Rogue Squadron II: Rebel Leader
Star Wars comes to the GameCube...
Rebel Pilots, report to duty! It is time to suit up, strap in, and take-off as a pilot in Rogue Squadron, the Alliance’s most elite group of fighter pilots. When the mission is tough and the outlook is grim, Rogue Squadron is the team responsible for making sure that the balance of power does not forever sway in the favour of the Empire. With epic space battles that span the universe, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader takes you into the heart of Imperial territory, including into the trenches of the Death Star, near an Imperial Star Destroyer, and across Bespin’s Cloud City. You will also be asked to defend important Rebel convoys and outposts on planets such as Hoth. Flying alongside the other Rogue Squadron members, it is up to you to act as their Rogue Leader and show the path to victory, one laser blast at a time. Begin with a training mission that allows you to master the controls of your T-16 Skyhopper equipped with laser blasters. This will show you how to use the weapons you will have at hand – before you deem yourself worthy of combat. Fly low over the death star and be amazed at the 3-dimensional surfaces, but be careful not to hit anything! Really get into the mood as you shoot down the Imperial scum and then dive into the trench to try and take out the death star itself. Darth Vader, as in the film, tries to stop you but with a little help from the force and a big help from Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon you should overcome all odds and destroy the death star. It’s all great fun, as you may have already guessed. Your choice of ships on different missions includes the Y-wing, part fighter and part bomber; the precursor to the X-wing. It isn’t as manoeuvrable as the X-wing, but it makes up for this by having an impressive arsenal, including proton bombs and the powerful Ion cannon. Its proton bombs make it the ideal craft to use for any ground-based missions where the goal is to bomb surface targets. The Y-wing also includes an R2 unit to help repair the ship when it gets damaged. Nice. The X-wing has unique double-layered wings making it the most recognisable ship in the Star Wars universe. A versatile and robust ship, the X-wing features a reinforced titanium alloy hull and high-powered shield generators, not to mention an on-board R2 unit for repairs. Its weapons are four laser cannons and Proton Torpedoes. The A-wing is by far the fastest star fighter in the Rebel Alliance; its quick and agile in everything it does. It features a limited nitro boost that allows it speed bursts. The A-wing has unlimited nitro boosts, although the boost does take some time to recharge. While the A-wing has a good arsenal, its major weakness is the fact that its shields are relatively weak and its hull is easily pierced by blaster fire. Its weapons are two laser cannons and concussion missiles, which are effective against both ground and air targets. The B-wing was built by the Rebel Alliance as a vessel designed to engage Imperial capital ships, the B-wing’s unique shape makes it stand out compared to the other Rebel ships. While it shares the same basic weapon setups as the S-wing, it has one important addition: double Ion cannons. With powerful shields and the ability to close it’s S-foils to speed up. The ships biggest disadvantage is that its shape sometimes makes it harder to manoeuvre. Proton Torpedoes and the two Ion cannons make this a formidable ship. Finally you have the Airspeeder, which is officially known as the Incom T-47; this ship is famous for its unique towing cable, which can be put to use to take down Imperial AT-ATs. The Airspeeder is limited to relatively low altitudes and can’t perform advanced manoeuvres such as rolls, but it is fast and small, making it hard for enemy troops to hit it with any precision. That’s probably a good thing because the Airspeeder lacks any strong shields for protection. It comes equipped with two laser cannons. The game allows you to upgrade your ships as you progress; you do not need this as such, but it will help on the more difficult missions – not to mentioning adding more incentive to keep playing. To get the upgrades, which appear with little or no warning through the game you must complete the mission on which you obtain it; making the upgrade available on the next mission that you play. You need to fly through an icon, which you can only assume means an upgrade, and the game will notify you if you’ve acquired it. The good thing about these, if you can find them, is that they are permanent and you can never lose them if you go on to finish the mission. Do well and you will gain medals and bonus missions. Completing a mission is good but earning one of the prized bonus medals should be what to aim for. Be careful how often you use the targeting computer and how long you take to finish the mission, these all affect how well you do as shown on the statistics screen at the end of missions. If you don’t do well, replay the mission and try and do better, bonus missions are not available to poor Rebel fighters, only the best can go on to earn these special missions. Which is probably why I haven’t yet earned a medal. Damn. A few tips, which they mention in the manual, and I wholeheartedly agree with, are to save at least one torpedo for the Death Star trench run, bit embarrassing if you get there and you can’t destroy it because you have run out of torpedos. What would you tell all your Rebel chums? Don’t just keep on firing randomly, take time to charge your weapons up as they tend to do more damage and are more accurate fully charged. Also, your accuracy is important when it comes to winning a medal. Take command of your wingmates, and use them wisely. Listen to what they have to say and issue the right commands to assist you in your mission. They suggest playing different missions at different times of the day, I hadn’t noticed but apparently depending on what time of day you are playing determines whether it is night or day as you play the mission. I am so busy trying not to either hit something or get shot down that I hadn’t noticed this rather unique idea. As you may have guessed already, I really enjoy this game; its fun to play and its graphics are sharp and at some points even better than the original films. An essential GameCube purchase. Good luck, and may the force be with you.