Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Red Storm
- Price: GBP 3.49
You have to admire the ambition on display here, even if the end result is clunkier than RoboCop in a tumble drier. One of the first PC shooters to emphasise squad play and painstaking stealth over mindless mayhem, Rainbow Six's complexity would seem like an ill-fit for a console that was still struggling with the likes of Doom and Hexen.
Red Storm had a good stab at it though, even if the game was reduced by necessity in almost every area - not least the reduction from six playable soldiers to three, thus rendering the title a bit pointless. There's not even a rainbow.
Much like the PC version, you select the armour and weapons for each team member, and then choose their entry point into a series of tricky terrorist situations. What you can't do is set waypoints or delegate control of the other members to the AI. Instead you have to hop between them, advancing a little bit, clearing an area and then moving to another squad member to slowly work your way through each environment. You can use flashbangs and frag grenades, and even pick locks along the way. That's all pretty sophisticated considering that the cry of "you can't do FPS on a console" was already loud and shrill in 1999.
Trouble is, back then, they were right. For all its attempts at depth and complexity Rainbow Six on the PSone is not pleasant to play. Twitchy aiming is the main culprit, along with an inverted Y-axis on the analogue camera that can't be changed. This means that while creeping about and being a bit Andy McNab is all very well, you're likely to come a cropper once you encounter some actual "tangos", since they can shoot you to death in about half a second as you're struggling to flick the crosshairs in the right direction.
The shockingly barren environments and gruesomely angular characters certainly don't help compensate for this fatal flaw - in fact it often feels like you've been sent to ruthlessly assassinate everyone in Dire Straits' Money For Nothing video. Which, on reflection, is no bad thing. The game, however, is. A bad thing, I mean.
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Developer: Atelier Double
- Price: GBP 3.49
Here's another PSone game that tried and failed to do something different. Our old friend Wikipedia is vague on the exact dates, but my increasingly garbled memory keeps telling me that this is the skating game managed to pre-date Tony Hawk's Pro Skater by at least a few months. That one series is still going strong while the other is long forgotten should be a major clue - this is a compromised skateboarding effort that ultimately fails to capture the spirit of the sport in the same way as Neversoft managed.
Once you've chosen your character and board, you hit one of the courses - from LA to New York - and race against time to amass the required amount of points. These are earned, of course, by pulling tricks and this is where the first of several stumbling blocks crops up to nudge the game off balance. While the game boasts "over 200" tricks, in practice it's a blunt and shallow system that leaves you with no control over the tricks themselves.
Ollie onto a rail and you grind along it automatically. Press the trick button and a direction while in the air and you trigger the animation, with the game lining you up for the landing. You can't even build your jumps by holding down the button, or grab the board. All the genuine skating flourishes that made Pro Skater such a revelation are absent here, and the result is little more than a stunt-based racing game in which you control a skateboarder rather than a car.
The controls aren't exactly intuitive, responses are sloppy and there are persistent camera issues which make navigating narrow sections or tight turns a real kerfuffle. It's really not clear why this has been chosen to join the "classics" on the PlayStation Store, since it was greeted with apathy on its release and has long since left the extreme sports spotlight to more deserving games. Give this one a miss, and hope Activision joins the fray sooner rather than later.