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In 1996, at about the same time that the first novel of the X Wing Series was coming out, Lucas Arts decided to make a space combat game, similar to the Hoth level in Shadows of the Empire. Factor 5, the company they contracted, wanted to make games that let people play though action scenes from the films. At that time, LucasFilm was not comfortable with video games drawing directly from the films. Then someone looked at the Rogue Squadron comics and realized that they could use similar settings, putting characters from the films into new missions. A series of three shooter games called Rogue Squadron (followed by Rogue Leader and Rebel Strike) kicked off in 1998. The first game is set between Episodes IV and V, but several missions make use of events in the expanded universe, like the Emperor's rebirth; the next two games were set between and during points of the movies.
The second game is widely recognized as the best -- for instance, they got the actor who played Wedge Antilles to voice him -- and the third is usually considered to be the weakest largely due to incorporating ground missions that had iffy controls (though it also has the second game included in it, albeit playable in a new co-op mode.) Your Mileage May Vary on that judgment, however, depending on how important multiplayer is to you (the third one is the only one with such a feature.)
To tie in with The Phantom Menace, a cheat code was hidden in Rogue Squadron which allowed you to unlock a Naboo Starfighter for play. Factor 5 later released Star Wars Episode 1: Battle For Naboo, which was very much in the vein of the Rogue Squadron series (albeit with new ground based vehicles as well as the flight combat), and was equally well received and successful.
After releasing the three games, Factor 5 went on to make Lair. Reportedly they were sick of the series. Unfortunately, it didn't work out so well and Lair was critically and commercially panned, eventually leading to the closure of the studio.
This series provides examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: The World Devastators in the first Rogue Squadron are significantly weaker than how they were portrayed in Dark Empire. For starters, in the original source material of the mission, the World Devastators required a literal Deus Ex Machina to take down (courtesy of R2-D2 uploading the shutdown codes), whereas in this game, you had to take down the shields, and also shoot out two of its "legs" thus forcing it to crash in the water.
- Battleship Raid: Various bosses in Rogue Leader and Rebel Strike.
- Broken Record: A bug on the Rebel Strike version of "Battle of Endor" causes Lando's "WE GOTTA BUY MORE TIME" clip to play ad nauseum.
- Continue Your Mission, Dammit!
- Cores and Turrets Boss: The Star Destroyers and World Devastators.
- Distant Finale: The Battle of Calamari in the first game, which is set during the Dark Empire Expanded Universe saga.
- DVD Commentary: While not on DVD, Battle for Naboo was one of, if not the very first video game to have audio commentaries. On a cartridge, no less.
- Decoy Protagonist: Rogue Leader switches from having you play as Luke to having you play as Wedge fairly early on.
- Delaying Action: "Revenge of the Empire" in Rebel Strike consists of taking out Imperial reinforcements to buy more time for the evacuation of Yavin IV.
- Early-Bird Cameo: The Naboo Starfighter was an unlockable in Rogue Squadron.
- Easter Egg: The original Rogue Squadron has a secret code which allows you to play a level as an AT-ST. It serves no purpose, it's self contained and gains you nothing, but hey, you get to ride an AT-ST and blow stuff up, so who's complaining?
- All three of the original Atari Star Wars arcade games are included on Rebel Strike as extras.
- The flying Buick (yes, a real Buick car) from Rogue Leader. There's also a cheat code to replace the V-wing with it in the first game. It's a development team in-joke.
- Escort Mission: A few. One of these in the first game requires you to trip up three AT-ATs.
- Face Heel Turn: Sarkli from Rebel Strike
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Sarkli's reasons for defecting to the Empire was due to not being recognized enough by his compatriots for his efforts in aiding the Rebellion.
- Heel Face Turn: Kasan Moore in the first game. Also Tycho Celchu in the third game.
- Defector From Decadence: The reason why Kasan Moore and Tycho Celchu defected to the Rebellion in the first and third game, respectively.
- Killer App: Rogue Leader was a Gamecube launch title with stunningly good graphics.
- Marathon Level: The Endurance mission in Rogue Leader, which has you facing 100 waves of TIE fighters and interceptors, along with the ocassional shuttle for the breather waves. To give an idea of how ludicrously long it is, the minimum time requirement for a gold medal is three hours.
- Midquel: Segments of Rogue Leader and Rebel Strike serve to bridge events of the series not covered by the movies--for example, the first level of Rebel Strike "Revenge of the Empire" takes place immediately after the destruction of the Death Star (or rather, the most intense consequence of the immediate invasion from the Empire), in which Luke has to help with the evacuation of the rebel fleet as the empire invades Yavin IV. An alternate point of view version where you play as Vader destroying Rebel ships popped up earlier in Rogue Leader as an unlockable.
- Lampshade Hanging + Take That Player: The Infinite Lives cheat code in the first game is IGIVEUP.
- Lethal Lava Land: Sullust, in the first game.
- Lost in Transmission: Wedge Antilles' SOS comm link ends in static as he is being shot down by an ambush of TIE Interceptors and captured shortly thereafter.
- Nintendo Hard: Rogue Leader is tough enough just trying to beat the game-but just TRY and get all of the medals, and you are in for absolute hell. Especially Endurance in Rogue Leader & Rebel Strike.
- Nonstandard Game Over: In the first game, if the player shoots down too many escorts or friendlies, Rieekan will contact Luke to return to base so he could "discuss [Skywalker's]... tactics... in private."
- Old School Dogfighting: It's a Star Wars game about flying around fighters, so of course.
- Script Breaking: In "Battle of Endor", you can turn around right as the mission begins to summon the massive swarms of TIE Interceptors, instead of following the movie faithfully and only turning around when ordered to.
- Shout-Out: In Rogue Leader, the Death Star trench isn't barren like in the movie-it's loaded with lots of blocks which you have to swerve in and out of. This is a homage to the original Atari Star Wars arcade game.
- Each game has a Hoth level as homage to the movies and the Shadows of the Empire mission that spawned the trilogy.
- One entire level of Rebel Strike takes place on Geonosis, in which Wedge crash lands on the now abandoned planet, and has to fight his way through a legion of reactivated, decades old battle droids. Wedge gets to escape by reactivating Obi-Wan's Jedi Starfighter--which is equipped with Seismic Charges.
- Space Is an Ocean: Star Destroyers literally sink when beaten. This is usually justified by gravity, most notably one in which the very next mission is going down to the planet and retrieving the data you wanted from it's ruins.
- Timed Mission: Several missions. The most obvious is the Hoth level in Rogue Leader, where you must defeat all enemies before the AT-ATs reach the rebel base. However, none of the timed missions actually have a timer--you just have to pay attention the battlefield.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In Rogue Leader, if you destroy some of the ion turrets on the Star Destroyer in "Razor Rendevous", those turrets will remain destroyed in the next mission after the same Star Destroyer crash-lands, making it slightly easier to approach.
- Video Game Lives: You start each mission with three. When they run out, you get a game-over screen and have to start back from the very beginning of the mission.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In the first game, Rieekan will call Luke back to base for what is implied to be strict dressing down if the player shoots down too many escorts/friendlies. See also Nonstandard Game Over.
- What Could Have Been: A compilation disc would've been released for the Wii, but Factor 5 went bankrupt before it could be finished.