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Rescue: The Embassy Mission
by: Dr. Boogie

When it 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.

They trademarked the word "rescue"?

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:

"It's been 11 days since the political fanatics occupied the embassy, holding
the ambassador and his staff captive. You've waited patiently while
government negotiators tried in vain to arrive at a peaceful settlement. Now
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:

It's like a clown car.

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 snipers:

Simple enough, except for the last guy. Hey, you tore my map!

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.

Should've worn some camouflage.

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:

Dive! Dive! Dive! Do the Worm!
His feet have speed lines. At last! Cover!

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.

Everything is blue with these guys.

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.

Hey, weren't you supposed to be across the street?

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.

Whoops, no tread on these shoes!

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 rope. Sloppy.

But if you do get one of your men down to a window safely...

That window got a lot smaller.

It's on. 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.

The green jumpsuit gang!

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:

The ambassador and his staff are all related.

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 their shots.

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 ***



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