Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

a game by LucasArts
Genre: Action
Platforms: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64, PC
Editor Rating: 7.2/10, based on 6 reviews
User Rating: 7.3/10 - 3 votes
Rate this game:
See also: All Star Wars Games

Who hasn't wanted to be a pilot for the Rebel Alliance? Although Rebel Assault and Rebel Assault 2 actually let you fly through various mission-based levels with different craft from the Star Wars universe, Rogue Squadron takes it a step further and loses the track-based gameplay, letting you completely immerse yourself in a 3D flying adventure.You can swoop, barrel-roll, loop, and bank with some ships, all the while shooting down enemy vehicles and protecting Rebel Alliance installations.

From Rogues to Riches

You start the game learning the basics by piloting an X-Wing fighter through a few training missions, but you'll soon gain access to four other ships, including theY-wing,the A-wing, the snowspeeder, and the experimental V-wing. Each vehicle is fitted with both a primary and an auxiliary weapon--and you'll need both in this high-flying, fast-shooting game. Taking the best part of Shadows of the Empire (the Hoth sequence where you face the AT-ATs), the developers at LucasArts have enhanced the flight model with true pitch, roll, and bank mechanics for each craft Because every ship is a uniquely designed vehicle, they have individualized machinery--some are faster, some have better shields, and so on.

RS-Detour

Taking place between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, Rogue Squadron sends you on different missions to far-reaching areas of the universe, most of which are known only by the most avid Star Wars fanatics (see sidebar, "Follow the Bright Yellow Rogue"). But there are some more generally known areas, like Tatooine, Lukes home planet,and Corellia, birtfb place of both Han Soto and Dash Rendar.

You play as some familiar (and some not-so-familiar) Rebel leaders, like Dack (Luke Skywalker's backup snow-speeder pilot on Hoth) and Wedge Antilles (the only Rogue pilot other than Luke to survive all three films).You must help protect the Alliance from the forces of the galactic Empire, which is tightening its hold on the Rebels after the latter's stunning victory over the Death Star.

The Rogue Not Taken

Graphically, the game will dazzle you in the hi-resolution mode (which requires the N64 Expansipn Pak) with sleek ships, fairly fast flying action, and blazing battles and explosions. In the standard low-resolution mode, the game is still a fine-looking shooter, though the jagged edges of the ships and the terrain will eventually force you to spend some bucks on the Pak.

The game's even more impressive in the sound department. Using a proprietary sound compression system, LucasArts has found a way to squeeze over 80 minutes of audio (40 minutes of speech and 40 minutes of music) into the cart You'll hear the symphonic mastery of John Williams' classic score resonate throughout changing its tone and urgency as dictated by the action, also be privy to extensive cockpit chatter amongst the squadron, which heightens the realism of the game.

Two areas where the game is tempered are the control and speed.The controls, while intuitive for the most part have a definite learning curve. Handling the pitch and sway of a fighter is no easy task, and if your frustration threshold is low, you may find yourself going AWOL with the Rogue.The game's jittery speed is also apparent from the start Although not as fast as StarFox (which, in all fairness, was on rails for the most part), you could contend that if Rogue were any fester, the enemies would be harder to target.

Rebels Yell

Another area that would have made this game a five-star hero is the inclusion of a multiplayer game. It was included early on in development, but was removed to enable the development team to focus its creative energy solely on producing a great one-person shooting game.

And that's where Rogue Squadron sits--as one of the best games out there this year. It will challenge Zelda and Turok 2 for your money this holiday season--but if you're a fan of Star Wars, there's no replacement for Rogue Squadron.

ProTips:

  • It s useless being a hot dog and taking things head-on. Instead, study an enemy's arc of fire. Some turrets have a huge descending arc Get in under the fire and destroy them.
  • If you fly past an enemy and don't get a dear shot, pitch over, fly up, and come down on them.
  • Use the audio. Whenever you hear the lock-on warning beep, make a drastic move-pitch, roll, or turbo your Rebel-ass out of there.
  • Although ft takes a steady hand, lots of practice, and expert timing, don't forget that you can shoot down the missiles.

Graphics

The graphics are crisp, clean, and detailed, but you'll only fully enjoy them with the N64 Expansion Pak--worth it by all means. Without it, the game suffers from draw-in, fog, and jaggies.

