YMMV / Rainbow Six

  • 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 the land there is rich in gold, as its previous owner was concerned about the environmental impact of mining operations and wouldn't pounce on the opportunity.
  • 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
  • Adaptation Displacement: The game series has far more public exposure than the original book. When a film adaptation of the book was announced, people had to be reminded that they weren't adapting the games' storyline.
  • 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. Unlike Nowak, he wastes almost no time in actually pulling the trigger, but if you shoot him before he pulls the gun you get a game over.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • The story of Patriots. Parts of the public liked the idea of questioning morality in the age of terrorism, some are convinced that it's accusing patriotic citizens of being the bad guy.
  • 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. Its 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.
  • 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.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The original game had one of its terrorist organizations — a right-wing anti-immigrant group no less — motivated by their opposition to "the integration of the United Kingdom into the European Union." Cue 2016, where the United Kingdom held a successful and very controversial vote to leave the European Union.
    • The "Vegas" games feel especially uncomfortable following the 2017 Las Vegas Strip shooting.
    • The story of "Patriots", especially if you live in a country where domestic terrorists have conducted successful terrorist attacks.
  • 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, though few people realize this because the noticeably more popular third game in that series switched to Rainbow Six-like first-person gameplay to follow its lead.
  • That One Level:
    • The refinery level in Vegas 2, where you don't have your teammates to back you up. A control room near the end of the level is a particular spot of hell, with large windows all across every wall and five or so doorways for the enemy to flank you from, leaving you with options for cover that at best only protect from one possible ambush point, and at worst actively expose you to most of the rest. And then you've got the added bonus of more groups of bad guys spawning in every time you move up five feet, with even worse cover available outside of that control room.
    • The final level in the first game. It's really long, and there are a lot of blind corners with enemies hiding around them, as well as automatic doors that open into wide-open rooms.
    • 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.
  • 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 Xbox 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 Xbox Live servers (meaning online play is now impossible with the Xbox version), many people retrospectively agree the PC version of 3 is the better game - as well as possibly the best tactical shooter ever made.