Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire

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Star Wars: Rebel Assault II:
The Hidden Empire
Box art for RAII.
Developer(s) LucasArts
Factor 5 (PS)
Publisher(s) LucasArts
Series Star Wars Rebel Assault[*]
Engine INSANE
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation, Mac OS
Release November 1995[1]
Genre(s) Action, rail shooter
Mode(s) Single player

Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire is a 1995 video game developed by LucasArts. It is the sequel of the LucasArts action game Star Wars: Rebel Assault, set in the Star Wars expanded universe.

This part of the series contained mostly original filming with actors and stunts, while the scenery and the space scenes were 3D rendered. According to LucasArts' magazine "The Adventurer", this game was the first media to incorporate live-action actors and footage in the Star Wars universe since Return of the Jedi. The stormtrooper armor, weapons, helmets and suits seen to be worn by the actors, were not made for the game, but are the actual props seen in the original trilogy, taken from the archive storage of Lucasfilm.

The game makes use of the INSANE game engine.

Here, the player Rookie One is clearly shown and is a male character. He commands ships which did not appear in the previous game, like a YT-1300 Corellian Transport, a B-wing, and a Y-wing, and encounters new opponents, like TIE Interceptors. The fly videos now seem to move and rotate according to controller inputs, so that there is an illusion of steering the ship (which in reality is following a 'rail' in a pre-rendered course).

Plot[edit]

After the destruction of the first Death Star, Darth Vader has begun a new project for the Galactic Empire. Meanwhile, in the Rebel Alliance, rumors have grown concerning "ghost ships" attacking Rebel patrols.

Rookie One (acted by Jamison Jones in cut scenes, his voice is provided during the "shoot scenes"), while flying with his wingman on patrol near the planet Dreighton, receives a distress call from a YT-1300 transport, the Corellia Star, which is being attacked by TIE fighters. The pilot has crucial information about the Empire's new project. After fighting off several TIE Fighters, Rookie One's wingman destroyed by one of the unseen attackers, and Rookie One's ship is shot down, but he is able to eject himself before the rest of his ship explodes and crash lands on a planet, where the captured transport had been forced to land. Having survived the crash landing, Rookie One follows a tracking scanner to an Imperial station, where the Corellia Star is being held. After fighting stormtroopers, he finds the transport and its information, but the station's doors close before he can escape, forcing him to fly through mining tunnels. He is able to find another way out and escapes through hyperspace.

Back at Pinnacle Base, Admiral Ackbar (digitally copied from Return of the Jedi and inserted into the game) helps the pilots understand the message from the freighter. The Alliance learns that the Empire has constructed a secret mining facility in the asteroid Belt of Arah, somewhere in the Dreighton Nebula, and Rookie One is sent along with a squadron of X-wings to destroy it. Along the way, they encounter derillium minefields and TIE Interceptors. The facility is not simply mining ore, but is supplying rare metals required to manufacture the new V38 "Phantom" TIE, equipped with a cloaking device invented by Grand Admiral Sarn. After the squadron opens a way into the facility's reactor core and destroys it, narrowly escaping the blast, squadron leader Ace Merrick is killed along with wingman Ina Rece by an ambush of Phantom TIEs. Rookie One manages to evade the TIEs and escape. At Pinnacle Base, Admiral Ackbar comes up with a plan for two people to infiltrate the facility building the Phantom V38s at Imdaar Alpha.

Rookie One takes a crash course in TIE piloting from Admiral Krane with two TIEs stolen from the Empire. Then, they head out to the jump point where they encounter TIE Interceptors. After defeating them, Rookie One heads to Imdaar Alpha alone and encounters sentry guns and force fields along the way. He meets with Ru Murleen (played by Julie Eccles), Rookie One's previous flight instructor from Rebel Assault. They fly to an Imperial Landing Platform on the far side of a swamp on Speeder Bikes. Disguised as stormtroopers, Rookie One and Ru Murleen steal an Imperial shuttle and board Admiral Sarn's cloaked Super Star Destroyer Terror. After defeating numerous stormtroopers within the Super Star Destroyer and later in the maintenance tunnels, they steal a Phantom TIE from the hangar. After the destruction of Terror from inside, along with many other Phantom TIEs, Darth Vader kills Admiral Sarn for his failures and escapes on his TIE Advanced. The Imdaar Alpha facility manufacturing the new fighters suddenly appears on Imdaar's moon, as it was also equipped with a cloaking device that was damaged when the Terror exploded. After destroying the facility and returning to a Rebel base, the leader of the Rebels thanks them for saving the day once again. Darth Vader informs the Emperor of what happened and the stolen Phantom TIE at the Rebel Base self-destructs. There are three endings depending on the difficulty.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
PSM 9.5/10[2]
Maximum 2/5 stars (PC)[3]
Next Generation 2/5 stars (PC)[4]

Maximum applauded the high video quality of the cinematic sequences but overall panned the game for its controls, stating that "Whether using mouse or joystick ... your vehicle jolts and twitches with a life of its own, and there is nothing you can do about it except to employ tiny steadying movements in the hope that the craft doesn't take offense to your attempt at control and vehemently bounce around the screen." They also criticized the game's linearity, low difficulty, poor acting, and anticlimactic final level.[3] A Next Generation critic similarly found that while the video quality is excellent, the acting is poor and the plot is a thinly veiled rehash of the original Star Wars film. He also argued that the gameplay is too limited, likening it to "a movie that requires you to move a stick around and press a button at certain points until you get to see more of the movie."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ LucasArts Entertainment Company | 20th Anniversary
  2. ^ Rebel Assault 2 game review, Official UK PlayStation Magazine, Future Publishing issue 21
  3. ^ a b "Maximum Reviews: Rebel Assault 2". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (3): 156. January 1996. 
  4. ^ a b "The Empire Strikes Out". Next Generation. No. 15. Imagine Media. March 1996. p. 89. 

External links[edit]