Author Topic: Rogue Squadron 2  (Read 3304 times)

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Offline Feep

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Rogue Squadron 2
« on: February 07, 2003, 03:30:01 PM »
Overall Score
9 / 10

   In February 1996, Star Wars : Special Edition was released in movie
theaters. My father, a long-time-though-not-so-avid fan of Star Wars, tried to
persuade me to see it. At that point I had seen a Star Trek film and hated it,
and made no differentiation between any of those sci-fi, outer space movies.
However, after a WHOLE bunch of nagging from friends and family, I grudgingly
went to go see it. I loved it. I mean, I LOVED it. I saw it four more times, and
it didn't take me long after seeing Return of the Jedi to decide that these
movies were my favorite of all time. The original three still are. When I heard
Rogue Squadron 2, based completely on movie events, was going to be a launch
title for the much-awaited GameCube, I jumped on it like a jawa on a wandering
droid.

   Good? Yes. Great? Yes. Meeting my wildest dreams? No. (Impossible, but
still no.) Rogue Squadron is a fairly short game, depending on how good you are
and how many secrets you go after. If you're a decent player, a straight run
through the game won't take you any more than three hours, but most won't be
able to do that. There's nothing here but combat in the air...or...lack of
air...but it still manages to convey the same feelings the movie evoked in me.
The game shows great attention to detail when trying to accurately depict ships
and places from the movies, but there ARE mistakes...the third shield generator
they tell you to go after is not ACTUALLY a shield generator on a Star
Destroyer, and X-Wing S-foils are...okay, I'll shut up. This TOTALLY doesn't
matter.

   Screw X-box. I mean, SCREW IT. I still have yet to see ANYTHING on X-box,
even after almost a year of it's release, that can equal this first-generation
GameCube game graphically. Though much of the game takes place in airless,
featureless space, there's still a lot to see. This game breaks out every
graphic effect known to man, volumetric fog, real-time lighting, arse-loads of
ships on the screen at a time (I'm talking upwards of a hundred TIEs, the basic
enemy ship), huge polygon counts, everything. The Battle of Endor can get
especially insane. You'll sit there in awe while hundreds of turbolaser bolts
transform your A-Wing into a massive inferno, not caring in the least. And
despite all this, the game STILL manages to stay at an almost-stable 60 FPS.
Amazing.

   Normally I write a sentence or two about sound, and that's more than
enough. Not so with this game. Rogue Squadron 2 was the first game in history to
be compatible with Dolby Pro Logic 2 systems, with five-channel surround sound.
Now, back when I first got this game, I played it on my little 24 inch TV with
built-in speakers. The sound was still great, but nothing to write home about.
Recently, however, I've gained a rather impressive sound system for my video
gaming experience, and now I know what they're talking about. Actually knowing
where a TIE is because it's whizzing sound is moving behind you from left to
right is amazing. Music is great, directly ripped from John William's classic
Star Wars score, and sound effects are made up of 100% true-to-movie goodness.
Quality is unmatched. Though it may seem like it doesn't matter, this game
REALLY deserves to be played with a decent system. Get one.

   I mentioned before that there were many hidden and unlockable features in
Rogue Squadron 2, and I wasn't exaggerating. Most are unlocked with "Medal
Points", gained by receiving a bronze, silver, or gold medal on a stage. These
are obtained by meeting six requirements in a single run, and let me tell you,
Golds are freaking IMPOSSIBLE. I only have two, and I'm REALLY good at this
game. There are about 6 playable ships in the normal game, ranging from the
famous X-Wing fighter to the Y-Wing bomber, the Speeder on Hoth (Ripped off
AGAIN from both Star Wars : Shadows of the Empire and Rogue Squadron 1), and
even the Cloud Car from Bespin. There are maybe another 6 to 8 unlockable
vehicles, ranging from Slave I (Boba Fett's ship from the movies) to a 1978
Buick. (I don't know. Don't ask me.) Each main stage has a special upgrade for
your ships (10 in total) which is almost essential for getting better medals.
Codes are STILL being released for it, as far as I know. There are five hidden
stages as well. Get all golds and you'll unlock Ace Mode, an unbelievably
difficult version of the game. Other features like a commentary, LONG videos of
the game development/features, and lots of tidbits for Star Wars fans make this
little minidisc feel like a DVD jam-packed with extras. There's a LOT to do, and
chances are, you'll never get it all.

