The Rainbow Six series has been a staple of gaming since it debuted in 1998 on the PC. Since then, Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Entertainment has branched out with Rainbow Six on consoles, the Ghost Recon series, and The Sum of All Fears. These games have always been popular sellers and have inspired countless other tactical shooters. Now the Rainbow Six series has expanded with Rainbow Six: Lockdown for the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube. I am getting a look at the PS2 version.
In Lockdown, you are a member of Team Rainbow, a multinational counter-terrorist strike force based out of England. Counter-terror operatives from around the world comprise Team Rainbow. Only the best comprise Team Rainbow. Failure is not an option. Now terrorists are threatening to spread a virus across the world. This man-made virus is so deadly it can kill millions nearly instantly.
You play as Domingo “Ding” Chavez, one of Rainbow’s team leaders. You lead a squad of up to three other operatives for each mission. You are the force to stop this virus and save the world.
Saying that Lockdown’s graphics are alright for the PS2 isn’t saying very much. While the Rainbow Team character models look decent, enemies are definitely on the low end of the polygon count. There is also a lack of variety to them, as you’ll encounter many of the same enemies on a single level. There are some decent animations for actions like crouching or reloading, and the use of the Havoc physics engine gives some realistic death animations. However, team operatives moving up the stairs looks more like kangaroos hopping than actual leg movement.
While the character models have issues, the environments are even more disappointing. Even with the night vision goggles, the environments seem too dark. Jaggies abound in the environment, and the textures are incredibly muddy. When looking at the textures on the walls, it almost reminded me of playing the original Doom on the PC.
The menus have great music to go with them. Some guitar rock with a militaristic bent makes you feel ready for the action. However, once you get into the game the music disappears, and you won’t hear anything but the chatter of your teammates and your enemies. This adds to the suspense of the game. You also hear your footsteps, as well as your teammates and enemies.
Each of the members of Team Rainbow has their own distinct personality. With that, each one does have their own voice with the game. The accents aren’t bad, but some of them aren’t very heavy. However, they talk enough to tell you that they know what is going on. Gunfire sounds different enough, and explosions can definitely rock the place. You will find a definite difference between firing a pistol and a sniper rifle.
Lockdown is a complex game, and because of this, EVERY button on the DualShock 2 is used. The left analog stick controls movement, while the right analog stick controls aim. L1 and L2 use and switch items, and R1 and R2 use and switch weapons, respectively. Left and right on the D-pad let you lean left and right, while moving up and down opens and closes doors. Square reloads your weapon, and triangle commands your squad if they should follow or hold position. Select changes your goggle modes.
Commanding your squad to move to a location or breach a door can be done by hitting the X. However, holding the X button will pop up the movement or room and door menus, depending on the situation. Once this menu comes up, use the D-pad to select the proper action. The control scheme can take some getting used to, and when in the heat of battle, it can be a bit confusing.
First-person shooters have always had issues on the PS2. The biggest culprit is the right analog stick. It seems like almost every shooter on the PS2 has issues getting the sensitivity of the right analog stick right. Unfortunately, this is the case with Lockdown. While the Sniper mode has a “hold breath” button to help with your aim, the rest of the game the aiming is way too loose. While the targeting reticule is rather large to help make up for this fact, moving around and precision aiming are sloppy at best.
In Lockdown, you lead a team of counter-terrorists to save the world. You will get a mission briefing to summarize the object of the mission. These also help develop the story. Once you get your briefing, you are introduced to the members of Team Rainbow that will accompany you on your mission. Then you can change the payload of each member or leave them as they are.
Once in the mission, you move though the areas and command your squad where to move. You can send them ahead to scout an area, or you can tell them to hold while you scout ahead. If a door is locked, you can have one team member hammer it down or blow it up with explosives. You can then send the team in and have them clear the room, provide suppressive fire, or hold back and wait for your order to go in. You can order your team to follow you, but there are times when they will get in the way if you decide to turn around. They do tend to get out of the way eventually though.
Unfortunately, it almost seems like the AI in this game is non-existent for the enemies. There were a few times when I had hope for the AI, such as when they would hide behind pillars or a car. Once I even saw the AI flip up a table and use it for cover. However, most of the time the enemies just run up to you and fire, standing in the middle of the area with no cover. Also, the enemies would always be in the same place every time, so getting through a mission was more trial and error than skill. The game is also rated M for Mature, but after shooting an enemy he disappears. Having no blood or dead bodies at all in the game seems odd for a M rated title. Also, the enemies are sometimes hard to see because of the graphical issues. However, a box highlights where enemies are which makes it easier to find them.
There are times where you will play as Team Rainbow’s sniper, Dieter Weber. While these missions are fun for a little while, they don’t seem to have a significant impact on what happens in the game. Also, while holding the L1 button to hold your breath helps with the accuracy, the controls really hamper these sections where control is so important.
One of the bright spots in the game is the ability to save in mid-mission. Instead of being forced to restart a mission again, the game will load at certain checkpoints. However, you will want to make sure that you save the game manually so that you don’t lose much progress.
Lockdown provides split-screen two-player games and 16-player games over LAN or the Internet through the Network Adapter. While you can play co-op in split-screen mode, you can also go online as well with a friend.
The online PS2 options are different from the Xbox version. The PS2 version features a Rivalry Mode, which is a team-based game where a team fights against a set of mercenaries. While the multiplayer plays well if you have a fast connection, the game feels more like a “run-and-gun” game and not a tactical shooter. However, it should provide multiplayer fans hours of entertainment.