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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Arcade Sim

 

Publisher

LucasArts

 

Developer

Factor 5

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2001

 

 

- Oozes Star Wars from every pore

- Tons of fun

- Easy control

- Free-roaming tutorial teaches the basics

- Switch craft mid-mission (on some missions)

- Big flight bubbles

- Negligible load times

 

 

- May frustrate some

- Some problems issuing commands

 

 

Review: Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (Playstation 2)

Review: Star Wars: Starfighter (Playstation 2)

Review: Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (XBox)

 

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Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader

Score: 9.4 / 10

 

Never have I played a Star Wars game that so captures the films – the feeling of actually taking part in the events of the original Trilogy.  This may be a bold statement (and possibly hyperbole) but Rogue Leader may just be the ultimate Star Wars game.

 

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While many Star Wars games culminate in the destruction of the first Death Star, RL starts with it, putting you in control of Luke Skywalker as he prepares to shove a proton torpedo up its exhaust pipe.  After the initial approach, you’re flying down the trench with Darth on your tail saying, “The Force is strong with this one,” and you’re just waiting for the Millennium Falcon to come barreling down and blast your pursuers.  And it does and you blow up the Death Star.  Things just get better from there.  You get to take part in the Battle of Hoth – waves of foot troopers and massive ion cannon included.  The level of detail is incredible!

 

In the early stages you play as Luke but during the Battle of Hoth you assume the role of Wedge Antilles, following a story that remains fully imbedded in the original Trilogy.  The story works and some of the missions are strung together making it feel like you’re actually progressing logically instead of just taking part in disjointed missions.  The story fits with the original Trilogy and only the truly fanatical will find complaint with anything. (How is a Star Destroyer not completely obliterated when it crashes into a planet?  I mean, c’mon, do the math!)

 

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Gameplay is intuitive for the most part and getting a firm handle of each of the craft takes only a couple of flights.  If you’re having real troubles there’s a tutorial mission that give you hands-on instruction in Luke’s T-16.  From there you’re on your own.

 

The “flight bubbles” (the area of space you’re restricted to) are thankfully large.  You’ll still run into one here and there.  Playing through the game once, I ran into the invisible wall only three or four times.  (On the second time through, 

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you get this instinctive feel for where they are.)  But if you’re that far off you’re probably going to have a tough time completing some missions because they have fairly strict mission critical time limits.  Mission objectives must be successfully completed to proceed to the next mission (help Alliance prisoners escape, protect a frigate, etc.), but how you complete them is up to you.

 

Sometimes finishing a mission successfully hinges on using your wingmen effectively.  The directional pad allows you to issue basic commands like form (on my wing), (go for the) guns, (attack the) TIEs, etc.  And for whatever reason, Factor 5 included an option to issue a “flee” command.  The size of the directional pad makes it a certainty that you’ll inadvertently tell them to make a run for it at least a few times – at the worst possible moments.  In all fairness you have to confirm the command, but because your attention is on the 50 or so TIE fighters flying at you, you’ll sometimes confirm the command accidentally because you don’t hear them respond “You heard the man, let’s get those fighters,” you assume you pressed the wrong direction and press it again only to hear Wedge say, “Return to base.”  It’s exasperating if you can’t tell from my run-on sentence.  I got in the habit of looking at the controller before issuing any commands to avoid such errors.  Some missions you’ll play again and again before your objectives can be achieved (level 5 being the main culprit for me).  Frustration can play into things, but it was never enough to make me turn off the game and go to bed.

 

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What else did I like about RL?  How about everything.  Earning medals to access different ships on previous levels, no load times to sit through, being able to switch craft mid-mission (on some missions), a targeting computer that is actually useful, solid controls, accurate models, ground and space missions to keep things fresh, great audio, and fantastic graphics.

 

The audio and graphics meld to become a glorious Star Wars whole.  Some will find inconsistencies with terminology (They’re call AT-Ats, not at-ats!) and there’s a huge error in the manual (they have a picture of an A-wing instead of a Speeder with the description of the Speeder) but other than those trivialities, you’re going to want to have RL pumping through a stereo system with the biggest TV you can afford. (RL also supports progressive scan mode for HDTVs.)

 

Minor detractions aside, Rogue Leader is a must have for any Star Wars fan.  Actually, it’s a must have for anyone with a GameCube too.  Make sure it’s on your wish list.

 

- Omni

(December 3, 2001)

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