   Though the game shines in a WHOLE bunch of areas, Rogue Squadron is still
lacking. There are a few bugs, voice-acting is poor, the difficulty is WAY too
high, and the main game is just a bit too short. These minor problems don't
detract from an incredible game you'll pick up again and again, just to see a
Star Destroyer blow up. Even for non-Star Wars fans (What the hell is wrong with
you three?), the game deserves a rental at least. For the devoted, it's a must.
Despite the lack of lightsabers, this is the best Star Wars game yet, folks.
Pick up this game, or you might find a Sith Lord at your house one night.
Al' Ellisande, Al' Ellisande. Arek du arest cont alle axio, te arira.

Offline Mike C

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Rogue Squadron 2
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2003, 09:25:46 PM »
When you go to see a Star Wars movie you aren’t going to see a something on a screen, you are going to be immersed intensely in a galaxy far, far away – for the experience of it all I guess, rather than to be just entertained. The whole Star Wars phenomenon has presented itself in this way and while there are periods of god-awful acting and dodgy special effects even the harshest critics can’t deny how magical the Star Wars experience is.

Capturing this experience into a video game has been one of the greatest challenges for those trying to develop the ultimate Star Wars game especially because they have often been limited by technology. Enter GameCube. It finally offered the processing power for experienced Star Wars developer Factor 5 to create one of the finest Star Wars titles ever made.

Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II is the sequel to the Nintendo 64 hit, Rogue Squadron. The original was a great game but lacked in visual and audio area’s where the Star Wars experience truly comes to life on the big screen. Factor 5 received GameCube development kits in March of 2001 and by November 2001 the game was complete and on store shelves – an incredibly fast development time which Factor 5 put down to the GameCube been incredibly easy to develop on. Even though they only spent 8 months on the game they still made one of the best video game experiences I have ever been able to play.

From the moment you turn the system on you can’t help but be amazed. The start up intro is gorgeous and it truly shows how far games have come since the good old Nintendo 64 days. The presentation is classic Star Wars with movie cut scenes running in the background of the menus and classic Star Wars music booming out in the background. This is what Star Wars is all about.

The basic gameplay revolves around you flying classic Star Wars fighter craft as either Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles. There are plenty of classic ships to fly across ten main levels which are all set in classic Star Wars battles such as the battle of Hoth, the Death Star Trench run and the incredible battle of Endor. Depending on the level players can choose from various craft including the X-Wing, Y-Wing, A-Wing and the Speeder. There are also plenty of unlockable craft and levels to keep the better gamers going for some time.

The flying in Star Wars is amazing with a variety of environments to experience, such as dog fights in deep space or tactical stealth missions on Kothilis. There are a variety of objectives to accomplish in a level before you can move on to the next and each is explained in the level briefing or in flight by your wingmen. But of course the most important aspect of Rogue Leader is the incredible amount of enemies to destroy ranging from the agile TIE fighter to the mammoth AT-AT’s. The biggest improvement in Rogue Leader from the original Rogue Squadron is the increased numbers of enemies on screen. There are sometimes hundreds of individual troopers, TIE’s and walkers on screen not to mention the incredible amount of laser fire darting across the screen every which way. The fact that the framerate never drops is a true credit to the geniuses at Factor 5. Overall the graphics are really quite amazing.

What really made me realize how great an experience Rogue Leader is was the first time I turned on the machine to be blasted away by the incredible sound. Boy-o-boy it is good, possibly the best audio experience outside of a real Star Wars movie. Music is dramatic, eerie and complete in almost every way with appropriate tunes for each level. Sound effects are also stunning with your wingman constantly in contact with important mission information and screams of doom when they get destroyed by incoming TIE fighters. Rogue Leader also enables to command your often inferior wingman. By using the D-pad you can order your fellow rebels to attack, stay by your side, protect certain objects or attack certain targets - it is all up to you.

Replay wise players are limited in the sense that there is no multiplayer to speak of unlike the brilliant online setup of Starlancer for Dreamcast – but that’s okay. What Rogue Leader loses in multiplayer it makes up for it in single player. This is the ultimate one player game for GameCube. With ten standard missions and another few bonus levels thrown in for good measure Rogue Leader certainly goes the distance. The levels are big and there is plenty to go back and do once you have finished the game. Hidden bonuses and weapon upgrades are scattered through each level and players can also earn medals depending on their success for each mission – a nice extra which will keep players going for a very long time.

Overall Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II comes together as one of the finest single player experiences out on GameCube at the moment. With the world slowly coming down from Star Wars fever (as a result of Episode II) this game certainly flew off the shelves when it launched in New Zealand and was equally successful in Europe and America. This is the ultimate game to prove to everyone that buying your GameCube was worthwhile. So sit back, turn the speakers up and enjoy.  
Always There.