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Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II - Rogue Leader

aka: SW:RL-RS2
Moby ID: 5500
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Description official description

Star Wars: Rogue Leader - Rogue Squadron II is the first Star Wars game to appear on a 6th-generation gaming console.

The game puts you in the role of either Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles through many different missions in an assortment of aircraft, such as the X-Wing, B-Wing, Snowspeeder, and more.

Rogue Squadron II features about fifteen levels and has a large amount secrets to unlock. The missions are split up into missions taken from the Star Wars movies, such as the attack on the Death Star and the Battle Of Hoth, where some are made up purely for the game itself and has no bearing on any of the movies.

Rogue Leader closely follows the Star Wars movies, with locations you will recognize. The voice of Wedge Antilles is by the actor who played him in the movie.

You must earn different medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) for each mission by completing it a different way. For example, be the mission in under three minutes for a Gold. When you have enough medals, you unlock bonuses, such as extra ships and extra missions.

RL also features a section seen mostly on movie DVD's, that takes you behind the scenes of the making of the game, and other bonus footage.

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Credits (GameCube version)

198 People (156 developers, 42 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 87% (based on 39 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 65 ratings with 3 reviews)

Good, from a certain point of view.

The Good
Joe Bob Briggs' theory of movie sequels is that the good ones are just remakes of the original movie and the bad ones are bullstuff like Halloween III. The best thing said for Rogue Squadron: Rogue Leader is that it's a next-gen update of the original game. Rogue Squadron was and is an arcade game, instead of a flight simulator. Taking place over the course of the holy trilogy, players take the roles of Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles, Rebel pilots who engage the Emperor's forces time and time again.

Like the first game, Rogue Leader begins with a Tatooine tutorial. Here players fly a T-16 Skyhopper (Luke's toy from Episode IV) and learn basic moves and weapon controls. Players have twenty minutes on this level to complete all the challenges and find all the hidden items (like Bantha herds or escape pods). The tutorial level is a nice, open-ended experience. Like the actual game, there are hidden things to find and there are differences depending on the time of day you play (if that does anything for you).

The game itself begins with the Battle of Yavin. The Death Star battle was the basis for the classic arcade game, part of X-wing, and a bonus level in the first Rogue Squadron. It has never looked or sounded better than it does here. TIEs howl past you, gun turrets fill the air with laser bolts, and the level plays out exactly like the movie.

Other battles from the movies are well represented. Players must buy the Rebels enough time to flee from Hoth by engaging probots, taking out AT-STs, tying up AT-ATs and then providing air support against TIE Bombers. The Battle of Endor is probably the most epic level. The Rebel fleet comes out of hyperspace and launches an assault against the Death Star. Lando shouts out that the Death Star's shields are still up and when the fighters circle back to the fleet, they see the Imperial Fleet has blocked off any escape. Admiral Ackbar wants to call off the assault, but Lando knows Han just needs more time. So it's up to the player to defend the Rebel capital ships before engaging two imposing Star Destroyers.

The levels between the movie missions are hit and miss though. There's a fun, but brief, B-wing attack on a Star Destroyer followed by an interminable level where players provide cover for a Rebel assault team trying to get to the crashed ship. There are some nice touches here, like the opportunity to switch craft depending on what objectives need to be completed, but there are weak spots I'll address below.

The craft control very well. The majority of the game is played in a third-person follow mode, but there is a cockpit camera where you can toggle the targeting scanner. A new feature lets the player send orders to his wingmen, instructing them to attack certain targets or flee—amazingly, there isn't a cover me option.

The Bad
Rogue Leader looks and sounds great, but it's still the shallow gaming experience offered by the first game. I accept that Rogue Squadron will not be the platform version of X-wing, but couldn't it be closer to Wing Commander? There's no sense of character here, other than a few movie lines tossed out here and there. Confined to the movie series, there is no room for surprise.

Unlike the original game, Rogue Leader has several space based levels. Visually, I had trouble picking the TIEs out from the starfield, but I'll take the blame for that. However, I kept hitting the ceiling and walls in these levels and found the radar to be mostly useless.

