Review by papereddy
"Challenging gameplay, amazing graphics, and quality sound. What else could you ask for?"
Introduction: Star Wars games have been making their marks in many; if not all of the major gaming consoles since its first debug in Arcade back in the era when I was playing with baby toys; and even as late as the 21st century, they them impress us with the traditional storyline that we have come to love, or sometimes with brand-new stories that hold true to the amazing universe George Lucas created. Although some Star Wars have had many downsides and poor development, I can assure you that the fast-paced action that the missions in Star Wars Rogue Squadron: Rebel Strike offers will keep you challenged and of course, very entertained for quite some time.
Graphics: (10/10) when it comes to top of the line graphics, all of the Rogue Squadron games are jaw-dropping beautiful; and this one is no exception. Developed in one of the best 3D programs out there, Maya, the same program that was used to create those amazing locations in the Lord of the Rings movies such as Gondor and Rivendell, as well as the vivid character, Gollum, Rebel Strike offers state of the art of models of many of the famous Star Wars space ships such as the Slave II, Jedi Starfighter and the butt-kicking X-wing. The landscapes are also worthy of recognition because they are filled with everything you would find in the Star Wars series.
Because Rebel Strike is a second generation game, the developers must bring new elements to the table in order to keep the game not only entertaining, but also fresh to those who played previous Rogue Squadron titles. One of the most noticeable things is a new lighting engine that brings a new level of depth and realism to the already beautiful levels by bouncing the light off the atmosphere. Combine the previous graphical wonders of the Rogue Squadron series with this new and amazing lighting engine developed for this game and Rebel Strikes becomes one of the best looking games in the Nintendo Gamecube; and quite possible, the best in all of the Star Wars games up to date.
Music and Sound (8/10) the game contains great music that holds true to the Star Wars universe, and yet it is unique and different from the ones found previous Rogue Squadron games; however, what really stands out are the sound effects. The new on-foot gameplay is a twist to the traditional missions found in the series, and Factor 5 really put forth 110% into getting all those lasers, beeps, explosions, machine movement, sparks, etc, effects into those missions in order to fully submerge into the game sound-wise.
Controls (9/10) Not bad at all. I had my doubts at first because many people said the controls were bad when compared to those of Rogue Squadron II; however, I find them all to be lies. You use the Control Stick to move your ship around Like in most flight-based games; up in the control stick makes your ship go down while down on the control stick makes it go up. Attacks are easy to perform too. You will be using the A and B buttons to launch different attacks depending on the ship you are piloting in order to complete the given mission. For example, holding A will make your ship fire steady laser shots, while taping A rapidly will make the shots slower, yet more powerful. Taping B might make your ship fire its secondary weapon, while holding B will sometimes, depending on the ship you are using, bring up a crosshair that fires a third type of weapon such as ion cannons, powerful electrical blasts that will paralyze an enemy. You can hold the Z button and use the control stick to rotate your ship; and finally, use L and R to speed up or slow down your ship, something that you will really appreciate when you have swarms of tie fighters on your tail, or need to get through some serious road-blocks.
On-Foot Missions are also easy to control and will not pose much a thread except for certain parts in which the camera becomes your worst enemy; luckily, it is not very often. You will use the Control Stick to move your character, the A and B buttons is used to fire primary and secondary weapons. Finally, the C stick is used to perform various actions such as opening doors and controlling other, more powerful weapons.
Gameplay and Replay value (9/10) The core of this game, as I said before, are the numerous flight missions that take place is amazing 3D landscapes of famous Star Wars locations such as the Yavin base and the Endor forest; and of course, various outer-space sites such as the Fondor Shipyard and the good ol' meteor field (I can't get enough of blasting those huge ice rocks into pieces!). If challenge is what you seek, you are bound to find large amounts of it in this game, especially if you haven't played any of the previous Rogue Squadron titles. Not only do missions get tougher an tougher as you progress into the campaigns, but the ranking, a system that judges your run on the mission depending on how well you did, will award with different medals and points that you can use to unlock numerous features such as ships, music and art libraries, audio commentaries, a neat video documentary, special missions, and even old Star Wars arcade games if you prove to be a top player!
Single-players modes divides into two campaigns, one will take Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of the original Star Wars trilogy, on land-base missions in which you pilot machines such as walkers and speedbikes. When it comes to on-foot missions, however, I agree with many other people that they are not the greatest; but, they aren't that bad either. On occasions, you will step out of your cockpit and complete simple objectives such as rescuing a certain character or simply escaping the scene. They can, at sometimes, be somewhat of a hassle due to the poor camera movement but overall, I didn't see it as a major flaw.
The other campaign, led by the elite pilot Wedge Antilles, will take on the more traditional, flight-based Rogue Squadron gameplay. Before you start a flight-based mission, you will, in most cases, be able to select from a variety of ships. Once that is out of the way, you will see a Computer Generated movie that explains the point of your mission, where it will be located, and other details that help set the scene. The action begins right after the short CG movie (which you can skip at anytime by pressing the start button, something that comes in handy when you are replaying it over and over just to get a decent score on it). You must take advantage of your ship's capabilities in order to accomplish the mission you have been given. Because there are many objectives in a mission, and it would be pain to memorize them; thus, pressing start at any time allows you to review your goals, and see which ones you have cleared, which is something that smoothes the gameplay greatly. You will, most of the time, be given a squadron of ships whom you can assign jobs using your D-Pad. For example, you can tell your squadron to fight incoming TIE Fighters by pressing up, Destroy menacing guns by pressing right, or even fleeing the battle if that is what you wish.
Although only two players can play multi-player mini-games, the fun factor is still high. Two players can access a loaded versus mode that offers various scenarios that you can compete in; whether it is conquering bases, racing, rampaging on foot or the skies, or the traditional dogfight mode, you are bound to have a good time with the many multiplayer frays.
The real juice in multiplayer, however, is being able to team up with your friend and take on the core missions from Rouge Squadron II in a split-screen format. This cooperative mode had its difficulty enhanced so players must work as a team in order to complete all the objectives in the time given, as well as protect each other from harm.
My Take: Even though I like the Star Wars series, I might not be considered a hardcore fan of them; however, I believe that Rouge Squadron III: Rebel Strike is a great game for people who are not hardcore fans and are looking for a challenging, yet fun game to keep them entertained for weeks and even months if you are set on getting the best ranking on both single-player and multiplayer modes. The game is filled with many challenging missions, numerous unlockables, stunning graphics; and all of the arcade-gameplay the goodness the Rogue Squadron games are known for.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/21/04, Updated 06/19/04
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