Good Old Reviews
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D - Just Like Beggar's Canyon Back Home

Marla Desat | 7 Feb 2015 12:00
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You can fly either with the keyboard, a mouse, or with a joystick. It's also easy to map the joystick buttons to a controller as well, which is how I played the game. It worked well, but I got the impression that a traditional joystick would probably be the best way to experience this game. The dogfights feel fun and dangerous, with each of the available ships having their own distinct personality. Trying to chase down TIE Interceptors in a Y-wing, for instance, feels like chasing a hornet in a plodding, fat bumblebee, while the X-wing flies like a nimble mosquito in comparison. I found the greatest challenge to flying was the game's inscrutable view adjustments. The camera sometimes has a mind of its own, automatically zooming in and out and forcing me to constantly keep one finger over the manual view reset buttons. Sometimes, to force the view back into an appropriate zoom level, I would have to switch to a different view entirely just to swap back to my preferred 3rd person view.

The music and sound effects are all solidly Star Wars. They aren't perfect. The audio sometime struck me as being tinny sounding, but it's clear that the developers put an effort into making the game sound authentic. They even managed to sneak in the distinctive swish of a lightsaber turning on, by using it whenever you select a button from the main menu.

The graphics are dated, but that's to be expected in a game that originally came out in 1998. Even making allowances for age however, there were some things I took issue with. I can get past the one-dimensional pilots and flimsy looking S-foils, but when the textures fail to load and the TIE I'm chasing looks like little more than a grey rectangle the graphics turn from nostalgically quaint to irritatingly jarring. I also experienced a recurring visual bug on the main menu that put the screen completely black, with buttons appearing only as I hovered over them with my mouse, and other players have reported a similar bug. It wasn't game breaking, but it doesn't inspire confidence.

If you can overlook those occasional visual bugs and clunky camera however, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D is a great flight shooter lovingly wrapped in the Star Wars mythos. It's easy enough to succeed at the missions, but striving to get unlock new fighters and earn silver and gold medals, to improve your accuracy and speed, leaves a challenging game with lots of replayability. It's now available from GOG for $5.99. If you're looking for a reason to dust off a joystick, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D is a fun way to get back in the cockpit.

Come back next week for Stew Shearer's review of Star Wars: Dark Forces II.

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