Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (video game)

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This article is about the first game in the Ghost Recon video game series. For information on the series itself, see Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
North American cover art
North American cover art
Developer(s) Red Storm Entertainment
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Designer(s) Brian Upton
Composer(s) Bill Brown
Series Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Tactical shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution PC: CD (1)

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (also known as simply Ghost Recon) is a tactical shooter video game developed by Red Storm Entertainment, a Ubisoft subsidiary, and published by Ubisoft in 2001 for Microsoft Windows. It was ported to Mac OS, PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2002 and to the Nintendo GameCube in 2003. Ports for N-Gage and Game Boy Advance were planned, but later canceled.[6]

Together with Rainbow Six game industry experts generally credit Ghost Recon with defining and refining the tactical shooter genre.[7]

Unlike Clancy's other tactical shooter series, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon is not based on any of his books.

Ghost Recon's success has spawned 2 expansion packs, Desert Siege and Island Thunder, as well as numerous sequels for video game consoles and the PC.[6]


Ghost Recon puts the player in charge of the eponymous Ghosts, a fictional squad of United States Army Special Forces soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. They are organized into three fireteams named using the NATO phonetic alphabet: Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, with space for three soldiers per team (the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions do not have a Charlie team available). However, only six soldiers can be selected per mission. The player enjoys limited tactical control on the battlefield by issuing maneuver commands and rules of engagement for each fireteam through a command map.

The soldiers themselves are organized into four different character classes. Every class can carry a primary and secondary weapon, which are organized into "kits". Even though the primary weapon remains the same in all the kits (being defined by the soldier class — see below), there is a variety of equipment to be chosen as the secondary weapon.

  • Rifleman: The predominant soldier class in the game, riflemen can use a variety of different weapon kits. Their primary weapon is the M16 assault rifle. Secondaries include the M203 grenade launcher, the M9 pistol, spare magazines, or a pair of binoculars (in later versions these were replaced with deployable sensors, since binoculars were supplied to all Ghosts).
  • Support: Support soldiers provide a high volume of suppressive fire with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. As the soldier is equipped for short range, he also carries more armor. In addition to the machine gun, the support class may also carry the M9 (suppressed), M67 fragmentation grenades, or additional magazines.
  • Demolitions ("Demo"): Demolitions personnel are specialists in destroying large structures and can serve in the anti-tank role. Their primary weapon is the M4 carbine. This soldier can also be equipped with demolition charges, grenades, extra magazines, Claymore mines, or the M136 AT4 anti-tank missile.
  • Sniper: Distinguishable by their ghillie suits, the sniper can provide fire support over long ranges while hidden. Primarily equipped with the U.S. Army's M24 rifle, they can also be equipped with the standard and silenced M9, extra magazines or grenades.

For every completed mission in the single-player campaign, each soldier that survives gains one Combat Point to upgrade their attributes. There are four basic categories of skill:

  • Weapon: affects the accuracy and aiming of the weapon; the reticule will close faster and tighter as more points are added.
  • Stealth: enhances the ability of the soldier to remain undetected and reduces noise generated by the soldier moving.
  • Endurance: improves recovery time when taking hits, increases the soldier's ability to survive a wound and reduces the effect of heavy equipment on speed.
  • Leadership: for every three points of skill, all other soldiers in the same fireteam gain an extra point to each of their statistics. The bonus can only apply if the soldier with the high leadership skill is the fireteam's point man.

The player also unlocks "specialists" from NATO or allied countries by completing extra mission objectives. The specialists are more experienced than the Ghosts and have more Combat Points, making them an essential part of the team. They are also equipped with weapons not available to standard soldiers. Two specialists are armed with the Objective Individual Combat Weapon, as part of field tests and implementation of the U.S. Army's Land Warrior program. The specialist corps includes three women, who are the only female combatants in the game.

