There’s a visceral roar about an Imperial TIE fighter when it screams past your cockpit. Yes, I know space has no sound, but space sims would be outrageously boring if they had no sound. TIE Fighters certainly sound more exciting than an X- Wing, which only makes a whooshing sound and they’re lighter and more maneuvrable. However, they pay a heavy price for an awesome sounding engine. It’s far worse than bad fuel economy. They’re terribly fragile and have no shields, so it’s easy to blow them out of the sky. However, they tend not to be flying around by themselves. Star Destroyers are never too far away so any potential Rebel scum would have to deal with those behemoths too.
TIE Fighter is the sequel to X Wing with far better graphics, music but the same animated cutscenes. You also get to play with a few fantastic new fighters that were never really present in any of the films (probably due to budget) like the TIE Advanced, TIE Defender and Missile Boat. The variety of ships in both the Rebel fleet and Imperial fleet are far higher than is presented in the movies, and that’s fair enough too. Not every ship in the fleet can be a giant Star Destroyer.
There is a storyline in the game, however it’s been written and made up completely independently of the canon in the movies. That’s ultimately because nobody really wants to fly for the bad guys at the Battle of Endor. Also, you’d get your virtual pilot arse handed to you. What it does deal with, is the rebellion of the powerful Grand Admiral Zaarin who was also the foremost military technology expert in the Empire. It obviously doesn’t end well for him and you, as the pilot of various fighters, are one of the main reasons!
What I really liked about TIE Fighter was the more subtle, smaller plot concentrating on power struggles within the Empire. While it’s notwhere near as intriguing as an episode of Game of Thrones, it makes up for it with a healthy does of explosions and good old fashioned Star Wars nostalgia. It’s such a shame that space combat sims have become a niche and we’re now in a gaming environment dominated by titles like Call of Honour…or something along those lines. Thankfully, there are some good indie efforts coming out of Kickstarters, including a new game from the creator of Wing Commander called Star Citizen which looks really promising. I just wish they’d do a new, modern version of these old Star Wars games because they are absolutely fantastic.