Review by neothe0ne

"The Force is not with the Alliance..."

GameCube-unique Star Wars
Good flying and vehicle missions
Based on the original Trilogy
Rogue Squadron II included as co-op

Bland multiplayer
Camera view for foot missions sucks
Controls could use some improvement
Corny/annoying scripts for voices

I loved Episodes IV, V, and VI. Episode I was pretty good, Episode II was pretty bad, and Star Wars has been declining ever since. The storyline of Star Wars has been progressing through the video games, but not enough justice is done in the games to make a casual Star Wars fan interested. Factor 5 did okay with this game, but they only did average, not exceptional. This game is flawed in a great number of ways, and it kills what could have been a killer game.

The music is almost exactly the same as the music from the soundtracks. That's good, since John Williams's pieces on the Star Wars Trilogy soundtrack are very good, but there's nothing new except for the title theme. The sound effects are okay, seeing as how laser blasts and explosions and collisions don't have too much to mess with. The voice acting sounds like it should, but that's a bad thing. In addition to corny and lame lines, some voices are just annoying. You know Luke's high-pitched whine? Yeah, it's back. Time to mute that TV. "Great, only four more to go! Three more! Two more, get them fast! One more, hurry!" Please, save us...

The graphics of Rebel Strike are pretty good. Everything is clear, runs fast and smoothly most of the time, and you can generally figure out what's sticking out of a background and where the lasers are coming from. If there are a lot of explosions at once, the game can lag a lot, but that rarely happens. When loading/playing movies and cutscenes, the screens sometimes don't transition right. You may get blank screens in between scenes, and this seemed to happen only when I turned subtitles on. The movies in the game look a lot like the 2004 special editions of the Star Wars Trilogy. Everything looks fake because the quality is "so good." The quality of the video may be good, but the quality of what was filmed is not. You can tell that the ships and stuff look bad now that we're not talking about grainy VHS tape. After all, DivX is a failed MPEG4 codec, remember?

There are way too many cinematics of, quite simply, the dying animation of your ship or building, and they take way too long. These cinematics are integrated directly into the gameplay and take no time to load, but in this case, it's not being used well. Every time you die, you see your ship explode. These movies can't be skipped, naturally, so gameplay feels stunted a lot of the time, in addition to the awkward controls.

The storyline jumps around a bit, letting you play as Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles in different places and times. Most of the missions aren't based on parts of the movies, but rather on the times in-between Episodes. This makes the magic of Star Wars feel faked, in my opinion. You start with flying your X-wing, which is good, but the final part of the first mission is on foot. The foot missions are third-person, have auto-aim for your laser pistol, and would be great... but you can't control the camera, which can be as bad as blindfolding you, tying your hands, and telling you to try to pick up a grain of salt. It's really that hard to get around if the camera has shifted behind a large obstacle such as a pillar or pile of rubble. On several missions, you can use tripod gun turrets, which have slightly strange controls but is more effective than your pistol. Sooner or later, you'll choose a speeder mission. The speeder controls like the fighter, except on ground. So, flying and vehicle parts are good, foot parts are not. If you want to use the computer while flying, it is pretty awkward. You have to hold the button right (X, that skinny one) above shoot (the huge A button), so it can get frustrating if you're trying to get a high score. The missions have different paths to take. You can add parts to the mission depending on how you perform before. You are scored on how well you do, and you get bonus points for new medals. These are necessary to unlock some missions, such as the Death Star Rescue.

Some of the story does make you wonder whether or not the developers ran out of ideas. Remember when Obi-wan lands on Geonosis with his Jedi Starfighter in Episode II? The fighter's still there and still workable after over 50 years, and his hyperspace platform thingie is still intact in the asteroids. And, the battle droids are still operational and shooting after more than 50 years. How, why, wha??

If you want to do co-op, you'll be in for a nice treat.. it's Rogue Squadron II with 2 humans! Some of the missions have had their difficulty adjusted, and you have a total of six lives to spend in between you and your friend. Some missions can be fun, but most missions, like the first mission, are just frustrating. You can't do Rogue Squadron III's missions in multiplayer, sorry.

The multiplayer modes feature 2-player races, dogfights, and killing-for-points. You can choose from the normal X-wing to the Slave (with those blue sonic charges from Episode II.. *evil grin*) to the famous Millenium Falcon with a unique spin move. I don't find the multiplayer to be worth my time, however. It's only you and your friend, so there is only one real target in any given game. In Dogfights, you just shoot at each other, there really isn't any skill involved since it's so easy to fly out of sight of your enemy. Races are just lame and boring, you just hit accelerate as much as possible, and you can't even shoot at the others. What happened to the action-filled Pod races? Destroying for points can be fun, but only for so long, since blowing up gas tanks causes lag.

The Force is definitely not with Rogue Squadron. The problem isn't so much the content, but the innovation. You've already done it all in Rogue Squadron II. I have not completed all the missions, but I haven't played with a lightsaber yet. How can one use the Force with a laser pistol? Star Wars has great potential, but it is not found here. Did you really expect LucasArts to give GameCube an awesome Star Wars title?

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/29/04, Updated 01/18/05

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