Star Wars: Tie Fighter

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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