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Video Game / Star Wars: Rebellion

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It is a dark time for the Rebellion.
Although the Death Star has been
destroyed, Imperial Forces have located
the hidden Rebel base on Yavin and are
poised to strike back.

On the planet Coruscant, the heart of
the Empire, Darth Vader and the
Emperor make plans to crush the rebel
Alliance once and for all. The full weight
of the Empire is about to come to bear
against the rebels.

In their secret headquarters, Alliance
leaders, resolute after their recent
victory, gather the warships of the rebel
fleet. Although they have won a
significant battle, the war between the
Alliance and the Empire has only just

A 1998 Star Wars Legends Real-Time Strategy 4X game by LucasArts with a gameplay similar to Stars! (1995)

The player assumes the role of a military administrator and takes control over either the Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance and must overthrow the other side. In order to balance gameplay, the sides are more closely matched than one would expect.

Rebel goals

  1. Capture Palpatine
  2. Capture Vader
  3. Capture Coruscant

Imperial goals

  1. Capture Mon Mothma
  2. Capture Luke
  3. Destroy the Rebel base

Special gameplay events include: Luke goes to Dagobah, learns of his heritage, teaches Leia about their family, and the two (along with Chewbacca) rescue Han if he gets captured by bounty hunters.

One of Rebellion's unique aspects which sets it apart from other games of its genre (and especially from the later Star Wars RTS Empire at War) is the heavy focus on gaining and maintaining the loyalty of planets rather than simply trying to take them all through brute force (in fact, brute force is often counterproductive).

Also known as Star Wars Supremacy in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

In 2016 FFG released a board game version that uses similar mechanics.

Tropes seen in this game include:

