Star Wars: Tie Fighter

Star Wars: Tie Fighter
Platforms: PC
Publisher: LucasArts Entertainment
Developer: LucasArts Entertainment
Genres: Simulator / Space Combat
Release Date: July, 1994
Game Modes: Singleplayer

12_1Tie Fighter is a sort of semi-sequel to X-Wing, but from the other side. Here you’re playing a pilot for the Imperial Navy, intent on crushing the Rebel Alliance. The game’s structure is broadly the same as in X-Wing – you have training sections, historical combat and a series of campaign battles. Notable upgrades from the original X-Wing of 1993 include better 3D modelling techniques (including Gouraud Shading – essentially surface smoothing), better sound, more cutscenes, more weapons and 33 new ships that range from freight craft to huge space stations.

The mission structure has also been cleaned up considerably with Tie Fighter. You now have primary, secondary and bonus objectives, so you can play for as little or as much as you want during a mission. At launch, you decide whether to arm your ship with missiles, rockets, bombs or torpedoes, each of which has a different blast radius and damage potential. It’s wise to suit up according to the needs of each mission – bringing light rockets when trying to take down a space station probably isn’t a good idea. Both ships and weaponry get slowly upgraded as you grind through the story missions.

One major criticism of Tie Fighter is that it doesn’t venture far from the basic X-Wing framework, essentially being the same game with Imperial garbs. Even with the new cutscenes, many of the missions feel all too similar, and that epic feeling you got from fighting agains the odds in X-Wing is pretty much gone here. After all, one hardly ever roots for the Empire to win in a Star Wars film. The same can be said here.

If you’ve played some of the many later clones based on X-Wing and Tie Fighter (Freespace, Tachyon, Jacob’s Star), then you already know much of what makes this classic tick. And a memorable classic it is, despite not being monumentally different from its predecesor.

System Requirements: 80386/33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, DOS

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  1. Prenex says:

    This is one of the best games for spacecraft simulation in my opinion – yes even to this day!

    I was and still is a big fan of this game – so much that I made a small program that alters your mouse controls:

    I think those who play it on hardest difficulty levels and get to the late missons this is a must – except of course if you are having a real joystick for battling. Just start this small *.COM file before you are running the game itself and you will get a “more joystick-like” mouse control.

    In the original mouse controls, your craft stops turning when you are not moving the mouse… This is not the case here! Here if you move your mouse a bit backward, you will continously pitch and if you move it to the right it will continously turn until you move the same amount back. If you think about it, that is nearly how it works when you are having a proper joystick.

    I hope you can understand how it works.

    This small application registers itself as the mouse driver in dos and uses the original mouse driver data to fake values “properly” for this hack. However I had to make a trick so that it does not change mouse workings while you are in the menu. To overcome this, no mouse will be changed until you start the battle and in the battle you will need to press “ESC” to get into the in-battle menus and after that the system starts working ;-). You only need to do this once per gaming, so it is not burdensome.

    In short: if you cannot turn after applying the patch, just press ESC twice for in-battle menu and it will work. 😉

    I hope this helps. Just tell me if you have questions!

  2. Prenex says:

    PS.: The altered mouse controls also work in dosbox, NTVDM (old windows dos modes) and real DOS, so you can use it everywhere when you only have a mouse. I haven’t tested it yet, but I guess it also works for X-WIng actually. I hope the little control mod helps some other people not just me 😉

  3. Prenex says:

    PS2.: Also once I wanted to personally reboot this. I did not get so far and the project is abandoned yet playable and when I abandoned the project it became open sourced here:

    – Just for those who might be programmers and maybe take over or something. For everyone else the little hack that I shared above is much better as it just helps to have controls for an awsome old game, but I felt it is worth mentioning that once there was a hobby try to reboot too and the engine and code is there for anyone who is big enough fan to finish it 😉

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