One of the greatest flight simulator titles also happens to be an incredible Star Wars game, and it’s available for a whole new generation of players. Of course I’m talking about Star Wars: X-Wing, which, alongside with the rest of the series it spawned, is available on GOG.com right now.
I’ll wait here for you to go and check it out…
OK, you’re back! Or maybe you need a few more details before you jump behind the stick of your favorite Alliance starfighter. Let’s take a trip down memory lane together to remember why this awesome game bears playing more than 20 years after its release.
You remember how crazy it was to watch as the Rebel fleet attacked the Death Star? That feeling of awe you felt watching an X-wing take on swarms of Imperial TIE fighters? Yeah, I do too, and the closest I’ve ever come to living it myself was in Star Wars: X-Wing. Once you’re behind the stick you get access to all the ships’ bells and whistles. You can redistribute power from your forward deflector shields to your rear (just like Luke did in his trench run!), ask your wingmen to check in, or even give them commands. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to quote the movies while you do this.
If you have a joystick you’re in for an even bigger treat. Sure, it’s not essential for play, but there’s nothing quite like yanking the stick into a last minute turn after doing a strafing run along the hull of an Imperial Star Destroyer. It also allows you to come up on the six of your wingman’s enemy pursuer, flip the switch to arm your weapons, and blast that TIE to bits before letting loose a heavy exhale. Just don’t get cocky, kid.
If you want to dive into the lore of the Empire fighting the Rebellion, there’s a number of historical missions in Star Wars: X-Wing. Most of them won’t be recognizable since, you know, it isn’t actual history, but you do get a chance to live out your childhood fantasies of racing down the trench of the Death Star. Will you do it without a targeting computer? I doubt it, but you can still feel great taking out the Imperial’s biggest threat to the Rebellion.
On top of the Historical missions, the GOG.com version of Star Wars: X-Wing includes the extra campaigns for the Tour of Duty mode as well. All said, you get five campaigns, putting you in the seat of the X-wing, A-wing, Y-wing, and the behemoth that is the B-wing. The B-wing was always a favorite of mine; it ain’t pretty, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in sheer power. Oh, and if you’re determined to get slightly better graphics you can switch between the 1993 and 1998 versions of the game.
Star Wars: X-Wing’s experience extends beyond the time you spend in the cockpit. One of my favorite things to do was record every mission I went on. After which I could watch it in what is still one heck of a replay system. The replay system lets you watch the battle from your perspective, switch to different camera views, and even see what other ships are doing while you were busy taking on the enemy. Load up the official soundtrack for Star Wars while you’re watching and it’s kind of like viewing a replay of your imagination all those years ago as you played with your toys in the yard.
I know some of you, especially the younger crowd, will have a hard time getting past the old-school graphics, but I urge you to give it a try. Star Wars: X-Wing’s significance can’t be denied: it gave a generation of gamers a taste of what was previously just a fantasy in their minds, inspired hosts of future game designers with its attention to detail and innovative mechanics, and created an experience that set the bar for every space combat game since its release in 1993.
Anthony Gallegos is a freelance writer who loves Star Wars and video games. He’s written for publications like IGN, GameSpy, 1UP, EGM, and Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @chufmoney.