Use the mouse, Luke!
After the Battle of Yavin, Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles form part of the Rogue Squadron—a quick strike aerial assault team that takes the battle to the Empire in a series of hit and run missions. Rogue Squadron
is the arcade answer to the successful X-Wing franchise, putting the player in control of various Rebel spacecraft in a wide variety of planet-based missions.
Beginning on Tatooine, Rogue Squadron interrupts an Imperial assault on Mos Eisley. Luckily, Skywalker was training on his X-Wing when the probe droids were spotted. Using his radar he locates them and then speeds off towards them. Slowing down to engage, Skywalker links his lasers to make short work of them. Of course, the probots are only the first wave. Suddenly it's up to Luke to prevent the full scale annihilation of the seedy spaceport.
Presenting a series of missions, preceded by the famous opening crawl, Rogue Squadron follows the career of the Rebel pilots loosely based around an Imperial defector who offers information to the enemy. Different craft are available depending on the mission, so you might find yourself escorting a shuttle with your X-Wing, bombing and Imperial Detention Center with a Y-Wing, or tying up AT-ATs with a speeder.
Rogue Squadron defaults to a third person follow camera, with optional cockpit views and other camera options. This works well for the most part, offering a cinematic perspective. Barring cheat codes, you have three lives in each mission, although missions can also end if you fail an objective. Do well and the Rebels reward your work with medals. Acquiring medals, plus finding hidden power-ups, offers more gameplay options including access to the Millennium Falcon.
While missions are enjoyable and few are too taxing, Rogue Squadron puts a lot of emphasis on replay. With unlockable ships, medals, and hidden items, you may be driven to play, play, and replay—especially since advanced weaponry really lets you bring it home to the Imperial Scum.
The game is ported from the N64 so that explains the midi music, but really, doesn't that add to the classic gaming experience? Sound effects are spot on and voice acting is really good. The graphics are great—I enjoyed the different TIE destruction effects, but the building destruction could use a few more pixels.
Considering a) this is an older game I'm playing for the first time and b) it was only $2 I have very few complaints.
First, could tying up an AT-AT be a more frustrating experience? The camera changes when you hit the AT-AT with the harpoon, but it's not really a better camera angle. Then you fly around the beast only to lose your cable or crash into the ground or crash into the bastard cause you were closer than you thought or be shot down cause it takes so long to tie them up. Sithspit.
Also, are we just pretending that there's no problem with the camera? I started Beggar's Canyon this morning and accelerated off into the distance, disappearing from my monitor completely. It's bad enough in combat, when my fighter becomes miniscule, but during a race? That's just mean.
The Bottom Line
What we have here is a platform conversion that's okay on the PC. Stop whining. It's pretty, but it's no X-Wing. You have a nice mixture of missions on a nice variety of planets and you get to do Star Warsy stuff, but it's a pretty shallow experience.