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February 10, 2002
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 Overall Score: *66*ESRB Rating: Everyone (E)

Star Wars Rebellion 

by LucasArts  Reviewed by: Mike Messersmith  


ScreenshotOverview

Discover a planet, send a reconnaissance Y-wing to check it out, send in the troops to take it over, then build some construction facilities, mines, refineries, training facilities, and orbital shipyards that will cater to your every whim to increase the forces in your army. Star Wars Rebellion (which is billed as Star Wars Supremacy in the United Kingdom) is a real-time grand strategy game that will have you managing everything from mining resources to recruiting missions to launching full scale assaults on enemy planets in an attempt to take control of the galaxy!

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

The game starts with some wonderful cinematic sequences in the tradition of all Star Wars movies to date. It then puts you in the cockpit of a shuttle where you must make the decision to command either the Rebel Alliance or the Empire. Once a side is chosen, you will be taken to your Command Center where you will be briefed by your protocol droid (C3P0 if you are commanding the Alliance or IMP-22 if commanding the Empire) about the current situation and, more importantly, about the Galactic Information Display (GID). This real-time game is divided into two modes: strategy and tactical. It begins with the strategy mode.

Strategy Mode: This mode’s interface is the GID, which literally shows you the galaxy at a glance: You can find and/or view anyone or anything that you have access to at almost any time which is important as you will tend to lose things as this game is huge. There can be up to around 200 planets. There are a total of sixty individualistic characters that are taken from the movies and books that all have different attributes and can handle different types of missions. For instance, you might send Leia on a diplomacy mission to Mon Calamari to try to win support for the Alliance or send Darth Vader to Dantooine to start an uprising. You have A-Wings, B-Wings, X-Wings, Y-Wings with TIE Fighters, TIE Defenders, TIE Interceptors, and TIE Bombers to meet them on the battlefield. There are also the various capital ships, transport vessels, special forces, and trooper regiments too. If you play your cards right as the Empire, you may even be able to build a Death Star. If you are worried about not being able to tell the difference between certain items or just want some general information, you have nothing to worry about as there is a very comprehensive online encyclopedia that you can access at almost any time. In order to build and maintain facilities, you must have mines and refineries to acquire and process the materials. Construction yards, training facilities, and orbital shipyards are needed for putting those materials to good use. If you get bored waiting for something to finish building or training, you can always speed up the game. Almost all items in Rebellion require some type of maintenance cost so make sure you can afford it in the long run or else you may end up with a pile of scrap (a Death Star is a good example of this). Whenever anything happens in the game, you will be alerted that a message has come in. These messages are the lifeline of the game as they tell you what has been built, who has gone where, what have they done, who still supports you, etc, so on and so forth. These messages can and will get numerous during the course of the game and it can get rather annoying trying to read them all. In the end, you feel more like you are reading email than playing a game, as there is really no action or animation happening at all in this mode. I found the interface’s graphical buttons to be somewhat confusing until I got used to what each graphic represents; fortunately everything has tool-tips and the book does explain everything in detail. If you have problems managing everything, you can use your protocol droid to manage tasks for you. When an enemy fleet attacks a planet defended by one of your fleets or vice versa, the game will give you the option of going into tactical mode.

ScreenshotTactical mode: This is the “action” part of the game. Before entering this mode, you will have the option of retreating, simulating outcome, or staying and fighting depending on whether you are being attacked or are attacking. The screen is a three-dimensional battlefield that allows you to rotate and zoom to get the best angle. This mode can be set to either just view the battle or you can take command and try to control your various ships with tactical maneuvers such as the Anvil, Hammer, left and right hook, surround, stand off, hold position, and, of course, attack a ship. I had a very hard time getting ships selected since when I placed the mouse pointer on the battle screen, it would disappear until I stopped the mouse for a second, then it would reappear. Once a ship is selected, you can see all the statistics for it such as who is on board, condition of the shields and other ship systems, and selected maneuvers or tactics. Again, I had a hard time getting my ships to do anything I wanted them to or if they did, they would tend to react quite slowly. I found that my fleets actually did better if I just put this mode into observe mode and also found it a lot more entertaining to watch.

Graphics

I think the Empire and Alliance can at least agree that the graphics are as pleasurable to view as the Star Wars movies themselves. The cinematic sequences are very well done and are, combined with the sound, the best feature in the game. This is something you will want to dim the lights for and sit back, but don’t get too comfy, as the sequences aren’t as long as you’d probably like them to be. I’d say the biggest downfall to the graphics is that you don’t really get to see too much animation in the game itself apart from the tactical mode.

Audio

Worthy of a Jedi. This is the first computer game that I have ever played that actually made me want to go buy really expensive speakers so I could crank the volume. The music is fantastic and is taken directly from the Star Wars movies themselves. Throughout the game as the tide turns toward the Alliance or Empire, the music will adjust itself accordingly, which I thought was a great touch. If you are a true Star Wars fanatic, you’ll probably notice that C3P0’s voice is a bit different than the one in the movies, but you get used to it after hearing him long enough. This, combined with the graphics, is the best feature of the game.

System Requirements

Windows 95, Pentium 90 (Pentium 100 for multiplayer), 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, PCI graphics card, 16-bit sound card, DirectX 5.0 (included on CD), 200 MB hard drive space (50 MB hard drive space, 150 MB hard drive space required for caching during gameplay), supports two players via IPX, TCP/IP, Internet (requires 28.8K modem), Modem-to-Modem (requires 14.4K modem), and null-modem cable

Documentation

I hope you like to read. The manual is 176 pages of pure information and virtually ALL of it needs to be read to effectively play this game. It is well written, but reads much like a high school economics book. One of the chapters is a series of tutorials to help you understand the basics of the game. Also included is a quick reference poster that describes shortcut keystrokes and shows specs and a description of each type of capital ship, fighter, character, special forces, trooper regiments. On the flip side, It gives a quick explanation of both the strategic and tactical modes.

ScreenshotBottom Line

It seemed to me that there was just too much reading and managing with not enough action to make it worthwhile. Although this is a real time strategy game, it just wasn’t exciting enough to keep my attention for long periods of time, which is a problem as this game can take a good long time to complete. This does not in any way mean that it is not well made. You can tell that a great deal of attention went into this game which will probably make it a winner for the die-hard strategist who loves Star Wars, but not many other people. I absolutely love Star Wars, but am not a die-hard strategist, which is why I gave this game a score of 66.

Review Posted On 16 July 1998.

 
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