Rogue Leader GameCube Review
Jamie Wharton / Feb 14th, 2002 No Comments
Star Wars… things have certainly taken a turn for the better of late, Jedi Knight 2 was superb, Attack Of The Clones was great, and Rogue Leader is certainly a lovely little thing indeed. Probably the best title to show off your Gamecube at the moment, Rogue Leader is a follow up to the hit n’ miss N64 and PC shooter Rogue Squadron. Set in the classic era you get to play out a mix of original Star Wars scenarios and some fabricated in the guise of Rebel hero’s Wedge Antilles and the legendary Mr.L.Skywalker.
The first mission of Rogue Leader shows you exactly what the game is all about, it’s all quite a lot to take in on first play, the music, the graphics, its all pure Star Wars. The first mission itself is the attack on the Death Star from the climax of the ‘first’ movie and it is represented slightly better than Nintendos last effort on the SNES version of Star Wars… The eyecandy-o-meter was going nuts during this review, to say Rogue Leaders battles are spectacular is an understatement of the highest order. The Death Star battle begins with close-ups of the convoy of X-Wings sent to take out the spherical nightmare, the detail on the textures and the models combined with some fantastic lighting is nigh on photo-realistic. Swooping low over the surface of the Death Star you see even more detail, there are hundreds of towers filling the air with green laser fire, Tie Fighters swarm around you before your final descent into the trench and that famous final run…
I do have a slight problem with the graphics however, that prevents a perfect 10/10, sometimes (and I do mean only sometimes) the Gamecube is pushed a little too far…one mission in particular where you are stormed by scores of AT-STs over rippling water, all emerging from a crashed Star Destroyer almost grinds the frame-rate to a halt. Not clever for a console…developers everywhere, if the machine can’t handle it, don’t try to make it do it!
The whole Star Wars atmosphere is wrapped up perfectly with all the famous music, Tie Fighter screeches, blaster shots and even the voice of Dennis Lawson, who the sniveling geeks among you (no offense) will know, played the silly named wingman of Luke, Wedge Antilles. The game even kicks off with some DVD style animated menus that mix in movie footage with the various option screens. I also enjoyed the ‘In a galaxy far, far away…’ intro complete with yellow scrolling text, almost enough childhood nostalgia to reduce any 20-something to a sobbing mess.
Now the game plays like the 3600 levels from Star Fox, it’s a total arcade game, you have a target in the center of the screen and you shoot whatever comes in it. There is a vague level of interaction with your wingmen where you can tell them to attack something specific, form on your wings or run away. Fairly paper-thin really… This is the games major letdown, its simplicity damages its longevity…there are several things that dampen the impact of this though.
The Star Wars universe provides some stunning scenarios to fly on, the Death Star attack, the Battle of Hoth and the Battle of Endor being the obvious examples. You will want to play these levels again and again, there is so much detail and life within these environments it’s a real joy to play them. Nintendos pad design again stands above the rest, flying your chosen ship is an effortless task thanks to the excellent analogue stick and shoulder buttons. There is more than just fun to play for as well, of the 10+ levels there is a medal system to work through…certain objectives such as shot accuracy, friendly craft lost etc must be met to gain a bronze, silver or gold. For said medals you get points and these points can be used to unlock extra craft, weapon upgrades and extra missions. Getting the higher medals is really not an easy task, neither is completing some of the missions full stop, make no mistake, this is a tough game, the attack on Bespin being one of the toughest things I’ve ever played in a videogame.
Still though, some will complain that the game is all over too quickly and that there is too much emphasis put on replaying missions. This is a sound criticism but when a game is this entertaining while it lasts I have no problem recommending it to everyone with a small plastic cube in front of his or her TV.