This is my ongoing exploration of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series, played in release order, where I will chronicle my playthrough like a text-based Let’s Play. This time I finish Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow.
From Tunisia to Greece, things were coming to a head for the latest terrorist organisation that RAINBOW had been tasked with taking down…
I knew things were heating up fast, and not only because John Clark literally said that on 25th September 2008. For one thing, his briefing for Operation: Military Base was much longer than any previous briefing. We had received intel from Sergey Koltsov, a former major in the Russian army that wanted to flip. It seemed that “atrocities in the field” only got you dishonourably discharged and a job with RAINBOW… He was willing to turn on his comrades, and had explained he was working for a network of former Russian officers and oil baron-types.
They were working out of a military base in Kabardino-Balkaria, more specifically near Tyrnyauz. It had been abandoned for 20 years, and shut up pretty securely. Well, until these terrorists moved in. They now had access to some nuclear-capable missiles, as well as some planes to use them. Although the terrorists were moving the missiles via train to an unknown location - and I was to blow up the train. Well, set bombs on it - John Clark said that he would blow it up remotely when we were at a safe distance, presumably after I’d hacked the base commander’s PC to get the location.
We deployed on Clark’s “I don’t expect this one to be easy. Good luck.” It was then that I discovered not only was I here with only one of my team, but we weren’t even sneaking in! The biggest hint was when the helicopter which had just dropped us off right outside the front door opened fire on two terrorists who came to investigate the noise! Then flew off!
The doors opened to a hallway which led down to another door. One terrorist was stood there, so I shot him - and two of his mates came running around the corner to return the favour. Where they had been stood were a bunch of generators, as well as two more terrorists.
The area ahead was clear as we went up some stairs, and I opened the door at the top, staying clear of what awaited me. It turned out to be nothing, because whoever was there had legged it to the other end of the warehouse, which housed a tank, and some terrorists fired at us from the far end. Then, some doors opened along the sides of the warehouse, letting more terrorists fire at me!
Eddie and I cleared the room, and I led the way to the rear - making sure to shoot the one hiding behind some crates to the right as we went. Down some stairs and through a door, we were ambushed. Some men behind some crates opened fire, while the doors to the left and right of the hallway opened to let some men attack us.
After some mayhem, I went to the right and through a bunk room to a door at the end. As I opened it, two terrorists ran out in front of me - not to attack, but to retreat. I shot them in the backs with zero qualms. The hallway led to another door, which led me outside to my objective - the train which I had to blow up. Checking the area to the left, I heard a window shatter, but found no enemies - presumably Eddie shot someone.
Planting the bomb, I legged it to the far end of the train yard. Hearing a helicopter, I prepared for the worst - but it was the one which had dropped us off. It strafed the area once, then buggered off leaving me to deal with the stragglers. Once it was safe, however, I entered the building which had produced the terrorists and went up some stairs which bridged it and the next building.
The train exploded, though I wouldn’t have said that we were an ideal distance away as it shook the bridge hallway, but we were safe. Well, I was, since I had to pick the lock on the door while Eddie traded fire with the terrorists who had appeared from somewhere, and were firing at the windows beside us.
Once the door was open, we went down into the command building. Despite being more careful than ever, we didn’t actually encounter anyone until reaching the doors at the end of the winding hallway. Inside were three terrorists, who posed no challenge. Down the final hallway, I was surprised when the doors opened to the outside. I was even more surprised when the Russian helicopter started to take off. I was there to get location information, I assumed from a computer. As the helicopter rose into the air, I shrugged and fired a shot at it. It immediately crash landed, completing my objective.
Mission success in 14:27:22, with 46 dead terrorists and a score of 48202. Which meant that we were finally on to the mission which would end this little story - Operation: Rocket Facility.
We had the location - and they had a kuryer missile hours away from launch. It was 27th of September 2008, a day and a half after the previous operation, and we were heading to Buynaksk, Daghestan to take out the missile and rescue Omar Saduevich, a Dagestani intelligence agent who had provided us with photographs. Oh, and disarm a dirty bomb which the terrorists would set off the moment they saw me.
Deploying - on my own - in an unused room, I made my way into a warehouse area, shooting the lone guard. I had brought the default weapon, the UMP, because it was silenced. Unfortunately, it lacked the impact of the M16A2 which I had been using up until now. There was another terrorist in the next passageway, and a third behind a door, both of whom died whilst running away. The UMP was severely underpowered…
The next area took me a couple of tries to perfect. It was the main missile launch area, with one terrorist to the left, one to the right, and one in the control room up the stairs on the left, who would set the bomb off at any given moment. I shot the guy on the left and snuck upstairs, shooting the man just inside the door, then quickly positioning myself so that I could shoot the other two men before they got to the bomb. It did cost me some health, unfortunately.
Once the dirty bomb was disarmed, I moved on to try and locate the Dagestani agent. I shot some men on the way across a gantry, into some offices before being ambushed by terrorists on the other side of the gantry leading out the other side. When they were dead, I went across and down into the area I had just been above.
When I got about halfway along, I was ambushed once more by three terrorists. I retreated back towards one of them and shot him, then shot the man above who had an RPG. After shooting the man at the far end, I continued on carefully, shooting another man as well as a man in the next room, who was difficult to see thanks to a flappy plastic curtain.
Through the next couple of sections were a handful more terrorists, then one more behind a door. The door led to a long staircase leading down to the room where the intelligence agent was, but I didn’t like the look of it. Sure enough, as soon as I had handcuffed him, there was yet another ambush. I retreated out of the room and shot the man who appeared ahead of me from behind some shutters. To the left a man ran out through a door, allowing me to shoot him in the head. To his right was another man, who I shot in the ankles. Finally, directly above me was another set of shutters, which one more terrorist was poking his head out of. The ambush cleared, the doors at the rear opened and a five minute timer began.
I’ll admit that this next section took me over half an hour to get right. Five minutes is not a lot of time when you’re supposed to be peeking your head out around corners to shoot people you haven’t spotted yet. So rather than six pages of my failures, I’ll skip to the winning run.
Legging it out through the blast door, I went around the corner and through another door. Two terrorists patrolled through the fence to the right, and died there. Out the next doors, I shot another two men and rounded the corner to fire on the guy stood on the landing at the top of some stairs. I shot his friend, too, and ran up the stairs to kill a third man who was inside the next room I had to go in, but in full view from the landing.
The bullet grouping with the UMP was awfully scattered, as I had found constantly during this operation, so rather than merely get someone inside the aiming circle, I had to get them in the middle of it. Again, not easy with less than four minutes remaining.
The next area was red and full of bulletproof windows, but only had one terrorist - who despite looking directly at me was surprised to get shot. The men in the storeroom next to him stood in a perfectly straight line if viewed from the corner, so both fell easily.
Entering the next staircase as the clock hit three minutes, I shot the man just inside the door, then the man stood upstairs before heading up. I was finally back in the rocket launch area, as proved by the terrorist who fired an RPG at me. I shot the first three men before entering the area proper, then a couple more on the top level who had come from the room housing the dirty bomb.
The ones who usually tagged me were the three on the lower level, protecting the room which I needed to access. I managed to shoot them and the one above without getting hit, and with over a minute and a half left I took the time to make sure I was safe. That was a good thing, too, as I spotted another terrorist to the upper right behind a wall.
Entering the control room, I found a man aiming a pistol through a window that I hadn’t seen. He obviously hadn’t seen me either, as I shot him before he turned to look (or shoot) at me. With 30 seconds remaining, I spent seven seconds deactivating the rocket from launching. As the mission ended successfully, I spotted a final terrorist at the doors to my left, having completely missed me shooting his boss.
Mission success in 13:22:92, with 50 dead terrorists and a score of 46790. As my helicopter flew off into the distance, John Clark gave me the usual “nobody knows what you did, but we’re all grateful for you doing it” speech, and the credits rolled…
Well, they didn’t roll, as it seems this game has no credits, but that was a more poetic ending…
I will admit that it was nice to have a more action-oriented entry of the Rainbow Six series again, the last one being Lone Wolf. And Rainbow Six 3. The levels were nice and big with lots going on, and when I had to reload occasionally terrorists would be in different positions. For instance, the one who killed me from a window not being there the next time.
I will say, however, that I’m very glad to get back to playing on the PC. I miss being able to take screenshots, instead of recording video on my phone and taking screenshots from that. It’s time consuming, and the quality is actually awful.
If you find yourself wanting to play Black Arrow, I can definitely say it’s worth a try. It’s dirt cheap on eBay, but remember that you need either an Xbox or an Xbox 360 - it will not work on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
Join me next time for Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Lockdown!