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Overview

The Battle of Endor was one of XWA's biggest selling points.

Released by LucasArts in early 1999, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance is the fourth title in Totally Games' popular series of Star Wars space combat simulations. After the previous game in the series, Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, received a significant amount of criticism from both fans and critics for neglecting the single-player experience previous games in the X-Wing series were known for, the developers decided to return in X-Wing Alliance with a renewed single-player focus, providing a campaign composed of more than 50 missions. The X-Wing flight engine was upgraded to include more detailed ships with fully modeled cockpits, and the audio presentation included a copious amount of voice acting both between and during missions.

Unlike the campaigns of Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: TIE Fighter, X-Wing Alliance's story is told on a very personal level, as the player is cast as one Ace Azzameen, the youngest of the Azzameen clan. While previous games provided little information about their protagonists' prior motivations, the player experiences firsthand in X-Wing Alliance the hardships the Azzameens face at the hands of the Empire, and what leads them to join the Rebellion. Even after joining the Alliance, the Azzameen's story is intertwined with Ace's struggle against the Imperials, as he is periodically called upon to aid his family members.

Story

As a member of the Azzameens, the player (referred to in-game as Ace) has just begun to assume the duties associated with his family business, Twin Suns Transport Services. As the game begins, the two patriarchs of the Azzameen family, Ace's father Tomaas and his uncle Antan, are butting heads over the direction of their enterprise. While still maintaining day-to-day appearances, Tomaas has begun surreptitiously aiding the Alliance, much to Antan's dismay. While not unsympathetic toward the plight of the rebels, Antan knows what fate awaits those who are found to be assisting the enemies of the Galactic Empire, and cautions his brother both for his own sake and that of their business not to openly help the Rebel Alliance.

The Azzameen's home and base of operations

Before long Antan's fears are realized when the Imperials, in collusion with the Viraxo, the Azzameen's ruthless competitors, discover the Azzameen's activities. Facing the complete seizure of all their property, Ace and his entire family flee their home in order to seek the protection of the Rebel fleet, with family friend and Rebel pilot Olin Garn vouching for them. With all the reason he needs to seek the Empire's downfall, Ace quickly trains to become a starfighter pilot for the Rebellion, much to the delight of his Rebel-friendly droid MK-09 (or Emkay). Ace's activities in the Alliance roughly follow the timeline of Episode V and Episode VI, from the Rebel's exodus from Hoth to their eventual discovery of the Death Star II. From time to time Ace is also called upon to assist various family members as they seek revenge on the Viraxo for selling them out to the Empire.

Similar to the first game in the series, where players were allowed to assume the role of Luke Skywalker during the Battle of Yavin, X-Wing Alliance's final act shifts perspective from Ace Azzameen to Lando Calrissian. This is done to allow players to assume his role during the Battle of Endor, piloting Han Solo's Millennium Falcon in a multi-mission scenario which ends in the destruction of the Death Star II.

Gameplay

While the scale of encounters and the number of friendly wingmen varies widely from mission to mission, the core gameplay of X-Wing Alliance consists of one on one confrontations between individual starfighters. In this respect it is very faithful to previous iterations of the series. While missions have a diverse array of goals, combat with enemy fighters is to be expected throughout the campaign, in addition to fights with larger craft from time to time. One of the biggest changes in terms of gameplay over previous games is the inclusion of freighter class ships. While they handle much like starfighters, all freighter ships come with turret weaponry. These can be linked to fire forward like normal weapons, but also can be set to defensive mode, where they are able to fire independently in any direction. This gives freighter craft the unique ability to both evade and attack opposition simultaneously.

Ace's cabin houses various mementos from previous missions.

A major factor of successful piloting in the X-Wing series has always been energy management, and X-Wing Alliance is no exception. A ship's energy supply can be utilized for three purposes (laser recharge, shield recharge, and engine power), and the player is in direct control of how much power is directed toward each. Some situations might call for increased power for laser and shield regeneration at the expense of speed, while diverting all power to engines is useful for reaching the nearest hyperspace buoy as quickly as possible. Most missions expect the player to be able to adjust these systems on the fly in reaction to changing battlefield conditions, and in emergencies laser or shield power can be directly sacrificed to boost the other.

In addition to missions that progress the game's story, players have access to the Combat Simulator, where past missions can be replayed, often with the option to fly different ships. The Simulator also allows access to multiplayer as well as single-player skirmishes, which are essentially dogfights between the player and AI-controlled opponents. As well as selecting their own craft, the quantity, skill, and vessel type of foes can be selected by the player prior to each skirmish. Once the player has joined the Alliance, the Pilot Proving Grounds also unlocks, which is essentially a series of time trials of varying difficulty. Lastly, the Tech Library and Film Room, staples of the series, both return as a method of studying ships and past performances respectively, though the latter was not available at time of launch, but was added by way of a later patch.

Starships

Freighters

While mainly intended for carrying passengers and/or cargo, many freighters are capable of holding their own in combat situations as well. This is mainly due to their turret-mounted laser cannons, which allow them to fire on faster starfighters that might try to exploit their lower maneuverability. It is worth noting that freighter turrets seem to have an independent energy supply, as they can be fired even when a ship's laser energy has been depleted.

