TIE Fighter is the best space combat game ever made. Having said that, I know I face the wrath of Wing Commander fans everywhere. Too bad, because while Wing Commander has always been a fantastic game, TIE Fighter and its noteworthy predecessor, X-Wing, offer a little more. Not only does their flight modeling "feel" better, but they benefit from drawing on George Lucas's Star Wars universe, which over the years has become ingrained in the American psyche.
The original TIE Fighter put you into the cockpit of one of Darth Vader's fighter ships, those nasty, nimble pests that gave you so much trouble in X-Wing. There's a diverse mix of spacecraft available, which helps keep mission diversity pretty high, since each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
The latest incarnation of TIE Fighter is the Collector's CD-ROM, which gives the game a needed facelift and brings the total number of available missions to over 100. Furthermore, graphics resolution now goes as high as 640x480 in high-res mode for combat sequences. This, coupled with the addition of small details like rotating turrets and more sophisticated shading, lends TIE an even more impressive look. The new missions run the gamut from tricky escorts to strikes, to other battles that draw on the full range of TIE spacecraft.
With such a rich selection of ships and missions, chock-full of scorching action, TIE Fighter is an easy game to get hooked on. It can get pretty tough in some of those later missions, but don't worryyou can handle it. After all, you're working for the Dark Side.