Retro Review: Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue leader

This republished review was originally written in 2002, this review is unedited and appears as it did back then. We hope this review gives you an idea of how the reviewer felt at the time and at the end you’ll see a small review from today where you can see how well the game held up over time.

Luke, I am your mother.
Cough Excuse me?.
Oh Sorry, I meant your father, father.
Ahh that’s alright then. Anyways my light saber is better than your’s.
Mines not working
No, look you gotta do the noise zzzzooooommmmmm
Zzzzooooommmmmm Ahh yes there we are, but yours is pink, you big sissy.

So Rogue leader, nothing to do with any of the ground based battles in star wars. Who wants to play with light sabers when they can play with huge millennium falcons with laser guided torpedo missiles and photon blasters and thousands of lasers.

Rogue leader is set in the space of the last 3 films, taking key space battle moments from each and making levels of them. Before we start the review lets get something of our chest. The GRAPHICS ARE THE BEST THING EVER! There, we’ve said it. If you haven’t seen the graphics yet because your to busy drooling over State Of Emergency, then head down to your local game store and demand they put it on the big screen with the sound turned up. Demand it now!

The graphics as we’ve said are stunning, it was once rumored that the crafts themselves were identical models to them used by ILM. Sadly that’s not true, due to the Gamecube using polygons, and ILM using nurbs. But they still look just as great, you couldn’t tell the difference. The textures are so sharp, showing paint that’s come off the crafts, theirs real-time shadows on all the crafts and lasers create real-time lighting. What’s best of all is playing some of the levels with over 100 craft on screen, that includes tie fighters, bombers, A-Wings, Xwings, B-wings, The millennium falcon and other mile long ships, all on the same screen. The game runs at a blistering 60FPS, with no slow down. Although some levels do run at only 30FPS due to the amount going on. The Battle of Hoth level for example has at least 7 Walkers, Countless AT-AT’s and over 200 people running about on screen. Get close enough and you can see the amount of detail on the people is stupidly high. And that’s just one of the countless levels.rogue squadron death star gamecube

The sound is the classic star wars affair, with all the tunes nicked straight from the films, they’ve even used dramatic sound. What that means is that sound can change depending on your situation, about to cause a massive whole in the Death Star, the music will become very dramatic. The laser effects sound spot on and the explosions are huge!

While there is only 10 levels (not counting secret ones) you’ll still be here for a long time. Each time you play a level you have a target to meet, meeting the targets, such as time, shot accuracy etc, means you get a medal, bronze, silver gold. Getting Gold will take serious work, and a lot of patients. But its worth it in the end for the bonus’s you can open up, such as playing as Darth Vadar, documentaries and even commentary on how each level was made as your playing it.

As mentioned before, there is countless different craft in the game, all under your control, depending on what the level requires. Its easy to control the craft, becomes second nature instantly. A fires your lasers, B does your missiles, and the L and R triggers control your speed. With the Click at the end doing turbo boost or hard break. You can even tell your wing men what to do by using the Dpad.

The main aim of the levels is normally to blow something up, or protect something. Not the most ground breaking of ideas, but it works well for the game, and the objectives, while all similar are varied due to the way you have to tackle the levels.

If you’ve played the N64 version of this game you’ll know what to expect, if you haven’t then your in for a treat. While not the most ground breaking of games, the graphics and atmosphere really draw you in and the levels are a joy to play, with you having full control and knowing you only died because you failed, not because the game did something wrong. If you want to show off your cube, this is the game to do it.
There are a few annoyances, the way tie fighters will go on suicide missions to kill you, really annoying especially when your half way through a level going for a gold medal, also there is one or two dud levels, but they are rather simple affairs so you wont have to much trouble with them. Its also a shame the game is rather short, take away the medals idea and you’ll have the game done within a week, but what a week it’ll be.

So is it Luke’s mother or is it Natlie Portman. Its gotta be a Natlie Portman from us!

2014 Re-Review
This holds up much better than you’d expect. For a start it still looks gorgeous. Release it today and it would still be classed as a beautiful looking game, even if its not in HD. Gameplay wise it was never going to win any awards being a simple shooter but actually that simplicity has meant it still plays just as well. Sure it still has its problems and frustrations but those are easily ignored because it is fun and is a challenge.

Whats even more amazing this is a launch game thats over 10 years old and made in 9 months. If you’ve never played it, grab a copy and if you did long ago, come back and you’ll be surprised at how good a game this is, it really does just show up the launch titles for the Xbox One and PS4.