  • Adaptational Wimp: The Death Star. Its Achilles' Heel is far worse than in canon. In the movie, taking the shot to destroy the Death Star is considered nigh impossible, and Luke only makes it using the Force. In this game, any Rebel pilot can make the shot. Even worse, the Death Star can be destroyed through a simple sabotage mission, which the FMV depicts as a Rebel operative blowing it up by setting one bomb in the right place.
  • Alliance Meter: A central facet of the gameplay. Each and every inhabited world in the galaxy has its popular support split between the Empire and the Alliance. If you attain a super-majority of popular support on a planet it will come to your side willingly. On the other hand, conquering a world that is loyal to your enemy will require you to leave behind some troops to keep the world in line, else the locals rise up and try to restore their preferred government. Planets are organized into sectors and events at one planet can affect the loyalty of all the other planets in that sector. Planets will react positively if you get other planets to come to your side or leave your enemy willingly, destroy enemy ground troops through Planetary Bombardment (unless you hit a civilian structure), or win a major space battle. Conversely, you will lose support if you destroy civilian structures through Planetary Bombardment (intentional or not) or suffer a disastrous defeat in a space battle.
    • The Death Star has some unique effects on the loyalty system. On one hand, utilizing its Destroy Planet function causes the Empire to lose support on every planet in the galaxy. On the other hand, the presence of a Death Star can reduce garrison requirements or even immediately subdue uprisings on Imperial-held worlds.
  • A Commander Is You:
    • The Alliance starts off as The Guerilla Faction. Their starships are vastly outmatched by the Empire's Star Destroyers, their military leaders aren't as effective as those of the Empire, and a good chunk of their otherwise-loyal planets start off under Imperial occupation. On the other hand, the Alliance Headquarters starts on a random Outer Rim system and can be moved at any time (unless there's an Imperial fleet on top of it), the Alliance starfighters are vastly superior to the Imperial TIE models and are a threat to Imperial starships, and liberating the occupied worlds can win the Alliance some major political points that can win over half a sector or more to the Alliance cause.
    • The Empire starts off as The Brute Force Faction. They start the game with several Star Destroyers and the ability to build more (though that takes a very long time with the starting Shipyards). Their ships vastly outclass the Alliance ships and they are also more adept at conducting Planetary Bombardment thanks to the Victory Destroyer. They also have more and better military officers at their disposal. However, their TIE Fighters simply cannot deal with the (dangerous) Alliance fighters at all. They must also work to diplomatically secure their planets which start under military occupation, else the Alliance liberate them and cause a political crisis across a sector. And unlike the Alliance, the Imperial capital is no secret; it's always Coruscant, and the Empire must constantly devote resources to its defense.
    • As the game goes on, both sides move toward being The Balanced Faction. The Alliance quickly addresses its starship deficiency by researching the Nebulon-B Frigate and Mon Calamari Cruiser very early, while the Empire likewise addresses its ability to deal with Rebel starfighters by researching the Lancer Frigate and TIE Interceptor.
  • Ambadassador: Anyone with the stats for it can be sent as diplomats to neutral planets. Most of the named ones such as Luke or Vader, and many of them badasses already, can also be very effective diplomats.
  • Anyone Can Die: Anyone except the main characters, that is. Even if they're on a planet destroyed by the Death Star, they're simply "captured and injured."
  • Artificial Stupidity: Even on the highest difficulty setting, it's almost impossible to lose the game unless you do so on purpose (and even then you have to coax the enemy into it). This is thanks to the enemy not really taking advantage of the game's mechanics the way they should (like building huge fleets or converting some planets to construction hubs).
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Death Star is at best this and at worst Shmuck Bait. The Death Star does have some legitimate uses; it can instantly destroy starships in space battles, has a massive carrying capacity, a bombardment modifier four times that of even the Victory II, its mere presence can reduce garrison requirements and subdue uprisings, and of course it can instantly destroy planets, which is very handy against targets like the Alliance headquarters or any other well-defended planet. On the other hand, it costs a massive amount of time and resources to build, it can be destroyed by starfighters or even sabotage, and its destruction can cause your characters to become traitors. Its primary function also comes with a pretty major drawback: every time you destroy a planet, every planet in the entire galaxy gains Rebel support. If you get trigger-happy with that superlaser, you could find yourself on the verge of losing your entire Empire to uprisings. Just take a look at what happened when the "GetDaved Fortress of Pain" went on a rampage.explanation 
  • Black and White Magic: Fits the trope in spirit: you cannot capture a ship from the opposing side, nor will any characters defect (at worst, they'll sabotage your missions and be disloyal). Only the Imperials can perform Assassination missions; the Rebels can only Abduct personnel. There's no way to produce or use the resources of your opponent. Even the Dreadnaught, a ship that both sides have access to, comes in two flavors: the Imperial Dreadnaught and the Alliance Dreadnaught, with identical stats.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Sabotage missions. A successful Sabotage mission instantly destroys its target. Virtually every structure and military unit in the game can be sabotaged, including the Death Star (for which you get a special cutscene if you manage to pull it off). Many Characters are capable of performing Sabotage missions, and both sides can mass produce Special Forces units capable of performing them from the very start of the game. Enemy units and officers at the target location can detect and foil these missions, but you can counter this by assigning additional agents as decoys.
