Voice Module








In Memory
Sean Pettibone





LucasArts and Factor 5 have returned to the Star Wars universe with Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike. As usual, the game allows players to step of Wedge Antilles or Luke Skywalker's cockpits as they battle the evil Empire. While its similar to the previous games in many ways, Rebel Strike now includes ground-based adventure missions. Unfortunately, the ground missions meet with mixed success thanks to the poor controls and erratic level design. However, Rebel Strike's extensive multiplayer support compensates for this with the every level from Rogue Leader available in the new co-operative mode. With tons of unlockable missions and extras, there's more than enough to keep players happy. Read our review and discover why, despite some problems, Rebel Strike is still one of the best Star Wars games on any console.

With such a strong lineage of solid gameplay and dazzling graphics built with the past two games, Rebel Strike has some tough acts to follow. Instead of taking the safe route, Factor 5 and Lucasarts have created an ambitious game that attempts to recreate the films' epic scale and succeeds in some ways, but falls short in others. Rebel Strike expands the scope of the first two games dramatically with different mission types, while keeping the brilliant aerial gameplay foundations of the first two titles intact. Once again, the game focuses on the events that unfolded during the classic movie trilogy. The new installment lets players relive some of the most-unforgettable sequences from those movies and additional areas and scenes not seen in the trilogy. Players will find a similar cockpit interface that retains the same radar and command icons as the first game. You can still switch between first and third person modes, and call up the infrared targeting computer at the push of a button. The interface's consistency makes Rebel Strike easy to get into. Rebel Strike's mission structure and branching progression system is similar to the first game, players advance through the game and earn medals by completing mission requirements successfully. Like the previous games, players can go back to missions to improve their medal standings, and don't have to complete the missions consecutively. However, your medal winnings are capped because you can only earn a maximum of one gold medal for each mission. This makes things challenging and avoids cheating your way to the top. Once you've earned enough points with your medals, you can use them to unlock secret missions and extra content.

Rebel Strike allows players to pilot an impressive array of ships including several types of rebel Starfighters. In addition to Luke's famous X-Wing fighter and the Hoth speeder, you'll have the opportunity to use the legendary A, B and Y-wings in combat. Each of these vehicles is equipped with primary and secondary weapons, and has a unique control and feel. You'll also be able to unlock other special vehicles during the game including Boba Fett's Slave-1, Imperial bombers and Han Solo's Millennium Falcon. In addition to these starfighters, players will also have the opportunity to use many different land based vehicles including the famous speeder bikes, which you can hop onto and race through the forests on the moon of Endor. The action on these is just as blistering as the space-based combat sequences. The does an excellent job in recreating this famous sequences. You can also switch to a first-person perspective, allowing you to relive one of the most exciting sequences in Return of the Jedi. Other land-based vehicles are less obvious. Players can also ride on the famous Tauntauns in Hoth, take control of an AT-ST walker, and even ride the Landspeeder on Tatooine. All these various vehicles definitely give the game more depth than Rogue Leader, and each one controls with silky smoothness.

Rebel Strike's missions can be quite involved because the game throws multiple objectives at the player. These objectives must be completed sequentially in order to progress. Many events may be going on simultaneously and the player will have to decide what to focus on, for example shooting down fighters or attacking the ground based forces. Luckily, you can order your wingmen to do certain tasks while you complete the main objectives. The many different tasks gives Rebel Strike an impressive amount of depth. While it is not excessively difficult, you have to master several different styles of play, with walking and flying in each area. This definitely adds to the challenge and if you fail in one portion, Rebel Strike sends you back to the beginning of the level. This can be annoying, but players with persistence should be able to progress through the game at a good pace, though not without encountering a few unavoidable problems.

