Like many Star Wars games, this one pits the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire, with the player choosing whichever side they wish. The game starts out pretty evenly balanced while trying to stay true to the franchise. Occurring immediately after the Battle of Yavin the starts with Yavin IV as their capital planet. The Empire, naturally, starts with Coruscant as its capital. The other planets in the game are distributed roughly even between the two factions and a neutral status. The game tries to capture the feel of the Star Wars universe by clustering the Empire controlled planets in the core systems (middle of the map), while the Rebel Alliance’s planets are mainly found in the Outer Rim systems. The game also gives a sense of trying to stay one step ahead of the Empire by giving the the ability to move their capital, while the Empire must remain fixed on Coruscant.
The game ends when a player captures their enemy’s capital and its two leaders. These leaders are Luke Skywalker and Mon Mothma for the Rebel Alliance and Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader for the Empire.
Planets themselves occur in clusters of around six to form a sector. The number of sectors in the game changes depending upon the galaxy size that’s selected when the game is setup. Planets themselves can be “controlled” in one of two ways. One of your units can be sent as a diplomatic envoy to a planet in order to increase your influence there, or you can leave a military garrison on the planet. However, the more a planet dislikes you the larger your garrison will need to be in order to maintain control.
Units and Buildings
Rebellion features both ground and space units. The units themselves were pulled from all flavors of Star Wars fiction available at the time. (Keep in mind that this game was released before the prequels.) For instance, the Dark Trooper from the original Star Wars: Dark Forces game is available. Space faring units draw equally from Star Wars fiction, with a number of units coming from the X-Wing and Tie Fighter series of games. Unlike many other Star Wars strategy games, the Death Star is available for Imperial players to build as many times as they can manage.
Units are built via construction facilities with multiple and more advanced facilities leading to a quicker production of units. Buildings themselves don’t exist in any visual fashion other than a display on the galaxy interface saying “you have this many of this type of building” on a planet.
In addition to the normal ones, a large number of hero units are also in the game. Most of the characters from the original trilogy found their way into Rebellion, with some showing up immediately at the start of a game and others randomly appeared throughout the game. Each hero character has a number of stats associated with them, making them especially good for tasks such as technology research, commanding a fleet or diplomacy.
Real Time or Turn Based?
The gameplay in Rebellion is a little odd in that it's a Real Time Strategy game, but requires you to frequently pause the game in order to catch up with events. The speeds that are available were Paused, , Fast and Faster, with Normal usually being too fast to keep up with events in the later stages of the game. In a multiplayer game the person with the lowest speeds setting sets the pace of the game.
Rebellion has a mix of 2D and 3D graphics. Most of your time playing is spent on the 2D galaxy screen. From there events and information will open into windows that you can then close or minimize into a taskbar on the screen. All in all the 2D graphics for the game were fine at the time, but are a bit dated today.
Space combat was entirely 3D, unless you allowed the game to auto resolve conflicts. Unfortunately, this was a major weak point for the game, with the game’s 3D graphic being sub-par even by the standards of the day. Capital ships were rough but recognizable, however fighters were little more than 2D icons that moved about the screen.
The Rebellion Editor (RebED) is an editor to modify SW Rebellion. It includes easy-to-use cards for changing stats and pictures, dllentries modifier, setting loader to save all kinds of changes and even the combat models. The last version is 0.26 and supports full replacement of many units. -You can download this program and tutorials from swrebellion.com