Most people have either read a Tom Clancy novel or have seen a film adaptation. They're packed with international intrigue, military espionage, and usually some sort of nuclear device or rogue general on the loose. The Tom Clancy video game franchise began in 1990 with Red Storm Rising, followed by SSN and Shadow Watch. While MicroProse produced Red Storm Rising, all games following that title were developed by Red Storm Entertainment, a company Clancy co-founded in 1996. In 1998 the Tom Clancy franchise put its name on the map with a series that continues to be a hit.
All the Tom Clancy games take place in the same universe. Each IP tackles a different kind of warfare, from the stealth-based Sam Fisher, who sneaks in and takes out threats without anyone every knowing he was there, to the soldiers in Endwar, who are used in an open war. Some characters, like Ghost squad's Scott Mitchell is a general that will give you orders in Tom Clancy's Endwar.
Developed and published by Red Storm Entertainment for the PC in 1998, Rainbow Six puts players in control of RAINBOW, an elite counter-terrorism force directed by John Clark and led by Ding Chavez. RAINBOW's mission is to prevent the spread of the deadly "Shiva" virus at the Olympics. The group behind the attempted attack is the Phoenix Group, eco-terrorists bent on giving Earth a fresh start with a select population of the environmentally friendly. After stopping the release of the Shiva virus, RAINBOW tracks down their one-time expert adviser John Brightling from Horizon Inc., a company using Phoenix Group as a front. The finale takes place in the Amazon, where Brightling is captured and Horizon Inc/Phoenix Group is neutralized.
- Rainbow Six Mission Pack: Eagle Watch (1999): added five missions, 4 operatives, 3 weapons and new multiplayer modes to the game.
- Rainbow Six: Lone Wolf(2002): exclusively on PlayStation.
Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (1999):
Rogue Spear was released for PC in 1999, Dreamcast in 2000, Mac and PlayStation in 2001, and Game Boy Advance in 2002. This time around the year is 2001 and RAINBOW is charged with taking out Russian mobster Maxim Kutkin and Middle Eastern arms dealer Samed Vezirzade who are in possession of a nuclear weapon. Just like in the original Rainbow Six, players plan out their strategy before starting their mission, assigning specific teams within RAINBOW to designated areas in order to neutralize " tangos" and either disarm bombs or save hostages. The player can switch between different teams and ops inside that team. As is typical of the franchise, Rogue Spear focuses quite heavily on realism, requiring only one or two shots to take down, or be taken down by, an enemy.
Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield (2003):
RAINBOW returns to save the day in this sequel released on PC and Xbox in 2003 and PS2 and Gamecube in 2004. While the console and PC versions are slightly different in storyline (console versions are titled simply Rainbow Six 3 as well), the basic idea is that in the year 2005 RAINBOW has to stop an international terrorist organization backed by a South American presidential candidate. In the PC version, Nikola Gospic is a Nazi from the Ustashe regime in Croatia who fled following the fall of the Reich in 1945. With Holocaust loot, he finances Argentinian presidential candidate Alvero Guitierrez's campaign in return for political protection. His goal is to spread the VX nerve gas throughout the world by means of packaged meat and even attempts to attack the Festa Junina in Rio De Janeiro. Of course, all this is no match for team RAINBOW.
- Athena Sword (2004): The year is 2007. Guitierrez, though in jail, commands a terrorist cell that attempts terrorists attacks first in Milan and finally in Athens, Greece. With RAINBOW successfully thwarting the former presidential nominee's visions of terror, the inmate commits suicide and the game is over.
- Iron Wrath (2005): Released by Ubisoft as a free download for FilePlanet subscribers. Featured a seven mission campaign, two older missions, eight multiplayer maps, and six new weapons.
- Black Arrow (2004): Exclusive to Xbox.
Rainbow Six: Lockdown (2005):
The year is 2009 and RAINBOW is called in yet again to stop an anarchic terrorist organization from going berserk with a deadly virus. In this title, the organization is the Global Liberation Front, and the virus is the completely fatal "Legion" virus. Hopping around the globe to stop the GLF, and even rescuing one of their own (sniper Dieter Weber) from the hands of the terrorists, RAINBOW makes it clear that Bastian Vanderwaal and his GLF are no match for the covert ops.
In terms of gameplay, Lockdown was a distinct departure from the Rainbow Six series' emphasis on pre-mission planning, non-linear missions and realistic damage. Lockdown, in contrast, provided more of a run-n-gun feel, no pre-mission planning, and several shots to kill, or be killed by, a terrorist, rather than the previous one or two shots necessary. The PC version, released in 2006, made several changes in an attempt to return to the classic Rainbow Six formula that fans clearly wanted.
Rainbow Six: Critical Hour (2006):
An Xbox exclusive (a PS2 port was pursued though later scrapped), this title is seen by many as an attempt to curb criticism and return to the series' roots. Critical Hour provides gamers with non-linear, classic Rainbow Six gameplay with pre-mission tactical planning maps and realistic damage. In this title John Clark, RAINBOW's director, is retiring and passing the torch to Ding Chavez, Clark's son-in-law and leader of RAINBOW throughout all the previous games. John's nostalgia while cleaning out his office allows players to combat through seven missions, four from Rainbow Six, one from Rogue Spear, and one from Rogue Spear: Urban Operations.
