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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

LucasArts

 

Developer

Factor 5

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

October 2003

 

 

- Maybe the most complete Star Wars game ever

- Tons of action

- Great presentation

- Two-player co-op mode!

 

 

- On-foot action is a little weak

- Some multi-part missions are just too tough!

- Pretty tough medal requirements

 

 

Review: Rogue Squadron II - Rogue Leader (GC)

Review: Star Wars Bounty Hunter (GC)

Review: Star Wars Jedi Starfighter (XB)

 

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Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

The disco version of the Star Wars theme pumped out of the speakers and I immediately christened Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (RS) the best Star Wars game ever.  Then seeing Lando Calrissian breaking it down on the disco dance floor?  I was ready to proclaim RS best game EVER!  I downgraded my opinion from those lofty heights after getting past the intro credits, but they didnít come down much.

 

rebel squadron iii rebel strike gamecube review          rebel squadron iii rebel strike gamecube review

 

No, RS is not the best game ever, but in terms of Star Wars games itís probably the most complete Star Wars package the gaming world has ever seen.

 

The events of RS span the original trilogy (Episodes IV Ė VI) and put you in the spacesuit of Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles.  Most of the combat takes place as you sit in the cockpit of a starfighter, from the Millennium Falcon to a Jedi Starfighter and most everything in-between, including AT-AT and AT-ST walkers.  (The actual control is virtually identical to Rogue Squadron II so learning the controls is easy, even when you still have to deal with the directional pad to issue general orders to your wingmen.)  Almost every mission has you at the controls of a different vehicle Ė or it puts you on foot, which may be RSís biggest weakness.

 

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Itís very cool to blast stormtroopers up close and personal, but the on-foot sections are rudimentary at the best of times.  The action during these sequences is reminiscent of Resident Evil, believe it or not.  The camera angles are fixed and track lines set so itís often the case that you wonít be able to see whoís shooting you from just off-screen.  In these circumstances, the tried and true button-mashing prevails.

 

Where RS excels is the vehicle combat and the chance to relive key moments of the original trilogy.

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Leaping on a speeder bike and hurling through the thick undergrowth of Endor was a great adolescent fantasy and I finally get to live that out, even through a videogame.  After crunching Luke into tree trunk after tree trunk, it got a little tiresome, but Factor 5 completely nailed the incredible sense of speed and danger.  Part of this is owed to the very polished presentation, which accurately recreates many Star Wars locales and vehicles.  It never seemed to make a bit of difference of how much was happening on-screen, RS never stuttered or skipped graphically, even during the two-player co-op mode.

 

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But where RS skips and stutters is the story.  Each mission you partake in is only tenuously connected to the one before it (if at all).  This situation is not helped at all by the chance to pick different ďstoryĒ branches (playing as Wedge or Luke), although it does help if you get stymied by a mission. (And you will Ė some missions are multi-part exercises in skill and determination.)  Depending on how you perform during the mission, you can earn gold, silver, or bronze medals (or no medals if you do really poorly), each with their own point value.  Earn enough of these points and you can unlock bonus missions (such as the rescue of Princess Leia), which offers a further disconnect from any main story.  Be that as it may, itís fun and, I daresay, rollicking and thatís more valuable to me than a coherent Star Wars story.  (If that was what I wanted, Iíd boot up Knights of the Old Republic.)

 

RS has a lot of fun to offer Ė not just for the solo player, but for buddies looking to take down the Empire.  Factor 5 managed to cram the entirety of Rogue Squadron II onto the RS disc but made the whole thing a two-player co-op experience.  Great fun!

 

Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike is a very fun with just enough challenge to keep you playing, and as a Star Wars game should probably be in every fanís collection, even with the weak on-foot missions.

 

- Omni

(November 12, 2003)

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