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Written by  :  Ray Soderlund (3608)
Written on  :  Apr 10, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
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A fun, faithful adaptation of the board game about space dogfighting.

The Good

If one ever played a board game version of a space dogfighting game (be it Renegade Legion: Interceptor, Star Warriors, or one of the few other good ones), or even any of the Avalon Hill air combat board games, you will find yourself at home here. The hexagonal board, the fire arc rules, and even the very feel of having die beng rolled in the background are all present. Everything takes place in intricate, complicated turns and Renegade Legion succeeds in taking most of the number crunching out of your hands. After a few sorties, you learn the basics of velocity and turns and learn how far your pilots of various skills can push the envelope of their craft.

The universe is also faithfully recreated. You can create pilots from a number of species and eventually have them fly quite the catalogue of Commonwealth and TOG fighters. Weapon systems are accurately modeled and recognizable to fans of the board game (or Battletech, which shared many of the 'FASA'-technology). It doesn't take too long, however, to learn the benefits of a mass driver cannon over a laser, however, so people who don't have any prior experience won't be at a loss (though they may lose a squadron in the learning process).

In addition to the strategy of the actual space encounters, the game also features resource management in the form of maintaining and upgrading your squadron. Your squadron can have up to six pilots, who improve their skills over time, gain medals, and earn prestige points that go towards ship upgrades. This leads to some of role-playing side-affects, such as becoming attached to a pilot and watching his/her progress like a proud parent. The game assigns random missions to your squadron based around a set of mission types, so you will never run out of opportunities to advance your squad.

The graphics are pretty and effective for their time (although I prefer the Amiga version, of course). Ships are represented by well-designed and colorful icons which represent the appearance of the vessels and their heading well. The various weapons have their own distinctive appearance, so without even reading the status updates you will eventually learn what's attacking your ships and the potential threat of such.

Finally, there's the option to import and export your squadron. Along with the ability to play a hot-seat game, this allows you to take your favorite squadron out for a spin against your friend's.

The Bad

Although the random mission generator makes for a never-ending game, it also makes for an endless amount of almost-tedious missions. Although there's a number of mission types, they almost all come down to dogfighting an opposing squadron. In the end, you will feel like your squadron pulled the worst duty station in the galaxy and, despite their victories, isn't really having any effect on the war effort.

Turn based fighter games are not everyone's cup of tea. While many of my friends got into this game easily, there were a few that wanted to avoid it like the plague.

The Bottom Line

A good turn-based space dogfighting game based on the FASA board game of the same name, Renegade Legion: Interceptor will provide a number of enjoyable hours, even if you come away feeling as if your actions had little consequence.