Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Review – Definitive 50 N64 Game #16
The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games
The N64 is known for a number quality Star Wars based titles. This began with the early Shadows of the Empire, and continued with Episode I Racer and Battle for Naboo, but it’s Rogue Squadron that stands as the finest of the bunch.
Developer Factor 5 built its reputation for hardware-pushing graphics with Rogue Squadron. Just look at these graphics. For an N64 game, they are the crisp..iest? Uhh… they’re quite crisp. Rogue Squadron was one of the first to take advantage of the RAM Expansion Pak, and actually uses it to put up a mind-melting 640×480 resolution.
This game puts you in the role of Luke Skywalker himself, leading the elite Rogue Squadron starfighters on a series of missions for the Rebel Alliance.
As the Jedi hero, you’ll fly many classic Star Wars ships, from the X-Wing and Snowspeeder to the A-Wing and Y-Wing. Yet more ships are available as unlockables – including the Millennium Falcon itself.
Over on the dark side, your enemies pilot just what you’d expect, TIE Fighters and AT-ATs. You’ll face them many times during your various rescue, reconnaissance, escort, and attack efforts.
Although Rogue Squadron II excelled by recreating some of the original Star Wars’ trilogy’s most iconic scenes, the first game sticks more closely to original scenarios, generally taking place between the first two Star Wars movies.
Three unlockable bonus missions are available that do put you closer to the events of the films – including the the Death Star Trench run and Battle of Hoth.
There are 16 regular levels to work through in the game, each with a number of objectives to reach. Bronze, silver, and gold medals are awarded for meeting certain additional criteria, like accuracy, completion time, and finding ship upgrades. Going back to get the medals is made worthwhile, because that’s how you unlock those bonus levels and ships. Unless, of course, you want to cheat your way to victory and then you can just use codes to accomplish the same thing.
After Rogue Squadron, Factor 5, along with LucasArts, continued to push Nintendo hardware. They made Battle for Naboo for the N64 and two more great Rogue Squadron games for the GameCube.
Sadly, Factor 5’s relationship with Nintendo diminished after these successes and the studio went on to partner with Sony to create Lair for the PS3, a famously poor title. The developer struggled afterwards, running into financial trouble when another publishing partner went out of business, and Factor 5 was ultimately closed.
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