Control

Once learned, the controls will seem like second nature, but there's a definite learning curve.Younger players and those with litde patience may find themselves gnashing their teeth.

Sound

With the best sound of any game on the N64, Rogue Squadron helps LucasArts dispel the myth that good sound is absent from this system. Strong music, good voices, hearty explosions--your ears will prick up likeYoda's.

Fun Factor

Star Wars fans will readily join the Squadron on their adventures this holiday season, and even casual flyers will enlist Rogue Squadron takes you to new heights in the Star Wars universe!

Download Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

Nintendo 64

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

People say:

8

While I would have preferred a dogfight game set in space rather than based on the first level of Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron still captures the feel of the Star Wars flicks--and that alone is enough to pump up the game's score. The music, radio chatter (featuring a Mark Hamill sound-a like) and sound effects are all phenomenal, but it's the graphics that really shine. Vehicle models are amazingly detailed, while the rolling terrain (which you can scorch with your blasters) is littered with sprawling cities, Imperial bases, even scurrying stormtroopers you can strafe. And while Rogue Squadron looks fine in standard resolution, you'll definitely want the RAM Pak to play the game in hi-res--although the frame-rate suffers a bit and the virtual-cockpit view is too choppy. The 16 missions--all of which are interspersed with slick in-game cinemas--offer a decent variety, often mixing multiple objectives such as escort and search-and-destroy. While most of the first 14 missions offer a decent challenge, the last few are insanely difficult. You'll need to destroy every structure in previous missions to gather weapon upgrades, but you'll want to refly them anyway to earn Gold Medals (no easy feat) and access the three kick-ass bonus missions. I only wish it had multiplayer.

8

It makes sense--take the best part of Shadows of the Empire and make an entire game out of that style of gameplay. Ah, but in addition to this, Rogue Squadron has incredible hi-res graphics, tons of voice and an overall solid feel. On the downside, some of the missions get a bit repetitious but luckily others have more interesting objectives that help to get things moving again. Still, I think Rogue Squadron is worth a buy.

8

It really is just like the first level of Shadows of the Empire blown out into a full game. The attention to detail is stunning throughout, with some brilliant subtle touches that suck you in to the Star Wars ambience. It's tough, but it's extremely rewarding if you go out of your way to get perfect results on each level. If there was ever a way of rewarding diligent gameplay, giving bonus Star Wars stuff has to rank up there with the best.

8

Rogue Squadron is easily my favorite console Star Wars game ye:. I wasn't expecting too much from it, but to my surprise the game is actually a lot of fun to play, and the graphics and sounds are awesome. The missions are diverse and challenging (the bonus ones rock!), and the whole presentation is sweet. I wish there was a multiplayer mode, but aside from this minor oversight. I'm quite satisfied. Be sure to play w/the Expansion Pak!

LucasArts' second Star Wars game on the N64 actually borrows a bit from the first. Rogue Squadron takes what was arguably the Empire--the snowspeeder air-combat stage--and turns it P into a full-fledged game. This 3D action-arcade sim drops you into the cockpits of several famous Rebel Alliance fighters--as well as some you've never seen before. Just don't expect any deep-space battles like in the X-Wing and TIE Fighter PC titles; all of Rogue Squadron's missions are set above planet's surface, Set in the period between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, the game centers on the squadron of hot-shot pilots formed by Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. You fly a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions, including dogfights, search-and-destroy, reconnaissance, escort duty and rescue. For instance, one mission has you liberating Rebel Alliance troops from the planet Kessel, site of the Empire's prison and the infamous spice mines. You must locate the prison facilities, free the captive Rebels and escort rescue shuttles away from the planet, protecting them from AT-ATs, AT-STs and TIE fighters. Another mission has you protecting Mos Eisley--depicted in sprawling detail in the Tatooine desert--from Imperial Forces. Fortunately, your craft will be armed with lasers, guided missiles, ion cannons and more. Each mission will also pack a secondary objective, which you won't need to complete to beat the game.

Rogue Squadron has you flying over such far-flung Star Wars locales as Tatooine and Mon Calamari. Mission environments include canyons, deserts, forests and volcanic regions. Visually, the game looks pretty good--especially the ship models. You'll see plenty of smoke and real-time light effects, all in hi-res at 30 frames per second.

