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Star Wars Rebel Strike: Rogue Squadron III GameCube

Published by LucasArts
Developed by Factor 5
Released: Out Now
Price: £39.99

Out of all the launch titles for the GameCube one game stood out above all others and sold a phenomenal amount of copies. No, it wasn't a Nintendo title with Mario or Zelda. They were nowhere to be seen on launch day on either continent. The game which outsold all other GameCube launch titles was Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II. The game looked very impressive and didn't play too bad either. Rogue Leader made you feel like you were actually in a Star Wars film at times. In fact only two real areas were lacking the first being no multiplayer and the second being it's lack of subtitles. Bearing this in mind it's time to review Star Wars Rebel Strike: Rogue Squadron III.

Rebel Strike once again takes scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy and turns them into missions combined with a fair amount of original scenarios to boot. Once again you'll pilot the X-Wing Starfighter, Y-Wing Starfighter, A-Wing Starfighter, B-Wing Starfighter and Snowspeeder but you also get to control the AT-ST, the AT-PT, the V-35 Landspeeder and best of all a Speeder Bike (not forgetting the Tauntaun). Generally speaking the missions are enjoyable. I wouldn't rate them as high as the ones in Rogue Leader but they are great to play, for the most part. Once again you're out to get medals with Bronze, Silver and Gold medals all to be won. Winning one of these medals relies on you meeting certain criteria such as completing the level within a certain timeframe or not losing a life. There are a fair amount of unlockable features for you to earn too, such as the Star Wars arcade game.

One of the key differences with Rebel Strike is that some missions, or parts of the missions, will have you on foot as you control your character from a third person perspective. In all honesty this aspect of Rebel Strike is pretty poor. The camera is fixed and is constantly your biggest enemy. On the subject of enemies the ones you face on foot are pretty stupid. You'll see no attempt to duck and run for cover which is rather disappointing. Whilst the space fights and speeder bike chases look impressive the graphics and animations of the characters look disappointing. All things considered the 'on foot' sections dilute the quality of the game.

You were out of look with Rogue Leader if you wanted a multiplayer experience. Thankfully that has all changed with Rebel Strike as the game supports a few 2 player modes. Best of all though you can play through the whole of Rogue Leader in co-operative mode (although you can't access it as a single player game). In addition to the co-operative mode there are also some other modes such as Dogfight, Rampage (you have to destroy hostile targets whilst battling with your rival), Tag and Defend (which requires you to capture bases and hold on to them for as long as possible) and finally there are special multiplayer games such as races etc. The only disappointment with the multiplayer games is that only 2 players can compete.

Graphically the game is more or less identical to Rogue Leader. As we have already mentioned the 'on foot' sections look poor but otherwise the game looks just as impressive as it did when Rogue Leader was released. What is disappointing is the loading times which seem to have at least doubled in size from Rogue Leader. Some additional lighting effects have been added (as shown in the included documentary) and the framerate is more stable although it wasn't a problem in Rogue Leader. The game features a variety of missions in very different locations. Deserts, snow covered landscapes, forests and of course space missions are all there and instantly recognisable from the original Star Wars trilogy. Rebel Strike certainly looks good but it's not a real improvement over Rogue Leader but then again Rogue Leader is still the most visually impressive game on the GameCube.

Thankfully Rebel Strike is fully subtitled. You have to turn on the subtitles via the options menu though. Once they are enabled all speech is shown via text and this is a massive improvement over Rogue Leader and makes the game much more enjoyable for deaf gamers. You'll be able to follow the tutorial this time around too, which is great as it introduces the control system for the 'on foot' side of the game. Whilst the game itself is fully subtitled the unlockable extras such as the documentary are not subtitled. This is a small quibble though and the fact that deaf gamers can enjoy the main game more than makes up for it.

Rebel Strike whilst not equalling the excellence of Rogue Leader's missions is actually the better game for deaf gamers. The fact that the game is subtitled and offers multiplayer games means that you'll get more fun from Rebel Strike. The 'on foot' sections of the game are poor though and take the shine off an impressive game. It would have also been good if the multiplayer games had been for four players but what is available is most welcome indeed. If you enjoyed Rogue Leader and you're looking for more quality Star Wars action, then Rebel Strike will definitely satisfy. Like Rogue Leader it's also one of the better games on the GameCube.

Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10
The inclusion of subtitles and multiplayer components make this a much better Star Wars title for deaf gamers.

Deaf Gamers comment:
The game itself is fully subtitled but the extras aren't.