Saturday, 11 June 2011

Star Wars: TIE Fighter - Collectors' CD-ROM (PC)


I'm playing the final release of the game, running on the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter engine with texture mapped graphics, and music from the movies instead of the fantastic original soundtrack.

Usually I'm happy when a movie tie-ins feature the music from their films, and the Star Wars soundtrack is awesome, but it is massively overused in the games. Plus TIE Fighter's original music was dynamic, adapting to the gameplay.

Whoa, that's flying a little too close don't you think? Someone's gonna get strangled for that stunt.

The Imperial Fleet is gathering at the capital planet of the empire for the Emperor's speech.

The Emperor basically just says 'we gonna win, Rebels ain't shit compared to Darth Vader'. Not really worth turning up for really.

Have some nice artwork of the Emperor's palace to look at instead.

A cameo appearance from fan favourite Admiral Thrawn, the bluest of all the Empire's admirals, as he orders an attack on a Rebel Alliance stronghold.

This is basically just an excuse for TIE Fighters (well actually TIE Interceptors...) to swoop around and look cool as they wipe out the Rebel scum. Finally the Empire gets their hero moment. Villain moment, whatever.

Okay okay I'll register my callsign! I only had to hover my mouse pointer near the door for the Stormtroopers to immediately jump in the way and raise their weapons.

They don't really hide the fact that they're evil do they? The whole place reeks of oppression

Wow, that looks kind of terrible. I don't remember the original version of the room looking this bad.

TIE Fighter (DOS)
Well it's not as bad. Though it's still a room full of unmarked doors taking the place of a menu. I have to highlight each one in turn just to see what they lead to.

At least it's clear what can be selected, it's not like I have to click on a plant pot to access the training missions screen or something ridiculously cryptic like that. And there are a lot of things to click on. Combat simulator missions, training missions, tech room, film room...

And I'm finally in the cockpit of my very own fragile little TIE Fighter.

Heroic Rebel X-Wing pilots like Luke Skywalker get a smart-ass robot co-pilot, a hyperdrive, shields, and plot armour, TIE Fighter pilots don't even get life support. It makes more sense to give the pilot a decent spacesuit, as these fighters can't take 2 hits without exploding.

A shot of the original version for comparison. I think the untextured Gouraud shaded models still have some charm to them. Plus like I said before, the music is much better.

You know, I'd be probably be playing this version instead if I could get my damn joystick to work in it.

The first mission is simple, I just have to scan each ship travelling past this checkpoint by flying close to them while they're targeted. I can even go home once the first wave are scanned and leave the rest up the other ships.

But (PLOT TWIST), one of the freighters is full of Rebels trying to escape from the ice planet of Hoth after the attack at the start of Empire Strikes Back! I get bonus points if I stick around and help disable it.

Okay, it turns out that the Rebels had friends in shuttles hiding nearby ready to jump in and help out if they got into trouble.

It's fine with me, shuttles are easy targets for a nimble little TIE Fighter. But I gotta wrap this up quickly because I've still got scanning to do. There are some Millennium Falcon lookalikes coming by that might have some nice contraband on board.

The boss seems pleased. I scanned all the craft, and helped them capture a freighter full of Rebel scum.

Also, I'm a Flight Officer now!

I noticed this guy hanging out in the corner of the briefing room so I went over for a chat. The guy seems a little paranoid, but he's got a cool outfit and I'm sure the Stormtroopers wouldn't have let him on board if he wasn't legit.

My orders are pretty straightforward. Blow up everything marked green or purple on my radar before they can fire missiles at my space station.

Fortunately this isn't a crappy 'shoot the torpedoes' mission, like the ones that infest games like StarLancer. I can halt their attack runs just by throwing a few lasers in their path.

I have to be careful though, Y-Wings can be deadly to TIE Fighters. Mostly because they're so slow that even if I don't crash into them, I could easily crash into their exploding wreckage instead.


Crap, there's more of them coming in. This target info screen is packed with helpful info on what an enemy is planning to shoot (my base) and how soon they're going to be in range (pretty soon).

If I redirect my laser energy to engines I should be able to get over there before they cause too much damage though.

I sorted out the fighter waves, just in time for the Imperial Star Destroyer 'Hammer' to jump in and take control of the battle. But the Rebels don't seem to have gotten the memo that their invasion has failed. I found a shuttle full of officers making a run at the station, and three corvettes have just appeared.

My boss is telling me to dock with the Star Destroyer immediately, but I can't resist investigating these new ships. For all I know they'll have something interesting inside, and the Emperor's envoy will give me bonus points for my initiative.

I'm not sure I like that green light above my crosshairs though. That means that they've targeted me with their turbolasers...