Control in Rogue Squadron is similar to the snowspeeder stage in Shadows of the Empire. One button gives you a turbo boost, while another drops the air brakes. Even the radar symbology will look familiar. Of course, these similarities should come as no surprise; the Rogue Squadron development team is being headed up by Mark Haigh-Hutchinson, the LucasArts project leader who designed Shadows' snowspeeder stage.

  • MANUFACTURER - LucasArts
  • THEME - ACTION
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1

Beggar's Canyon

Level 17: Mission Briefing

**Race through Beggar5 Canyon in your T-16 Sky hopper! Test your skill against Zev, Dack or Wedge **

Mission Objectives:

  1. Win the race
  2. DEFAULT SHIP: T-16 Skyhopper
  3. Imperial Forces: None!

This mission involves no hostile action and no enemy forces, yet it is one of the most difficult on which to get a Gold Medal. Basically, you take part in a race against three different Rogue Squadron pilots: Zev, Dack and Wedge.

As you fly down Beggar's Canyon each pilot takes a different route. Wedge breaks off first and goes right. This is the most difficult route. Dack breaks off next and goes left. This is the medium difficulty route. Zev, meanwhile, takes the fastest and most direct route through the canyon, which is also the easy route.

Basically if you follow and beat Zev you get Bronze, follow and beat Dack you get Silver and follow and beat Wedge you get Gold -- it's as simple as that. However, while it's fairly easy to beat the first two (when racing Dack, as long as you follow him on the first leg of the course you can then switch to Zev's route half-way through and use it as a shortcut) Wedge is a bit trickier. His route twists and turns like a mutilated colon, and you'll need to use the brake at certain corners to accomplish tight turns and avoid hitting the walls. The easiest mistake here is to fly too high and clear the canyon walls, which gets you disqualified from the race.

To make things even more tricky it's possible to collide with your competitors, but if you do and they crash... let's just say that killing fellow pilots in practice races is frowned upon by the Rebel Alliance!

The Death Star Trench Run

Level 18: Mission Briefing

Travel down the Death Star trench eliminating as many laser cannons as possible, if the trench guns stop firing, you can bet the Death Star's compliment of Ties will be in close pursuit. Continue down the trench until you reach the exhaust port area. Good luck, and may the Force be with you.

Mission Objectives:

1.Chase the Imperials through the trench 2.Destroy the power plant at the end of the trench 3.Default Ship: X-Wing 4.Imperial Forces: TIE Fighters, Sentry Turrets

This is where you get to recreate what is arguably the best scene in Star Wars. As you fly down the trench you'll have support from a plethora of other rebel craft, but just tike in the film the Death Star gun turrets and the marauding TIEs soon take their toll on them (see ya, Porkins). By the time you reach the end of the trench -- which this time around rather inconveniently has 90° corners -- it'll just be you in your X-Wing, plus the predictable arrival of a strangely reticent Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon.**

As you approach the end of the trench you need to get up fairly high, then angle downwards and pop off a torpedo into the exhaust port.

Unlike the film, to get your Gold Medal this time round you need to do more than simply reach the end of the trench in one piece and get the torpedo in. For Gold you need to do this very fast, while at the same time taking out practically all the gun turrets and a number of the defending TIEs too-which is a little daft as when you put the torpedo in the hole presumably the Death Star explodes taking all the turrets and TIEs with it.

Best technique for success on this level is to keep low and keep firing. You'll need to use some of yours torpedoes early as there are some fairly meaty turrets in the trench, but you get a new stock when you die and it's often worth sacrificing a life in orcter to have the use of a full-batch of torpedoes. Not exactly good piloting practice, but Luke had the Force to help him!

Oh... and don't leave the trench, or it's game over!

Battle Of Hoth

Level 19: Mission Briefing

Experience the Battle of Hoth from the cockpit of your Snowspeeder, as you hold of Imperial forces and help the Rebel transports escape.

Mission Objectives:

  1. Destroy Probe Droids
  2. Defend Rogue Ten from AT-ST attack
  3. Defend the generator from the imperial attack
  4. Default Ship: Snowspeeder
  5. Imperial Forces: AT-AT Walkers, AT-STs, Probe Droids, Imperial Storm troopers

It's the Empire Strikes Back, you're on Hoth and all hell has broken loose! The Imperial forces have discovered the Rebel base and your task is to delay the attack long enough for the Rebels to evacuate.

