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Star Wars: Rebel Assault II - The Hidden Empire (DOS)

75
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  ShadowShrike (309)
Written on  :  Sep 26, 2004
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.4 Stars2.4 Stars2.4 Stars2.4 Stars2.4 Stars

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Summary

Quite disappointing. (Revised)

The Good

Basics: Rebel Assault II is more of same from LucasArts, basically a higher-tech cash in on the success of the first game. The basic idea is you play through several very linear scenarios, each of which plays like a different arcade game, with different camera points of view and goals.

Graphics

Rebel Assault II looks pretty for a '95 game. The dogfight sequences in particular are quite engaging, with bright and crisp explosions, lasers and other effects. The acting in the game is real FMV acting, sometimes presented through cut scenes, sometimes mixed with the gameplay itself. It serves its purpose as far as looks go. However, there is nothing particularly special to be found here; while the visuals are technically quite good, they're pretty mundane as far as artistic merit goes. All the good stuff was taken from the movies; the couple of new ships, uniforms and locations are pretty drab.

Then we get to the actual acting. It's poor-- very poor. When it's not wooden, it's cheese. Not even the extras can seem to act like proper Star Wars extras; the two protagonists constantly overact with big, goofy grins and melodramatic dialogue. If acting was its own category it would score a 1.5; as it is, however, this only partially falls into graphics.

Score: 3/5

Audio

The sounds and music are, as far as I can tell, all ripped straight from the movies. I don't really have a problem with that as there's no point in reinventing the wheel. The sound is crisp enough (for the time) and the music works all right; however, since the musical score wasn't composed for the game, it feels very out of place at times and is occasionally really repetitive.

As mentioned above, the acting is a whole different ball game. It's poorly written and spoken without any real heart. The in-game voice clips; snubfighter pilots speaking over the comm. for example; aren't as bad as the FMV sequences, and generally work fine.

Score: 3/5

Interface/Technology

The game is pretty high tech as far as that goes for a '95 release; mostly it's just slightly interactive FMV sequences, but the graphics and sound are high quality so it scores well as far as use of technology goes. Game setup was painless and it never crashed on me. The basic game controls are simple enough for an eight-year-old to get a hang of them in a matter of minutes. I don't have any complaints as far as controlling the game goes; again, LucasArts doesn't reinvent the wheel, but sticks with the tried-and-true control scheme that worked in the first game. It never gets more complicated than aiming and occasionally clicking, though, so this is hardly a difficult system to create.

Score: 4/5

The Bad

Single Player Gameplay/Balance

The game is painfully simplistic. As mentioned earlier, the most you have to do at any time is point and click at the right times. This can work if the game is difficult enough and the acting carries it, as in the first game; unfortunately, there is not a single scenario that is very difficult to get through and the acting only serves to irritate, which just highlights the bare-bones gameplay. A bit of extra strategic depth was really needed here.

Score: 2/5

The Bottom Line

I could have enjoyed the game despite the weak gameplay and lack of strategy if I felt like I was really in Star Wars. That's obviously what the developers were aiming for; however, the poorly written, directed and acted FMV sequences ruin any chance of that working. I could have also dealt with those if the gameplay had more to it, but it remains annoyingly simplistic throughout.

Young children would probably enjoy this the most, as they probably wouldn't notice the lack of game depth and poor quality of acting. Apart from that, I can only recommend this game to Star Wars collectors.

Total Value: 2/5