previews\ Sep 13, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike - GC - Preview 2

Are you ready to strike, rebel-style?  If not, you'd better start swingin' that lightsaber of yours because Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike is on its way.  Packed with more variety than ever before, Rebel Strike will take gamers out of the cockpit and place them right in the middle of an intense battle – on ground, with vehicle, shield or invisible force field to protect you!  Then, when you make it out of that nearly-impossible-to-live-through situation, you'll pilot a familiar ship and be expected to perform another miracle, saving a galaxy far, far away.


I'm not sure what the first level in the full version will be, but in a special preview disc released in stores last week (and is available to anyone who pre-orders the game at participating retailers), LucasArts gave gamers the chance to re-enter the famous Hoth battle from The Empire Strikes Back.  While Rogue Squadron I and II had very similar objectives for this level, Rebel Strike is quite different.  I had seen screenshots of a rebel (it was unknown who it was at the time) running around a snow-covered battlefield, but it didn't dawn on me that that was the perspective LucasArts would give the player this time around.  That's just what they did though.  The rebel is none other than Luke, and after showing a clip of him crashing his ship (taken directly from the movie!), Luke quickly exits to avoid being crushed by an enormous AT-AT walker.  Then the game switches over to you.


Your first thought?  "Get me out of here!"  The game seems a little intimidating at first, with literally dozens (perhaps hundreds?) of enemy troopers attacking on foot and Tie Fighters shooting from above.  It's very intense, and thanks to the game's easy-to-follow on-screen actions, figuring out what to do next is easy.  Luke's mission to do just what was done in the movie.  Risk your life by walking under an AT-AT; use your grappling hook to climb up to the body of the walker; use a lightsaber to cut through its thick exterior and throw a bomb inside the hole to take it down.


Next, Luke will have to hop on that ugly two-legged creature he rode in the movie (at the moment I cannot remember its name).  Shoot your way through the troopers and take out the ones commanding the powerful gun.  You'll need the gun to take out some walkers, three of which are about to be delivered to the battlefield in about ten seconds...


When that's over with, you must then pilot the classic X-Wing fighter and protect a fleet of allied ships from being destroyed.  Saving only one of the three ships will allow you to pass the level, though it surely will not be very rewarding in the full version.  The medal system is back, and you are once again being asked to perform without many flaws if you expect to unlock any of the cool extras that LucasArts is planning.  At this time, I couldn't tell you what those will be, but take a gander at the series' past and you might be able to figure out.  Everyone loves extra playable content, whether it's a ship or an extra character, so...


When the demo's over with (and you've used up all of the tissues), open your bloodshot eyes and take a look at the other bonuses this special pre-order disc has to offer.  There's a video of concept art, something that every Star Wars fan will love (whether you play games often or not).  If playing the demo wasn't enough, there's a trailer of Rebel Strike to watch, as well as a trailer for Gladius.  Better still, you get Atari's Star Wars arcade game!  Released in 1982, this Star Wars game was developed by the original Atari, not Infogrames (who recently purchased the Atari name and is now using it).  This game was one of the first, if not the first hint at 3D gaming.  If you pay close attention, you'll see many similarities between it and the Rogue Squadron series.


At participating retailers the Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike bonus disc will cost you no more than $10 (five bucks at most retailers).  Those ten dollars then goes towards the purchase of the full game, which you will undoubtedly want to get your hands on.  This short, action-packed demo is just the tip of the Death Star.  The edge of a lightsaber.  The hair of a Wookiee.  In other words, it's only a small fraction of what the final game will have to offer.


My anticipation level is nearly life-threatening, so I think I'm gonna go watch Episode II to calm my nerves.  Pick up the bonus disc and join me in my state of extreme eagerness as we wait till the end of October to play the full version.

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