By: Jac Bakley, Video Game Critic
The Force Awakens will be released in theaters next week. To celebrate the occasion, I’m going to review Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, by Lucasarts. Now, heads-up, I don’t know that much about Star Wars, so forgive me for not addressing certain aspects of the game accurately.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron was released on the N64 in 1998, one year before the release of the Phantom Menace film. It was released with very positive reviews and is notable for being one of the first games to make use of the N64 Expansion Pak, allowing for higher-resolution gameplay.
So the game takes place between the events of the first and second Star Wars films. It is an all-range shooter, which is something you might expect out of a Star Wars game. Throughout the game, you are tasked to pilot a variety of starships, but you only use one from the start: the X-Wing.
The graphics are okay, but there’s very little in-game music. It’s nice to hear music from the Star Wars films, but as far as I know, there’s nothing original in this game. I applaud Lucasarts for trying to stay faithful to the films, but they could’ve taken a few liberties. The sound effects, however, are amazing. They are very accurate and really make you feel like you’re in a real air raid.
In the first level, you have to save Mos Eisley from an air raid of TIE Fighters and drones. You press the B button to shoot, and there are crosshairs in the middle of the screen that will help you with accuracy. The drones can be shot down with one hit, but they also have lasers to shoot back. However, they’re often targeting your cohorts rather than you. Hitting them from a distance is a little hard, because they’re always moving and there’s no way to lock onto them.
There are often several drones placed in one area and scattered around it, meaning that it may not be possible to hit them all. You can turn around to try and shoot them again, but it’s a little difficult to see them when you do, and you can sometimes pass right by them because you don’t have enough shooting distance.
There’s a radar at the top right corner of the screen to help you figure out where you need to go faster, and the orange part tells you which direction you need to go. You will know when you are where you need to be when there’s no orange on the screen at all. There are also green and red dots, which indicate the location of your allies and enemies.
Other controls include pressing the Z button to fire bombs to destroy tougher ships, C-right to shift to a booster and L to shift to different camera views- normal, pulled-back, and first-person.
After destroying the drones, you have to get to Mos Eisley to stop a squadron of TIE Fighters. You have to destroy every single one to advance, and if you don’t do it fast enough, you’ll get a game over. Strangely, you can actually shoot and kill residents of the town and still advance.
After finishing a level, you will be awarded with a badge. The color badge you get depends on your accuracy, the number of enemies you destroyed, and the time it took to complete the level. You will also receive a rank for your progress, and in this case, mine is Trainee.
The next level has you protecting delivery tanks as they travel across Barkhesh. You have to shoot down more drones and TIE Fighters that can drop bombs onto the tanks. If they destroy all of the tanks, you will fail the mission. The good thing is that your allies provide more assistance with taking them out.
Along the way, you’ll also run into AT-AT Walkers, which are very tough. I would recommend shooting them with a couple of bombs, because trying to shoot them with lasers could put you at risk of crashing into them. Yeah, crashing into enemies is a one-hit kill in this game. You can even crash into your allies sometimes. If that happens, you will lose that ally. Fortunately, crashing into enemies doesn’t send you back to the beginning of the level, and you have infinite lives.
In the third level, you pilot a different ship- the A-Wing. This ship fires lasers much faster. The enemies in this level are a little difficult to kill, though. The new TIE Fighters need to be killed when closer to them; it’s impossible to shoot them down from a distance. Like the last two levels, you have to protect something from an air raid, which is a Rebel Ship in this case.
That’s all I can say. There’s more levels and more ships after this, but they’re all similar to the first three levels.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is decent, fun, and fairly easy shooter, but when it comes to being a great movie-based game, it doesn’t hold a candle to Goldeneye 007. Thanks for reading, hope The Force Awakens is good, and I’ll be back in 2016.