Rainbow Six: Vegas (2006):
In the year 2010, a new RAINBOW team is led by Logan Keller who, with his teammates Gabriel Nowak and Kan Akahashi, is charged with tracking down terrorist leader Irena Morales. When the mission goes awry, Logan is separated from his teammates, who are taken hostage by Morales. Escaping from the area, Logan is told by RAINBOW director Ding Chavez to pursue another lead in Las Vegas, Nevada with a possible link to Morales. Logan is assigned a new team, Michael Walters (demolitions and heavy weapons expert) and Jung Park (reconnaissance and electronics expert). Combating through Las Vegas, RAINBOW learns that Morales is planning on attacking the hydroelectric Nevada Dam. The game ends with the revelation that Gabriel was serving as a mole for Morales, and he presumably escapes.
Vegas was released for PC and Xbox 360 in 2006 and PS3 in 2007, as well as on Mobile.
Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (2007):
Vegas 2 is set in two different periods, 2005 and 2010. In 2005, you play as Bishop, operating in France with Nowak and Keller, both fresh recruits. The events in France occur one year before the events of Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield. RAINBOW's negotiator, Monroe, is killed in the ensuing fire fight, and Gabriel is to blame. Fast forwarding to 2010, you play as Bishop again, but with a new team, Jung Park and Michael Walters, operating in Las Vegas to track down Miguel and Alvarez Cabreros. The brothers are confronted, and Gabriel is shot down by Bishop, ending the game.
Other Rainbow Six Titles:
- Rainbow Six: Take-Down (2001): Released and available only in South Korea.
- Rainbow Six: Broken Wing: Exclusive on Mobile.
- Rainbow Six: Urban Crisis: Exclusive on Mobile.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
You are Sam Fisher, a highly trained Black Op in the Third Echelon, a division of the National Security Agency (NSA). Your mission, in line with the Clancy novels themes, is to stop terrorists and save the world. Set in the third-person, stealth is a key feature, as Sam is much more able to complete his missions if he doesn't have to mow down dozens of terrorists in the process. The first game was released in 2002 and was titled Splinter Cell. Set in 2004, Fisher is assigned to Georgia (in the former Soviet Union) to investigate the disappearance of CIA agents. It is learned that the Georgian president, Kombayn Nikoladze is committing ethnic cleansing on his country's neighbors. In pursuit of the President, Fisher learns that a rogue Chinese general, Kong Feirong, is in possession of nuclear weapons and has dispatched a dirty bomb to America. The game ends with Fisher assassinating Nikoladze.
Splinter Cell was released by Ubisoft Montreal and Shanghai (for PS2 and GameCube) for Xbox (2002), and PC, Mac, PS2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and N-Gage (2003)
Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (2004):
Pandora Tomorrow, set in Indonesia in 2006, sends Fisher to investigate Suhadi Sadono and his militia, Darah Dan Doa, "Blood and Prayer." Trained by the CIA and supported by the U.S., Sadono turns and begins attacking the U.S. embassy. Fisher learns that "Pandora Tomorrow" is a plot by Sadono to infect the U.S. with smallpox using a collection of bombs placed on American soil. Once Sadono is captured, Fisher is sent to LAX in pursuit of Norman Soth, a resentful CIA agent who has acquired some of the smallpox bombs and intends to detonate them. Sam infiltrates LAX and the bombs are defused. Yay.
Other Splinter Cell Titles:
Tom Clancy's EndWar
Tom Clancy's EndWar takes place in a world where the United States and European Union have developed orbital missile defense systems, Russia then responds by pushing forward with their defense platforms. With tension high between the three superpowers, it is discovered that the world oil reserves are far more scarce than previously thought, to make matters worse a nuclear war breaks out between Iran and Saudi Arabia, leaving Russia as the largest supplier of natural gas and oil. They use this power for military build up and to influence world events. America then announces that they are launching a satellite that can deploy a platoon of Marines anywhere in the world in 90 minutes angering the other countries as they see this as a threat to their nuclear power, as the las t piece of the station is set to deploy the launch site is hit by a terrorist attack, and the three superpowers keep getting closer to an all out war.
EndWar was released on November 4, 2008, and connects the dots between the Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell series.
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. (High Altitude Warfare - Experimental Squadron), is a flight combat game taking place in the same world as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. It was announced on April 2, 2008 and was released on March 3, 2009. It was developed by Ubisoft Romania.
H.A.W.X. takes place in a world where private military companies are growing ever more powerful. As these PMCs grow, a global conflict breaks out, and one of the largest PMCs attacks the United States. In this game 50 planes will be available to the players to use in aerial combat. The game will feature four-player co-op mode in the campaign. The multiplayer will support 16 players battling online to gain in-game money or experience to invest in new weapons and equipment. The developers added an Enhanced Reality System, which gives the player access to anti-crash system, radar, incoming missile detection, damage control system, weapons trajectory control, and the option to command your AI wingmen.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
In Tom Clancy's Advanced Warfighter, you are Scott Mitchell, the elite soldier who makes an appearance in Tom Clancy's Endwar as a general.
Your squad, the Ghosts consists of four highly trained guys who by themselves can take down military bases and do missions armies would not be able to. In the first Advanced Warfighter, Mitchell finds himself in Mexico City. Things quickly go awry there, and he finds himself tasked with escorting the Mexican president. He also has to take down Carlos Ontiveros, the rebel leader who seeks to take down the president.
In the second game, the Ghosts get sent to Mexico to look into rumors of a nuclear threat.
Scott has a few toys at his disposal. For starters, he has control over a UAV drone most of the time, that offers him a panorama of the area from a bird's eye view. Thanks to the Cross-Com system, a digital eyepatch that highlights threats and friendlies for the Ghosts, among other things, he can see that the drone sees, and what his squad is seeing and doing. A very handy gadget. Enemies will get marked with diamonds, which is extremely helpful when sniping. Scott can also order vehicles and such around with his advanced gear.