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Game Over Online ~ Star Wars Rogue Squadron 3D

GameOver Game Reviews - Star Wars Rogue Squadron 3D (c) Lucasarts, Reviewed by - Jove / TraderX /

Game & Publisher Star Wars Rogue Squadron 3D (c) Lucasarts
System Requirements Win9X, Pentium 166, 32 MB RAM, 3D Accel. Video, 4X CDROM
Overall Rating 76%
Date Published Tuesday, December 1st, 1998 at 11:51 PM


Divider Left By: Jove Divider Right

I have always regretted that I just missed being included in the Star Wars generation (I was too young at the time to appreciate the first two movies). Never the less I have been bombarded with the Star Wars legend and let's not forget, the merchandise as well. I guess I could even be so bold to say that Star Wars was the beginning of my love for science fiction and I am usually suckered into any new Star Wars game released. Thus I am doing this review for a game that, while it uses the Star Wars license, falls short in far too many aspects to be worthy of the legend.

Graphically, Rogue Squadron 3D is very similar to Shadows of the Empire and should be described more as an "N64" style game. While lighting and fog effects are present, they don't require anything above a voodoo graphics accelerator to run at extremely high frame rates. The textures were too sparse for my liking and while the TIE Fighters, bombers and interceptors all were discernable from each other, they didn't look much better then their original renderings in TIE Fighter (the game by Lucasarts). The building textures are satisfactory but simply lack flare and originality. I would have liked to see much more detail as with today's 3D acceleration technology far more could have been done without isolating most of the gaming market. Terrain texture fortunately does not experience any severe pixelation but again lacks the detail that should be present in a modern 3D game. Lastly I would like to address the laser fire and miscellaneous effects aspect of the graphics engine. Explosions and laser hits are all acceptable but not in the league of today's top titles. Additionally, the explosions are boring and do not create the satisfaction that they should. I noticed some clipping problems in a mission where you had to use the towline on your speeder to take out Imperial walkers: the wire clipped into the legs of the walker. The graphics unfortunately are only the beginning of an unpleasant theme of lack of effort and inspiration.

Star Wars is known for awe inspiring sound effects accompanied by a majestic sound track. Rogue Squadron's sound is bland beyond the acceptable range for a Star Wars product. We all know that Rebel Assault wasn't that great of a game, but the soundtrack was unmatched at the time, which is what I was expecting with Rogue Squadron. Alas, Rogue Squadron does not fail to disappoint once again. The music is not redbook (I think it's midi or something of similar quality) and the sound effects are not even close to digital quality and don't support 3d sound acceleration (a must in any new Star Wars game). Even if you aren't a Star Wars fanatic, prepare yourself to be disappointed with the sound. If you are, I recommend you don't attempt to play this game for fear of loss of sanity. So summed up in one neat little sentence the sound of Rogue Squadron is, bland, boring and definitely not majestic.

At least the gameplay in Rogue Squadron is superior to that of Rebel Assault and its oh so pathetic sequel but then again Rogue Squadron is so far behind X-Wing and TIE Fighter in the gameplay department that I can't believe it came out years later. First off I should note that Rogue Squadron is based completely on planetary spacecraft combat as seen in the first level of Shadows of the Empire. Gameplay consist of flying up down left or right and firing either your primary or secondary weapon at your target while avoiding incoming missiles or laser fire. There are no keyboard commands such as altering shield intensity, energy management and other expected controls. The best manner in which to describe Rogue Squadron would be a simplified First Person/Third Person action shoot 'em up without power-ups or new weapons within levels. Sure there are 4-5 different craft you can pilot but the differences in interface between the crafts is practically unnoticeable. Rogue Squadron is only effective in that it allows for a quick Star Wars-like fix without a hefty learning curve: perfect for the 15 minute gamer.

There is no multiplayer in Rogue Squadron, which I feel was a very stupid plan. Rogue Squadron could have potentially been a very enjoyable multi-player experience and thus its rating would have been increased, but that would require more resources and time, which of course is completely unacceptable.

As you may have noticed, this review is considerably shorter than most of my other reviews. The reason behind this is that Rogue Squadron can't really generate much more text without becoming redundant. Star Wars Rogue Squadron is an uninspired game that will only serve as a quick fix until the much more anticipated and hopefully far superior X-wing Alliance is released in Q1 99.

 

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Rating
71%
 

 

 
 

 

 

Divider Left By: TraderX Divider Right

Every year, Lucasarts treats gamers with a bombardment of Star Wars games and expansion packs that never seem to grow old. This year is no exception to the tradition, but there is a minor lack of quality that everyone expects from the company with so much behind it's name. Rogue Squadron, the latest in the flock, takes us into a world that meshes the styles from Rebel Assault and the action experienced in Shadows of the Empire. The missions expand as you are playing them, and the action itself, never stops.

The game takes place right after Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles have destroyed the infamous Death Star. Unfortunately, they don't have time to spare because the Imperial Empire has already begun their revenge upon the Alliance. In order to save the Alliance from the grip of the Empire, Luke and Wedge form the Rogue Squadron. The Rogue Squadron is created with twelve of the most highly-skilled, battle-tested starfighter pilots in the Alliance. In the game, your missions will take place during the time period between Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, many take place on memorable planets such as Tatooine, Yavin 4 and Hoth.

