Star Wars: X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter
Here Begins The X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter experience... "If you guard that transport, I'll take this one.., keep your eyes peeled for enemy fighters... what the hell are you doing? I'm the squad commander... if anyone does the spinning flybys it's me, yeah? Quentos... woah! Advanced TIEs at 2kms. Woah! Assault Gunboats at 4kms and closing. Oh shite - why did I choose a Y-Wing... noooo! Don't rush off. Stay here and defend the - Christ. Incoming missile - where's the chaff?
WHERE'S THE BLOODY CHAFF? Oh great, lost my aft shield. Er, Red Two - could do with some help here. Red Two? Hello? It's your squad commander calling?
I NEED SOME HELP. What the hell are you doing over there? Shit, shit. Got two on my tail now. Transport's been hit. Where's my cock-smoking wingman? Ow! Ow! Shit! Shields at 12 per cent. Redirect energy. Sod it. Dump all laser energy to shields. Evasive manoeuvres.
RED TWO! GET YOUR ARSE HERE NOW! I don't give a crap about that Star Destroyer, I need you -Star Destroyer? Oh man. Gotta weave. Gotta turn. I have you now. Take my four-pronged death laser. Empire scum. Woooo. Great shot kid - one in a million. What? Whaddya mean I lose 2000 points for destroying a friendly ship? How the hell was I supposed to know it wasn't Rebel?... What CMD? Oh great... lost a transport. Completion of mission objectives now somewhat impossible... It's all Red Two's fault. Ow! Piss! Shields crumbling... must... eject... must... bzzzzzzzttt - naaarrrgrgrghhhhhhh!"
You get the gist. X-Wing vs TIE Fighter is multi-player er, X-Wing and TIE Fighter. The best bits of both games, combined, with some new wazzy visuals, a new musical score, a glossy front-end, and endless multi-player possibilities. Almost.
In this incarnation, you can fly nine ships. Rebel-wise: the cool X-Wing, the old but gold Y-Wing, the ninjascopic A-Wing, and the ancient Z-95 HeadHunter (no B-Wing and definitely no Millennium Falcon). On the Imperial side, the whole range of TIEs - Fighter, Interceptor, Advanced and Bomber. Plus the Assault Gunboat. The idea is you (and hopefully, a barrel load of your best 'chums') progress from learner to master in easy steps, flitting from pre-planned mission to pre-planned mission, stopping off only for a quick dogfight or head-to-head grudge match. On a technical level, multiplayer will work on an IPX network (eight-player), Internet (four-player), or direct modem and serial (two-player).
Learn to fly and die
Missions are grouped into five categories. Exercise missions teach the newbie scum among us the basics of flying an interstellar spacecraft. You know, playschool stuff like targeting, moving and shooting. Duh. Actually, they do get more complex later on, teaching you the value of swear words like 'co-operation' (yuk) and 'tactics' (gag). You're not taught the virtues of hand-holding, but that's LucasArts for you. Next up, when you feel the force growing inside you, is Melee - a set of simple deathmatches for single and two-player teams. Humans and AI opponents can be mixed and matched, as can the various ships and ordinance settings.
For further challenge and hassle, minefields and asteroids storms can be chosen as the environments. Similar to Melee is Tournament, a rank of activities for the truly exceptional pilots. Budding Daley Thompsons can partake in pent and triathlon events, which are designed to find the overall 'best'. Again both single-player and two-man 'couples' are catered for.
The Combat section will be familiar to old-fashioned X-Wing and TIE Fighter cronies, being as they are the usual menagerie of mission facing the average Rebel or Imperial pilots. Convoy escort (with the inevitable 'Assault Gunboats at 4km'), tactical support, hit and fades, raids, and head-long assaults on capital ships. While you can fly these babies single-player, the ideal situation is for eight networked players to dip in - four on the Dark Side, four on the other.
From tea boy to top ace
And then finally, for those with too much time on their hands, you can engage in a full scale Battle scenario. Between three and seven missions can be flown back to back and. rather like a vast intergalactic pool tournament, it can be best of five, seven, or whatever. Both defensive and offensive are mixed together. The best team wins on accumulated points.
Any mission from any section can be flown from a Rebel or Imperial perspective. All that varies - other than the ships, natch - Es comms traffic. Rebel pilots get lots of squealing and self-congratulatory high fiving from their wingmen. Imperial top guns get a constant stream of "rebel scum'-this and "rebel scum,'-that. Also, difficulty can be moderated (AI of opponents increases, wingmen AI decreases) and certain factors can be randomised: start positions, cargo location etc. As in the previous games, you can host and cultivate various pilots, rising through the ranks from teaboy to Top Ace, gathering plaudits, medals and self-confidence en route. Progression is points-based, with you gathering up to fourdigit bonuses for completing mission objectives, taking out Vader-quality pilots, and coming top in dogfights. So far so X-Wing.X Vs TIE isn't that much enhanced beyond the TIE Fighter Collector's CD. Graphics-wise, it now paints the craft with the true texture-maps from the films, and there's all manner of 65K colour schemes, mip-mapping and light-sourcing. But then TIE Fighter ran on a 486. For a full motion frame rate now, you're looking at a P133 easily, if not a P200 with a 3D card on board. Nevertheless, it does look 'fantastiche' (as our German cousins say). Spacecraft hulls look realistically dull and pitted. Fire on an asteroid and you'll see an explosive splash as the bolt hits. Kamikazee up close to a Star Destroyer and you can almost see down the barrels of the ion cannons cutting through your shields. Everything looks suitably cinematic and 'nineties'.
