Before it became a major esports franchise, Rainbow Six was a tactical shooter series about a team of elite international operatives who battle dangerous terrorists around the world—basically GI Joe for people who want to be taken seriously by their spouses and co-workers.
It's been awhile since we've had a new game in that style—Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 in 2008, I believe—but the contents of seven past Rainbow Six releases, adding up to a whopping 56 missions in total, are now available in a single package called Rainbow Six: Black Ops 2.0, a total conversion mod for Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear.
"The ultimate Rainbow Six experience," as it self-describes on Mod DB, includes:
- Rainbow Six (1998) (custom recreation from the Classic R6 Campaign mod by BigBlueSoul)
- Rainbow Six: Eagle Watch (1999) (custom recreation from the Classic R6 Campaign mod by BigBlueSoul)
- Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (1999)
- Rainbow Six: Urban Operations (2000)
- Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials (2000)
- Rainbow Six: Black Thorn (2001)
- Rainbow Six: Take Down – Missions in Korea (2001) (custom conversion from the Takedown for Rogue Spear mod by BigBlueSoul)
The content from Take Down – Missions in Korea, which was only released in Korea, features fully-translated text and "is included coherently and does not override nor contrast with the main Rainbow Six experience."
The potentially sticky bit is that while Black Ops includes content from numerous past Rainbow Six games, you don't actually have to own any of them in order to play it. I tested it, and sure enough, you can just download, install, and let 'er rip, without having a single Rainbow Six box on your shelf.
"I'd like to implement some checks requiring users to own at least one of the Rogue Spear games, as I don't like to be in a grey area to be honest, but they are no longer sold officially from what I see and are freely available in other legitimate gaming sites," mod maker Menrva told Eurogamer. "If Rogue Spear ever gets on GOG.com, I will modify the installation process accordingly."
The older Rainbow Six games are definitely not hard to find on various abandonware sites, but that's far from "legitimate" from a legal perspective, and Black Ops 2.0 strikes me as the sort of project that a major publisher might move quickly to shut down. Then again, this is an update of a fan-made compilation that was originally released in 2014 (hence the Black Ops 2.0 title) and if Ubisoft was willing to let that one slide, maybe this new one will be similarly lucky.
Rainbow Six: Black Ops 2.0 also unlocks all in-game content including levels, operators, and weapons, implements various graphical updates and improvements (I don't recommend playing this at 4K), adds missing content, and "fixes tons of bugs and crashes" found in the original compilation.