This mission basically consists of dealing with three waves of Imperials. The first is easy, providing you've actually played the game proper at all and haven't just used the DEADDACK code immediately after opening the box. Simply target and destroy a group of Probe Droids.

Once the Probe Droids have been dealt with you receive a distress call and need to follow the radar to a downed Snowspeeder, which is being harassed by AT-STs. Destroy the three AT-STs and your final objective is then to locate and destroy three AT-ATs and numerous AT-STs that are approaching the Rebel shield generator. The best way to do this is to take out the two lead AT-STs fast with your cannon, as they can get in the way when you're trying to bring down the AT-ATs. Next, target the first of the AT-ATs and take it down fast. You'll need to be careful not to collide with the second AT-AT or the walls of the canyon (which is very narrow) while you're at it though. Take out the second AT-AT next, then hop over into the next canyon and deal with the third and final AT-AT. Then it's simply a matter of mopping up the remaining AT-STs and going home!

To get Gold you're going to need to finish this mission fast and with a lot of accurate kills. So don't go wildly shooting at everything, and try to take out each of the AT-ATs first time. Good luck!

The N64 has been crying out for a decent Star Wars game since the dismal Shadows Of The Empire. Finally... it's arrived!

To begin this review with a summary of the Star Wars phenomenon would just be silly. To not be aware of at least one of the Star Wars films, you'd have to have been bom on another planet!

However, on the off chance that you've been away visiting relatives on Alpha Centauri for the last 60 or 70 years, let's just quickly run over the important events of this century:

  1. 1945: World War II ends.
  2. 1969: Man first walks on the Moon.
  3. 1977: Star Wars released.

Of course, Star Wars has been in the news fairly recently following the decision by George Lucas to make himself pots more cash... er, that is, to satisfy the demands of millions of avid fans and supply them with three more Star Wars films. In the US thousands upon thousands of American fans queued for hours just to be the first to see the trailer for the first film in the new trilogy! With a film franchise that stirs up this much excitement, it'd be daft not to make videogames!

Unfortunately the first Star Wars game to hit the N64 - Star Wars: Shadows Of The Empire - received a rather less-than rapturous reception once everyone had got over the 'it's Star Wars!' factor. Well, most people anyway. There are those that would buy an empty cardboard box if you stuck the Star Wars logo on it and called it a Star Wars Figure Special Containment Facility! However, we'll leave those weirdos playing with their limited edition Kenner Han Solos (still in original packaging!) and get on with the business of having fun, or rather the business of reviewing the game.

Use The Analogue Stick!

If you've read any of the Star Wars books and comics, then you'll probably be aware that everything which deals with events in the Star Wars universe has to fit in with the overall storyline. That is to say, every plotline must fit with events that have happened previously or are going to happen. So you can't write a book set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return OfTheJedi in which the character of Darth Vader gets killed, or has a sex change, or whatever, because this would obviously bugger up the plot to Return Of The Jedi.

Rogue Squadron the game (as distinct from the Rogue Squadron stories on which the game is based) is set immediately following the events in Star Wars. The plot to Rogue Squadron is basically as follows - Luke has joined Rogue Squadron, a newly formed unit of elite Rebel pilots, who have been ovtfitted with the best equipment available to the Rebel Alliance. Luke himself has yet to discover that Leia, the girl he rescued from the Death Star and who he secretly fancies (c'mon, it's obvious!) is actually his long-lost twin sister. He is also currently unaware that his arch nemesis Darth Vader is really Ms father Anakin Skywalker, due to chop Luke's hand off in a fit of paternal affection in the next film. So basically Luke is blissfully unaware of just how complicated family reunions are going to become. This is rather fortunate because he's got 16 missions to wade through if he wants to live long enough to get clobbered by a Wampa at the start of The Empire Strikes Back, so he needs to keep a clear head.

You begin the game in the Rebel Alliance hanger. Move around the hanger and you can view the ships which will be available for your missions. Note the phrase 'will be available' though, because at first you're limited to one specific craft for each mission. As you progress through the levels, you find that you can come back and replay missions already completed, this time using different ships. The incentive for this is the various medals you can win, but we'll come to them in a moment. The only missions where you can't come back and use a different craft are ones where you need a specific craft because of its capabilities - for example, you need a snowspeeder to bring down the AT-AT Walkers.