The game isn't that long (as far as finishing it, completing ever aspect is very time-consuming), but some levels are tricky. I don't think a checkpoint save system would be that hard to implement or would take away from the game. Every level has objectives and time triggers which keeps the pressure on, but it's annoying failing one section and having to restart the level. Despite the fact that the player is commanding a flight wing, it's up to the player to do 80% of the work. And don't expect the computer-controlled craft to do any special maneuvers like tying up AT-ATs (still frustrating) or bombing targets.

The Bottom Line
Much like the challenge of the cave, my perception of Rogue Leader is influenced by what I'm bringing to it. Knowing that the immersive experience of X-wing is possible on a platform, I'm continually disappointed by this franchise. I can't deny that it's a fun experience. The graphics and sound are top notch, but I can't bring myself to care. That people bought a GameCube solely for this game is a testament to something. What, I don't know.

GameCube · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2004

Astounding graphics and a Star Wars nut's utilmate wet dream!

The Good
This is the Gamecube's killer launch app. Forget what Nintendo put out - this has it all - the best graphics, the best sound, awesome gameplay, DVD-like levels of presentation and extras, and one of the best parts is that its HARD.

The graphical system is breathtaking - it actually looks like you are playing one of the movies - especially when running in progressive scan mode. Words cannot describe how beautiful the experience is - highlights are flying around the bump mapped valleys of Hoth, the beautiful watery island world of Kothlis with hundreds of ties and walkers constrasting the organic beauty, doing a fly-by on a star destroyer for the first time and of course the Battle of Endor which is just WOW.

The actual skill of the guys at Factor 5 (especially Thomas Engel) is completely evident in this game - no other Gamecube developer has yet managed to put together an engine that rivals or is better than Rogue Leader's - this is being written 2 years after it was released also!

The levels are enormous, with millions of polygons everywhere - all the landscapes look brilliantly real, smooth, and curved. Player craft are reportedly made of up between 20,000 and 30,000 polygons. When you fly past an X-Wing, you can see the pilot inside moving! All surfaces in Rogue Leader feature 8 levels of texture maps and a cool real-time shadow and lighting system, which is best seen on Hoth or Kothlis where hundreds of laser streams are crossfiring and reflecting off the ice/water and lighting up every soldier and vehicle they pass.

And there's just so much more to the graphic system - in Tattooine there are heat/mirage waves in the distance causing your view to distort, and a complete day and night cycle where you can watch the twin suns setting. The Ison Corridoor level has volumetric fogging all over the show as well as volumetric clouding in the Bespin level. A brilliant particle system makes blowing apart Tie fighters a pleasure as does the many different ways they can explode - it is just so satisfying to blow a Tie to bits and then fly through the explosion.

The sound, is brilliant also. Factor 5 wrote the sound software for the Gamecube. It sounds just like the movies do - and because its all done in real-time instead of streamed it changes to reflect whats happening in the game. When things quieten down in a level, the music gets softer and when things get frantic it becomes really intense, with all notes and instruments blending seamlessly in the transitions and using all the classic themes from the Star Wars soundtrack.

The sound effects are top notch, with every Star Wars sound you can think of in there some where, all sounding perfect. The detail in the sound is of a similar level to graphics engine. AT-AT's have 6 different motors all with different sounds, when you fly past them it sounds just like it should - whirring motors and clanking feet. The attention to detail is amazing - in the heat of a big battle, anyone walking past your room would think that you were watching a DVD of Star Wars it sounds so good.

There is an absolute load of voice acting in this game too - including Dennis Lawson who was Wedge in the original movies. And the best part is, they all sound exactly like the characters in the movies. Lando, Han, Luke, Leia and all the others sound utterly convincing.

And it all runs in Dolby Pro Logic II for 5.1 surround sound. Factor 5 developed a system that takes the Gamecube's analog signal and filters it so it simulates 5.1. It has clear separation between the rear and front speakers - and on the right system it is unbelievable.

