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Written by  :  Ashley Pomeroy (233)
Written on  :  Jun 02, 2000

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Classic Space Combat Game

The Good

Released in the mists of time, this was the first decent PC-based space combat game. Whereas 'Wing Commander' missed the point totally, sacrificing and semblance of space combat to the increasingly-idiotic altar of between-mission FMV, 'X-Wing' concentrated on a believable flight engine, simple, effective graphics, and bags of 'Star Wars' atmosphere. The clever 'iMuse' system delivered a generative John Williams score in AdLib, and it was fast and smooth even on slow machines. The smart, influential 'shields, weapons, engine' power-juggling is simple, effective, and incalculably effective. Most of all, the fighters fly 'properly' - in other games you felt as if you were manipulating a moving camera, whilst 'X-Wing' gave you the impression you were actually moving a vessel with mass through space.

The Bad

In short, the difficulty level - it was notoriously rock, and with no 'difficulty level' slider you often had to repeat missions constantly. It wasn't the anti-ship combat that was the trouble - it was the fact that, more often than not, you would have to escort extremely vulnerable transport vessels whilst not losing a single one. That was the major problem, and it made many a seasoned gamer cry with frustration. The capital ships were also extremely tough, as you might expect. The other big flaw isn't a fault of the game - 'Tie Fighter', the sequel, was bigger, better looking, and much the same, and is a better choice nowadays.

The Bottom Line

Classic, still-quite-good-fun space combat game, set in the 'Star Wars' universe.