A nice port of the N64 classic that shied away from the simulator feel of X-Wing, and led to two great Gamecube sequels!

User Rating: 8.8 | Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D PC
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. A game that first came out on the Nintendo 64. I never played it, but from what I saw, it looked pretty good for a game of it's time. Now, enter Rogue Squadron 3D, a near-direct PC port of the game. While there were some shortcomings, the game nonetheless has an overall appeal, and can be a rather enjoyable and rewarding experience. Taking place shortly after the destruction of the Death Star, you play as Luke Skywalker, who has formed the famous Rogue Squadron. Over the course of 12+ levels, you will travel from star system to star system, taking on the Empire in your quest to restore the Old Republic. Your missions will take you from Tatooine to Corellia, from Thyferra to Sullust, and from the Hoth-like world Fest, to the Bespin-esque cloud city of Taloraan. While games like X-Wing Alliance, TIE Fighter and Wing Commander provided a very realistic interface, the required combination of a mouse, joystick and the FULL keyboard make the controls a little difficult to remember for the casual gamer. Rogue Squadron is a nice break from this line of gaming. Gamepads, joysticks, mice AND the keyboard are all supported, and can be used in any combination, but you can choose to set the controls to accomadate only one of them - though I REALLY don't recommend the use of a mouse in this game. While the graphics are very dull (bland textures and VERY low polygon count), they don't distract from the gameplay, which is very responsive. The controls are tight, and the ship is very responsive to all of your commands. Unlike X-Wing Alliance, there are no controls for angling shield rotation or setting weapon strength. You do fly with Wing men, but you can't control them, nor are they really useful. Once in a while they'll get lucky and take out a stray TIE Fighter, but don't count on them. Conversely, the enemy AI tends to be a lot smarter. AT-STs will pummel your shields if you're not careful, AT-ATs will wipe out your snowspeeder in a couple blasts if you go against them head-on, and TIE Interceptor will come around on your six, taking out your shields before you have a chance to get clear. You start the game with the option of flying the X-Wing on Tatooine. As you finish each mission, you unlock other missions. Also, based on your performance, you can earn medals which allow you to refly missions with different craft. There are also four bonus ships (one of them downloadable from the Rogue Squadron website), as well as three bonus levels. Sound effects are very good, including the rush of the X-Wing's engines, the Falcon's quad-guns, the explosions, and the scream of the TIE fighter's twin ion engines. The music is a reworked version of the original soundtrack, which is done very well. Rogue Squadron 3D is a very exjoyable game. While the story is not the best Star Wars tale, nor are the graphics anything to write home about (the game came out about five or six years ago), and while there is no multiplayer mode, the gameplay mechanics, the difficulty level and the pace of the game make it an instant classic.
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