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Rogue Spear: Urban Operations

by Mark B.

As most of you probably already know, Urban Operations is the greatly anticipated add-on to Red Storm Entertainment's award winning Rogue Spear. For those of you, who didn't know that, here is a quick re-cap of what Rogue Spear is: a first person shooter/strategy game that allows the user to take control of an anti-terrorist team named 'Rainbow'-in a nutshell. Unlike traditional first person shooters, the user creates a plan for the Rainbow team to follow for each mission. The missions can be anything from disarming bombs to rescuing hostages. Once the plan is made, the user then controls one member of Rainbow at a time in a first person view while the Rainbow team executes the plan.

What is included with Urban Operations are 5 new missions with very detailed maps. Also included are new multi-player only maps and 5 missions that are from the original Rainbow Six. Aside from maps, Urban Operations also includes new weapons and armor in this expansion.

The graphics has been pushed up another notch with the very detailed and colourful maps.

If anyone has ever played Urban Operations, they will probably remember being shot by a sniper while they stood in the open admiring the scenery-yes, the scenery of the maps are that good. With the new maps are some surprises including window shutters that can be opened to view the awaiting enemy down below (great for snipers), also an underwater world which you can shot oxygen pipes which will spew out white smoke to hide you or distract an enemy. No need for smoke grenades on that map; just shoot the pipes.

The sounds from Urban Operations are still the same as Rogue Spear. The only new sounds are those that came with the new weapons, but for the most part, sounds in Rogue Spear have always been realistic. They are even more realistic if you have a 3D sound card (EAX etc.) as the sound will change when you are fighting inside compared to when a battle takes place outside. Its hard to describe the difference between enhanced and non-enhanced sounds in words-you simply have to hear the differences-and they are quite evident.

UO also introduces a big change to how a player reacts when they are getting shot. Rogue Spear allowed you to dodge, run away and/or fight back while getting shot-the only thing is that your ability to perform was greatly impaired. In Urban Operations however, when you get shot, you look up. It takes a huge effort to look straight again to attempt to shoot the enemy. Usually by this point you're dead. You can't even move. This is very annoying and has led my friends and I to continue playing Rogue Spear for multi-play sessions instead of Urban Operations. Also there isn't enough difference in the missions for single player except more hostages and terrorists. And although the single player mode is enjoyable, its not as fun as multi-player seeing as the computer controlled terrorists always have an easier time at killing you with one shot.

The controls have not changed since Rogue Spear either.

You can still peek around corners-an important aspect to the Rogue Spear series.

Even though there are a lot of controls in Rogue Spear, the best advice is to re-map any key to use all the essentials in the game. This allows the user to customize their controls, thus allowing it to work in their favor. One of the best things found in Rogue Spear, and still used in Urban Operations, is the ability to peek left and peek right allowing the user to look around corners while only showing their head and bit of their chest. It's a true benefit that it wasn't removed.

Rainbow Six revolutionized the genre of first person shooters/strategy games. Out of all the first person shooters and/or strategy games out there, Urban Operations has continued Red Storm Entertainment's legacy of original games with very original maps. It's not every day that you get the chance to fight in a Chinese restaurant or an underwater submarine station.

So, overall, I would have to rate Urban Operations as an 84%. The change in a player's reaction

Bodies...everywhere...probably because the AI still needs some work.

to getting shot was a big turn off as it didn't matter if you were killed on the first shot, but you always died since you couldn't do anything but shoot the ceiling. The addition to the AI which allow terrorists to throw grenades back at you was great but the AI still needs to have smarter reactions to you as you play-especially when you can kill a terrorist in the view of many others and they do nothing. For fans of Rogue Spear, this is a must buy and the graphics are just outstanding.


FINAL MARK

graphics provide impressive scenery and some great maps added

only real drawback is the new reaction to being shot

AI has gotten better, but still needs improvement

84%