Review by Mark Isaacson
I must thank Lucasarts for reminding me how good Rogue Squadron really is. For
those of you haven?t seen Battle for Naboo yet, it is much like a sequel to
Rogue Squadron than a new game (or a prequel, if your going by the Star Wars
timeline). And when I recently bought Naboo for the PC, I was interested to
find a full copy of RS inside the box. So after rescuing Naboo from the clutches
of the Trade Federation, I decided to trade in my N1 Starfighter for a classic
X-Wing, and take to the skies once again.
Much like my review of Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machines, I?ll be taking
a flight path between both this PC version, and the N64 title of the same name.
So, here it goes:
Based on the novel and comic book series by the same name, Rogue Squadron follows
the adventures of twelve of the most highly skilled, battle-tested starfighter
pilots in the Alliance. With the skill and knowledge to fly the variety of craft
in the Alliance fleet, the versatile Rogue Squadron is always counted on for
the most difficult and challenging missions. Led by Luke Skywalker and Wedge
Antilles, the group must rally against the Deadly Imperial fleets, who wish
to destroy the Rebels and take the universe as their own. The events in this
game take place during Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
If this were 1997, and Naboo wasnt even around, then Rogue Squadron would
be on top of everyones must buy list. Why? Because it is the first flight
simulation that really hits the spot, on the console that is. In previous years,
console Star Wars fans had been starved of a really decent flight sim that re-created
those famous scenes from the Saga. Meanwhile, PC players were basking in the
glory of having the great X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter gracing their hard drives.
For this title, if you want to experience it the way it was meant to, you need
to get the 4MB RAM Expansion. After playing the game in the optional high-resolution
mode once (640x480), you wouldnt want to go back to the standard set-up
(320x240), even if the framerate is a little lower in hi-res. Of course, with
those who own the PC title, than an 8mb or higher graphics card should do the
trick. Out of all of this, youll get a great looking title, with some
incredibly detailed crafts (including the X-Wing, Y-Wing and A-Wing) and neat
This being one of the first games that Factor 5 had a hand in, there are many
things here that are now standard in other Star Wars titles (such as Battle
for Naboo, Episode 1 Racer and Starfighter), including the highly detailed surround
sound setup. These days, it just would not be a good game without the Star Wars
anthem blasting away, or blaster fire whizzing past from either sides, and Factor
5 compiled this very well, especially on cartridge. RoguePC also had a great
soundtrack, and even improved the surround sound features in places.
The controls for Rogue are very similar to Battle for Naboo. However, unlike
the younger brothers difficulties on the PC, RoguePC is a much smoother
ride. Again, if you wish to make the most of the game, then a gamepad is recommended.
As for Rogue64, you wont have any problems controlling your craft. Each
has different strengths and weaknesses, but overall they are a joy to fly. As
an added extra, if you are flying an X-Wing or Y-Wing, then your R2 unit can
repair some of the damage taken during battle. This can come as an advantage
if the battle is long and difficult, giving you a better chance to last the
There are also plenty of bonus areas and craft to unlock. As you go about destroying
the enemy, you collect medals for achieving certain tasks (Bronze, Silver and
Gold). The more you collect, the more you open up. Rewards include craft like
the Millenium Falcon, while you can also open a remake of the Battle of Hoth
(I enjoyed this the most). The award system was also used for Naboo.
Speaking of which, you can also fly the N1 Starfighter in this game. A few
months after release, Episode 1 made it to the big screen. What followed were
a patch for the PC game, and a password for Rogue64. Both can be found at the
Lucasarts official Rogue Squadron web site, which we have a link to. I wonder
if there is something similar hidden away in Battle for Naboo, or even Starfighter.
Well just have to wait and see.
Even with all the great amount of detail put into Rogue Squadron, there are
still areas that let it down, but thankfully not as much as Battle for Naboo
For starters, there is a lot of fog floating about in certain levels. This
was toned down for BFN, and wasnt as big a problem for RoguePC, but it
was still there. One reason for this could be to reduce the amount of polygons
used for the backgrounds, so more could be used for the ship models. Even then,
the more that is on screen, the slower and less pretty the game can become.
But it doesnt happen that often to ruin your game playing experience,
which is a good thing.
Another thing that bugged me a little was the AI. Most of the time, it is up
to you to destroy the enemies on screen. No problems there, but when you have
wingmen as part of the package, then it would have been more of a blast to challenge
them for the kill (take a gander through the X-Wing novels if you dont
understand what Im talking about).
Even though Rogue Squadron has been out for some time now, it can still hold
its self up high against the newer competition, maybe not in graphical
terms, but definitely when it comes to the amount of things to accomplish, and
the wide range of battles and environments.
Again, much like Battle for Naboo, the console version is the nicer of the
two, however RoguePC is a much better conversion compared to the PC port of
Naboo. So, once you are finished with BFN, I recommend giving this a blast,
especially if you are yet to play it. And now, its free.
89 out of 100
(add 4% if you don't care about graphical splendor)
Rogue Squadron PC Website
Rogue Squadron N64 Website
Related Stories at PC.IGN.com (PC Version)
Related Stories at IGN64.IGN.com
Review (N64 Version)
For comments or questions email the TFN
Games Staff and thanks to Mark Isaacson
for the review!