Tom Clancy’s passing this week left me nostalgic about the good old days of Ghost Recon. The days before it essentially became another version of Rainbow Six.
The original game was released not long after 9/11. People were mad as hell and many joined up. Many of us who didn’t but wanted to, or at least thought about it, loaded up the FPSs. I picked up Ghost Recon, stuck it in my Xbox and gasped when I first stepped foot onto the mountains of Eastern Europe. It was quiet (“too quiet”) but it was vast – completely different from the enclosed space of other FPSs at the time. I took my Alpha Team into the woods. I still remember the chill when the first tracers streaked from the tree line killing the other two members of the team. I hit the deck. I couldn’t locate the bad guys. More shots. I was dead.
But the game continued with Beta Team. It wasn’t over with the death of one guy. No “Ding is dead, game is over.” There were no main characters. Every soldier had a name, but no one was not expendable. It was war, a real battle, and anyone could die at any moment, but the fight went on.
There were ways to flank the enemy, position snipers, lob grenades into fortified trenches. No pre-planned path through hallways and city streets. The enemy were sometimes in set positions, or on programmed patrol ways, but they didn’t spawn out of expected spots on the map (no enemy spawned), and often they were in places you didn’t expect.
That game was a classic. I spent entire nights playing that and Island Thunder on Xbox live.
Then Ghost Recon 2 came out and the series lost me as a fan. Sometimes change doesn’t make things better.