The much lauded feel of the game is still there. From the glorious handling of the X-Wing to the sluggish turning circle of the Assault Gunboat. The industrial appeal of the Y-Wing: great fire rate, crusty to fly. The sheer, all-consuming beauty of the TIE Advanced manoeuvrability. It's hard to think of a better feeling than pulling up behind a battered TIE Fighter and giving it all four bolts from your open S-foils. Or waggling furiously, frenetically redirecting power to your shields, screaming to your wingman, cycling madly through your targets, desperately matching speed, desperately clinging onto a missile lock as your opponent pirouettes around the asteroid field, desperately throttling around torpedoes while your frigging R2 units repair your Countermeasure system. And then you get caught out by the excellent uncontrollable spins, collision with another starfighter, or you get toasted by engine wash from Star Destroyers (that tactic doesn't work anymore).
The sounds are all there to accentuate the actions. The laser 'blats'. The groaning near miss with a TIE Fighter. The massive electrical fizz as your wingman buys the farm. And the music. Woah. It's fantastic. The whole John Williams score on the CD. l-mused to the eyeballs, changing pace and tone to suit the dynamics of your battles. Sad as it may sound, it really is like being in the movie.
However, the underlying game has us somewhat divided. As a single-player game, it's not much of a step up from TIE Fighter. Think of it as the kind of step an Ewok might make up a staircase built by a Wookie. Without a storyline spine, the missions are kinda disjointed. You don't really feel the progression. And they soon become repetitive. They're exposed for what they are - practice missions and venues for the greater multi-player experience.
Ah yes, multi-player...
The simple stuff works great. You and a pal working as wingmen taking on streams of TIE Fighters, covering each other, and choosing your targets - great. You and a bunch of chums working a furball in an asteroid field. Each man for himself, lots of targeting the weak and avoiding the 200 per cent shielded strong -great. You and three others enjoying a 20 minute turkey shoot against a fleet of Z-95 Headhunters and shuttle craft. No opposition, just simple seek and destroy, and nicking other people's kills - great. 'Fantantische', as we said earlier. Endless amounts of 'once I was the learner, now I am the master' willy-waving in the aftermath.
The complex missions however, can be a bit messier. A simple co-op operation - two capital ships unleash their fighters against each other, or some frigates need to be escorted to hyperspace - is easy to keep a grip on. The variables come at you in a pre-described order and you have a point of reference - the ship you're protecting or the fleet you're attacking. In less orchestrated campaigns, things can get chaotic. One mission, for example, where four teams of Y-Wings protect three waves of four sets of two shuttles, while trying to destroy each other's shuttles and ships, is a nightmare. Your wingmen - AI or otherwise - are immediately lost in the mass of identical ships. Cycling through the tens of targets takes about 60 seconds. And with no geographical reference point, it's difficult to know which way you're heading, where your shuttles are going, or where the next lot are going to appear. There are a host of keyboard shortcuts to help you - store targets, target attack of current target etc - but this is a game which already demands you learn over 70 separate key commands. In the thick of battle, you want to zone in on simple objectives and deal with them with your skill and dexterity.
Too clever by far
Often, if there's a dearth of network players, you may find yourself teamed with one or two AI wingmen. Great - a bit of quality artificial intelligence to soup-up our side. Except the AI is a little too good. Just as the intelligence makes that Advanced TIE a little slippier to get a bead on, it also works to make your wingman a little too effective. Often, if you slipped off to engage an errant Gunboat or avoid a missile, you can whip back to the battle to find a lot of floating Imperial carcasses and your team eating their full-time KitKats out of their lunchboxes. They'll gladly steal your kill and shoot through you to get theirs. And just try surviving for five seconds in an A-Wing furball with Advanced Missiles. Also, the network game seems a little too regimented, a little too over-serious.
Y You can't fly eight players on one side, for example. Eight human X-Wings against a fleet of Top Ace AI Advanced TIEs will be a serious challenge. Or test your Top Ace mettle against six human-controlled ships. It's defiantly four-aside. Also, in furball, a few customisable novelties would've been welcome. An eight-player dogfight where, if you die, you come back in a random ship - Empire or otherwise. That would be fun. And for chrissakes, when are we going to get to fly the Millennium Falcon?
Yes, we have our gripes. Especially as Internet play only supports four players (your LAN-based clan may not get a chance to test itself globally), and we've had endless DirectX 3.0 problems (the game refused to run on two out of the ten machines we tried it on. One machine needed proprietary drivers downloaded for its sound and graphics card).
Nevertheless, it's hard to suppress the feeling of excitement one gets when the first drumrolls pound out of the speakers. It's hard not to get excited about engaging Star Wars fantasies, chasing your mates around an asteroid field, flying in close formation, scurrying to pick a deadly TIE Interceptor off your best mate's six. As a single-player game, XVs TIE'ts pretty limited. As a multi-player game, despite our niggles, it is resolutely and undeniably, good.
Processor: PC compatible, P-100
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode
Star Wars: X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter Screenshots
- Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance
- Star Wars: X-Wing Versus Tie Fighter
- Star Wars: X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter