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Ubisoft clocks in with Critical Hour interview

Publisher feeds us more morsels on the forthcoming PS2 and Xbox Rainbow Six game, releases new screens

We're promised that fans of Ubisoft's Rainbow Six series on console are in for a slightly different experience with latest instalment Critical Hour. Peering at the series' past you see, the publisher has decided to go back to where it all began and is revisiting R6's hardcore tactical-strategy roots.

As such, expect a slower-paced affair than witnessed in R6 console iterations previously, along with an enhanced combat model and plenty of pre-mission strategic planning in preparation for the op. In typical Rainbow Six style, missions in Critical Hour will take you on a globe-spanning terrorist-blast as you tackle deadly threats in the likes of Idaho, Venice, Mexico City and Siberia.

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The game's due spring 2006, and in connection with the return-to-roots game plan Ubisoft is delivering a package that finds a brand new single-player campaign, new missions and multiplayer levels accompanied by seven missions from the original Rainbow Six games on PC. Revealing more on the PS2 and Xbox game is an Ubisoft-produced interview with Critical Hour's producer Gaetan Richard, which we've reproduced below. And there's two new screenshots to stick in your eyeballs too!

Can you give us more information about the storyline of Rainbow Six Critical Hour?

Gaetan Richard: In this episode of Rainbow Six, John Clark is retiring. While packing his stuff, he remembers the best missions in Rainbow history and leave these missions as a training program and case study for future Rainbow recruits.

How is it linked to the rest of the Rainbow Six series?

Gaetan Richard: It is linked to the rest of the series in the sense that we are using maps from the original Rainbow games. For the first time on consoles, the player will have the chance to play those, reworked with today's technology

How many and what types of missions will the game contain?

Gaetan Richard: There will be a total of seven missions that come from the original Rainbow Six games (Rainbow Six, Rogue Spear and Urban Ops). We revamped and graphically improved those maps. You will be able to rediscover some of the greatest locations and relive some of the most dangerous Rainbow operations such as Razor Ice in England, Zero Gambit in Ukraine, Fire Walk in Idaho and Black Star in Brazil.

Will the game contain a multiplayer mode? And what kind of maps?

Gaetan Richard: In terms of mode, we are offering a great diversity for the players. The Assassin mode offers a brand new type of team play. Each team has one of his members designated as a leader. The team must protect his leader while trying to kill the other team's leader. The Assassin gameplay will promote the elaboration of original strategies based on the class strengths: for example, the Combat Medic could heal the Leader and the Commando protect him while the Spec-Op and Engineer hunt down the opposing Leader.

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We also wanted to add modes where you can just run and shoot. So we have two free-for-all modes. One is a last man standing and the other mode is a typical deathmatch where the winner is the one who gets the most kills.

In terms of map, we have eight new maps in Critical Hour.

Another interesting point is the fact that a player can create up to four different characters using the same Xbox Online profile. The maximum level for each character is now 60.

What makes Critical Hour different from previous Rainbow Six games?

Gaetan Richard: We re-introduced the realism that made old Rainbow Six so successful; strong enemy A.I., intelligent team mates (they are there when needed), realist pace (no more run & gun) etc. In fact, we heard what the community said, and made a game that answered those questions and comments. This way, Critical Hour will be different from previous Rainbow Six [games] on console, with a PC feel to it and corrected gameplay features.

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