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Star Wars Starfighter: Special Edition

Back in the early 90s, LucasArts released a Star Wars game called Rebel Assault, where you piloted a spacecraft through various missions, attempting to defeat the dark side of the Force. This game had cinematic-like graphics, at a decent framerate. But, at that time, the only way that could be achieved was by playing a movie in the background, while you shot at sprites in the foreground, giving the illusion that you were playing the movie. Unfortunately, this meant that you could not control where your spacecraft moved, and were simply shooting targets with your crosshairs Duck Hunt-style. Now, in 2001, we have a game that exceeds Rebel Assault in both graphic quality and framerate, and you can move freely about in your spacecraft. Enter Star Wars Starfighter: Special Edition for XBOX.


Starfighter for XBOX sports a cleaner, more detailed, and less jaggy look than the PS2 version of this title. In addition, the game sports a much better framerate and sports less draw-in than its PS2 cousin. The framerate seems to run at 60fps most of the time, with an occasional split second stutter now and then. Textures could have been even better, but being that this game was originally designed for PS2, the best LucasArts could do is improve the LOD on the textures, as opposed to re-creating them from scratch. A great looking game for sure, that could have been even better if it were designed for the XBOX from the start.


A highly active and exciting Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack awaits you with Starfighter, with superb use of the surround speakers. Again, Starfighter blows away its PS2 counterpart in this field. Sound effects and music are outstanding, and voices are good enough for this type of game. Starfighter, however, does not allow you to use your own custom soundtracks.


Controls are very responsive and accurate, probably some of the best I've encountered in a Star Wars game, topping Gamecube's Rogue Leader. In addition, Starfighter gives you more freedom and depth than Rogue Leader can offer. The only thing Starfighter doesn't offer is the spacecraft you all recognize, such as the X-Wing and Tie Figher. Starfighter takes place in the Episode 1 universe, so these crafts are not available to play. If you can get over not having the "classic" Star Wars spacecraft at your fingertips, you will find Starfighter will give you the best Star Wars console space combat experience to date. Starfighter: SE has some bonus missions and multiplayer modes not available in the PS2 version, however they are really not anything to get that excited over. If you already have Starfighter for PS2, your main reason for buying Starfighter SE should be the much improved graphics and sound, not the bonus missions. Speaking of multiplayer, Starfighter offers excellent multiplayer action, for fans of Dogfighting. All in all, an excellent overall gameplay experience. If I had to state any negatives, I would simply note that the menu and save interface lacks polish.

Bottom Line:

Starfighter SE for XBOX is one of the best, if not the best, console Star Wars space combat games to date. As long as you don't mind flying Episode 1 spacecraft instead of X-Wings and Tie Fighters, Starfighter would be a worthy addition to your game collection.

-Pete Calderwood