Video Game / X-Wing Alliance
A Star Wars
space fighter sim released for the PC in 1999 by LucasArts
and Tie Fighter
had covered epic campaigns, their successor X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter
had initially not included a campaign at all, and when was put in place for the expansion, it was deliberately set in an out-of-the-way part of the galaxy to avoid impinging on the main events of the film trilogy. It was not until now that LucasArts decided to once more cover the epic storyline, now from a different angle.
There's No Campaign for the Wicked
as you play only as the character Ace Azzameen, halting the AFGNCAAP
attitude of the previous games (the X-Wing and TIE Fighter protagonists were named, but only in the manual). Ace is the youngest scion of the Azzameen family of traders, some of whose members are sympathetic to the Rebel Alliance. Their enemies are the Viraxo family, who similarly have ties with the Empire. Your father has decided you're old enough to stop laying in sims and start helping out with the family business, sending you on training and trade missions under the watchful eyes of your siblings (neatly shoehorning in the tutorial), but soon the Galactic Civil War starts impinging. Though your father tries to keep the family neutral, the Azzameens end up getting dragged into the war
, their home station is taken by the Empire, and Ace joins the Rebels as a starfighter pilot.
The rest of the campaign consists of battles mostly with ties to the film trilogy or at least the Expanded Universe
, with the occasional family mission. It culminates in the Battle of Endor, at which you fly the Millennium Falcon
allowed a far greater range of craft to be piloted than previous games, especially X-Wing Vs. Tie Fighter
, and had an extensive multiplayer mode.
Contains examples of:
- Achilles' Heel: Shield generators on various larger craft.
- Artificial Stupidity: The capture of the Suprosa is made exponentially harder by your absolutely stupid wingmates. Despite DIRECT ORDERS to only use their non-damaging ion cannons, they just blast away at the thing with their standard lasers. Most of the difficulty stems from trying to disable it before they destroy it.
- Badass Bystander: The civilian dreadnought that comes to your aid in securing the Imperial computer containing the plans to the Death Star.
- Dunari who on multiple missions takes up the reins to impede the Empire's efforts to destroy you or your allies, even though he technically is only an exceptionally wealthy civilian.
- During the attack on the Rebel hospital, a single transport named Bolt makes the effort to power up every Rebel freighter and medical transport in the area to ensure they all have a chance to escape the Empire's wrath when forced to evacuate. The Bolt does not evacuate until this has been completed, and if it survives in fact stays behind on the station even after the rest of the Rebels have fled the scene.
- Been There, Shaped History: The player character takes part in the operation to capture the shuttle Tydirium, the Imperial shuttle used by Han Solo and his team to land on Endor ahead of the climactic Battle of Endor.
- Big Damn Hero: Your father's old friend Dunari, who arrives just in time to pull you out of the fire when your Uncle betrays you. The player character Ace Azzameen arguably also counts.
- Breakable Weapons: Turrets can be destroyed by shooting them. This also applies to the turrets on the ships you fly in family missions, as you can find out by fighting said ships in Skirmish mode.
- The Cameo: Boba Fett's Slave I can clearly be seen leaving Dunari's Casino during the second mission of the first family campaign.
- Additionally, a freighter known as the Wild Karrde is seen flying away from the station where you must hijack the Tydirium.
- Special mention goes to Grand Admiral Zaarin, who few will be surprised to learn was the mastermind of the TIE Experimental Project.
- Collision Damage: Tends to do more harm to the player than to the opponents you are likely to hit every so often; not only does it damage your shields, but it will send your spacecraft into a dangerous spin, briefly granting your opponents enough time to try to take you out before you regain control.
- Coming-of-Age Story: At the outset of the story you're the "kid" brother of your family, who has only begun to do your part for the family business as a freighter pilot; after witnessing the murder of your father and brother and the near-destruction of your family's enterprise at the hands of the Empire, you and your surviving family must seek refuge with the Rebels where you take up the reins as a starfighter pilot. All throughout the campaign you must not only brave the dangers of the war but also fight for the survival of your family, facing death and betrayal along the way. By the end, you are a veteran combat ace who has won the admiration of the entire Rebel Alliance, ultimately bearing witness to the final defeat of the Empire at Endor. Even your older sister has come to realize her "little brother" isn't so little anymore.
- Continuity Nod:
- The default names of the Pilot Proving Ground scoreboards include Tycho, Wes, and Corran.
- At one point you end up surrounded by an Imperial fleet whose ships' names are all taken from The Thrawn Trilogy, implied to be Thrawn's personal flotilla. There are plenty of smaller ones, including blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearances by Boba Fett's ship and the famous smuggler ship Wild Karrde.
