Star Wars: Rebel Assault Review
By Adrienne Dudek |
Rebel Assault was the first in a series of games that went on to inspire Rogue Squadron and more recently StarFighter and Clone Wars.
The plot loosely follows that of Episode 4: A New Hope. After the initial training missions the main story starts with the Princess being captured by Darth Vader. The game deviates away from the film in places, notably to Hoth, but culminates with the Death Star trench run, also from episode 4. Clips from episode 4 are dotted throughout the film and these help bolster the sensation of 'playing the movie'.
Throughout the game you play a character called 'Rookie One', which seems a bit of an odd name for a parent to give their child. You can play as either a male or female character as you prefer, there's little difference apart from the voiceovers and a few of the animations.
This game is best described as an action-on-rails arcade shooter. Each level of the game is streamed from the CD with the interactive elements overlaid on to the movie. Gameplay styles consist of first person flying, 3rd person flying, overhead flying and 3rd person shooting. They all require you to use your joystick to shoot a variety of objects from Storm Troopers to Tie Fighters, you also have a limited amount of control over your ship, through which you must dodge upcoming obstacles.
As the content is streamed from CD, each level is much the same every time you play through it, the enemies come from the same location each time and the routes you can take remain the same. Some levels include a decision point where, for example, you can choose to fly left or right at a junction but this is the limit of the interactivity when it comes to choosing a route. Sometimes these route choices are linked together to create a maze effect causing you to find yourself back at an earlier area if you don't choose the right route through.
The background music is genuine John Williams and at the time was amazingly good. Other Star Wars games of the era used MIDI for their music synthesis where as Rebel Assault has a digital score that's streamed from the CD, hearing the full orchestrated score for the first time on a Star Wars game was quite an experience
It's possible to play with either a joystick or a mouse. Neither option is particularly great and sometimes you'll find yourself fighting with the control system more that you are with Tie Fighters. The controls can appear over sensitive at times and it's easy to get into a situation where your bouncing between one wall of a canyon and the other.
Overall, at the time of its release, this was a cutting edge game. It has, however, not held up as well as some other classic titles. Only the most diehard of Star Wars fans should consider picking this one up.