First, a confession: I never played X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter. This might wound my geek cred, but I just never got to it, and I had moved on to game styles than the flight sims of my youth. I also was a bit nervous about a ‘multiplayer only’ game being fun since I didn’t know THAT many people that played computer games.
But this is not about XvT, but X-Wing. Being a giant Star Wars fan, with Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy books fresh in my mind, X-Wing hit me at exactly the right time. The fact that it was a fantastic (if extremely difficult, at least for me) game was icing on the cake. I probably would’ve loved it no matter what. X-Wing took you through a linear series of missions as a young pilot recruit for the Rebel Alliance. It starts before the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, covering things like getting the Death Star plans to Princess Leia, and ends with you playing Luke Skywalker’s role in taking out the Death Star.
This game was hard. I refuse to believe I was THAT bad at flight sims, as I tore through the Wing Commander series, Falcon, F-15 Strike Eagle and the like without struggling. It speaks to how cool X-Wing was that I kept trying these missions over and over and over again until I finally got the satisfaction of beating them. Tour of Duty 1 (there are 3) Mission 8 (12-14 in each ToD) in particular gave me nightmares. I actually bought the strategy guide, something I never do. Of course, the strat guide gave bad info on this mission but it helped on some others (Mission 10 was a bitch also). I call X-Wing a two controller game – I broke 2 cheap flight sticks before I got a better quality one that could take getting slammed down in frustration. :) There were some quirks in the game which you could use to your advantage, including a spin/roll move that could keep you from getting shot, but I felt that with the difficulty of the game, I’d use whatever advantage I could
The two expansion packs were excellent, and included the mission walkthroughs if you needed them built in, no strat guide needed. Certain version of the original game came with a novella that paralleled the missions, so you could get some back story as you advanced. They really got a solid Star Wars feel in the game, and really, what kid didn’t want to pilot an X-Wing after seeing the movies? If you can find a copy of the game, it’s well worth a play through, if only to remember the bygone era where the flight-sim was king. The DOS version will be best played in DOSBox, though the game was updated a few times with various collections to better engines, including a Win95 compatible version.