The game play is great - each mission has a set of objectives to carry out, which you follow to complete the game. Most levels are "Blow this Up" or "Protect this transport" or "Steal this". Its pretty simple stuff, but its a lot of fun actually getting there.

Some of the levels in this game are very hard to complete and will take a lot of goes to do so, but that is great - I'm sick of games that are so easy to complete these days. It takes some real skill to beat this game, let alone unlock all the extras. And the lastibility is great - there are 11 main levels, 1 training level, 5 bonus levels to unlock and gold medals to acquire on 16 levels as well as awesome bonus craft to unlock. Millenium Falcon, Slave I, Tie Fighter, Imperial Shuttle, Naboo Fighter and others. And each level has a tech upgrade hidden somewhere on it for you to find which powers up your player craft.

Add to all this, a making-of documentary, interviewing the team, DVD-like Audio Commentary tracks during levels, loads of DVD-quality footage of the original movies in the menu screens and an art gallery containing concept art from the games design stage.

And it all fits into one 8-cm disk. The most amazing part of it all is that they made it and 9 months and it is only a first generation game for the Gamecube. The sequel is already looking like it is running on Gamecube-2 hardware or something!

The Bad
The missions and game are/is based around a linear structure - there is usually only 1 path through everything - this isn't too bad a problem, as there's only one way I would want to blow up the death star, but it could've had a lot more depth if there was multiple routes to the end, like Star Fox 64 had.

Admiral Ackbar doesn't sound quite right - there's nothing else wrong with this game (from my perspective). The only real problem is that it is so amazing that you play the hell out of it and complete it really fast (2 weeks or so).



The Bottom Line
The best Star Wars experience to be had yet. A breathtaking game that makes X-Box and PS2 owners drool and then start making excuses for their systems. If you like Star Wars, you will think you're in heaven when you start playing this game.

GameCube · by Anthony Bull (24) · 2003

Makes you feel like you're actually inside the trilogy.

The Good
Where should I start.

Graphically it's beautiful. From playing so many Star Wars games in the past, I think this is the closest any has come to actually making you feel like you are a part of the trilogy. Everything moves smoothly, and the detail is amazing. Just look at that trench run. Damn it looks good.

One of the things I was worried with was the control scheme. The first time I saw the Gamecube controller I was a little worried. Now that I have had plenty of hours with it, I must say it fits like a glove in a way that no other has previously been able to do. That said, controlling the X-Wing is very simple indeed. The analog stick makes steering simple, while the big A button, and the trigger buttons on top are nicely placed for the attack and dive techniques.

Apart from the sound, the thing I loved the most was the presentation. DVD like quality is something that comes to mind when describing Rogue Leader. From as soon as you start up the disk, you have a great intro screen, classic music (can't get enough of that soundtrack) and a simple menu to guide you through. I won't mention the extra features, so as not to spoil the surprise, but they add even further enjoyment to a great title.

The Bad
No multiplayer features spoils the package. After playing through Starfighter I was hoping for something similar in terms of a two player, split screen mode. Still, for what's included on the disc, it's only a minor glitch.

The Bottom Line
If it wasn't for Luigi's Mansion and Smash Bros. Melee, Rogue Leader could have sold this console single handedly. This is a great sequel and a must buy purchase for all Gamecube players, and of course, all those Star Wars fans.

GameCube · by Kartanym (12418) · 2006

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Sound

Factor 5 was given an early prototype of a Dolby Prologic II audio decoder from Dolby Labs and they discovered a way to get full positional audio going -"something not even Dolby expected to be possible" - (Julian Eggebrecht). Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron 2 is thus the first game ever to take full advantage Dolby's new Prologic II decoder enabling the game take advantage of future 5.1 surround sound receivers.

Voice acting

Denis Lawson, (who voiced Wedge Antilles in the game) was the original Wedge Antilles in the Star Wars movies, too.

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – GameCube Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)
    • 2001 – Best Use of a Franchise of the Year

Information also contributed by MegaMegaMan

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by JPaterson.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, J. Michael Bottorff, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added January 9, 2002. Last modified October 11, 2023.