While the space and air based missions should feel quite familiar, Rebel Strike's new ground based missions are a pleasing change of pace, though their implementation isn't as smooth as it could be. Unfortunately, the ground-based missions are a mixed bag with varying levels of success. While they add some immersion to the game and some are excellent reproductions of famous events, others seem half-hearted and make you wish you were back in the skies. In addition to breaking up the action, they also suffer from some poor camera placement, which makes them annoyingly difficult. However, the auto-targeting makes things a tad easier at certain points. However, the game doesn't really shine as much as it should. When you're on the ground you can walk around and fire at enemies, using your standard blaster. You can also interact with the environments in certain levels, and take control of fixed weapons. While some of the ideas and gameplay mechanics are interesting in theory, some of the ground controls are confusing, and makes completing objectives difficult. The level of difficulty in these ground-based missions also varies dramatically, some are incredibly simple and easy to complete, while others seem to be impossibly difficult. Between the awkward controls and inconsistent levels design, the ground missions make for a choppy gameplay experience that ends up detracting from game's otherwise excellent design. Fortunately, these areas are only a portion of the game, and it usually won't be long before you're back on a vehicle. However, the subpar execution is disappointing considering the polish that went into the rest of the game. While these problems are quite prominent, they aren't enough to ruin Rebel Strike.

Rebel Strike's extensive multiplayer support, allows two players to compete simultaneously via a split screen mode. There will be several multiplayer modes included in Rebel Strike including co-operative modes, endurance matches, challenging one-on-one dogfights, and even a base capture mode. Unfortunately, Rebel Strike won't support online play, but the included modes sound quite exciting and should increase the game's replay value immensely. To compensate for this, Factor 5 has another trick up their sleeves and have gone the extra mile to include the entire Rogue Leader game in its multiplayer mode. Yes, you heard this right. This mode allows you to replay the second game's missions co-operatively with a friend. These take place via split-screen mode and should increase the game's replay value immensely. Another surprising addition to the game is the inclusion of three classic early 80's Atari arcade titles based on the trilogy: the still-popular vector classic Star Wars: The Arcade Game plus two relatively obscure titles: The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. These are a bit difficult to unlock and require you to beat all the single player missions and earn gold medals in the process. This isn't easy, but the emulations appear decent, making these unlocks worth the effort. While none of these extra modes change the main game, they are substantial and impressive additions to Rebel Leader.

The previous Rogue Squadron games set a high standard of production values and Rebel Strike carries this tradition forward with superb visuals that bring the Star Wars universe to life vividly. The visuals are accomplished and highly polished with brilliant light shading, dazzling special effects that once again showcase Factor 5's talented designers and artists. The graphics engine effectively creates a game with an epic feel. Rebel Strike's expansive environments seem to go on forever and suffer little from jaggies, draw in or pop-in. Players will traverse every corner of the Star Wars universe including Tatooine, the moon of Endor, the tundra-plains of Hoth and many other locations. In addition, Rebel Strike includes some unique locations as well. Even scrupulous fans will be pleased to discover that all the famous areas from the films are reproduced down to the smallest detail. Despite showing only minor improvements to the engine over the past few years, the air-borne missions are still quite impressive and move along at an impressive fast frame rate, even with countless enemies on screen simultaneously. Rebel Strike's evocative soundtrack consists of John Williams' classic score and as usual, these majestic compositions compliment the action perfectly, enhancing the game's epic feel. The voice-over acting is also well done, and the game's cinematic approach is outstanding, fully immersing the player into the Star Wars galaxy. Rebel Strike's production values are quite impressive throughout, displaying a lot of production polish the series has become known for.

While it doesn't completely live up to its promise, Rebel Strike is still an excellent game that offers plenty of excitement for the Gamecube owner. As always, the flight-based missions are superb with intense gameplay and impressive graphics. From an aesthetic standpoint, Rebel Strike has an incredibly epic feel with larger environments and more moving objects that keep the franchise on top. Its top-notch visuals remain unchallenged and Rebel Strike's graphic splendor easily makes it the most polished and seamlessly executed Star Wars games to date on any system, not just the Gamecube. The new land-based vehicle missions are excellent additions to the series and definitely add a lot of variety to the gameplay mechanics. Unfortunately, the character-based ground based missions don't mesh as well with the existing gameplay as they should and suffer from choppy controls and inconsistent design that makes them the least enjoyable part of the game. Fortunately, they aren't enough to seriously detract from the overall experience. Rebel Strike is an incredibly ambitious title, and while it doesn't achieve what it set out to do, it's still an impressive action title that offers a solid single player experience and enough extras to keep Star Wars fans satisfied.


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