YT-1300

YT-1300

Top Speed: 89 MGLT
Shield Strength / Hull Rating: 120 SBD / 76 RU
Classification: Light Freighter
Weapons:
  • 1 Laser Cannon
  • 1 Laser Turret
  • 2 Warhead Launchers

One of the most popular freighter ships ever produced, the YT-1300 is a versatile ship that is both economical and very configurable. While it has fewer armaments than many fighter class starships, the vessel's laser turret is its true ace in the hole, allowing it to evade and attack in unison. While it has since been eclipsed in most areas by later models, the reliable YT-1300 still remains in wide use throughout the galaxy.
YT-2000

YT-2000

Top Speed: 96 MGLT
Shield Strength / Hull Rating: 320 SBD / 114 RU
Classification: Light Freighter
Weapons:
  • 1 Laser Cannon
  • 1 Ion Cannon
  • 2 Laser Turrets
  • 2 Warhead Launchers

The successor to the YT-1300 design, the YT-2000 maintains the same general aesthetic while improving in all other areas. It is more equipped offensively to deal with other ships due to the addition of an Ion Cannon and a second laser turret mounted on the underside of its chassis. On the defensive side, its combined shield and hull strength make it more than twice as durable as the YT-1300. While these improvements alone make it a more desirable craft, it also receives a slight speed boost over its forebear.
Millennium Falcon

Millennium Falcon

Top Speed: 102 MGLT
Shield Strength / Hull Rating: 264 SBD / 102 RU
Classification: Light Freighter
Weapons:
  • 2 Laser Cannons
  • 2 Laser Turrets
  • 2 Warhead Launchers

While it is essentially just a variation of the YT-1300, the extensive modifications made to the Millennium Falcon make it an entirely different beast. Not only is it faster and more heavily armed than its stock counterpart, it has well over twice the shielding and significantly more armor plating. All these alterations come with a price however, as the Falcon is notoriously prone to malfunction, and requires more maintenance than the average Corellian freighter.

Starfighters

While Imperial starfighters might heavily outnumber Alliance ships, even the most basic Rebel fighter has some manner of deflector shielding, meaning that in confrontations where both sides have equal numbers, Alliance pilots will almost always have the edge. Furthermore, since all Rebel starfighters come equipped with hyperdrives, they can be used to conduct hit-and-run operations rather easily without the need to put capital ships in danger.

X-Wing

X-Wing

Top Speed: 100 MGLT
Shield Strength / Hull Rating: 50 SBD / 20 RU
Classification: Space Superiority Fighter
Weapons:
  • 4 Laser Cannons
  • 2 Warhead Launchers

Being one of the most widely flown starfighters in the Alliance, the X-Wing is used so frequently amongst Rebel pilots that it has become a symbol of the Rebellion itself. It is used in missions of all types due to its well-balanced mixture of speed, firepower, and maneuverability. While other ships may be better in specialized roles, the X-Wing can tackle nearly anything.
Y-Wing

Y-Wing

Top Speed: 80 MGLT
Shield Strength / Hull Rating: 75 SBD / 40 RU
Classification: Heavy Attack Fighter
Weapons:
  • 2 Laser Cannons
  • 2 Ion Cannons
  • 2 Warhead Launchers

The Y-Wing is a powerful attack vessel hampered somewhat by low maneuverability. Its purpose is usually to bombard high priority targets, taking them down quicker than other craft could, before retreating to safety. They are usually protected by X-Wings or A-Wings in order to allow them to focus on their targets rather than on dogfighting, a role that they are not well-suited for.
A-Wing

A-Wing

Top Speed: 120 MGLT
Shield Strength / Hull Rating: 50 SBD / 14 RU
Classification: Interceptor
Weapons:
  • 2 Laser Cannons
  • 2 Warhead Launchers

Speed and maneuverability are the hallmarks of the nimble A-Wing, and in the right hands few pilots can keep it in their sights. Its most common roles include reconnaissance, escort, or any other mission in which quickness is of the essence. The only real drawback to the design is its fragile hull, as it is unlikely the craft will survive even a single hit once its shields are down.
B-Wing

B-Wing

Top Speed: 91 MGLT
Shield Strength / Hull Rating: 100 SBD / 60 RU
Classification: Heavy Attack Fighter
Weapons:
  • 3 Laser Cannons
  • 3 Ion Cannons
  • 2 Warhead Launchers

Billed as the successor to the Y-Wing attack craft, the B-Wing is indeed an imposing vessel, with no less than eight individual armaments. Due to a combination of factors, however, it would never quite succeed in its purpose of replacing the Y-Wing, though it remains one of the single most devastating fighters in the Alliance arsenal, capable of taking down much larger ships with relative ease.
Z-95

Z-95 Headhunter

Top Speed: 100 MGLT
Shield Strength / Hull Rating: 20 SBD / 14 RU
Classification: Multi-Role Fighter
Weapons:
  • 2 Laser Cannons
  • 2 Warhead Launchers

The precursor to the Alliance's X-Wing starfighter, the Z-95 is an outdated craft by most standards, especially when compared to its successor. Despite this, it is still in use in some parts of the galaxy where cost and reliability are of utmost import. While not a terrible craft by any measure, it does not excel in anything, and can be easily outclassed by more recently developed ships.

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