Okay, my first mistake was probably flying towards a group of capital ships in a starfighter made of tinfoil and dynamite. Still, no permanent damage done. To me anyway. The insanely expensive TIE Fighter is sadly a total loss.

Fortunately it still counts as a win, and everyone is very happy.


Those cheeky little Rebels came back and stole the space station while I was off taking part in a raid on some pirate cargo ships! So now we've got to go in and take it back.

But first, the envoy wants me to go investigate that interesting looking container transport docked near the station, so I'm going to have to take a quick break from the battle and go check it out.

I can never resist flying through these ships. A collision would mean an instant mission failure, but I do it anyway.

Anyway, the transport has supplies on board it seems. Probably looted from the space station. The boss is going to send ships over to disable and board it, while I go back and see to it that my frigate isn't destroyed.

Man these A-Wings are a pain in the ass. I took out all the Y-Wings harassing the frigate easily enough, but these guys keep dodging my lasers. I usually keep all my guns linked to fire simultaneously, but on these guys that just means I miss four times with each shot. So I've unlinked them now, and I'm firing lasers like a maniac with a machine gun.

Well, I will when this guy gets out of my way.

As a reward for going above and beyond the call of duty to do the extra tasks assigned to me by the Emperor's envoy, I get to have my arm electrocuted.

On the plus side I do get one of those cool robes of my own to wear now.

Yep, I'm in the Emperor's secret club now. I'm not sure how it stays secret when all the members have glowing tattoos though. Maybe I get to kill anyone who sees my arm.

I guess I'll just have to keep my sleeve down for now and wait to see if they send me a guide booklet or something.

Finally I get to ride around in an Assault Gunboat. These things seem to be the Imperial equivalent to an X-Wing. It's not as manoeuvrable as a TIE Fighter, but it's got shields, missiles, a hyperdrive, and red stripes on the wings.

I'm here to clear out the area around a Rebel Cruiser in preparation for a strike, but my contact in the Secret Order wants me to scan a couple of boxes. Preferably before any of the other fighters blow them up.

This is one of the things I like about the game, how my orders can sometimes conflict with the primary objective of my attack group, and I have to race around getting my work done first.

I'm sure B-Wings are decent bombers but in a dogfight they're not doing well against my Gunboat.

A-Wings on the other hand are slippery little bastards and I'm totally unable to get a hit on any of them right now in this thing. Also they've managed to lead me dangerously close to the Rebel cruiser, and a bloody minefield surrounding it. A minefield with LASERS.

I tired switching to missiles, but they're moving too fast for me to get a lock on. Without a solid missile lock I'd just be throwing my ammo away.

Bastard little A-Wings, they swarmed around me like flies. Flies with homing missiles. Suddenly the awesome Assault Gunboat seems kind of pathetic.

I replayed the mission, but the A-Wings killed me again. I'm really going to need a plan here or else I'll never get past this level.

New plan. I flew away from the battle and let the A-Wings find another target to harass. Then I crept back over and came to stop when the A-Wing was just at the edge of my missile range.

They may be speedy little things, but they weren't fast enough to evade my missile lock from 2.5 km away. Another glorious victory for the Empire, and I get promoted to the rank of Captain.

Is TIE Fighter as good as I remember? Maybe not quite... though to be fair I practically used to worship the game, so it had a lot to live up to. Or perhaps I'm just still mad at those damn A-Wings.

I think I will keep playing it for a while longer. But now I've finally gotten my joystick working in Dosbox (turns out I had to use the mapper to remap the emulated joystick buttons to the real joystick), so I'm going to play the slightly older school version instead. With the proper music.



  1. I remember you could also put the game's CD in a player and it would play the music, starting on track 2. That was the case for several of the Star Wars games of the time, not sure if that one does it too.

    1. Yeah, I can confirm that the CD does have three tracks from the Star Wars films on it, or at least my version does. I still wish they'd just left the original TIE Fighter music alone though. I mean, the Star Wars movie themes were overused in games even back in '98. There's only so many times someone can listen through the Star Wars battle theme before it loses its welcome.

    2. True. I also remember playing X-wing Alliance, having left a totally different CD in the CD-rom player of my PC, and the game played tracks from that, one for each mission, looping infinitely.
      I listened to that one song of the Cranberries for about 45 minutes. It does things to your brain you wouldn't imagine. I was trying to weaken a star destroyer all on my own while singing along...

    3. I used to do that too, in fact when I played Doom 2 over a modem with my buddy I had a Janis Joplin CD in there.

      There was nothing like blasting through the gates of hell listening to 'Take another little piece of my heart'


Semi-Random Game Box