was first released in 1998, critics declared Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six
to be a revolution in gaming that would change the way people thought
about tactical shooters. It introduced the casual gamer to a level of
tactical planning that could frustrate a man to the brink of madness,
especially if you didn't read the manual (which I didn't). However,
the former insurance salesman-turned author was not the first to bring
tactical simulations and counterterrorism to the realm of video games.
Nearly a decade earlier, Nintendo owners got to experience one of the
earliest examples of the tactical shooter/espionage/ hostage situation
genre with a little game called Rescue: The Embassy Mission.
You could probably guess the plot of the game given that "rescue" and
"embassy," but just in case, here's what the manual had to say about
"It's been 11 days since the political fanatics occupied the embassy,
the ambassador and his staff captive. You've waited patiently while
government negotiators tried in vain to arrive at a peaceful
it's up to you and your band of commandos to get the captives out!"
It's as compelling as it is short! There's even a little opening video
to further illustrate the point:
Embassies didn't have great security back in the early 90's. It's good
news for you, though, because as long as embassies are open to the
public like tat, you and your six-man commando team will never be
hurting for work.
Fortunately, you worked out a plan for re-capturing the embassy long
before this unfortunate episode, so all you'll need to do is guide
your men through the plan's three stages. Stage one: position your
Mike, Steve and Jumbo all have to hoof it all the way to their
pre-designated sniping positions. Unfortunately, they have to walk
there in full view of the embassy and its searchlights.
Get too close, and your men will be riddled with automatic gunfire.
Poor Jumbo has to walk all the way around the block dodging
searchlights, even though it would make much more sense to start from
the other side. I suppose Jumbo's a fitting name, as he'll spend more
time acting as a huge target than sniping.
It doesn't seem like sound planning to me, but then again, I don't
have any background in SWAT. Maybe it's part of a larger plan to get
all the terrorists, err, political fanatics, to bunch up at the window
and take pot shots at your defenseless commandos. Whatever the case,
your snipers do know a few evasive maneuvers:
They're all in peak physical condition, and can dive and roll with the
best of 'em, even while wearing full-face Cobra Commander helmets.
It's not always enough to save them from being shot up in the street,
but as long as you can get at least one sniper into position alive
(poor Jumbo), you'll move onto the next stage: the actual assault.
The second half of your team, Ron, Dick and Kemco (I guess they
couldn't think of a name for him), gets airlifted to their position
atop the embassy. Kind of a raw deal for the snipers. I guess when you
join this commando unit, you have to work your way to the top by first
spending some time as the guy who runs in front of the bad guys
ducking into doorways and diving into the shrubbery. Once everyone's
in position, it's time to soften the enemy up with a little sniping.
Each sniper covers the nine windows on one side the building. Once you
pick which sniper you want to control, you'll scan each of the
windows, looking for what appears to be the silhouette of the guy from
the men's bathroom sign. Don't worry about missing him; sure, you'll
shatter the window, but it won't dissuade him from milling around the
area until you can finally plug him. It's your revenge against him for
shining all those searchlights at you and, more likely than not,
killing poor old Jumbo. Once you feel you've done all you can from
outside the embassy, the focus switches over to guiding your men on
the embassy's roof inside by way of rappelling.
Normally, rappelling involves the rappellee jumping away from the
vertical surface to go down, but not for your men. Your men are so
hardcore that they rappel the hard way: by dropping down a couple feet
and then pulling back up quickly before they just fall right off their
rope. The lesson is that you should never be so anxious to kill a
bunch of political fanatics that you forget to secure your rappelling
But if you do get one of your men down to a window safely...
The lucky entrant is charged with killing all the remaining
fanatics, which depending on the difficulty setting, can number
anywhere from 10 to 30. You'll also have to be careful not to waste
the ambassador and his staff, as that could cause an international
incident with... whatever country owns this embassy. On the bright
side, you have an official count of how many fanatics are on each
floor of the embassy, and you have a map with a radar function that
shows where each fanatic and staff member is. So that's where all the
money went that you were supposed to spend on rappelling safety
equipment. On the higher difficulties, your magic person-finder is
disabled, but you still have your count of fanatics per floor.
That'll teach him not to waste 11 days of your life! Also, your gun
has an endless clip, so there's no need to worry about getting
headshots to save ammo.
And so, with the hostages rescued and the fanatics shot to pieces, the
mission ends, and you get a short evaluation of your performance,
along with a short headline describing the mission. Hopefully, you'll
get this one:
It looks like the guy in the blue hat is imagining what it would have
been like if the police had gone in and arrested the fanatics. Sorry
fella, but you'd need to call in the commando unit with unlimited tear
gas and pepper spray for that ending. I'll bet he's the coroner, and
he's just mad because now he has to examine the remains of 30 or so
dead fanatics. Hey, I don't feel sorry for him; he knew what he was
getting into when he signed up for the job.
It's a great little gem for the NES that I can't believe hasn't been
redone for the GBA, or Gamecube, or something. It's even got a couple
of catchy songs that play while you sneak along the streets and mow
down the fanatics within the embassy. It does have some shortcomings,
though: for starters, it's one of the shortest games for the NES. In
fact, it probably took you more time to read this article than it
would take to beat the mission. Speaking of which, that's another one
of the games problems: it's only one mission. When you select the
difficulty at the start of the game, numerous missions are displayed,
but they're really nothing more than additional difficulty settings,
making the searchlights more difficult to avoid and boosting the
reaction time of the fanatics indoors and increasing the accuracy of
Still, that's all the more reason to remake the game with more
missions. You could even make a little series out of the missions and
sell them for cheap. Rescue: The Bank Mission, Rescue: The Office
Mission, Rescue: The Factory Mission, the possibilities are endless.
You could even make some out of real life hostage situations. Rescue:
The Entebbe Mission, Rescue: The Iranian Contra Mission, Rescue: The FARC Kidnapping Mission, and more. Sure, you could make the argument
that games like Rainbow Six are remakes of the game, but it's not the
same, particularly because Rescue: The Embassy Mission didn't require
you to read a huge-ass manual to even begin to know how to approach
the situation. Oh well, a man can dream... about wasting 8-bit
terrorists all in the name of democracy.
Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie
*** You too can play Rescue: The Embassy Mission ***
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD RESCUE: THE EMBASSY MISSION!]
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