    • While the Emperor is capable of performing a number of missions and has a very high Force rating, the main use for him is the leadership bonus he provides when kept on Coruscant.
  • Canon Immigrant: Incorporates a lot of characters from Star Wars Legends and gives some of them faces for the first time.
  • Competitive Balance: This is in play late in the game, but not as it begins—the Rebels have inferior capital ships to the Empire and no trained Jedi, while the Empire has no answer to the Rebels' superior starfighters and two Jedi. In addition, the rebels get a slew of other skills to make up for their starship imbalance. Later on the Rebels can research larger ships capable of standing toe to toe with the Empire and Luke can become a full Jedi and then find and train others.
  • Continuity Nod: Lots of it! Most Minor Characters have stats and abilities that reflect what they do in the movies and the Expanded Universe. Some notable examples are below:
    • Lando Calrissian can perform Facility Design Research, which makes sense because he ran Cloud City and personally engineered some pretty creative facilities in the Expanded Universe, such as a walking mining city and an underwater mining operation with an underwater casino/observation gallery.
    • Bevel Lemelisk is one of the Empire's Ship Design Researchers. He was the primary engineer of the Death Star.
      • And yet despite being executed seven (!) times for it, the Death Stars you build in this game still have that two-meter wide exhaust port...
    • Thrawn has a very high Leadership rating and can be promoted to Admiral, naturally, but he is also capable of Ship Design Research. Those TIE Defenders the Empire has? Thrawn came up with something even better: the Imperial Missile Boat.
    • In a similar vein to Thrawn, Ackbar also possesses high Leadership, can be made Admiral, and can perform Ship Design Research. He designed the B-Wing.
    • Mon Mothma is the leader of the Alliance, and as such has high Diplomacy and Leadership ratings. She's so important to the Alliance that capturing her is one of the Empire's victory conditions. She is actually a Major Character and thus cannot be killed, but she does not have any special events or abilities like the other Major Characters.
  • Decisive Battle: The battle to take Coruscant definitely fits this trope. The Alliance must conquer Coruscant to win the game, and it is typically defended by a large fleet with many Star Destroyers and TIE Fighters in space, and many shield generators, planetary guns, and troop regiments on the ground. The Alliance must muster a very large and powerful fleet in order to take it. A space battle over Coruscant is one of the few times the AI will fight to the death even if it is vastly outgunned and there is no Interdictor keeping it there, and the number of ships involved makes it likely to be the largest space engagement in the game. Even after the space battle is won, the Alliance Fleet must then bombard its way through the shield generators and planetary guns and finally the troop regiments before it can finally launch the Planetary Assault to take the planet itself. Taking Coruscant is a huge victory for the Alliance; it generates tons of loyalty for the Alliance on all other planets in the Sessweena sector, causes Imperial characters to become traitors, and completes one of the Alliance's victory conditions. In fact, if the Alliance has already captured Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, or the game is set to "Headquarters Victory", then taking Coruscant wins the game for the Alliance. Game mechanics aside, taking Coruscant shows the galaxy that the Alliance has the military power and resources to defeat the Empire.
  • Developer's Foresight: Since the Alliance has to capture Coruscant to win, a creative Imperial commander with a rather literal interpretation of victory conditions may attempt to destroy the planet with a Death Star in order to prevent it from ever falling into the Rebellion's hands. The developers anticipated this move, however, and if Coruscant gets destroyed, it counts as permanently satisfying the Alliance victory condition for its capture.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Mostly just for game balance, the Empire cannot execute or assassinate any captured rebel characters, even though they showed no qualms about carrying such sentences out in the story.
  • Fog of War: Your knowledge of enemy activity is very limited. You can only get real-time intel on enemy fleets when they are parked over your planets, and you can only get real-time intel on enemy planets when your own fleets are parked over them, and you normally cannot see enemy personnel or missions at all. Your other option for gathering intel is the Espionage mission which, if successful, will reveal absolutely everything on the target planet at that time and even what is on its way there. However, Espionage results are like a snapshot of what was there when the mission was completed; just because you can now target that Star Destroyer for sabotage doesn't mean it will still be there when your saboteurs get there.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In the defeat cutscene you get as the Empire, IMP-22, your droid assistant through the entire game, orders SD-7 to "sanction" the Imperial commander for failure. The droid misses a few shots in the player's direction before getting crushed by a falling rooftop of the command center. IMP-22 slips away, leaving the application of the appropriate sanctions to the Rebels as they completely obliterate the command center a few seconds later.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: While this game doesn't have much in the way of story, the game's major characters (Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Emperor Palpatine, and Darth Vader) do have special events and abilities which reflect events from the movies.
    • Luke Skywalker goes to Dagobah early in the game, during which he is completely off the map; unavailable for the Rebels and undetectable and uncaptureable for the Empire. He returns with a very large stat boost and increased force rating.
    • When Luke Skywalker encounters Darth Vader for the first time, Vader reveals Luke's heritage and Luke is automatically injured as a result. Bringing Luke and Leia together after this unlocks Leia's dormant force power.
