Star Wars: Rebel Assault was the first CD ROM-only game published by Lucasarts, set in the Star Wars universe. It was released for the PC followed by subsequent releases on the Sega CD, Mac and 3DO platforms.
Although the scenario, the plot, and the variety of missions were considered neither original nor rich, the game was valued for the technical details, since it featured digitized footage and music from the original movies, and full speech. Rebel Assault is one of the oldest titles to make use of extensive full motion video (FMV) on the PC. In this case the video was used to display pre-rendered 3D graphics that were far ahead of what a PC could render in real-time at the time. Developers pre-rendered various environments and battles and the player flew through these environments. Unfortunately because it was pre-rendered 3D graphics, the level of player control was extremely limited. In fact, the player could not stray from the path in more than a few branched areas and was usually limited to only aiming the crosshairs at enemies.
The game consisted mainly of recreating famous scenes from the movies, rather than being accurate to the Star Wars storyline: it follows the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but erroneously includes elements from the Battle of Hoth.
The gameplay consists of various spaceflight missions, mainly confined in a certain video looping. The course of the ship is predetermined and the player has to hit the targets (usually TIE fighters) that show up; however, they are able to partially control and steer the ship so that it won't collide with obstacles and lose hit points. In a few stages, there are branching points but most stages consist of a straight run through to the end point or consist of a looping area until all targets are destroyed. One odd aspect of the game is that if the player moves the targeting cursor after firing, the shots that were already fired will actually follow the cursor.
In some cases, original footage was filmed for the game with actors, and a Star Destroyer model was digitized (a mini camera 'flew' around it) for a certain mission. Most of the graphics were rendered in 3D.
The game follows the adventures of a young person known as Rookie One. Like Luke Skywalker, it is a farmboy or farmgirl from Tatooine (the player can choose the gender, although Rebel Assault II dictates that Rookie One's male persona is canon) and decides to join the Rebel Alliance. The whole game happens during the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and begins with his/her training, some hours before the Devastator captures Tantive IV above Tatooine.
Rookie then joins a squadron to intercept the Devastator and after the mission is over they descend back to the planet in order to stop an Imperial assault on Tatooine.
The story then leads the player on Hoth, where Rookie will have to stop the AT-AT walkers on a Snowspeeder and then escape the base firing his/her way through the Stormtroopers in a sequence that reminds one of the Battle of Hoth (which is non-canon since the battle didn't happen before the Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back).
The Alliance eventually learns about the Death Star project and the player guides Rookie to the Battle of Yavin. The final missions follow the actions of the Blue Squadron, similarly to the Red Squadron shown in the movie. They take place near and on the Death Star where the player has to destroy turrets, stop a gigantic laser gun (absent from the movie) and finally destroy it in place of Luke Skywalker, again making the battle non-canon.
The game was followed by Star Wars: Rebel Assault II - The Hidden Empire.
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