Star Wars Rebel Assault – PC
Release Date (NA): November 1993
Genre: Rail shooter
Nerd Rating: 8 out of 10
Reviewed by Flagostomos
My first exposure to Star Wars wasn’t the movies. Even though I would grow to love the original trilogy, (not Episodes 1-3 because they suck), my first love for Star Wars was actually from an on-rails shooter game my Dad had for his PC called Star Wars Rebel Assault. It didn’t even matter that I completely stank at the game. It was fun and exciting and remains one of my favorite Star Wars games to date.
Star Wars Rebel Assault is playable, supposedly, with a mouse. But we always played it on the little joystick my dad had. Boy was that a lot of fun. The joystick allowed for perfect precision, which was absolutely necessary as pinpoint accuracy was a must on all the levels. Most of the game had you in the cockpit, with the crosshair that moved on a dime with the control of the joystick. It was simple; point and shoot with the trigger button. Many levels would automatically control your flight, only nudging the craft in the right direction to at times avoid obstacles. But most of the time your objective is to straight up shoot everything on the screen. It’s a blast, and any person that played on rail shooters in the arcades would love this game.
There are a few missions where you actually take more direct control of the flight of the craft, having to move it to aim where you want to fire. These missions don’t feel quite as slick as the first person ones do, but it controls fine nevertheless. There’s one particular mission in the speeder though that I still cannot beat without a guide telling me what to do.
This is really the only game I’ve ever played that actually required a joystick, and I must say that it is a method of control that is sadly lost. A true joystick, not like the analog sticks on current gen consoles, just affords a level of precision that can’t be matched. When properly calibrated, you could point the control in any direction, and you will hit where you want to aim every time. Other than flight simulator, I have never had a chance to use it since.
You are Rookie 1, starting the game off by learning the basics of flying for the Rebel Alliance. Your instructors are firm and demanding. However as you master the basics of flight control, you are sent on a few missions to track down Imperial Intel as best you can. You even take on a Star Destroyer head on. The game takes you through missions similar to that seen in Episode 4 and you almost get the feeling that Rookie 1 is Luke, especially since you blow up the Death Star on the last mission.
The audio is great. It utilizes all of the favorite themes from John Williams compositions for Star Wars. The sound effects add perfectly to the action on the screen, and when a tie-fighter whizzes past you and rams your ship you almost feel the impact.
The graphics are okay. They are about as good as you could expect from an early 90s romp on DOS. The textures are kind of blocky and draw distance isn’t rendered very well. I think an HD remake of this game would be absolutely amazing. Someone get on that!
With the difficulty curve, you could easily spend hours mastering the art of flight in this game.
However, with the difficulty curve of getting a DOSbox installation to work, I’d imagine that this game would be very hard to play currently. There is a Sega CD and 3DO version, but I’ve never been able to come across either, and I’ve heard that they just aren’t as good as the original PC version. I have tried to get it working on modern PCs and have been unsuccessful in my attempts. A shame really.
Controls: 8 Oh I miss you joystick of righteousness!
Replayability: Good luck getting it to run
Overall: 8 out of 10
A solid entry in the Star Wars game lineup and another of those great nostalgic memories for me.
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