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Preview: Tom Clancy's Rogue Spear

July 14, 1999
Web posted at: 2:59 p.m. EDT (1859 GMT)

by Nash Werner

Rogue spear


The terrorist situation in Prague has worsened. Tonight, an unknown faction of armed fanatics took the Czech president and several members of his staff hostage. The group is being held in an old opera house and is guarded by an estimated two dozen gunmen who claim they will kill all the hostages if their demands aren't met. Our best negotiators are on the scene, but no demands have been discussed as of yet. Instead, we want you to move in with your team of deltas and rescue these hostages at all costs. There will be no negotiating, there will be no bargaining, and, most of all, there will be no mercy.

Exciting stuff, eh? Well, it's just one of the missions in Rogue Spear, Red Storm's follow-up to last year's runaway success story Rainbow Six. RB6 was a great big wake-up call for the first-person shooter community, which had apparently grown tired of standard deathmatching and had moved on to bigger and better user modifications to their favorite shooters. Some of these mods, like Action Quake, were similar to RB6, but none had the look, the feel, or the immersiveness of this Tom Clancy game. RB6's pace was slow and strategic, and the tense action was magnified by a realistic bullet model in which being shot meant dying, just as in real life.
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From the highly requested crouching movement to the much-needed peeking around corners, Rogue Spear is loaded with new features. The Rommel Team (aka the Rogue Spear team) reviewed every bit of RB6, fixing things that didn't work, adding things that did, and basically reinventing the intensity of the game in a new, highly polished version.

To help create the varnished look the team was shooting for, they had to fix problems so subtle that most RB6 fans overlooked them completely--such as the fact that all of the game's fully automatic weaponry had telescopic lenses (a major faux paus in the eyes of purists). Team Rommel's removed the long-range zoom from most of the weapons in Rogue, reserving it for the long-range and sniper rifles, and is adding binoculars as a usable item with which players can scout perimeters from a distance. Thus, instead of every delta on your team having super-scopes on his MP5K, your guys will have to switch to their binoculars--much like switching to the heartbeat sensor--if they want to see anything from a distance. This will undoubtedly change the way the game is played.

Additions to RB6's gameplay aren't the only modifications. The Rommel Team has tweaked the graphics engine to handle more polygons, more movable objects (like automobiles), and brand-new weather effects such as rain, snow, and warm breath that is now visible in the cold night. Firefights will break out in the pouring rain, sending your deltas running to nearby buildings to get shelter. Rogue will even have a level that takes place in a Siberian Base, in which the snow will not only fall all around you, but will also show footprints when your men trod through it. Expect some different multiplayer strategy when your enemy knows exactly where you are based on your tracks.

Rogue also has a bevy of new sound effects, due primarily to all the new weapons (see next page). The new guns sound just like their real-life counterparts, and they should, seeing how Red Storm had some of its programmers work with real weapons for research. You'll also hear environmental sounds such as raindrops, radio chatter, and the distant cries of panicked terrorists screaming in the night. Rogue sounds better, plays better, and looks better than RB6 ever did--which means there'll be a lot of sleepless nights around these parts when the game is released.

Like any self-respecting sequel, Rogue Spear needed new weapons to separate itself from RB6. The RB6 community itself was evidence of this, with weapon mods such as NATO 2.0 having circulated on the Internet en force. Fortunately, the Rommel Team seems to have listened to the fans when designing its sequel. RB6 players wanted the weapons to be more authentic, and they are: for example, not all of Rogue's guns will have a three-round burst setting, as they did in RB6. Also, players wanted new weapons, and lots of 'em--and the team's granted that request, too.

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