Star Wars: X-Wing - Imperial Pursuit
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|9.0/10 - 2 votes
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|Space Games, All Star Wars Games
Along, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a group of rebels who believed that space combat games would never be done well on the pc. This legendary hot-potch of ordinary folk, accountants, and games reviewers were nick-named The People Who Had Played Wing Commander. They spread their desire for a fast action-based sci-fi shoot 'em-up across the galaxy, but were thwarted by the 8mhz ega flagships of the Empire. But then came a new hope - X-Wing, a breath of nostalgia for those reared on a diet of Luke, Han, Chewie, Princess 'Brown Croissant Hair' Leia, and, er, Mr Vader, Sir. Its arrival brought cries of'Woah! 16 Tie bombers at ten o'clock and I've only got one concussion missile left' and, 'I wonder if I can take out this Star Destroy- bzzzzzzttt!' and introduced a new vocabulary of words like 'Maze-levels', 'Historic Missions' and 'There's the rebel'. It made Elite look like a piece of orange peel and Wing Commander a nectarine with a hole in it.
Now comes Imperial Pursuit, a new tour of duty with a full 24 more missions for those who have kissed the Death Star's 'bottom' good-bye. The plot runs as follows: The Empire, suitably miffed by the loss of its 100 billion space dollar Death Star investment and the disappearance of Lord Vader, have launched a ferocious counter-attack on the rebels, attacking their base on Yavin and forcing them to flee. You, a veteran of the three previous campaigns (you're given an X-Wing top-ace pilot with the game), are enlisted to protect the beleaguered fleet and assist in the search for a new base (i.e. Hoth).
Aesthetically, the game looks the same. The spaceport looks as glossy as ever, the historic missions are intact, and that annoying droid still barks: 'You may proceed', but the briefing room has a subtle addition - mission tips. After the usual text info, you can opt for some in depth tactics and hidden hints to aid you in your quest.
The missions are well-paced and start off easy but long. The first few are the hardest. They're 'protection missions', and they're hard because you have to exercise vast self-control. Your nerves scream out to you: 'Go get the gunboats! Take them out!' but you have to hang back and protect the defenceless civilians. 'Sod the civvies!' you scream, 'I wanna kill everything!' But you can't. You have keep everthing under control, you have to plan, you have to economise your missiles, you have to think.
The opposition starts off a little weedy - not using their missiles and flying straight at you with no shields - but as the missions spiral into deadly ambushes, mega mine fields, and Star Destroyers abungo, the interceptors get cleverer, the Ties slippery-ier, and the advanced Ties make guest appearances. For the unscared, the advanced Ties have shields, missiles and top ace ninja pilots - they're very tough. Some new, neat cut-scenes interlude the mission (only four and not as good as the original ones) and, overall, this tour of duty has a polished feel but... the guarding and protection mission, although needing bags of skill, tends to become boring and repetitive, and there's no 'I've got to reach the Death Star' type incentive to inspire you. However, for the price, it all adds up as a tasty snack before the Battle At Hoth mega-dinner makes its appearance. David McCandless.