YMMV / Rainbow Six

Literature
  • Accidental Aesop: Rainbow Six was intended as a screed against ecoterrorism and animal rights extremists. However, Clancy had to put the ecoterrorists in charge of a huge megacorporation to make them credible villains. The novel can instead be taken as a tract against unchecked corporate power.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Dmitriy Arkadeyevich Popov.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Popov, for setting things up so that if the terrorists he sponsors get defeated, he keeps the money he would have paid them. Also, at the end, he backstabs his Horizon backers and spills the beans on them to Rainbow, earning himself a full pardon. Then he uses his money to buy up the ranch of one of the deceased Horizon executives, since he knows that land there is rich in gold.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Multiple chapters are spent building up the ecoterrorist's American headquarters, and highlighting all the things that would make it a very tough nut to crack. It's played up as the Kilimanjaro of forced entry scenarios, a hostage taker's wet dream. And then the ecoterrorists abandon the facility and flee to a smaller outpost in the jungle. Which they then leave, in order to engage in a jungle shootout with a team made up of the deadliest special forces operators in the world, which even the protagonists recognize as a painfully lopsided scenario.

Video Games
  • Anticlimax Boss: Bastian Vanderwaal in Lockdown and Irena Morales in Vegas. Vegas 2 ends with a one-on-one quickdraw between you and Big Bad Gabriel Nowak, which might have worked, except he gives a long Motive Rant before either of you draw your pistols, and once you do he continues to rant on while you have your pistol aimed right at his head. Miguel Cabrero can be something of a Kaizo Trap though; he dropped his gun earlier, but he has another one in his holster, will pull it out once you've finished talking to him, and unlike Nowak he wastes very little time in actually pulling the trigger.
    • Right before Nowak gets his head blown off, he sicced an attack helicopter on you. So yeah, the unfair quickdraw was more or less payback. To make it even more ridiculous, prior to going to face Nowak, Bishop orders the rest of his\her team to hold position. So, Bishop basically wanted a one-on-one confrontation, and got an assault helicopter for his trouble.
      • John Brightling in Shadow Vanguard. You kill all his mooks, blow up his door, and then a cutscene shows you killing his last two bodyguards before he is captured and gives a potential sequel hook.
  • Adaptation Displacement: Seemingly very few on the internet know that there was an original Rainbow Six novel.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: The aspect of Siege Operator "IQ" Monika Weiss that used to be discussed the most after usually being considered a not very good choice to play is that she wears tight jeans. The former part was later fixed with a patch, but you can be sure recognition of the latter part did not let up.
  • Broken Base: Between those who like the older, more tactical games (up until Raven Shield) and those who prefer to more action oriented direction that the series has taken since Lockdownnote .
    • On the other hand, a lot of critics have actually preferred the more action-oriented Vegas games, arguing that the first three were too slow paced and unforgiving.
  • Catharsis Factor: As mentioned on the main page the series had a budding mod community. Well in the wake of the September 11 attacks mods started popping up where you hunt down Bin Laden, or the Taliban in general. As one gaming magazine hinted.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Lockdown is remembered as being the nadir of the franchise. It's only redeeming quality is the badass rendition of the Rainbow Six theme
  • Demonic Spiders: Pretty much every enemy you encounter with their auto-aiming capabilities and their Instant Death Radius (particularly in Vegas).
    • In the first three games, Elite difficulty makes all enemies into this (they most frequently get insta-death shots, have incredible accuracy and range, automatically aim without directly facing you, etc.) In Rogue Spear and beyond, if a crouched enemy sees you, they WILL immediately headshot you.
    • Bombers in Siege and its Terrorist Hunt mode. If they know you're there, they'll beeline for you and suicide-bomb on your face, instantly killing you regardless of condition and situation. If one shoots their bomb devices they can't suicide, but they're relatively quiet compared to the other enemy types so usually the only way to know they're coming is their suit's breathing sound and potentially their gunfire. Speaking of the suit, did we mention that headshots are the only efficient way to kill them because they're otherwise extraordinarily durable against gunfire?
      • The point of shield operators in multiplayer. Montagne will either extend his shield and basically be invincible from anything that doesn't explode from the frontal angles of his body, or Blitz will be a good bit easier to hit but instead temporarily blinds you on command at closer ranges (which is most of the time considering the maps all take place inside buildings). Your odds of stopping them in a remotely head-on fight are slim to none without tossing a nitro cell at them - and with all the potential methods the attacking team has to come in from different directions, they don't need to kill you either, their team can handle that just fine.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Happens with the last few missions of the original game. Mystic Tiger, the finale, is where it really rears its ugly head, undergoing an Unexpected Gameplay Change to a sniper-filled linear gauntlet. And Yellow Knife and Deep Magic, two unexpected stealth levels in a row.
    • Any stealth level in the original games. To wit: it's Metal Gear on European Extreme. In first person, which just makes it harder.