The game is played entirely from the first-person perspective. A heads-up display relays information such as the name of the soldier the player is controlling, the soldier's assigned fireteam, weapon and ammo counter, a threat indicator, the targeting reticule, health status, and a stance indicator (to show whether the character is standing, crouched, or prone).

Bullets will not penetrate most objects, but they will break glass. Explosives or heavy gunfire can be used to destroy wooden doors, and (in the case of explosives) potentially kill anyone within the blast radius on the other side. Depending on a target's armor, it is generally possible to neutralize a threat with one or two well-placed shots.

If a soldier is rendered "out of action" during a mission, he or she is considered to be dead, and not available for the rest of the campaign. Wounded soldiers who survive a mission will remain wounded unless they are replaced with a healthy soldier for the next mission.

Ghost Recon has both single player and multiplayer modes of play. Up to 36 players are supported in the PC version's multiplayer over an internet (TCP/IP) connection or LAN.


In April 2008, civil unrest in Russia leads to the rise of an ultranationalist regime in Moscow, placing its leader, Dmitri Arbatov, as president.

Early on, the U.S. Army Special Forces' elite Ghost soldiers battle rebels who are harassing the Georgian government and their allies. Their presence forces the new Russian government to complain to the United Nations that the Americans have interfered in their internal affairs, eventually sending in the army to aid the rebels. The Ghosts slow down the Russians while foreign civilians evacuate the country. Eventually, the Ghosts are all that's left of American forces in Georgia and take the last helicopter out of the American embassy in T'bilisi just as Russian forces enter the complex. The Georgian government sets up a government-in-exile in Geneva, Switzerland while the new Russian Democratic Union (comprising Russia, and the assimilated former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) annexes Georgia, an act publicly condemned by the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany.

The Ghosts are soon deployed to the Baltic states in response to a Russian invasion launched three days ahead of intelligence estimates. The Ghosts attempt to slow down the attack to buy time for NATO units to arrive in force, with the closest of them coming from Germany. The Ghosts fight alongside U.S. Army elements to push the Russians out of the Baltics, with victories in Rēzekne, Latvia, Utena, and Vilnius, Lithuania. The defeat takes its toll on the RDU government with President Arbatov largely blamed for the disaster and put under house arrest.

The Ghosts enter Russia with their first mission being to free American POWs and Russian political prisoners opposed to the RDU. The Russian military executes President Arbatov which sparks a nationwide rebellion bordering on civil war. The ultra-nationalists quickly lose public support and many members of the RDU government quit the alliance. The Ghosts later attack several Russian bases such as a naval base at Murmansk and an airbase at Arkhangel'sk, weakening the ultranationalists' combat power. The RDU attract strong international condemnation and practically dissolve after they detonate a nuclear weapon during a battle north of Moscow between the ultranationalists and a joint force of American and rebelling Russian combat units.

The Ghosts spearhead a NATO assault on Moscow by cutting through a strong ultranationalist defense line in the woods outside the capital. On November 10, 2008, NATO forces finally reach a deserted Moscow, with the last ultranationalist holdouts led by Prime Minister Karpin holed up inside the Kremlin. After a final assault by the Ghosts in Red Square, the ultranationalists surrender and both the Americans and the newly liberated Russians celebrate their victory.

Expansion packs and related games[edit]

Ghost Recon: Desert Siege is a 2002 expansion pack, released for Microsoft Windows as a separate purchase and can be unlocked as a new campaign in the PS2 version of Ghost Recon. It is also bundled with the Mac port. The expansion pack adds 2 new multiplayer game types (Domination and Siege), 5 new multiplayer maps, new weapons for use in multiplayer, and an eight-mission single player campaign, which also unlocks a new specialist soldier (Jodit Haile). In the PS2 version, players who start Desert Siege by finishing the Ghost Recon campaign first will also retain the soldiers they used in the campaign, including their statistics.

Ghost Recon: Island Thunder was released in late 2002 as an expansion pack for Microsoft Windows, and as a standalone game for Xbox. It contains eight new single player missions, 12 new weapons, 5 new dedicated multiplayer maps, 3 new multiplayer modes (Cat and Mouse, Defend, and Behemoth). On the Xbox, Island Thunder features five additional missions and twelve multiplayer maps.

