Yo George-baby! So hurry up and come out with the new movie already!
After the destruction of the first Death Star, the rebels found that they had no time to rest. Though the Empire lost its most fearsome weapon, they were far from helpless. Imperial troopers attacked rebel bases, Tie bombers disrupted supply lines, and Star Destroyers made quick work of many brave rebel pilots. In this time of conflict, Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles (the only pilot to survive all three movies) saw the need to form Rogue Squadron, an elite band of pilots ready to serve wherever they're needed. Will Rogue Squadron make a name for themselves, or will they simply be a footnote in history?
You will fly into battle as Luke Skywalker, to engage in intense, fast-paced planetary air-to-ground and air-to-air missions - dogfights, search and destroy missions, reconnaissance, bombing runs, rescue assignments, and more. The 16 missions take place during the time period between Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
The graphics are pretty awesome. They are straight out of the mind of George Lucas and the whole Star Wars phenomena. The characters and the environment are accurate to the Star Wars universe in every detail. For example, in the first level, Ambush at Mos Eisley, you'll see a caravan of Sand People atop a group of Bantha striding across the desert as you fly overhead defending the city from incoming TIE-bombers and fighters. You'll see a patrol of Sand Troopers riding on top of their giant lizard Dew Backs, while off in the distance you'll see two T1 Skyhoppers gliding through Beggars Canyon. If I just lost you there for a minute, don't worry. If you are a fan of Star Wars who went to go see the new and improved Star Wars that came out in 1997 with the added footage, then you probably know exactly what I'm talking about.
The lighting effects are pure eye candy. Do you remember that new special effect that Lucas Arts added to the Death Star explosion at the end of the 1997 revamped Star Wars? You know, that cascading ring of light? Well, that special effect has been brought back for your viewing pleasure, but this time you'll see it every time you blow anything up. The game requires 3D acceleration, and works best with two Voodoo2 cards working together (Well, duh! - Ed.) in harmonious Scan Line Interleaving. This of course raises the mark, because just about everything using 3dfx looks awesome. While it looks good, it doesn't come close to matching the visual mastery of earlier titles such as Wing Commander Prophecy.
The controls are good and simple. The control and flight dynamics are a cross between an arcade game and a flight simulator. There are no pitch and pull axis manuals to study. You are not required to know your yaw rate, nor will you be tested on wind ratio factors as compared to your turning vector. Instead, you will fly your respective starfighter, and proceed to blow stuff up. It's simple, sweet, to the point, and good old-fashioned fun. There's nothing really revolutionary about it. On the other hand, like a flight simulator, there are various views you can use to appreciate your starfighter. There is the traditional cockpit view, the up close and far off third person views, and the ever so useless, top, left, right, and front views. I guess Rogue Squadron can be compared to Wing Commander Prophecy's flight controls as well.
The enemy AI in Rogue Squadron is non-existent. The TIE-fighters are pretty stupid and easy to bring down. Actually, they behave a lot like they do in the movies; they get shot down easily, especially for a group of pilots feared throughout the galaxy for their rigorous battle training.
The Rebel Alliance has given you various ships to pilot. You can fly the X-wing, A-wing, Y-wing, the Airspeeder and V-wing Airspeeder. Each craft is armed with unlimited blaster cannons as their primary weapon. Unique to each ship is a secondary and limited weapon. For example, X-wings have proton torpedoes, Y-wings get bombs, yada, yada, yada. There is nothing new or out of the ordinary. Each ship has a slight handling variation as well. What I didn't like was the inability to choose your fighter on the fly. Instead, the game chooses your ship depending on the level and respective mission.
Unfortunately, there are no multiplayer capabilities to this game. This came as a surprise to me, especially with all the multiplayer games out there. But who are we to question the almighty wisdom and foresight of George Lucas. After all, is not to know George Lucas, to love George Lucas? It was simply not what they were trying to achieve, but it would have been a good idea. 'Nuff said.
Most gamers should have a lot of fun with Rogue Squadron. It is a pleasure to play. I found myself relaxed and at peace watching the beautiful 3D graphics. Do not buy Rogue Squadron expecting a whole lot of depth, uniqueness and replay value. Buy it if you want a good, solid, fun game that will make you feel like you're in the arcade. If you're a Star Wars fan, then that's all the more reason to buy it. Otherwise, go out and spend your money on Wing Commander Prophecy, or Descent Free Space. You'll get a lot more bang for your buck.