- Additionally, the Imperial Admiral you see being informed of the Rebels' sabotage of the TIE Experimental project is none other than your old foe, Admiral Zaarin.
- One of the secondary enemy factions in this game is Black Sun, the powerful crime syndicate ruled by Prince Xizor, from Shadows of the Empire. One of the levels also has you flying alongside Luke and Dash Rendar to capture the freighter Suprosa and steal information regarding the second Death Star.
- Cool Ship: This is Star Wars, don't be so surprised. The YT-2000 (the Otana) is an introduction to this great tradition.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Again, this is Star Wars, these are bound to take place sooner or later.
- Deadly Training Area: The salvage yard, and it is awesome.
- Played with in a later "family" mission, when the protagonist emerges from hyperspace in the middle of an Imperial training area.
- Deadpan Snarker: Emon, Emkay, and Aeron all have flashes of this.
- Despair Event Horizon: The death of Tomaas and Galin. With their murder at the hands of the Empire, the Azzameens have no choice but to abandon almost all they have and to seek refuge with the Rebel Alliance, knowing full well that the Rebels suspect them of having aided the Imperial attack in which the former were killed. With Uncle Antan captured, their home base overrun and no other options remaining, the Azzameen siblings take their chances with the Rebels, convincing them of their innocence and then left to rebuild what they've lost while aiding the Rebel cause.
- The Determinator: Just about all of the Azzameens qualify, defying overwhelming odds constantly in their struggles against both the Empire and the Viraxo.
- The Rebels as a whole and the Azzameens' old friend Dunari also qualify.
- Deus ex Machina: Several times; particularly notable is the appearance of a civilian dreadnought that aids the Rebellion in retrieving a Rebel officer carrying the plans for the Death Star II after his vessel is captured by the Empire. We never do learn who their allegiance was to aside from the fact they were on our side.
- Doomed by Canon: Your command ship, the Liberty; the fact that you serve aboard her through the vast majority of the campaign makes her inevitable demise at the hands of the Death Star as seen in the film hit home all the harder.
- And naturally, the Executor and the Death Star also count.
- Escape Pod: The first in this particular series to feature them in-game. They play an important role in the plots of their respective campaigns on at least two occasions.
- Evil Uncle: Uncle Antan turns out to be working for the Empire.
- Face–Heel Turn: Again, Uncle Antan.
- Failure Is the Only Option: In the family mission where the Empire ambushes the Rebels just as your family is delivering the bacta to their secret facility; even if you somehow save all of the fleeing Rebel personnel, thus achieving a 100% success rating, you cannot save your father and brother. Their transport does not count and will inevitably fall to enemy fire. Even if you actually manage to prevent its destruction in-game, they are still declared dead from that point onward for the rest of the game.
- Game-Breaking Bug: In one level of the fourth Alliance campaign, the player must intercept and inspect a massive convoy later discovered to be en route to the unfinished Death Star. Often, as soon as you hyper in, one of the container ships will inexplicably explode without warning. Because it's a mission condition that you inspect every vessel, one may find themselves restarting the level multiple times until they are able to overcome this aggravation, or may be compelled to use the "Skip Mission" option if it remains available.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In several missions, it's possible to destroy certain ships that the story doesn't intend to have destroyed. The result will be that the ship you blew into tiny bits will show up again in a subsequent mission completely intact.
- Game Mod: It has multiple, including the addition of new missions, campaigns, and ships. One mod even replaces the game's launch hangar with an Imperial hangar. Another lets you play the missions from the 1992 X-Wing game in Alliance's game engine. However the best known is the XWA Upgrade, which updates all the game's models and backdrops with much more detailed examples. The project is still releasing new models, having begun almost when the game was first released, making it one of the longest-running continuous active modding projects in gaming.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Your brother, Emon.
- Heel–Face Turn: Zaletta, who offered his services to the Alliance after becoming disillusioned with the Empire he once served.
- Heroic Mime: A step up from AFGNCAAP, but all you really know of the player character is from the context of his family.
- Idiot Programming: Reflective of the game's Obvious Beta status, there's quite a few instances of this:
- In the family campaign mission to collect an Imperial probe, the player must fly past a customs checkpoint that falls under attack by pirates. At one point a civilian gunship jumps into the scene; it then proceeds to crash into the nearby space station and explode on impact.
- In the fourth campaign you must inspect an entire Imperial/Black Sun convoy; one freighter randomly explodes when you jump in, often resulting in "Mission Failed".
- In one family mission to steal Viraxo supplies for the Rebel base at the Vergesso Asteroids, one of the family freighters may randomly explode just as the mission is nearing its end, also resulting in "Mission Failed".
