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JULY 21, 1997

Entertainment

Computer Game Review: X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter

  by Rick Brewster
   One of the most eagerly awaited games of this year, X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter (or "XvT") is also one of the better games of the year. It's had some tough competition, namely its predecessors X-Wing and TIE-Fighter. Game play is similar to X-Wing and TIE-Fighter, where you choose your space ship and jump into a mission with predefined objectives. The goals may be to simply clear a minefield, or to collaborate with several other ships on a suicide strike against a Death Star.
  
   Multiplayer is where this game shines. Options include modem to modem, direct serial link, network and Internet TCP/IP. If you can connect to someone, you can play against him or her. Over the internet, game play was acceptable in a one-on-one battle using a 33.6 modem, even with high latency (600ms). When the number of players was raised to four, gameplay was jittery and lagged.
  
   The ten training missions do a good job of acquainting you with the controls and simple strategy used. Unfortunately, this is the closest you will get to a single player campaign. Once these are finished, you'll be left wondering, "What now?" You can play any of the multiplayer missions alone, but expect to get shot down almost immediately. A simple eight player melee (seven computer controlled ships and me) became an exercise in patience. Less than ten seconds into a battle, I was blown apart by a missile and booted from the mission.
  
   In the end, XvT is an excellent game, but it's one I can't recommend to everyone. If you're big into multiplayer, you should get it. Otherwise, wait until the promised Campaign Disc is released.
  
   Created by: Totally Games
  
   Publisher: LucasArts
  
   Category: Space Combat
  
   Price: $55
  
   System Requirements: Pentium 90, 16MB RAM, Win95, SVGA, Joystick, 14.4 modem (Internet)
  
   What you really need: Pentium 166, 32MB RAM, Analog Joystick with throttle, 33.6 modem
  
   Highs: Gorgeous graphics; good music, multiplayer, control
  
   Lows: Frustrating single-player; No campaign mode
  
   Content Rating: G for exploding starships
  
   Star Rating: III
  
   Next week's review: Outlaws
  
   Star Ratings Key
   I: Don't waste your time
   II: Not that good; nothing special
   III: Good game; worth checking out if you're into that category
   IIII: Excellent game; highly recommended
   IIIII: Instant classic; buy it now!