    • While Han Solo is traveling either by himself or with other characters only, he is assumed to be flying the Millennium Falcon and travels with the fastest hyperspace speed in the game.
    • Han Solo is occasionally ambushed by Bounty Hunters who try to capture him. If they fail, then they give the Empire intel on Han's location. If they succeed, he is taken to Jabba's Palace and Luke Skywalker immediately drops whatever he's doing to try to rescue him. If Luke fails, then Leia makes her own attempt. If she fails, then all three are captured by the Empire.
      • If Han is taken to Jabba's Palace while Luke is still on Dagobah, Luke will leave Dagobah prematurely to try to rescue Han. This causes Luke to miss out on a good portion of the stat boost he would have normally gained from Dagobah.
    • Emperor Palpatine increases the Leadership ratings of every Imperial character in the game as long as he stays on Coruscant.
    • All characters with unlocked force power will automatically detect and foil the missions of enemy force users.
    • Lastly, there is a once-per-game event called The Final Battle. If Luke is captured after reaching Jedi Student status, he is automatically moved to Darth Vader's location, and then both are moved to Emperor Palpatine. The Final Battle occurs when all three characters come together. The result depends on Luke's force rating: If he is still only a Jedi Student then he loses and remains in captivity. But if he is a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master, then he not only escapes captivity but also captures both Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine for the Alliance. Remember that in order to win the game (on standard rules), the Empire needs to capture Luke, while the Alliance needs to capture both Vader and Palpatine.
    • A-wings cannot do Death Star trench runs, in accordance with their inability to carry Proton Torpedoes. But the game doesn't tell you this.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Despite the Emperor and Mon Mothma being the leaders of their respective factions, and therefore outranking the player who is a Non-Entity General of unspecified rank, the player can still give them orders and send them on missions.
    • The Empire's opening cutscene and defeat scene depict the player as operating out of a Super Star Destroyer, even though they have to unlock the ship through research.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You can name your starships and fleets whatever you like, even downright silly things like naming a Death Star the "GetDaved Fortress of Pain" and its accompanying fleet the "Fleet O' Doom".
  • Idiot Ball: If you throw A-wings against a Death Star, this is you. Also if you have a Death Star before getting the TIE Defender, or have any ship in a fleet not fully loaded with starfighters.
    • Build the Death Star, but don't put any troops or fighters on it. Even better, keep it in a fleet all by itself like that. Now, remember what we said about even the Death Star being vulnerable to sabotage?
    • Believe it or not, there's actually a third way to lose a Death Star: repeatedly use it in Planetary Bombardments against an extremely well-shielded planet with lots of planetary guns. The Death Star takes damage from the guns and can actually be destroyed this way.
  • Jack of All Stats:
    • X-Wings. They are deadly against TIE Fighters, but can also deal good damage to starships once their shields are down. They also enhance your ability to conduct Planetary Bombardment. And of course, they are essential for taking out Death Stars. However, they will have a hard time bringing down the shields of larger and more advanced starships on their own, and they are only really useful against such ships once their shields are down.
    • Nebulon-B Frigates. They carry two squadrons of fighters each and have good turbolaser and laser cannon power, making them decently effective against both fighters and starships. And you get all of this for a relatively cheap cost. Despite not excelling in any one area, the Nebulon-B is by far the best ship in the Alliance arsenal at the time it comes into play. A group of Nebulon-B Frigates loaded with X-Wings can handle many situations.
    • TIE Defenders, for most of the same reasons as the X-Wing. In fact, they're superior to X-Wings.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • The Alliance starts out with relatively bad ships, but they get better quickly since they start out with Wedge Antilles, who is now apparently an engineer.
    • Luke Skywalker. He starts out as a lowly Jedi Trainee: definitely better than any other character you have but leagues behind the Empire's two Jedi Masters (whom you must capture in order to win the game under the standard victory conditions). When Luke returns from Dagobah he will instantly jump up to Jedi Student, making him far more powerful than before, though still not quite able to stand up to Palpatine or Vader. But after about 20 more missions, he will reach Jedi Knight status, at which point things get tougher for the Empire (who must capture him in order to win the game). Even without The Final Battle, Jedi Knight Luke can go toe-to-toe with Palpatine and Vader without getting captured in the process. Given enough encounters, he can injure Palpatine and Vader to the point of having Combat ratings of 0, at which point any non-force sensitive characters or special forces can abduct them with almost certain success.
      • Luke also happens to be the easiest Jedi in the game to raise. In addition to the massive boost he gains from Dagobah, Luke can also gain large boosts from special events when he encounters Emperor Palpatine or Darth Vader (if he doesn't get captured). Luke also gains points for foiled missions in addition to successful ones (again, only if he isn't captured).
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted, although the Empire has fewer big-name characters and its Evil Counterpart of C-3PO is made up for the game. Inverted in that more of the Rebel ships are made up while almost all of the Imperial ones had previously appeared in other sources.
  • Non-Entity General: The player is this, commanding their chosen side from a secret command center. If you lose the game, the enemy fleet finds you and blows the crap out of said command center, presumably killing you in the process.