- In the fifth campaign's final mission to destroy the Hurrim pirates' secret base, one of your objectives is to ensure your allies rescue a series of Mobquet Transports captured by the enemy. Some of them will not move after they have been repaired.
- There are numerous instances in the game where ships will randomly crash due to temperamental Collision Detection and others where some vessels simply won't do anything even in mission critical situations, serving strictly as set pieces.
- In your mission to capture the shuttle Tydirium, another Imperial shuttle will randomly take off, usually crashing into the hangar bay of the station and exploding.
- In an early family mission, Aeron is forced to abandon the Selu, renamed the Venix when the Viraxo disable it during a covert op. You are still called out for having "Attacked a friendly craft" and it counts against your score despite being a mission critical condition to destroy it.
- It's Personal: The usual nature of the family missions pitting you against the Viraxo, who have launched a vicious vendetta against your family in the hopes of expanding their own business ventures without the threat of competition.
- Jerkass: Your Uncle Antan at times, given his tendency to constantly butt heads with the rest of your family for supporting the Rebellion, which makes his inevitable betrayal later something less of a shock.
- Karma Houdini: Uncle Antan after his betrayal.
- The Viraxo also count; for all the punishment you dish out at them, their longstanding rivalry with the Azzameens is still very much alive, as is K'Armyn Viraxo himself.
- Killed Off for Real: You know things are real bad when the ship your father and older brother are aboard succumbs to the Imperials.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Admiral Holtz is the Imperial officer responsible for the attack that killed your father and brother, and the one who nearly tries to stop you and your friends aboard the Defiance from escaping. Fast forward to the fifth Rebel campaign against the treacherous Hurrim mercenaries where Holtz attempts to stop you and your pals from destroying their secret base. This time though the esteemed admiral isn't so fortunate.
Admiral Holtz: You will not win this fight, Rebels!
Rebel Pilot: (When the ISD Corrupter is destroyed) Looks like you're wrong, Admiral!
- Lured into a Trap: It being Star Wars, this is a common occurrence throughout the campaign. Aside from Endor, other notable instances include your failed assassination attempt on K'Armyn Viraxo and of course, your Uncle's betrayal.
- Manchurian Agent: Kupalo, your commanding officer on the Liberty after he was captured on Hoth and subsequently rescued by his Rebel comrades, unaware of his mental conditioning until after he betrays the Alliance much later. Sadly, it is remarked upon that he had little chance of making a full recovery from what the Empire had done to him.
- Moral Dissonance: The Azzameens, although at first portrayed as innocent good guys just trying to run a shipping company, prove themselves several times to be just as trigger-happy and blood-thirsty as their rivals the Viraxo. The first example being the protagonist and his brother attacking and destroying several Viraxo starfighters they meet by chance, killing whatever pilots who do not manage to eject from their ships in time, as punishment for two Viraxo ships firing on them in the first mission.
- No Campaign for the Wicked: No Empire campaign.
- No Ending: At least as far as the family campaign goes, as you have just watched your own uncle betray you to the Empire and for all we know, he is still out there on the run; the same goes for the Viraxo, who eventually drop off the map well before the buildup to the climactic battle at Endor, still aligned with Black Sun and still eager to make things miserable for the Azzameens.
- Obvious Beta: Nothing too serious, although there is a general lack of polish and some rough edges.
- Off Model: In the cutscenes most of the characters, most especially the Imperial officers are noticeably awkward in their facial expressions; this is due to a combination of poor rendering based on the same reused human models, technological limitations of CGI in the late-90s, and poor lip-synching.
- Owing to various factors, including the late-90s 3D models, many of the ships in-game suffer from this as well. Among the most notable is the Super Star Destroyer, which was modeled using the erroneous 8km measurement common in supplementary materials at the time, making it notably smaller than it should be.
- Oh, Crap!: Several instances. Two happen during the battle of Endor ("It's a trap!" and "That thing's operational!"), and a host of smaller ones happen before that. A memorable one involves your ship getting out of hyperspace in an Imperial weapons testing range being used by five Star Destroyers due to your robotic co-pilot entering the wrong coordinates.
"What the—EMKAY?! WHERE THE HELL ARE WE?!"
- Plot Armor: Aside from your father and older brother earlier in the game, nobody else in your family is scripted to die in-game; if they do, Mission Failed.
- A more literal example in some missions is that certain ships piloted by important characters (Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles) are actually immune to destruction. They will take damage to the point where they have 0% shields and 1% hull strength remaining, but any subsequent damage they take won't register.
- Recycled Premise: A Rebel corvette is captured by the Empire on its mission to deliver the technical specifications of the new Death Star to the Alliance and the only way to prevent their capture is by escape pod? What are the odds?
- Also counts as a case of Same Story, Different Names; Said corvette is instead named the Razor, and is captured by the Star Destroyer Avenger.