At a first glance, Rogue Squadron may seem like a mediocre shooting game that requires no skill. I soon found out that the deeper I got into the game, the more complex, challenging and exciting the missions became. The gameplay doesn't get more complicated than flying, shooting, deploying and receiving, but when the task at hand requires combinations of all your abilities, it does get quite addictive. If you have ever seen the Star Wars movies and wished you could fly the X-Wing or Y-Wings, or even the Snow Speeders, this game provides inaccurate yet enjoyable simulations for all the popular Star Wars ships. The mission briefings are quick and simple (sometimes one sentence), but they don't go into the unnecessary details which most space sims have. After being briefed, you are able to choose the ship you wish to fly for the particular mission. The ships are awarded to you as you pass each mission, and certain ships require use in most levels. For instance, in one level you are required to use the Snow Speeder in order to hog-tie an AT-AT walker with your cable. I was able to understand why people might be angry with the realism represented by the simulation factor of the game, but you must remember that these are fictional space fighters. There can't be a game that accurately re-creates the experience of flying an X-Wing, because they don't even exist (try not to cry, it's just reality). So when your ship is hovering like magic, or you are able to do a 180 in the blink of an eye don't be disappointed. The only simulation-type feature that is available in-game is the radar, which shows your surrounding area, enemy and friendly ships and also is very useful to guide you to the next mission objective.

The levels themselves impressed me, although they don't look exactly like the ones in the movies, they seem to represent what the planets would really be like. The environments are creatively put together, and you can test your skills over water, through canyons, out-stretching deserts, active volcanoes, rolling hills, through thunder storms and much more. In total there are four chapters with approximately 5 missions in each, so you're looking at about 20 unique levels to play in. Sadly, the replay value will be diminished to nothing once you complete the game since it has no multiplayer capabilities. If Lucasarts had considered Multiplayer it's possible that this game could be a huge hit, the fun-factor level would be improved as well. Although I had a lot of fun playing this game, it's more of a cheap thrill/novelty than a game that will stick with you for a long time.

As far as control goes, it gets as complicated as opening a pickle jar. Your basic flight controls are to accelerate/slow down and maneuver, the rest of the controls are represents by a few special firing methods and special utilities which are unique on each of the five available ships. When playing this game with a Keyboard, I found it very difficult to get my double targeting scopes centered on enemies, it was too sensitive and unfortunately couldn't be adjusted. The same over-sensitivity was experienced using a Gravis GamePad as well. However, when I tried a Microsoft Sidewinder Gamepad, the over-sensitivity I experienced earlier was basically nonexistent. The most effective methods of control are the mouse and joystick, since they vary depending on how much force you use. I ended up using my joystick because the buttons were simple to memorize and it was a lot easier to aim at enemies with.

The sound effects are absolutely mind blowing, since the game is able to simulate accurate 3D positioning, I was able to shoot enemies and hear them blow up behind me as I flew past them. The speech is quite high quality too, and Lucasarts has found some great voice actors to play the roles of all the popular Star Wars characters (including Chewbacca!). The musical score from John Williams is superb, you wouldn't expect any less from him. Even though Rogue Squadron doesn't support 3D sound modes such as A3D and EAX, it does have a 4 speaker output option. I wasn't able to test this mode because I don't have a 4-speaker set up, but I'm sure it would sound even better than the normal stereo output. The only complaint I have about the sound is the blaster fire; it gets very repetitive since you'll probably average thousands of shots per mission. Otherwise the sound is perfect if you don't include that minor annoyance.

The most impressive features in the game are in the graphics, which are presented in full 3D. Supporting both Direct3D and Glide this is a real treat for Voodoo Card owners. Let me off start with the features. Rogue Squadron shows off real time colored lighting, which aren't the most visually stunning I have witnessed, but provide just enough realism to satisfy an action fan. The special effects themselves are awesome, you can experience realistic smoke, dust and water splashes, engine glow and even tracer fire. The explosions could use some work for a game that relies on destruction as a theme, but they aren't overdone like most games of the genre. Basically when you destroy a ship, you will see a tiny explosion ring followed by the ship breaking apart and a flaming explosion. The shadows are amazingly realistic, like the movies, they follow the structure of the terrain and cast themselves accordingly. I was pleased to see the game uses the actual engine for rendering all the cutscenes in real time (is it just me, or this becoming a trend in all the new 3D games?), even the opening "Lucasarts" logo is rendered by the game engine. The ground terrain and water all look pleasing to the eye when you are flying past them and destroying enemies. The textures on every object in the game (the entire game is 3D except for the Storm Troopers, they appear to be sprites probably because they are so minute) are high quality and realistic. The models used for all the ships are probably the best seen out of all the Star Wars games. Overall, I found Rogue Squadron's graphics to be supreme in quality and I experienced no problems in Glide and Direct 3D modes at multiple resolutions.

In conclusion, even though I prefer playing the simulation type Star Wars games (X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter to be specific), I found Rogue Squadron to be an enjoyable experience. It's not the best Star Wars game to date, but it can provide a cheap ride that should at least keep you busy for a good chunk of time. Just remember, if you are not impressed at first, continue on with the game it gets a lot more exciting. This is an action game, not a simulation, and it should be treated as one.

 

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Rating
71%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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