Star Wars Force Commander is a game I came across in a Comp USA, on the bargain rack, for $10. I'd seen it in stores before, but with a $50 price tag, I wasn't that curious. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Star Wars fanatic. But back then, fifty bucks was pushing it for me. Anyway, after taking it home, I popped it in the CD tray, installed it, and played it. I was impressed. I liked the opening cutscene a lot - the Imperial ground assault on the Alliance world of Kalaan. The AT-ATs lumbering forth, the scout walkers look out for Rebel Assault craft, the explosions, the colors, the authentic sounds... Then the gameplay came. At first I didn't like it, but after a few dozen hours, you get used to it, and it gets to be quite fun. The main problem, as most people who've played this game will tell you, is the camera. The whole keyboard is used in the game, along with the mouse. And believe me, if you want to have any chance of winning in this game, you need to master it. Now, the graphics were a little bland (so what), but they at least put the Star Wars universe there: from the stormtroopers, to the terrains, to the TIE fighters flying overhead. I recommend you have a computer with some good RAM and at least a 32MB video card, or this game tends to move like molasses - not what you need when a squadron of Y-Wings comes to bomb your assault force. The sound effects are very good, very close to the real thing: the blaster rifles, the TIE Fighters, the clank of the AT-ST's bipedal movements, and many others. The music, on the other hand, is a little irritating. Some levels are really good, while others are quite abysmal. Unfortunately, it's just the original trilogy soundtrack spliced together, paced with some techno, some weird sound effects, run through the rinse cycle, and repeating over and over until you beat the level. Now, the story is where the game really shines. Brenn and Dellis Tantor, two brothers hoping to make a name for themselves in the Empire, serve in a series of campaigns to push back the Rebel Alliance. But soon the tyranny of the Empire becames evident even to them, leaving them to defect. Soon thereafter, the tables turn as you now fight for the Rebels to stop the Empire, and retake the Old Republic. The story is told in small snippets of dialogue during the levels, in the briefings at the beginning of every level, and the occasional cutscene. All in all, this game is really good in single player mode. I have yet to try out multplayer, but the Skirmish mode is quite interesting, pitting you against 1 to 5 other enemies. You chose their allegiance, their team, and other settings (such as time a day, locations on the map, and command points - the system used to buy new troops and buildings to secure your position.) Force Commander will not appeal to everyone, and it's very hard to hunt down even in the local bargain bin, but it certainly is worth the look. I recommend it!
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