- Robot Buddy: Emkay.
- Sacrificial Lamb: A non-human example; in one family mission, your sister's spacecraft the Selu is disguised as a Viraxo-owned vessel as part of a mission to frame the rival company for illegal smuggling in retaliation for a similar crime committed against the Azzameens. The Viraxo end up disabling the Selu, forcing her to abandon ship as you destroy the craft to prevent the Empire from discovering the truth.
- Sadistic Choice: When the Empire attacks the Rebel hospital, your father and brother's ship is getting ripped to shreds in the onslaught. You and Emon must mull your odds of saving them against surviving the Imperial attack; ultimately, your father and brother are beyond saving and you and Emon can only make a run for it in the hopes that you may at least survive the ongoing slaughter.
- Shout-Out: In the ambush of the Rebel Hospital, the two Corellian Corvettes on station are named Coen and Farrelly.
- Silent Protagonist: "Ace" Azzameen.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Tomaas and Galin are only seen alive during the initial family campaign, but their deaths are felt by the rest of the family through the entirety of the campaign that follows and the Azzameen family shipping company is left at the mercy of the Empire after their collaboration with the Rebels through Tomaas is uncovered.
- Space Pirates: Like TIE Fighter, seemingly everywhere in this game.
- Starter Villain: The Viraxo, who quickly come to take great pleasure in harassing the Azzameens' shipping interests before enlisting the aid of the Empire. One such member of the Viraxo syndicate flew a Pursuer known as the Enkidu, which quickly makes itself a headache for the Azzameens with its constant presence before finally getting paid back for its many misdeeds in the initial campaign.
- Subsystem Damage: Ion weaponry used on enemy ships (and your own) gradually picks away at the target's SYS percentage, with the affected systems ranging from minor (such as radar or targeting not working) to critical (I.E. "lol now you can't turn") as more SYS damage is taken.
- In addition, as long as a given ship's SYS stays above 0%, the affected systems will eventually recover given enough time, with the repair time estimates appearing in the Ship Status HUD menu.
- Also occurs to your own ship if you don't have some form of invulnerability enabled as you take excessive hull damage, but since such situations are usually followed shortly by death it's less obvious if you aren't monitoring Ship Status.
- The Paralyzer: Taken a step further from previous games with the new Ion Pulse warheads, which do the work of Ion Cannons in barely half the time.
- The Siege: A frequent occurrence throughout the game, notably several instances in which an Imperial interdictor pins down you and your allies to prevent you from completing your objectives. Another notable instance is the Imperial ambush on a Rebel hospital base that leads to the deaths of your father and brother, as well as later when your Uncle hands you over to the Empire.
- Additionally, the game's climax is none other than the Battle of Endor.
- Tempting Fate: Tomaas constantly praises the resolve of his family in the mission to acquire bacta required for the Rebels. He speaks optimistically of the effort when they finally arrive at the Rebel hospital to deliver the supply. Then the Imperial attack begins...
- Trigger Happy: Emon and especially Emkay live by this trope.
- Trophy Room: Virtually every plot mission rewards you with a memento adorning your quarters on board of Otana.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Sometimes when you smash an enemy ship, someone on it survives. For smaller craft like fighters, you'll find the pilot drifting in space in their sealed flight suit; in the case of pretty much everything from small cargo transports up, it's in the form of an escape pod of one form or another. Neither of these class of craft can in any way hamper your ability to survive or succeed- they can't attack, they don't block weapons fire for their allies, they don't even have shields. Nevertheless, you can pull them up on your targeting system and actively try to destroy them for absolutely no reason at all.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What became of Uncle Antan after his failed attempt to betray you to the Empire prior to the Battle of Endor? Although it is clear he now has a price on his head, little to no mention is given on his final fate or how your surviving family intends to bring him to justice.
- The Enkidu's partner, the Gilgam was seen aiding the former in attacking the Azzameens and their allies in the first mission of the game. While the Enkidu remains a constant thorn in the family's side until its own inevitable destruction, the Gilgam vanishes entirely.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Your father Tomaas; although by nature a cautious man, he is an enthusiastic sympathizer of the Rebellion, much to the chagrin of your much more cynical and ultimately treacherous uncle, who decried his idealism as a threat to their business. In the family campaign, you and your siblings are charged with ensuring the success of a deal Tomaas and your older brother cut with the black market, purchasing lifesaving bacta for the Rebellion's wounded from Hoth. Even after thwarting an attempt on their lives, Tomaas remains confident that they can brave the dangers posed in ensuring the success of the supplement.
- In the next mission? He and your brother are killed by the Empire when they ambush the exchange. And you and your surviving family are now on the run.