Star Wars: X-Wing
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review|
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Have this problem with gravity. Well it's not so much gravity as the ground. It keeps getting in the way. There I am cheerfully pottering about the blue skies over Kent with not a thought in my mind except the three ME109S on my tail. I execute a perfect Immelman turn followed by a Likin Flip Spin Special to shake them off and what happens? I'll tell you what happens. Before you've got the chance to say "There's mud in your eye Fritz" the ground rushes to meet you like a long lost love and within seconds you have mud in your eye, your navel and up your prop shaft.
Ah for the joys of space; no gravity and no ground. Unless of course you misjudge your dive by about 3,000 light years (and in my case nothing is impossible). All of which makes the imminent release of Lucas Arts' X-Wing more than a little exciting. The game is being developed by Lawrence Holland and Fdward Kilham. who were behind the completely wonderful Their Finest Hour and Secret Weapons Of The Luftwaffe. From what we've seen of the game its hereditary genes are showing (as opposed to George Michael whose heredity shows through his jeans.)
Games are frantically rushing away from being games and towards being multi media (or meeeeeeeja) entertainments. It's rather like Pop music trying to get serious in the late sixties. This can only end in tears as the Art School Students take over and we're lef t with bands like Genesis and Yes. In the world of games we'll no doubt end up with whole graphic novels and no game. At least for now we have some pretty smart intro sequences just queuing up to fill up your hard drive.
Unless you've been drinking Wookie Blasters or have been in torpor (excess Wookie Blaster induced) for the last few months you'll probably have caught a glimpse of the X-Wing intro but here it is again. Unlike most intros it's actually one you'll watch again and again. Thrill as your screen is tilled with seriously large space craft. Gasp as Tie Fighters hurtle past you making the right sound, and swoon as you hear characters from the film talk in synch. "Incroyable" as they would say if. by some strange twist of fate. Star Wars had been made in France.
As well as opening with all this cinematic wizardry. X-Wing also has other cinematic sequences scattered throughout the game. Which will be all fine and dandy provided there's some playability in-between. Which brings us onto the game itself. Ah there's nothing like a smooth link (and yes. I know, that was nothing like a smooth link).
Before you're unleashed on the world as a fully fledged Rebel pilot you have to undergo a training section. I mean look son. these X-Wings they're not cheap if you get what I mean, they don't just grow on trees. We're not just giving them out to any old schmuck who comes along thinking he's a fly boy. So you'd better prove yourself on the obstacle course first.
After that the danger really starts. People start shooting at you. Lots of people. The game has fifty missions ranging from fairly basic escort duty to the ultimate battle in the trenches of the Death Star (Code named 'Operation Suicide')
X-Wing pays homage to its Finest Hour background by also allowing you to play three combat tours of duty. This means that the glory hunters among you can set their greedy little eyes on medals and promotion. Mind you. medals can be embarrassing. Silver Scimitar sounds suitably butch and manly but Diamond Eyes sounds suspiciously girly while Bronze Cluster sounds like something you'd have treated at one of those discreet clinics.
Flight the good flight
However all the medals and campaigns in the world aren't going to keep you playing if the combat plays like a dog. On first showing there's no hint of caninism. There are 3 different craft for you to fly, each with its own cockpit layout and each with 17 different viewpoints.
Although set in space, combat is closer to TFH than Wing Commander. Why you could almost be flying over Kent. Except there aren't many Imperial Storm Troopers in Kent. Which explains why Kent is so boring.
The action is all rendered in polygon graphics with bitmapped special effects and. from what we've seen, that means it's going to look pretty blinking' smart and play rather splendidly too. With looks like that you're going to want some replays which is fortunate because otherwise it wouldn't have been worth LucasArts putting in a replay camera. Fortunate for you that is. Dead boring for your friends who have to sit through "This really brilliant bit where I shot down these three Tie Interceptors and a Shuttle... look just here, that's where one got on my tail so I had to do this mega dive and... hello where's everybody gone. Hello?" On the sound front expect all the usual (for film licenses) samples and the ever present theme tune. X-Wing utilises the sound system which responds to changes in the game action. That satisfying zzssshwooosh noise impressions of which can get you banned from your local for spitting all over the customers.
LucasArts seem to have recognised that the best part of Star Wars was the special effects, which basically means the space battles. X-Wing looks set to have all the excitement without any of the drippy bits. Just imagine all the fun of Star Wars without the slightly annoying Luke Skywalker or extremely annoying C3PO. And of course all the fun of the Battle Of Britain without any of the gravity.