Review by Azure Edge
"A wonderful SW flight sim, but not without its flaws."
Star Wars flight sims are some of the most prolific games out there, and, having not yet played TIE Fighter (which I hear is exceptional), X-Wing Alliance is one of my favorites. It suffers some trouble in the plot and gameplay departments, but it is still a game worthy of the Star Wars title.
The graphics here aren't anything special, but good for their time. The game is pixellated, but the craft models do fairly well - certainly a step up from X-Wing. There are a few FMVs, but nothing to boast about.
If there's one thing I've learned to expect from a LucasArts game, it is superb sound, and XWA delivers. Many of John Williams's original themes come with XWA. The sound effects leave something to be desired, but they perform quite adequately.
Flight sims are, at least to me, some of the most entertaining games to play, and XWA delivers here too. Those who like the physics of realistic flight will not like XWA, but hey, you didn't buy this game to fly an F-18, did you? The missions are fairly simple, but flying them is nonetheless fun.
One of my few complaints with this game is how little the enemy fighters seem to go after you. Almost every time you fly a sortie, enemies will concentrate on eradicating your allies before you, the smart one. Any enemies that do happen to lock on to you won't even be a bother, unless they happen to be flying a superior craft (see: Z-95 versus TIE Defender).
The turret option, as far as I know, is also a new addition to SW flight sims, and a great one. When flying turreted craft (The Sabra, the Otana, or the Millennium Falcon), you have four options with your turrets: You can set them to forward fire, you can set them to defensive fire, you can set them to fire at your current target, or you can switch to a turret well and put the ship on autopilot. This is a very well-done addition, whether it is new or not.
Vets of SW flight sims will well remember the control layout of XWA; it's pretty much identical to previous sims. However, to the newbie they can be quite perplexing. I've been playing XWA for over a year now and there are likely still functions I don't know about. The game also requires a joystick (mandatory anyway, since you're buying a flight sim).
XWA's plot is fairly similar to most other XWA flight sims; young, brash pilot hooks up with the Rebellion and becomes a hero flying insanely dangerous missions. There is a bit of character interaction here, but some of it is just annoying (Emkay, please just die). The FMVs are nice and really help to further the plot.
X-Wing Alliance is a worthy flight sim and a must-buy for the Star Wars buff. A few control and gameplay issues aside, it is one of the best of the series so far.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/11/02, Updated 04/11/02
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