  • Game Breaker:
    • Shield users in Siege used to be able to perform a trick with their shields - by rapidly switching between "gun down, shield up, head covered" mode and "aiming down sights, shield down, head uncovered" mode, they can achieve near-perfect accuracy with their pistols while being near-invulnerable. This is because guns used to have perfect ADS accuracy as soon as the ADS animation starts, and by rapidly switching in and out of ADS, shield users can basically get the ADS animation stuck to the first .1 seconds of it so that their shield isn't lowered that much (in third person it looks they're shaking their shields in front of their face at ridiculously high speeds), protecting their heads and giving them perfect accuracy.
    • Even more broken however, was the FBI SWAT Recruit, who can use shields but still retains the FBI SWAT's 2 speed, making them way faster than all other shield-users in the game, who are at 1 speed. Combine the two and you get an operator that rushes around the map with a shield and a pistol in hand, practically invulnerable from the front and has perfect accuracy at most ranges. Thankfully, both this and the above have been fixed.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Siege includes a level where the team raids a compound of Right-Wing Militia Fanatic group on Oregon. One month after the game released, an actual militia group took over a federal building in rural Oregon.
  • Large Ham: In Siege, Smoke's voice during his combat mode will definitely make you cringe.
  • Older Than They Think: While Rainbow Six was the first to do it in 3D first person, the British DOS game Deadline featured similar planning-based tactical real-time anti-terrorist gameplay a few years earlier, only from an XCOM-like isometric third-person perspective.
    • The fundamental concept originated with Ariolasoft's forgotten They Stole a Million, a heist game from 1986 in which the player carried out a series of robberies, first selecting team members and then planning their movements with the aid of stolen blueprints before acting them out in real time. With the exception of gunplay the concept and many of the details were identical.
    • And, of course, the Police Quest: SWAT series.
  • That One Level: The refinery level in Vegas 2 which you don't have your teammates to back you up.
    • The final level in the first game. It's really long, and there are a lot of blind corners with enemies hiding around them.
    • In Siege, most of the Bomb Disarming Game Types. One notable example is Barlett University in Terrorist Hunt. The actual map normally isn't that bad if it wasn't for the perpetual poison fog that covers it whole in this variant. Couple it with obscured vision and the Bombers, it's incredibly frustrating to trek through the entire building only to be blown up by a room of C4.
    • The sixteenth level of Rogue Spear: Even with the invisibility cheat code on, screw up even slightly and the terrorists will get into their cars and escape.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: In Siege, shields absolutely dominated the game in the beta. They made the user nigh invincible and can only be circumvented with grenades or explosions, and only from the sides or back. As such, the shield users were hated, especially Montagne, who has a full-body shield. The full release fixed this by greatly reducing their hip-fire accuracy and further reducing it while the shield is taking fire (making them shooting at the enemy while not aiming down their sights, which renders them far more vulnerable, unlikely to work and make the difficulty of killing them from the front more of a Mutual Disadvantage).
    • In Siege alpha, Pulse was hated because his heartbeat sensor was practically a legal wallhack, and combined with the wall penetration and (the then-present) hitmarkers meant that it was very painful to play against him. During the beta, Pulse was Nerfed and hitmarkers were removed, greatly reducing his effectiveness.
    • Kapkan places lethal traps on doorways and windows. Extremely and blatantly obvious traps that are easily avoided by not going through doorways and windows the second you are immediately able to. This only let up for a time due to a Game-Breaking Bug emerging that allowed players to glitch while place the traps that they'd be completely invisible, but the bug was fortunately fixed. Kapkan's operator ability being useless against players who don't run around the map heedless of everything, unfortunately, has yet to be.
    • Thermite and Thatcher are considered to be absolute necessities for any serious Attacker teams. Thermite is the only way for the Attackers to break through fortified walls, Thatcher is the only way the Attackers can destroy the defenders' electronics through fortified walls (which can stop Thermite from breaking through them) - and being funneled into predictable chokepoints because they can't go through fortified walls is basically exactly what the Defenders should want.
  • Villain Decay: Gabriel Nowak, the Big Bad of the Rainbow Six: Vegas series, goes through this rapidly in the second game; as soon as he's revealed to be the mastermind behind the entire terrorist plot, his previously mysterious master plan and motives are rapidly revealed to be nothing more than a hissy fit thrown because he was the team screw-up.
  • Vindicated by History: Sort of happened with the PC version of Rainbow Six 3. While the game was very well received upon release, the X-Box version (released about seven months later) was much more popular and influential, with its online play being especially praised. However, thanks to the PC game's Version 2.0 mod and the shutdown of the original X-Box Live servers (meaning online play is now impossible with the X-Box version), many people retrospectively agree the PC version of 3 is the better game - as well as possibly the best tactical shooter ever made.

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