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Game Profile
Factor 5
GENRE: Shooter
PLAYERS:   1-2
October 15, 2003
Star Wars Battlefront II

Star Wars Kinect

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

More in this Series
 Written by Jeff Milligan  on May 28, 2003

First Impressions: The Rebellion Strikes Back?I have a hunch Rogue Squadron IV will be called ?Return of the A-Wing?

Take a trip with me back to 1992, a time when DOS games were ruling the computer scene. Round about that time period, a game was created by LucasArts that changed flight simulators forever. The game was called ?Star Wars: X-Wing?. X-Wing made you a pilot in the Rebel Alliance, put you inside numerous Rebel aircraft, and had you dogfight with some of the Empire's strongest Ace pilots. Fast forward 2 years, and you'll find ?Star Wars: TIE-Fighter? being released. While having the same game engine as X-Wing, TIE-Fighter put you in the shoes of an Imperial pilot, flying some of space's most notorious craft, including the TIE-Fighter, TIE-Bomber, TIE-Advanced, and my personal favorite, the Assault Gunboat. Fast forward again to present times, and you'll find LucasArts (now with the help of developer Factor 5) still going strong with the Rogue Squadron games, a series that stays true to the original X-Wing and TIE-Fighter, yet still manages to amaze players with every new release.

As the GameCube was released, Rogue Squadron II was one of the first games released that simply had to be owned. Star Wars and simulation fans couldn't have expected much more out of Rogue Squadron II, as it delivered fast and furious action, lots of the Star Wars craft, and also put players in many familiar Star Wars locations. With that said, how is Factor 5 going to possibly live up to Rogue Squadron II with Rebel Strike? Read on to find out not only how they live up to the expectations, but surpass them as well.

First things first, let's concentrate on the single player portion of Rebel Strike. The first task players will face is who they're going to be flying as. It's a tough choice, but you're going to have to pick either Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antiles. Each character will have their own unique story-driven adventure. During the single player quest, Luke and Wedge will not only visit many of the familiar locations of the Star Wars universe, but will even interact with some of the famous events shown in the original Star Wars' movies.

Behind the game is the same gameplay system found in both X-Wing and TIE-Fighter. You'll be given a number of different missions which get exponentially harder as you proceed. Players will also be given a wide array of different craft, weapons, and techniques that can be implemented in battle. What's new this time is the wide variety of mission types there are throughout the journey. For example, towards the beginning of the game, you'll be faced with wave after wave of TIE-Fighters as you escape the scene of the Death Star explosion. Later on, Luke will be on foot after his speeder-bike is destroyed. Still later on, you may be pitted inside of a gun-turret, shooting down Imperial forces as they pass by.

With even more types of missions, this means there are going to be even more types of, not only spacecraft, but land vehicles as well. All Terrain-Armored Transports (AT-AT's), snowspeeders, landspeeders and the like are all common ground for Rebel Strike. You may even find yourself on foot running under enemy AT-ATs, using your grappling hook to swing through them.

All in all, Rebel Strike's single player missions will take around the same amount of time Rogue Squadron II's single player did. There's roughly the same number of missions and medals that can be earned. However, Rebel Strike doesn't stop with just single player modes. Factor 5 has included a few multiplayer modes to satisfy all you Ace pilots who want to prove your worth to your friends.

The first multiplayer mission is the classic Deathmatch mode. It seems no Star Wars game comes without a Deathmatch mode, whether it be Rogue Squadron, Galactic Battlegrounds or Jedi Knight. Deathmatches put 2 players in the same mission, where they basically put all their skill to the test to destroy both one another, and other bots if they are included in the game options. The second multiplayer mode is the true shocker. Factor 5 has included the entire Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II single player game, revamped as a 2 player co-operative game. Now both you and a friend can relive all of your favorite moments from Rogue Squadron II together. Other modes include Capture the Base and endurance.

As much as Rogue Squadron pushed the GameCube's capabilities early on in its life, Rogue Squadron III pushes it even farther. The entire graphics system has been recoded by Factor 5, which can now handle much more detail, a higher poly count, and tons of enemies on screen at once with minimal slowdown. A new particle system, lighting system, and impressive bump mapping all make for a graphical system that the Rogue Squadron series hasn't seen thus far. You technology buffs will get even more, as Rogue Squadron III has full 480p progressive scan capabilities with the correct cables. The sound department has also added a few upgrades here and there. You'll be able to hear all of the classic Star Wars sound effects in Rogue Squadron III, now in Dolby pro Logic II Surround Sound.

Final Thoughts
You would think that with the multitude of titles LucasArts has published pertaining Star Wars flight simulation, coming up with new ideas to reinvent the system would be difficult. I guess LucasArts has found a winner in Factor 5, as somehow they seem to grab my attention and raise my anticipation level with every new Star Wars release. If Rogue Squadron III lives up to everything it's shown so far, it should be another great page in the already amazing series. Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike gets released this September, just enough time for me to run through TIE-Fighter and X-Wing again to polish up my piloting skills.

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