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GameCube Reviews: Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II


Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II Screenshots



The Final Say!

Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 26 May 2002
Review Score: 9.9/10 
Distributor: Electronic Arts

Here's a game that nearly scored a 10 and only missed out due to the single player only option. The first thing you will do when you boot up the game is give a hearty chuckle at the clever Lucasarts logo. Then you will be faced with one of the most clever menus I have had the pleasure to navigate in some time.

And just possibly the best Star Wars game you have played to date if not currently the best game on the GameCube system.

Play with that menu, enjoy it, choose options, tweak that gameplay. You can do all this and more. The amount of attention to detail in this game is insane. The aforementioned menu for example constantly show different footage from the original trilogy in the background.

You are in Rogue Squadron, the group of pilots that Luke Skywalker joined when he took on the first Death Star in Star Wars. During the game you will be playing as either Luke or Wedge Antilles (voiced by original actor Dennis Lawson). The game recreates the most famous of battles and missions from the movies and you can participate.

What the whole title boils down to in essence is if you ever wanted to pilot an X-Wing, B-Wing, Y-Wing or a number of other craft from the series, you can! The game has been lovingly crafted by Factor 5 to give the most believable immersion factor that I have experienced in quite some time for a movie to game scenario. As far as I am concerned when I was playing the title, I was taking part in the Star Wars series, not just sitting back and observing as you would in the theatre.

I am most likely going to keep spitting out the words attention to detail however this game has it in spades. The slightest thing is covered right from when you are selecting your vehicle. For example before beginning a campaign you start in a hanger filled with craft. You can run around the hangar in your pilot gear and get a detailed description of each craft and what it's strengths/weaknesses are. And just when you are already amazed, in the Hoth Missions, run just outside the hangar and you are going to see Taun-Tauns, the furry beasts ridden in the snow by the Rebellion.

Every mission has been designed and programmed to perfection, even the training level that takes place in the sky above Tatooine is amazing. Factor 5 have taken advantage of the Cube's ability to use bump-mapping to great effect as seen to the left in the screenshot of the Snowtrooper on the surface of the ice planet Hoth. I was particularly amazed at this level due to the fact that you were up against behemoths such as the AT-ST and the AT-AT, but if you flew down low you came across beautifully detailed ground troops battling in the snow.

Real time lighting and shadow effects heightened the sense of realism further with your lasers illuminating Tie Fighters and the landscape with every shot, and the exhilaration felt upon completion of a mission is too good to be missed.

In addition to all the shooting, I would be remiss to add that there is a basic element of strategy involved in the game, as you have the ability to direct your fellow Rogue Squadron members to take out targets on draw fire away from you when you need some breathing space.

The heads up display (HUD) is brilliant and works in 3 dimensions due to the aerial/space nature of the title. Enemy ships are red and by manoeuvring your craft, you can take them on from above or below to gain the element of surprise.


Sound in the game is perfect as well, taking advantage of full stereo using a MusyX-powered Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound experience, so you can hear even through standard stereo television setup where the enemy is at all times. This is one time that I do pity people without stereo television and this experience alone is enough to justify the purchase of one. To take full advantage of the Pro Logic II Surround however you will need a receiver for it.

Voices are taken care of by samples of the original movies and are integrated seamlessly. Any voice acting done sounds genuine and only an extremely picky person would take umbrage at any of it.

The game, whilst it can be completed reasonably quickly if you hurry through it, is a replayable affair due to it's ranking system. Upon completion of a level you get a medal (or don't) depending on how you perform within the game. Perfectionists will strive for the Gold and with the game getting progressively harder, this will cause many to play over and over again.

Some people might complain a little about how easy it is to turn the craft but remember that this game does not profess to be a simulation and for the most part it kept you in the chase rather than alienating you from the game.

Also, Factor 5 (bless their little hearts) have included so many hidden craft and other secrets that the game will be in your machine until you have worked out everything that can be gained from this awesome title.

Graphically the title pushes around millions of polygons making it the Cube's most extensive tech demo/game to date. Everything seems to have just that little bit more added to it, There is dirt and grime just where you'd expect to see it and almost every surface seems to have added texture and bump-mapping to flesh it all out even further in order to drag you willingly into the Star Wars universe.

If you are considering buying a GameCube, this title alone is worth the cost of the console. In my opinion Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II is a "killer app" and well worth owning a Cube in order to just play this game.

Red 5 standing by!!! Get this one right now this instant!

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com