The Game Boy Color version of the original Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six game scales back the 3D visuals of the original game in favor of an almost top-down view, but builds on the same premise of the player controlling a member of the Rainbow counterterrorism unit, responsible for resolving hostage situations and neutralizing threats, in sixteen missions.
The limitations of the platform are not traded in for an arcade-like approach. Just like the major computer version it stresses careful planning and tactics. After a briefing that needs to be followed attentively, the player assumes the role of the commander and assembles a squad of eight operatives, each with different statistics and abilities, based on character traits such as aggression and self-control, physical elements such as stamina, and specific skills including stealth, firearms, electronics, demolitions and many other types of weapons. They can be divided into up to four independent teams. Next, the operatives are outfitted with a selection of six different rifles, six different handguns, 24 types of armor or camouflage and additional tools including heartbeat sensors and door charges. Default equipment is suggested right away, but that is not sufficient for later missions. In the planning mode, the last part of the pre-mission activities, the commander needs to set out waypoints on the map and determine the course of action.
The actual missions are shown in 2D where the different characters can sneak around, blow up doors, rescue hostages and engage the enemy, all requiring a tactical approach. The general plot points and mission objectives are true to the computer version.