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By Todd O’Neil

The year of Star Wars is upon us. We are rolling towards the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as fast as BB-8 has rolled into our hearts. Now is the perfect time to dust off the classic GameCube launch title, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader.

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Stay On Target

Rogue Leader is a fast-paced flight game that puts you in the space suit of Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles as they battle the Empire in places both familiar and novel. You’ll be piloting nearly every starfighter that the Rebel Alliance has at its disposal. Every kid who saw Star Wars wanted to get in the cockpit of an X-Wing and have their turn at the Kessel Run, but what if you were more of a Cloud Car kid? Don’t worry, you’ll be flying everything from the A-Wing to the Y-Wing with a grin as big as Salacious Crumb’s. And if you’re really good, there are a few secret ships to unlock.

Piloting a B-Wing got me all…

Rogue Leader smartly keeps all its combat centered in the original trilogy. The game starts you off as Luke Skywalker piloting an X-Wing in the attack on the original Death Star. After taking down some deflector towers and a few waves of TIE fighters, you head in to the Death Stars’ trench to fire a torpedo at the exhaust port. If you’re looking to be young Anakin in his Pod Racer, this game isn’t for you.

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The game’s 9 remaining standard missions take you to places both intimately familiar and stunningly new. No Star Wars game is complete without a trip to Hoth. In Rogue Leader you’ll be taking down AT-STs from the cockpit of your Snowspeeder and using your tow cables to wrangle as many AT-ATs as you can before the shield generator is inevitably destroyed (we aren’t rewriting the story here!). The developers also bring you to new locals that are written in Star Wars lore, but did not make in to the screen. After you destroy the original Death Star, you are tasked with escorting the Rebel fleet through the Ison Corridor. This is a trade route through a cloudy nebula that leads to Hoth and the Empire is looking to exact some revenge on the fleeing Rebels. Set pieces like this offer a nice balance to the iconic battles that fans of the movie are so familiar with.

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Remember the Ison Corridor?

Rogue Leader released along side of the Nintendo GameCube in November of 2001. Home consoles were finally beginning to have enough processing power render beautiful, large scale, 3-D game worlds and Rogue Leader was the shining example of power that the GameCube had. This game was packing some serious tech for the time. If your television was fancy enough, you could play Rogue Leader in stunning 480p resolution and it supported Dolby Surround Sound. You can pop this game into your GameCube or Wii today and still be impressed by its visual fidelity. This is a fantastic game to hold you over until December!

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Rogue Leader was a showpiece for this 80-pound beast

Next time, we will look at a new title that takes inspiration from many classic 8-bit platforming games. Shovel Knight is available on nearly all current game consoles but its roots are squarely tied to the late 80s. So give it a download and come back in a couple of weeks!