Do any of you remember Star Wars Rebel Assault? It was quite the unique game that was ahead of its time in many ways, but had a bunch of confusing moments that made my head spin. I owned this game back in the day and played it around the same time as X-Wing for the PC. The game aimed more for a cinematic experience and had numerous movie cut scenes between chapters. What bothered me and still bothers me a little is they used a new character on Tatooine to train up, disregarding the movie canon in some flabbergasting ways.
This guy, "Commander Farrell" is confusing to me. I don't remember seeing him in the movie (more on him later) and think if anything, he actually resembles Tycho from Return of the Jedi more. (Tycho was the one who led the tie fighters away from Lando in the flight to the core reactor). Anyhow, this guy along with a woman pilot are your primary teachers in the game.
The game is a pretty closed world. The flight paths are very narrow. You can move a little bit, but for the most part, you are taking the hits and dodging stuff while shooting targets and accomplishing objectives. When this came out, it looked state of the art. Now it seems a bit constrictive.
I still remember this stage. I called it "Stone Pillar" stage and remember getting frustrated as hell. I don't remember how many A-wings I lost, but let's just say I would question the logic of training of the rebellion for putting their pilots through crazy shit like this.
One X-Wing vs a Star Destroyer? Of course! This was the big sell of the game. Everyone wanted to go heads up and take one of these suckers down and boast to your lunch table that you were
the greatest star pilot in the galaxy pretty good at the game. This was the most memorable stage of the game for me.
Now we are on Hoth attacking AT-AT's? Okay, who cares about movie cannon. I guess the Empire is striking back really hard now even though the rebels haven't blown up the Death Star yet. It was a fun stage and ahead of its time. Many games since then have done a version of this stage. What I found funny was seeing the lasers actually having an impact on the armor.
If you managed to get through the Hoth stage, you would finally get to the attack you bought the game for. The cinematic cut was pretty cool, although a random Star Destroyer shows up to defend the death star with tie fighters then jumps into hyperspace. I don't know if the game designers had the game done and said to themselves "hey, the game isn't long enough, so lets add some random stages."
Here we are in the trench. The cockpit looks pretty cool, however the trench looks a bit like the old Hollywood movies and the green screen look for the background. There were a bunch of random objectives just to get to this point that I don't remember from the movies. By this point, I just want to blow this thing and get the heck out of here.
But then WHAT? Did Lucasarts not have rights to show the Falcon and Han Solo in their own game? Commander Farrell aka Tycho shows up in his puny A-wing and saves the day and shoots Vader outta there. For the life of me, I didn't understand why they couldn't give fans the satisfaction of Han and the Falcon coming in to save the day.
Are you confused again? You just got saved by the A-Wing and blow up the Death Star, then all of a sudden you are being celebrated on Yavin IV all by your lonesome. I was so confused. You were not Luke Skywalker in the game, but now you dress just like him from the movie? Instead of Han and Chewie walking down, they have nobody? Not even Commander Farrell?
Overall, the game has some nostalgic appeal to me, however, I don't think I ever want to play through it ever gain. It was clearly one of the many Star Wars games that let fans down and was a money grab to exploit fans who only wanted to replay the events of the movie.
I can be followed on twitter @matt_m_leonard (where I speak honestly to anyone) and do movie, book, and game reviews on www.mmleonard.com and other creative projects like a "Add a part to a story and pass it along" story experiment.