Star Wars Rebel Strike: Rogue Squadron III
-LucasArts/Factor 5 (2003)
We assure you that all this stuff really did happen in-between the movie scenes.
I loved Rogue Leader, but getting those gold medals was hard. It took me a while to get through the game because I got frustrated with its difficulty. I beat this game in a day. Actually, it was only a few hours. Rebel Strike is considerably easier than Leader. Itís not much of a chore to obtain the medals this time either since I got quite a few silver medals and one gold my first time through.
The reduced difficulty doesnít mean itís a bad game though. Rebel Strike is an excellent game. Battling in the Star Wars universe fighters is every bit as fun as the previous game. New craft for you to use are Speeder Bikes, AT-STs, Tie Fighters, Cloud Cars, a Jedi Starfighter, and even an AT-AT (very cool, I was not expecting to take control of an AT-AT). Each of the flight and walker stages is excellent and makes this a great game. By far, the best mission is zooming through the Endor Forest on your Speeder Bike. This stage is such a rush. Itís the one stage Iíve been waiting to play in a Star Wars game and itís done perfectly.
Apparently blasting imperials in your starfighter isnít enough fun because you get out of your vehicle and are forced to endure some bad run-and-gun and platforming missions. Theyíre worse than you can imagine. The characters movements are awkward and jerky. Your favorite heroes run around wildly and blast away like madmen. Making precise jumps as Luke in Dagobah is laughingly bad thanks to the floaty and terrible physics engine. If getting out of your ship just meant riding the Tauntaun, then it would have been fine because the Tauntaun was kind-of fun. A plus is that the game features even more expanded universe stuff, like TIE Advanced fighters, submarines, and Imperial Gunships. These and the off-screen missions fit into the original trilogy (and Episode II) nicely.
The game has one of the best unlockables ever - you can play through the entire Rogue Leader game with two players. It helps make up for the out-of-vehicle missions. There are a few cool unlockable versus modes to battle your friends in. You will also unlock the Death Star Arcade! Lord Vader fulfills his destiny of beating the high scores of the original Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi arcade games. The Star Wars disco theme plays while youíre in the arcade and is a nice touch. There should have been a way to get Vader to boogie down, like the characters feeling the funk-a-fied grooves when you turn the game on.
Other extras are similar to the previous game, such as a making-of movie, trailer, and audio commentary. Again you will earn medals and points to unlock more bonus stages. Sadly though, many of these include more running around action and not enough ship action.
Iím torn on what to score this game. I love the vehicle missions; they are every bit as good as they were in Rogue Leader. But, you do have to go through the very unfortunate platforming and running missions. But, there is a great unlockable in the Rogue Leader two-player co-op mode. But, itís something that probably should have been in the original game in the first place right? Confound it! Do I go with my love for the ship missions and co-op mode, or with my loathing of the people missions?
My love for Star Wars, the ship missions, the Endor speeder bike stage, and co-op mode turn my score closer to the light side. I can handle wonky people stages when everything else is so good. Rebel Strike is a great game with a disability, but a terrific bonus that makes it a worth while experience.
Rebel Strike Limited Edition Preview Disc
If you reserved Rebel Strike you received a nifty preview disc. It contains a demo of the Hoth level, trailers of Rebel Strike and Gladius (LucasArtsí gladiatorial strategy game), a short movie showing artwork for the game, and the original Star Wars arcade game. I pre-ordered the game to get this disc mainly for the original Star Wars game. However, when I finished Rebel Strike and unlocked the game on that disc, I realized there really isnít any reason to keep this one around, save for being an extra Star Wars disc. Those LucasArts cats are cunning. They make us reserve the game for an extra that we think is an exclusive, and it ends up being on the regular game anyways.
Score for Preview Disc: 7.0