Rogue Warrior (video game)

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Rogue Warrior
The official European Union cover art
European Union cover art
Developer(s) Rebellion Derby
Publisher(s) Bethesda Softworks
Writer(s) Richard Marcinko
Composer(s) Mark Rutherford
Engine Asura
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s) December 1, 2009
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Rogue Warrior (initially titled Rogue Warrior: Black Razor) is a first-person shooter video game. It was developed by Rebellion Developments and published by Bethesda Softworks. The game was released November 26, 2009 in Australia, November 27, 2009 in Europe and December 1, 2009 in North America on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows platforms.[1][2][3]

In Rogue Warrior, the United States has sent in Richard Marcinko, a veteran U.S. Navy SEAL, on a mission into North Korea to disrupt ballistic missile launchers. The plot is not based on the autobiography by the game's protagonist, Richard Marcinko.[3] Marcinko is voiced by actor Mickey Rourke.

First announced in 2006, Rogue Warrior was originally being developed by Zombie Studios, and was set for a 2007 release. However, the game's release was delayed after Bethesda stated that they were not satisfied with the direction Zombie Studios was taking the game. Bethesda quickly scrapped the project and brought in Rebellion Development to develop an entire new game from scratch. Rebellion, while retaining some major elements from Zombie's rendition, has taken a whole new approach to the game and its focus.

Rogue Warrior received negative reviews from critics, citing it as one of the worst games of 2009. Criticism of the game included its poor controls, multiple glitches, frequent foul language, rushed production, uninteresting gameplay, short length, very limited multiplayer and broken and exploited combat techniques. It is ranked as the seventh worst rated video game of all time and the third worst on the Xbox 360 platform, according to GameRankings.[4]


Richard Marcinko using a kill move to eliminate an enemy. A third-person perspective is used when showing kill moves.

Rogue Warrior is primarily a first-person shooter with tactical elements. The player assumes control of U.S. Navy SEAL Richard "Demo Dick" Marcinko, also known as "Rogue Warrior".[2] The primary goal for Marcinko begins as an infiltration mission to disrupt hostile missiles and evolves to prevent other potentially dangerous situations. To achieve this goal, Marcinko may use a wide array of weapons and explosives. Such weapons include AK-47s, grenades, and combat knives. In addition to weapons, Marcinko may also utilize explosives barrels and gas tanks to eliminate enemies.[3][5]

The focus of gameplay is Marcinko's over-the-top methods and signature execution moves used in war situations. When the player is in close proximity of an enemy, they may press one of several buttons to trigger an instant kill via finishing moves, referred to as kill moves in the game. There are more than twenty-five finishing moves available to players. Such moves include throwing an enemy over a rail, slashing their throat, or stabbing them in the head. Upon initiating a finishing move, the in-game camera shifts to a third person cinematic angle to show the finishing animation.[3] A cover system akin to Gears of War and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas is incorporated. This allows the player to blind-fire and pop in-and-out of cover, but some positions of cover may be destroyed. There is also a "robust" checkpoint system that tracks player progress.[5]


In 1986, Richard Marcinko (voiced by Mickey Rourke), a U.S. Navy SEAL, is sent on a classified mission into Unggi, North Korea, with two other SEALs, to retrieve intelligence from a North Korean mole on ballistic missiles of an unfamiliar design that North Korea is supposedly in possession of, as well as to recon a factory that is allegedly developing the missiles. Shortly after touching ground, Marcinko's unit successfully takes out a North Korean Army patrol, but one of the North Koreans suffers only wounds and manages to pull the pin of one of his grenades, killing Marcinko's team. Admiral Travis Payton (voiced by Neal McDonough), the commander of the operation, demands that Marcinko abort, but he refuses, saying he intends to finish the mission. After fighting through Unggi, Marcinko discovers the mole was killed. However, he finds the intel in the mole's apartment room on missile launchers that have been developed in Unggi.

Marcinko is then ordered by Payton to disable the missile launchers by any means necessary. Marcinko enters the facility that is producing the missile launchers, but finds that only one is present. According to intelligence received from Payton, the rest of the launchers are being moved out by sea. After destroying the missile, Marcinko heads to the Unggi harbor, and sees that they are actually being sent out of Unggi by train to the Soviet Union, not far from Unggi. Marcinko boards the train and destroys it as it crosses the border. Marcinko enters Soviet territory and gathers intelligence that the ballistic missiles were of Soviet origin, not North Korean. Marcinko also notices that the remaining ballistic missiles were moved out of North Korea to a palace in the Soviet Union. Marcinko insists on going after the missiles, but Payton warns that an attempt to go after the missiles will not only result in Marcinko's court-martial but even war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Marcinko dismisses these warnings and goes after the missiles.