Loveable Rogues

Just like in Star Wars, our story begins on the desert planet of Tatooine (okay, so Star Wars technically began in space aboard the Rebel blockade runner, but the pilot did move to Tatooine airly rapidly). While Luke and the rest of Rogue Squadron are happily cooling their jets and exploring scenic Tatooine, the evil Imperials rather spitefully send down a whole host of vicious probe droids. Quicker than you can change the spare wheel on a Jawa sandcrawler, Rogue Squadron leap into action (their words) to defend the homestead!

The idea here is to destroy all the probe droids on the planet as fast as possible before they wreck too much of the local cheap housing. If you successfully take out the all probe droids, then you're faced with a new problem as Mos Eisley - the spaceport where Luke first met Han Solo - comes under attack from Imperial TIE Bombers. Cue lots of drawn-out 'ãooaaaaaã' sound effects.

The first mission is basically a training one. The probe droids are hardly what you'd call dangerous opponents, with their lousy firepower, sluggish reactions and tendency to hover in a fixed position in mid-air just asking to be blasted. Even the TIE Bombers aren't the most deadly of adversaries, having little In the way of air-to-air defences and usually relying on a covering force of TIE Fighters to keep them healthy - which on this occasion they don't have. This means that you have plenty of time to explore Tatooine and get used to the handling of your X-Wing.

Moff Diving

Eventually when you've tired of blasting probe droids, stormtroopers, sandpeople - and even helpless farmers, since you can basically shoot everything on the planet - you move on to the next mission. This one's a little more tricky as you have to escort a slow moving convoy of hover-trucks through Imperial territory. The reason that it's more tricky is that you need to keep checking ahead of the convoy to clear any resistance whilst at the same time keeping an eye out for the enemy bombers that come at the convoy from the rear. And of course you need to stay in one piece yourself!

As you progress through the game a story unfolds. It turns out that the raids I on the various Rebel installations are all down to an Imperial Moff (that's a kind of military governor, for those not versed in the jargon). It also turns out that Luke's pal Wedge is fairly rubbish. He constantly gets himself into trouble, on one occasion being rescued by smirking ex-smuggler Han Solo and on another getting captured by the Imperials, forcing you to mount a rescue mission! It makes you wonder how in the hell Wedge became one of the only minor characters to survive the three Star Wars films!

Speaking of which, one slightly disturbing thing about the game is that pretty much all the other members of Rogue Squadron who fight with you against the Imperial forces are going to be dead by the end of Return Of The Jedi, either in the snowspeeder battle on Hoth or in the massive assault on the second Death Star over Endor. Which makes trying to save your wingmen rather pointless!

Dough... Or Doughnut!

Gameplay-wise, Rogue Squadron is unlike anything yet seen on the N64 -almost. It's very reminiscent of the number of flight sim games which cropped up on the old 16-bit computers like the Atari ST and the Amiga.

Probably the best comparison to an actual N64 game is the snowspeeder battle level in Shadows Of The Empire. Even those who criticised this first N64 Star Wars game grudgingly admitted that the snowspeeder level was bloody good fun, and someone obviously took note of these comments because Rogue Squadron is basically that level expanded to fill a whole game!

That's not to say that you spend your whole time in a snowspeeder, though. For your Imperial-annihilating enjoyment you can take the controls of no fewer than five different craft; the snowspeeder, the classic X-Wing, the faster but more lightly armoured A-Wing, the slow but heavily armoured Y-Wing and the totally new V-Wing which wasn't in the original films and looks something like the Cylon fighters from the classic (or crap, depending on your point of view) sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. Now, one of the most popular craft from the Star Wars universe is conspicuous by its absence from that list. So before the barrage of phone calls from the Han Solo fanatics begins, the answer is yes, the Millennium Falcon is in the game.

Cool it Farmboyl

As mentioned previously, Han Solo shows up to rescue Wedge in one of the missions - set on Han's home planet Corellia - which is fortunate, because during this mission you have to take care of some rather large AT-AT Walkers and don't have time for messing around looking after anyone else. You can also catch a glimpse of the Millennium Falcon right at the start of the game as you move from ship to ship in the Rebellion hanger. But it's all a tease. The Falcon flits into view but the cursor refuses to stay on it! However, fret not, because the Falcon is just one of the numerous hidden secrets in the game and can be accessed via a hidden passcode. Now remember the medals that were mentioned earlier? Basically when you finish each level you get a rating. The higher the rating, the better the medal ranging from no medal at all through bronze and silver up to gold. To get a higher rating you have to fulfil certain criteria, such as finishing the mission in under a certain time, destroying a certain amount of enemies, getting a certain percentage hit accuracy - you get the idea. Medals get you promotions, but that's not the best bit Get a specific colour medal on all levels - which is no easy thing to do - and you get to access a hidden level, like, for instance, fling an X-Wing down the Death Star trench!

