* AccidentalAesop: ''Rainbow Six'' was intended as a [[AuthorTract screed]] against ecoterrorism and [[AnimalWrongsGroup 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.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Dmitriy Arkadeyevich Popov.
* MagnificentBastard: 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, [[KarmaHoudini 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.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: 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 [[LampshadeHanging even the protagonists]] recognize as a painfully lopsided scenario.
** Bastian Vanderwaal in ''Lockdown'' and Irena Morales in ''Vegas''. ''Vegas 2'' ends with a one-on-one quickdraw between you and BigBad [[spoiler: Gabriel Nowak]], which might have worked, except he gives a long MotiveRant 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 KaizoTrap 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 [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler: 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, [[spoiler: 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.
* AdaptationDisplacement: Seemingly very few on the internet know that there was an original ''Literature/RainbowSix'' novel.
** 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 ''Lockdown''[[note]]or, technically, the XBox version of ''Raven Shield''[[/note]].
** 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.
* CatharsisFactor: 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. [[http://s16.postimg.org/3l0erljzp/Room_Service.jpg As one gaming magazine hinted.]]
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: Lockdown is remembered as being the nadir of the franchise. Its only redeeming quality is [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaKFPS24XVc the badass rendition of the Rainbow Six theme]].
** Pretty much every enemy you encounter with their auto-aiming capabilities and their InstantDeathRadius (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.
** Happens with the last few missions of the original game. Mystic Tiger, the finale, is where it really rears its ugly head, undergoing an UnexpectedGameplayChange to a sniper-filled [[NoSidepathsNoExplorationNoFreedom 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 ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' on European Extreme. In first person, which just makes it harder.
* HarsherInHindsight: 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.
** 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 ''VideoGame/PoliceQuest: SWAT'' series, though few people realize this because the [[VideoGame/SWAT3 noticeably more popular third game]] in that series switched to ''Rainbow Six''-like first-person gameplay to [[FollowTheLeader follow its lead]].
** 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.
* VillainDecay: [[spoiler: Gabriel Nowak]], the BigBad 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.
* VindicatedByHistory: 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 [[GameMod 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.