Marcinko enters the palace where the missiles are located. He contacts Payton, who threatens to have Marcinko court-martialed for disobeying orders. Marcinko suggests that he found proof that the Soviet Union created a missile defense program aimed to deter any U.S. nuclear launch against Soviet territory. This program was similar to the real-life U.S. Star Wars program aimed at deterring any Soviet missile attack on U.S. territory. Marcinko launches a missile at the palace, destroys the missiles located in a bunker under the palace, and escapes the palace. Marcinko then goes to a dam to disrupt electricity to a Soviet submarine base. Marcinko then heads to the submarine base with the purpose of destroying a submarine carrying the remaining missiles. Marcinko escapes onto a patrol boat with Navy SEALs aboard that were sent by Payton to help Marcinko. Marcinko hands over a computer chip to the commanding SEAL of the boat and tells him that it is evidence that justifies Marcinko's actions that is to be presented at his court-martial.


Announced in the fall of 2006 as a partnership between Bethesda Softworks and Zombie Studios, Rogue Warrior: Black Razor was billed as a tactical first-person shooter for release in 2007. Set in present-day North Korea, the plot focused on Marcinko and his team's effort to neutralize the country's nuclear launch capabilities. The game was to be built using the Unreal Engine 3 and include drop-in four-player cooperative and 24-player competitive multiplayer, offering unpredictable maps based on a unique tiling system; both teams would choose a layout for their territory, combined with a randomly selected layout for the center of the map.[6]

In 2009, the game resurfaced after much silence. Bethesda publicly stated that they were not satisfied with the direction Zombie was taking the game. Bethesda scrapped the project and commissioned Rebellion Developments to develop the game. Starting fresh, Rebellion made numerous changes to the gameplay, plot, and features. The setting shifted to 1986 Soviet Union and North Korea; the game engine became proprietary; the cooperative play was struck along with the multiplayer tiling system; the overall focus turned to Marcinko's personality and kill moves; and the name was shortened to simply Rogue Warrior. Mickey Rourke was also announced as the celebrity voice actor of Marcinko.[3] On September 6, video game website GameSpot posted the game's first preview after the game had been reconstructed.[5]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 29%
Metacritic 29/100
Review scores
Publication Score
Game Informer 1.5/10[7]
GamePro 3/10
GameSpot 2/10[8]
GameZone 2/10
IGN 1.5/10[9]
X-Play 2/5 stars
Gamervision 3.5/10

Rogue Warrior was universally panned by critics. GameSpot awarded the PC version 2.0 out of 10, saying "This dreadfully boring, expletive-filled, extremely short shooter is an absolute rip-off."[8] The website Gamervision awarded the game 3.5 out of 10, saying "The very fact that there's an attempt to charge $60 is insulting. Save your money, spend it on anything else, and forget Rogue Warrior ever existed." IGN rated the game an "Abysmal" 1.5 out of ten, stating that the gameplay is poorly done,[9] while GamePro awarded it 3 out of 10 and said "A generic, buggy and broken shooter with limited appeal, even to dedicated fans of Marcinko and the many books and novels that have documented his incredible life."[10] GameZone's Natalie Romano gave the game a 2/10, stating it is "A very disappointing game from start to finish, Rogue Warrior is a game that brings nothing new to the genre nor does it make for a fun first-person shooter worth the money. Simply put, this isn’t just an awful shooter but it’s also a terrible game. Sorry, but this is one hero we would like to leave behind."[11] Andrew Reiner of Game Informer gave the game a 1.5/10, concluding that "with the gunplay being as bad as it is, and the story coming across as a six-year-old’s interpretation of Cold War events, the only fun comes from the possibility of stepping into the shoes of a blatantly homoerotic Rambo".[7] Machinima's Rob Talbert awarded Rogue Warrior a 2/10, saying, "If you even think about spending $60 on this title, you should be backhanded. In this day and age of gaming we as gamers expect a little bit more, actually a lot of bit more out of our games. Rogue Warrior is a buggy mess, and with the amount of great games that are available for purchase right now, you can find a better way to blow $60."[12]


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