Rebel Assault II was a game which I first experienced on the original PlayStation. I loved the franchise and couldn’t wait to get hold of the disc and slam it into my faithful grey box. Recently, due to the hype beginning to emerge with the latest Star Wars film’s new trailer I wanted to go back and delve into some classic Star Wars game titles of the past. I obtained Star Wars: Rebel Assault II on PC and began my journey back into my personal gaming past.
At its core Rebel Assault II is an arcade-style shoot-em-up. However, it’s also an extremely story-based gameplay experience. It begins with a narrative which is, excitingly, an original Star Wars story. Playing as Rookie One, you fight on the side of the Rebel Alliance against the Evil Empire. The Action sequences are integrated almost seamlessly into the storyline and woven into the movie scenes that add context and suspense to the game.
I have a lot of fuzzy and fun-filled memories regarding this title. I used to rush home from school and fire this game up and play through levels that I had beaten countless times. As I replayed it I could appreciate that it was an almost perfect early multimedia title but as a gameplay experience fairly lacking.
As an interactive movie game, its production values set it apart from those that came before. The Initial cut scenes show a floor robot scooting about a highly polished Imperial Star Destroyers corridors. We get a feeling of the size and scale of the ship and eventually, it runs into a dialogue between Imperial officers and eventually we become face to face with the Dark Lord himself – Darth Vader. It’s a wonderfully scripted scene and this quality continues throughout the whole title. The environments are authentic and the costumes equally so. Its a remarkable amount of fun to just sit back and enjoy the cinematic ride.
Rebel Assault II uses four different gaming perspectives. Players will find themselves in the cockpit of an Alliance vehicle, blasting TIE fighters. They will be on the ground, shooting Stromtroopers and ducking behind walls to avoid hot laser death. They will drive and fly vehicles through dangerous battlegrounds. Gamers will even get the chance to engage with Imperial troops in a Doom-style perspective in a watered-down FPS styled section.
As amazing as this all sounds, sadly, the fun only lasts for a few hours and then quickly begins to become tedious. There’s also a serious gameplay problem in the vehicular levels. The controls feel too loose, the Millennium Falcon style ship seems to float all over the screen when using mouse control. I found myself attempting to use a controller and tapping the keys in order to try and complete the section. These sections are incredibly difficult to complete, it’s almost impossible to dodge any obstacles in your path.
This a fun look back on one of the best-loved games of my youth. It was more of a fun watch than playthrough. Is it worth checking out now? Possibly, if you are a massive fan of the franchise and like to study all its curios.