of Rogue Spear, but add enough to warrant a purchase. Since the game is based upon the original game, it stays true to the original storytelling and gameplay approach. The new missions consist of a total of eighteen new missions, thirteen of which are new. The defend is a new mode for both single and multiplayer, which adds a new twist and unique way to play the game. There are four new weapons, similar to those in the original game and adds a little more variation. Overall, there aren't a whole lot of new changes, but those changes that were made are a welcome addition, especially for fans of the game.

Each single player campaigns consists of two campaigns that take place in five different locations. The first, are likely most important campaign, is dubbed Urban Operation, which obviously takes place in urban city locations. From the outskirts of Mexico to compact Hong Kong, each location involves some sort of city location with buildings that must be traveled in rather claustrophobic areas, similar to SWAT 3. This is a nice relief from the wide-open areas of the original Rogue Spear--many players were asking for more city locations. Thankfully, the excellent design and structuring of the original game has carried over onto this expansion pack, as each of the five mission included in the game is quite well designed.

Massive Death
Work to Disarm the Bomb
Raiding the Sewers

Innocent bystanders is one of the cooler introductions in the expansion pack. With the addition of these people, it adds another strategic element that players most work around. Unfortunately bystanders are only included on the first bazaar level. The second level is a great reincarnation of a London subway where hostages have been taken and must be rescued. Unlike most other rescue missions, this one involves a lot of tight corners and careful examination of the adjacent hallway, as enemy tangos are strategically placed. The third mission involves disarming a bomb and hunting down all of the tangos. This mission is especially challenging because of the large architecture and hidden locations of all the tangos--walk into any wide-open space, and players could expect a shot to be fired towards their way. The fourth mission is possibly one of the most challenging, as it places players in a huge stereotypical gangster, broken down, back alley set of buildings. What makes the mission so lethal is the unpredictable location of all the tangos, the various building have complex architecture that is fairly difficult to navigate. The last mission is by far the most ambitious and complex of the missions with a huge playing area that takes place in the highly technological advanced world of Hong Kong. It's another rescue mission, but requires navigation through complex buildings including the parking lot and outside streets.

Other new campaign included is the Classic Missions, which just as it sounds, consists of five of the best maps from the original Rainbow Six converted to use the Rogue Spear engine. Aside from slightly cleaner textures and improved graphics, the missions remain completely unchanged. Aside from those who never played the original game, most players won't be intrigued by this addition. Also added are eight new multiplayer maps, which add more to the online connectivity portion of the game. Each of these missions was well designed for online terrorist hunting, and it shows with unique and creative designs.

Flooded Building
Tango Hit
Protect the Bunker!

New to the game is the defend gameplay mode, which just as it sounds involves a single operative defending a location against a certain amount of tangos. While it may sound that the mode is extremely sluggish and shallow, the mode adds a significant amount of challenge, especially on the later levels where there are multiple building levels from which tangos can attack from, creating a far more intense gaming environment. This mode is quite fun to play, but it does lose its appeal rather quickly. Each new custom mission has several different ways to play it, which may sound a bit redundant, but it does add a bit of replayability. The four new guns are nothing totally spectacular, as each weapon is just like any other, but new is a silenced sniper rifle, which makes snipers even more deadly than before.

One portion of the original game that was a bit lacking in was the AI. The expansion pack claims to have addressed this by improving the AI, but it appears to be exactly the same. The only way that most tangos will react to their surroundings is if they see a gunshot near them. However, even if the player were to shot an enemy tango right next to another one, he will just run around like a chicken with its head chopped off and then go back to its post. That makes him an easy target for the player. On the sound of ear and eyecandy, the game remains unchanged and still maintains the slightly dated look, although the music and sound effects are a joy to hear.

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Added:  Tuesday, May 09, 2000
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Page: 2/4

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