Tie Fighter Defender of the Empire
Judoing by the company's previous record, you could hardly accuse LucasArts of attempting to flog a dead horse. Indeed, the stables at the Skywalker Ranch in Texas are positively brimming with thoroughbred stallions, each a substantial race winner in its own right (except Loom which was sold to the glue factory a long time ago). However, with Defender Of The Empire (DOTE), the new add-on mission disk for the exceptional TIE Fighter, you start to think maybe they're trying to flog some of the good horses at less than cost price.
There's nothing wrong with the game, of course - it's TIE Fighter and TIE Fighter is excellent - it's just hard to see why any of us should really feel compelled to shell out for more of the same when we can be pretty sure that there are far better Star Wars related products around the corner.
So what is there? For a start there are two new battle campaigns to plough through, following on directly from the end of TIE Fighter (presuming you got that far - if you didn't, sec below). You've saved the Emperor from death at the hands of the traitors but they haven't given up their attack. Of course, this means it's still more TIE Fighters versus TIE Fighters. The rebel (i.e. X-Wing etc.) ships still don't get that much of a look in. Part of the fun of being a storm-trooper is blowing up the rebels. It's no fun fighting your own side.
Also with this disk comes a new ship to fly - a missile boat. Somewhat similar to the gunboat it just has... er more missiles.
Finally, there's the obligatory TOPACE pilot, a saved game that allows you to play any of the missions or view any of the cut-scenes in the original game. No doubt, someone, somewhere has already distributed a similar pilot on CompuServe, though.
...Of the same
In an ideal world DOTE would get 50 in the score department, as it adds nothing substantial to the original but still has everything that made TIE Fighter good. Of course, this isn't an ideal world and giving a game 50 effectively means "it's crap, don't buy it". I once promised myself that I would never use the next phrase in a review, but there really isn't another way of describing DOTE other than - if you like this kind of thing, you'll enjoy it. More precisely, if you liked TIE Fighter and want more, you'll enjoy it. Otherwise you're getting nothing that's going to radically alter your life in any way other than to ruin your eyes a little bit more by low-level radiation poisoning and to lessen your social calendar slightly.