Use The Fleece, Flossy!

Sometimes a gold medal is simply not possible with the craft that you start off with. This means you have to play through until you can access another craft and then go back and repeat the earlier mission this new ship. You also find that sometimes during missions you might uncover a special pick-up. Collect this and complete the current mission successfully and you gain an enhanced weapon for one of your craft - like homing cluster missiles for the V-Wing, for example. All this just adds to the replay value. On top of this, the free-roaming gameplay - which although it requires you to complete specific missions, doesn't lock you into a linear pattern like say, Lylat Wars - means that you'll want to go back and replay the levels anyway. Even if it's only to try out your new missiles on the civilian sandspeeders on Tatooine or to hunt down the speeder bikes that pop-up on several Imperial planets.

Basically this game has loads to discover, and the more into it you get the more detail is revealed. We're talking individual stormtroopers that actually look like stormtroopers close up! And they even shoot back!

The fog is strong with this one...

One thing which detracts a little from the game appearance-wise is the fogging and the pop-up. This varies in intensity on different levels, being worse on some than it is on others. To be honest, ifs only really noticeable when you're watching someone else play the game. When you yourself are playing, you find you're so involved with checking the ground for the enemy, scanning the skies for TIEs and trying to deal with all manner of other Imperial threats that you don't really notice anything else! The only real problem is that the TIE Fighters, being small, are hard to spot anyway and the fog doesn't exactly help.

Speed is another thing which might appear slightly wrong at first. If you're watching the game being played, it does seem like ifs running rather slow - not because of slow-down, just that the foster-than-light craft aren't exactly speeding along. When you're playing however, you soon realise that the speed has been set just right - any foster and you'd find it impossible to dogfight. And who doesn't love to dogfight?

Strong In the Force...

While we're on the subject of aesthetics, the in-game graphics are very good, but it has to be said that this is obviously a game which has been designed specifically for the Expansion Pak. Shove the Pak in your console and prepare to be amazed! You could almost believe that the game was running on a PC! It really is that good.

If you're a Star Wars fanatic and you own an N64, then you can't afford to be without this game. If you're a Star Wars fanatic and you don't own an N64 then buy one. However, if you're not a Star Wars fan then still buy this game because it's the most exciting, most gripping shoot-'em-up on the N64 so far. If Zelda is the "game of the century," then this is a definite nominee for the shoot-'em-up of the decade!

2nd rating opinion

Rogue Squadron was disappointing at first, as the early missions are a bit easy. Fortunately, things quickly pick up and can get quite hectic. Without the Star Wars licence, though. Rogue Squadron probably wouldn't hold anyone's attention for too long.

Overview

The galaxy is rejoicing over the destruction of the infamous Death Star, but there is no time for rest. The Empire is determined to obtain enough strength for an all-out offensive against the Rebel Alliance. Among the Rebel’s plans to overcome this assault is the Rogue Squadron, assembled by none other than Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. In Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, you step into the flight suit of Luke Skywalker as you attempt to accomplish the Rebellion’s most challenging missions.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Quickly described: fun and simple, yet challenging. There are at least sixteen missions that are mostly seek and destroy, escorting, and search and rescue. Each mission contains different tasks which get progressively harder the further you get, such as taking on onslaughts of TIE fighters, bombers, and interceptors, tripping walkers, escorting transports and selectively destroying Imperial supplies. Be sure to always listen to what your team members (or other friendlies) tell you, as you must satisfy certain requirements to complete a mission. There are no difficulty settings, but just because you pass a level doesn’t mean you’re quite finished with it. Each level allows you to attain a gold, silver, bronze, or no medal depending on number of enemies destroyed, secret items you find, accuracy of shooting and number of friendly people or buildings you save. More medals mean higher rank and access to secret ships and levels. In addition, finding the secret items is important, as those items will be available to you in later levels.