  • Orbital Bombardment: One of your options when you have a fleet positioned over an enemy planet. You can choose to just blast anything and everything on the planet, or you can choose to target only military or civilian facilities. Destroying military units and facilities without hitting any civilian facilities boosts your sector-wide loyalty. Destroying civilian facilities reduces your sector-wide loyalty, but if the whole sector already hates your guts, then it's a nice way to quickly reduce the enemy's resources. However, shield generators can protect against bombardment up to a certain strength, and any planetary guns will severely damage or even destroy some of your ships.
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Emperor provides a leadership bonus to all Imperial characters if he's at Coruscant; accordingly, most players stick him there rather than have him running around the galaxy.
  • Plot Armor: A particularly egregious example given the subject matter (although possibly meant as a tongue-in-cheek parody of the parent work): most of the "main characters" from the film cannot be killed. If targeted by assassination missions, passengers on a ship that is destroyed, or even on a planet that gets blown up by the Death Star, they will just be injured (and potentially captured).
  • Powder Keg Crowd: Freshly invaded planets tend to be this. They have high garrison requirements, they suffer losses from smuggling unless you keep a lot of troops or ships in the area, and they can be incited into out-and-out uprising if you don't tend to them quickly. Notably, the Empire has a few of these to start with, and mollifying them is usually the Imperial player's number one priority (unless you want the rebels snatching it - and, very quickly, the entire sector it's in - out from underneath you).
  • Salt the Earth: A valid tactic to use if your opponent hasn't invested in shield generators. Send a reasonably powerful fleet into their systems, sweep aside any enemy fleets, then perform a few general orbital bombardments to wipe out any resource or construction facilities. On the one hand any planets that didn't hate you beforehand will certainly do so after; on the other, a destructive rampage like this is very difficult to stop if you don't have a good fleet in the vicinity, and cleaning up the mess afterwards can take hundreds of in-game days.
    • A sufficiently powerful fleet can continue to bombard until the planet's energy resources are completely destroyed, preventing any buildings from ever being built there again. It's a legit alternative to the usual strategy: if the rebels already fully control a sector, just burn every planet to the ground rather then bothering to try and win them over, and unlike the Death Star's planet destruction, the negatives from slagging a planet only affect that system.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Implied with the Death Star. Merely having it in the vicinity of an occupied planet reduces garrison requirements for the Empire and can even halt uprisings-in-progress due to how terrified the civilians are that you might actually use it (though as has been pointed out, the negatives of doing this will usually greatly outweigh the positives, so from a gameplay perspective it's really more of a bluff than a threat).
  • Shout-Out: Although the planet Neelgaimon was already mentioned in an Expanded Universe novel, this game specifically notes the planet's extensive "sand mines."
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Death Star again. It's essentially the most powerful unit in the game, but is highly vulnerable to trench runs from starfighters, sabotage (if you did not bother putting troops in it), and the fact that using its superlaser on planets costs you dearly in popularity points for your Alliance Meter.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The enemy can incite uprising on your planets by using infiltrators (or, alternatively, you can do it yourself by blowing up civilian facilities, making unpopular decisions, or losing battles in the area and not stationing enough troops on the planet to keep a lid on things). Uprisings are tremendously destructive: all resource gathering and construction halts, the garrison requirements to quell the uprising are enormous (up to 12 for a single planet), your popularity around the sector drops, and anything on the planet is at risk of being destroyed.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: An Imperial player can build a Death Star and use it to destroy planets, but it is not a wise decision. Destroying a planet even once causes a massive drop in loyalty on Imperial planets.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Death Stars are always vulnerable to a trench run by Rebel starfighters, as in the original film. Unlike the later films, where the Second Death Star was going to have that design flaw corrected if it had ever been completed.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: No doubt many first-time players thought invading enemy planets was the best way to win the game. In reality, conquering enemy planets through Planetary Assault is at best inefficient, and at worst counterproductive. In fact, it is possible to win the game without conducting a single Planetary Assault.
    • To elaborate on why Planetary Assault should be avoided: first of all, your fleet needs to be carrying troop regiments, which of course requires your fleet to have capacity for said troop regiments. Then after your invasion succeeds, you need to leave behind up to six of those regiments to prevent the planet from going into uprising or outright going back to the enemy. Since fleets have limited troop capacity this can quickly eat up your resources, and bringing in more troops takes time. Then you need to invest in some shield generators for the conquered planet; if you don't, an enemy fleet can swoop in and liberate the planet through Planetary Bombardment, which not only destroys your troops and gives the planet back to the enemy but also boosts the enemy's sector-wide loyalty. So, to recap: troops lost, planet lost, loyalty lost. Bottom line: use invasions sparingly.
  • You Have Failed Me: To the player, if they command the Empire and lose the game. IMP-22 orders that you be "sanctioned" for your failure, but seeing as the place is currently being blown to pieces by three Mon Calamari Cruisers, he decides to slip away and "leave the Rebels to apply the appropriate sanctions." Your command center explodes into flames a few seconds later.
    • It's also the reason Emperor Palpatine gives for any mission he's on that doesn't go well:
      Palpatine: You have not adequately supported me on this mission ... and it has failed.