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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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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 November 17, 2003

Full Review: Not nearly as impressive as Rogue Leader, even though Rogue Leader is actually included...

When we previewed Rebel Strike back in May, things were just peachy. Anticipation was high, Factor 5 looked to be on the top of their game, and Rebel Strike looked more and more like the original and exciting days of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. Now that Rebel Strike has been released for a healthy amount of time to the public, we've found that it only met one of our expectations, that it does indeed resemble X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. As far as Factor 5 being on the top of their game, well, I'll be the first to admit that was an incorrect prediction.

The background behind Rebel Strike is practically identical to that of Rogue Squadron II. You take the role of a rebel pilot and are placed behind the controls of various rebel ships, weapons, and vehicles. Your main objective is to complete various missions against the Empire ranging from protecting Rebellion cruisers to manning stolen AT-AT's and destroying certain objectives. Medals can be earned by completing levels with certain stats and time limits. Medals in turn give you points which can unlock levels based on real scenes from the 3 original Star Wars movies. So far, nothing really out of the ordinary for those who have played any of the previous simulator games based on the Star Wars universe.

The primary levels within Rebel Strike are your flying missions. After being briefed on the mission and selecting your craft, it's up to you to pilot your aircraft through various elements and battle with a plethora of different enemy ships. The missions themselves are fine, but it's the loose controls that really take away from the experience. At times the controls can feel fine, but in certain levels it seems the controls go right out the window. Frustration and rage can really set in when you press down on the control pad and your craft turns to the right. The camera doesn't help, especially when your close to walls or boundaries. You think you've got the perfect angle to shoot down enemy TIE Fighters, but all of a sudden the camera rotates 180 degrees and focuses back on the front of your X-Wing. There goes your kill, and sometimes can result in your mission being failed.

For the big Star Wars freaks out there that can answer every single answer in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit on vehicles and weapons, Rebel Strike does showcase a lot of familiar craft. Classics such as the X-Wing, A-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Imperial Star Destroyers are once again present. There are however a few new craft introduced for you to remember, the biggest of which being the TIE Hunter. Similar in size to a standard TIE Fighter, the TIE Hunter is designed primarily with speed in mind. It makes a good match for the incredibly fast A-Wing, which is surprisingly the craft you pilot when you first get to fight with the Hunters. There are a few other new craft that are shown, but all of them are a little less low profile next to the TIE Hunter.

The one aspect that was different from previous games was the addition of ground based missions. These missions put your character on foot, and pretty much leave gaining weapons and vehicles up to you. When we first learned that these levels would be included, we were excited. This is a good way to open up the entire gameplay style within Rebel Strike, giving players a break from the multitude of flying missions. There is a good amount of variation in levels, meaning there are quite a bit of foot-based missions. However, this isn't necessarily a good thing.

Playing through the ground missions in Rebel Strike is almost like playing a Star Wars version of P.N.03. For those that read our review on P.N., you know all too well what this means. For the most part, all you'll be doing in ground missions is running and tapping the A button as fast as possible to blast enemies quickly with your blaster. Once in awhile you'll get to man laser turrets or little things like that, but you should still be prepared to mash the A button as fast as possible during foot levels. Very uninspiring, and overall just a failed attempt to add extra content to the game. Even when you get to man awesome machinery such as Imperial Walkers, it just seems to lose all appeal after a minute or two.

Rebel Strike also features a co-op mode, which is surprisingly the best part of the entire game. Two players can co-operatively fly through all of the levels found in Rogue Squadron II. We had anticipated that this feature would be fun, but we didn't anticipate that it would command most of our playing time in the game. Even though all of the levels are familiar for those who played RSII, there's just something fun about destroying the Death Star with a friend sitting right next to you. It's almost like having a wingman fly alongside you during missions. You will need to watch out for each other as well, as if one of you is killed, the missions ends, regardless of how many lives you or your partner may have had left.

Another minor disapointment can be found in the graphical system of Rebel Strike. Between mission accomplishments, small video clips are shown to give you more objectives mid-mission. These small clips that are shown are very choppy, and have a really annoying black screen in between each video shot. Luckily these video clips only have to be viewed once, after which you can skip them if you play through the mission again. You can notice the faulty graphical system even before you start flying missions. As you view the standard Star Wars background information before each mission (you know what I'm talking about, the yellow words that appear from the bottom of the screen that scroll upwards to let you know what's going on), you will notice that the words will start coming up and the music will begin to play, but then all of a sudden restarts. It's almost like there's a glitch in the Matrix, but that's a whole different story, so unfortunately that excuse can't be used here.

In game graphics can also be puzzling. Everything looks fine during gameplay, and the framerate stays at a high enough level so that there's no slowdown. However, the game certainly doesn't push the GameCube to it's limits. Keeping this in mind, for some reason Rebel Strike puts a good amount of stress on the system itself both during gameplay and during video. There's lots of spinning and clicking going on under the GameCube lid, which is very odd considering the game really isn't showcasing that much. Even when the game is idly sitting on a menu, the clicks and spins of the GC laser is vigorous.

It's difficult to have below average sound in a Star Wars game, considering as soon as the game starts playing something like "The Imperial March", it's instantly good. Likewise, sound effects are vibrant and overall effective. The game can be run in Dolby Pro Logic II, just in case you need to feel the explosion of TIE Fighters down your entire body.

Bottom Line
When it all comes down to it, it's not necessarily that Rebel Strike is a bad game. It's more or less that it failed to improve upon the previous titles in the series created by Factor 5. Mix that with the unimpressive graphics, at times sloppy controls, and very boring and uninspired ground missions and you have your mediocre score. Worth a rental if you're a Star Wars fan, but if you plan on buying the game, take caution. One of my friends actually returned their copy of Rebel Strike for a new copy because he thought it was corrupted, but that's just how the game is. Throughout most of the game, I just couldn't help but feel like this game never went through the testing stage. There's just so many minor flaws that you wouldn't expect to be in a game developed by a company as high profile as Factor 5.

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