The ships available in Rogue Squadron are the X-Wing, A-Wing, Airspeeder (also known as the Snowspeeder), Y-Wing, and V-Wing. Each ship flies noticeably differently, but not so much that once you learn how to fly one, you’ll have problems with another. There are distinct differences in each craft’s shields, so be careful how you fly in some of the weaker craft. Each ship has its own advantages and disadvantages for you to discover. For instance, the Y-Wing maneuvers like a full-size Buick, but is also as strong as one, whereas the Airspeeder has no shields (until you find a secret item) at all, so watch where you fly with that thing.

Speaking of flying that thing, Rogue Squadron’s simple controls and interface will have both the novice as well as expert pilots up and flying in no time. The basic controls consist of simple flight maneuvers, speed throttling, firing primary, secondary, and occasionally tertiary weapons. The more complex controls consist of panning the camera, switching camera views, operating special features of a particular craft (such as closing the S-foils on the X-Wing or using the right or left independent brakes on the Airspeeder), linking weapons, and rolling your aircraft if possible. The controls are very responsive, smooth, and are a complete pleasure to handle. On screen during flight you’ll see your radarscope, shield indicators and secondary weapons counter, along with a rear view (by default) of your ship and a set of crosshairs out in front. The crosshairs are extremely helpful, but can be turned off for those of you who prefer to use the Force.

Before starting a game, you will need to either create or choose a pilot from the roster. Each pilot will also have the number of medals earned along with rank listed. The only unfortunate thing is that you cannot fight other live pilots with the one you’ve chosen. In other words, there is no multiplayer at all. I was very disappointed by this, as this would have been a wonderful game not to have to play Solo (pun FULLY intended). This, however, is the game’s only drawback.

Graphics

For starters, a 3D-accelerated card is required to play. If you don’t currently own one or have a no-so-great one, this game is reason enough to get a good one. The graphics are vivid and the movement and animation are fluid. The different ships, walkers, droids, people running around, explosions, effects (such as hitting your target with the ion cannon, watching it spark, then seeing it fall powerless to the ground before it explodes) are impressive -- most impressive, not to mention pretty detailed. Since almost every mission takes place on a different planet, you can expect to see lots of great artwork and effects.

Audio

The sound in this game is as wonderful as in the original films. From the Star Wars theme to each pilot’s voice to the background music to R2D2’s beeps and blips to the explosions to Chewbacca -- if you enjoyed the sound in any Star Wars movie, you’re sure to love how this sounds. The voices in this game sound very much like the characters from the movies. The sounds of TIE fighters buzzing and turrets firing at you will make you feel as though you’re really there in battle. Forget the neighbors; this is a game to crank as loud as you possibly can!

System Requirements

Windows 95 or 98, Pentium 166 (P200 recommended), 32 MB RAM, 55 MB hard drive space (for a complete install -- now THAT's amazing!), 3D-accelerated video card required (PCI or AGP w/ 4 MB or higher, Direct 3D or Glide compatible required), DirectX-compatible 16-bit sound card, 4X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 6.0 (included on CD). A joystick is recommended and force-feedback joysticks are supported. There is an option on the disc (when you first put it in) to check your system to see if it is capable of playing this game.

Reviewed on: Pentium 233MMX, Orchid Righteous 3D (with 3Dfx Voodoo chipset), 64 MB RAM, SideWinder 3D Pro Joystick

Documentation

Forty-five pages give you the basic functionality of the game. Also among the instructions are profiles of certain characters, descriptions of Rebel ships and weapons, and the Imperial forces you’ll be up against. A mini-comic book is also included at the end of the manual. Along with the manual, you’ll find a quick-reference card that shows not only what keys you can use, but also diagrams of some of the more common joysticks with what actions the default button settings will perform.

Bottom Line

This is the best game I have played in some time. Its easy interface and wonderful gameplay make it accessible to both beginning pilots and Jedi Knights alike. The sights and sounds of the Star Wars universe make this a "must have" for any fan and a "should have" for any of you who aren’t. (Do you even exist?) I was impressed by the minimal amount of hard drive space (55 MB) this game takes up, compared to most other games these days. Overall, this game is a blast to play and will provide weeks (months? years?) of continuous fun even though there are no multiplayer capabilities, which is why I give this game a score of 94.

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