Star Wars: Rebel Assault


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 4

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3

In the future, kids will look back on our generation's video games and laugh at what we played much like we laugh at people who found the 1925 silent film version of "The Lost World" to be realistic. Rest assured when that time comes, "Rebel Assault" will be one of the games kids use to fire off their cracks. Surely all of us who seen this one running at a game store kiosk simply had to have it and oddly, most of us enjoyed it.

Though the game features none of the actors, you're taking over the role as a young rookie pilot for the Rebel Alliance, playing through "Episode IV" in the space saga we all know. There are additions to be made (no one should recall shooting down AT-ST's in Mos Eisley because it never happened), but for the most part, you'll know most of these sequences. The majority of the game is played via the old catalyst full-motion video (is there a partial-motion video we didn't know about?).

That's what causes most of the games problems. It's obvious a ton of work went into creating computer-generated versions of classic "Star Wars" scenes for players to fly though. There are small details abound if you're looking. Unfortunately, that left little time to actually focus on the gameplay. Every ship hardly ever responds to the controls quickly enough and if they do, they continue responding long after your thumb has left the D-pad. It has nothing to do with the 3DO; all of the versions were like this.

Then you have the problem that the game isn't exactly engaging. The gameplay could easily be copied now with a simple flash game. You move a cursor, lock on, and shoot. Very few missions require you to do much else. There are a few on-foot missions and those end up being the most disastrous, requiring split second timing that a D-pad doesn't allow for. On the PC where the game originated the mouse was sufficient. Someone forgot to make it easier for console gamers.

If you want to dig deeper (not that you have a choice now that you're reading this) then of course you realize pretty quickly that replay value is almost nil. You can challenge the higher difficulties if you want or play through the game as the opposite sex (a rarity to look out for the female gamers), but that's it. Even on the higher difficulty, all that happens is that you can't take as many hits.

The biggest travesty is that this port fails to take advantage of the 3DO at all. The console could really push some nice FMV when it needed too, but this looks exactly like the PC version. There's not a single upgrade. First-timers are going to be slaughtered during the third training mission because they won't be able to tell the difference between a shadow and a rock. Compression just blurs the lines. What's really odd is that the cinematics involving ships are gorgeous and really look great. It could be worse (see the Sega CD port); it's just pure laziness on the part of the developers.

Filled with tons of John William's epic score, the game of course sounds great. The same could really be said for just about any "Star Wars" game. You can tell everything has been compressed in this era of digital home theaters. It doesn't affect the gameplay in the least so it's not really an issue. Voice acting is fair, any of the original cast likely being replaced to save on royalties. All of the sound effects are taken right from the movies, another way this game got so popular.

When sales are high, sequels are born. "Rebel Assault II" is infinitely better, and probably one of the best FMV games ever made, especially in the production values department. The 3DO would only receive the original. If you need space flight and lots of gratuitous FMV, check out "Wing Commander III." It even has Mark Hamill.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Sunday, March 20, 2005 08:46 AM