Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
ESRB Rating: Teen
Publisher: Lucas Arts
Rating: 8 of 10
Review by Brutilus
Barreling down the trench with turbo laser bolts whizzing past your canopy, you duck, dodge, and pray that the Force will stay with you. Finally, the exhaust port comes into view and you launch you proton torpedoes...
As the bits and pieces of the Death Star twinkle away, you return to Yavin 4 to celebrate your first real victory over the evil Empire.
To date, this is the coolest arcade-style space combat game to be released by Lucas Arts. It lacks the "realism" of the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter series, but the gameplay is much faster and a lot of fun!
The graphics and sound are both incredible. There are tons of audio and video clips pulled right from the original movies to enhance the feel of the game. They even got the original Wedge Antilles to do voice overs to add to the flavor!
In Rogue Leader, you pilot one of a variety of Rebel ships (and even an occasional Imperial one). The X-Wing is the most popular ship among the Rogues, but some of the mission profiles call for the bombing capability of the Y-Wing, the harpoon & tow cable of the snow speeder, or the speed and small size of the A-Wing.
I was very pleased to see that most of the missions from the original Rogue Squadron were not duplicated. Only the movie missions were used again.
As I just implied, there are several missions that are straight out of the movies. They cover each of the major vehicle battles in the movies: the attack on the original Death Star (from Episode 4); the AT-AT assault on Echo Base on Hoth (Episode 5); and the attack on the second Death Star (Episode 6). As a long time Star Wars fan, this was a dream come true. I know that other Star Wars games have put you in the pilot's seat for these events before, but none have succeeded in making it as much fun. Did I mention that none of them even dreamed of matching the stunning graphics of Rogue Squadron 2?
The assault of the second Death Star is broken up into 2 missions, During the first, you have to defend the Rebel Fleet's capital ships from the attack of the Imperial Fleet's TIE fighters, interceptors, and bombers. After you manage to get through the fighters, you have to take on some more fighters AND TWO Star Destroyers. This is kind of bonkers but fun. The second mission is entitled Strike at the Core. Gee... I wonder what you do in this part.
There are, admittedly, some VERY annoying times in missions when you can't tell why you lost, but you can eventually figure them all out. The Storm Troopers coming out of the downed Star Destroyer on Kothlis messed with me for quite a while...
Being the evil, maniacal bastard I am, my favorite mission are those that you can fly the Y-Wing and get to bomb stuff... especially Imperial troops. The storm troopers make this hysterical little scream when you bomb, shoot, or squish them. (I'd recommend against trying to squish them as it tends to lead to a premature death of your fighter.)
The thunderous booming of the proton bombs exploding and the secondary boom from the upgraded spread proton bombs is pretty awesome. I enjoy turning up the subwoofer on my home theater system and going on extended bombing runs. I've made my drink almost spill from the force of the sound.
Unlike in the the original Rogue Squadron, the medal and point system of Rogue Leader adds some interesting features and additional missions. In other words, you actually have incentive to try and do better in each mission. My favorite, so far, has been the Escape From The Death Star mission. It puts you in one of the gunnery turrets onboard the Millenium Falcon as they escape with Princess Leia to try and join up with the Rebellion in the first movie.
The biggest key to getting the medals is having all of the tech upgrades. Finding the weapon upgrades isn't usually too difficult. Successfully completing the mission afterwards or surviving the pick up is another matter
altogether. Some of the upgrades are placed fairly far
from the main action. Others are situated opposite a ridiculous field of fire that is very difficult to survive getting through in time. Many are tucked away in very
tight spaces that some of the fighters can't fit in!
(The B-Wing has this problem a lot.) They are all worth the effort, though.
Now some of you are asking, Why is he writing a review of this game now? Rogue Leader is old news. It was a release title for the Gamecube!
Here's my answer: It's still a lot of fun!
It has maintained its replay value and can be picked up for twenty bucks of less! To me, this makes it one of the best values in gaming. The best compliment that playing it I had to go back and watch the movies again!
You can pick up your own copy of Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader at Amazon.com.
All images are property of Lucas Arts. Article copyright 2003 MillionairePlayboy.com