Island Thunder was never released for PS2, but its content was combined with eight new single-player missions set in Colombia and additional multiplayer maps and released under the title Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm in 2004.

In addition to the official expansion packs, the very active Ghost Recon modding scene (over 1,000 mods have been published as of January 2013) has produced a large number of unofficial expansions packs for PC. Free expansions like Frostbite, CENTCOM, Heroes Unleashed, and Year of the Monkey (among others) have gained huge popularity, with download counts in the hundreds of thousands.[8][9]


Critical reception[edit]

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (Xbox) 85.35%[10]
(PC) 82.15%[11]
(PS2) 67.03%[12]
(GC) 63.25%[13]
Metacritic (Xbox) 84/100[14]
(PC) 80/100[15]
(PS2) 63/100[16]
(GC) 59/100[17]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 4/5 stars[18]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 7.83/10[19]
Eurogamer 8/10[20][21]
Game Informer (PC) 9/10[22]
(Xbox) 8.5/10[23]
(GC) 7.75/10[24]
GamePro 4/5 stars[25][26]
(PS2) 3/5 stars[27]
Game Revolution B+[28]
GameSpot (Xbox) 8.4/10[29]
(PC) 7.3/10[30]
GameSpy (Xbox) 82%[33]
(PC) 76%[34]
(PS2) 61%[35]
(GC) 2/5 stars[36]
GameZone (Xbox) 9.5/10[37]
(PC) 8/10[38]
(PS2) 6.8/10[39]
(GC) 6.4/10[40]
IGN (PC) 9.3/10[41]
(Xbox) 8.8/10[42]
(GC) 4.5/10[43]
(PS2) 4/10[44]
Nintendo Power 3.5/5[45]
Official PlayStation Magazine (US) 3.5/5 stars[46]
Official Xbox Magazine 9/10[47]
PC Gamer US 93%[48]
The Cincinnati Enquirer 4.5/5 stars[49]
FHM 2/5 stars[50]

Reviews of the game ranged from positive to very mixed. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 85.35% and 84 out of 100 for the Xbox version;[10][14] 82.15% and 80 out of 100 for the PC version;[11][15] 67.03% and 63 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version;[12][16] and 63.25% and 59 out of 100 for the GameCube version.[13][17]


Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon was named Best Game of the Year in 2001 by both IGN and PC Gamer, as well as receiving the Best Sound award from PC Gamer magazine.[51] Ghost Recon was a runner-up in IGN's "Best Action Game 2001" and "Best Use Of Sound" ("Reader's Choice"). Wargamer gave it three bronze awards in "Game of the Year", awarded Red Storm with "Game Developer of the Year", and gave "Game Publisher of the Year" to Ubisoft.

System requirements[edit]

Minimum PC requirements[edit]

Minimum Mac requirements[edit]

See also[edit]


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  5. ^ "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Release Information for GameCube". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
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  7. ^ Prof. Rune Klevier, Dept. of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway (2006-10-16). "The Way of the Gun". University of Bergen, Norway. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
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  9. ^ (2013-01-01). "Ghost Recon: Heroes Unleashed". Retrieved 2013-01-01. 
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  17. ^ a b "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon for GameCube Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
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  46. ^ John Davison (February 2003). "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine: 109. Archived from the original on 2004-05-31. Retrieved 2014-08-03. 
  47. ^ "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon". Official Xbox Magazine: 140. December 2002. 
  48. ^ Li C. Kuo (December 2001). "Ghost Recon". PC Gamer: 54. Archived from the original on 2002-12-01. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  49. ^ Marc Saltzman (2001-12-19). "Latest PC games rival console titles". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
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  51. ^ Business Wire (2002-02-13). "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wins Game of the Year". Gale Group, a Thomson Corporation Company. 

External links[edit]