“Rainbow Six Vegas” to me is perhaps the most memorable game of the franchise, not for its plot, which is barley existent but for the hours I spent co-oping it with friends and perhaps the year it took me to finish it on realistic. The plot, if you could call it that, pretty much comes down to: there’s some terrorists in Vegas about kill every one and launch a nuclear war, you as an elite badarse have to stop them. I have to say looking back on the game the plot has to be the weakest point, you don’t feel anything for the characters, nor do you really care for the useless A.I’s you get stuck with for your “team”, we all know who ends up doing all the work, the A.I’s only strong suit seems to be the ability to distract enemy fire for a few brief seconds whilst you move to a new bit of cover or pluck one of the baddies off.
Unlike previous Rainbow Six games “Rainbow Six Vegas” implements the ground breaking (back then before it was whored off the planet) regenerative health system, meaning there was no health packs to collect and if you were hurt you could just hide behind cover until you stopped seeing red. This system I can imagine would have pissed off most hardcore FPS veterans back then, but “Rainbow Six Vegas” seemed to stay true to its hardcore fans offering the “realistic” game mode in which health regeneration doesn’t seem to matter all that much because generally if you get shot you were dead. “Rainbow Six Vegas” was also the first title in the franchise that incorporated the cover system taking the player from a first person perspective to a third whilst behind cover, I have to say at the time I cannot remember another game that challenged this and succeeded so well, for the most part transitioning into cover was a flawless experience that really added to the games overall experience.
And what would Rainbow Six be without customizable weapons? Without the ability to put crazy scopes on guns that really didn’t need them. Some of my fondest memories of this game were in co-op when my friend (we all have one like him) would put a 24X scope onto a shot gun. Which is all hilarious until he dies at your feet and in the heat of battle you run out of ammo and pick up his gun.
“Rainbow Six Vegas” doesn’t just stop at awesome and crazy guns, you also receive a wide variety of infiltration tools, ranging from breaching charges to smoke and flash grenades. I have to say to date this has to be one of the only games I used all of the tools available to me throughout the whole campaign. There was no better feeling than throwing a smoke grenade into a massively packed room, flipping on your thermal vision and clearing out the whole room with a silenced pistol, or when you couldn’t quite see someone and flipping on your night vision to romp them from some insane distance. It made you get a real sense of achievement from the game and like you were a real badarse that the government might hire, and not a skinny white guy sitting in his room playing video games.
Although co-op wasn’t a major feature of the game, it quite literally had no story line and was just the maps from the single player game, it still took up at least 50% of the play time I had with this title, There was nothing better then having a team that actually did something of use. I remember the countless hours of the smarter person placing a breaching charge on a door, hearing the voice over of “placing breaching charge” only to have someone open the door, just to piss him off. Or the other friend (mentioned earlier) forgetting the button layout and throwing an incendiary grenade into a door and burning to death, the co-op levels provided hours of entertainment possibly only because out own stupidity, but hours none the less. And these hours were extended tenfold when we discovered terrorist hunt mode, where you would spawn into a level and had to kill “X” number of terrorists, only to get the number down to one and whilst frantically searching for him to die and start over again. This mode was insanely addictive and now I feel like playing some now.
Multi-player was fairly huge for “Rainbow Six Vegas” back in the day too, unfortunately I don’t think you’d be able to find a game these days, but there was nothing better than multiplayer-stealth-warefare. Playing a game of team death-match, a round didn’t last a minute or two, it lasted at least 10. There was nothing funnier than seeing EVERYONE crouch-walking at the speed of a snail, trying not to make a single noise, only to be shot by a sniper that had somehow realised that if he camped in a corner he could JUST see through 12 doors into the main hallway.