When you play Renegade: Battle for Jacob's Star, one of the first things you'll notice is the level of detail that went into the development of the styles and appearance of the various fighting machines you'll get to fly during this space combat simulation. Both TOG (Terran Overlord Government) and CAF (Commonwealth Armed Forces) pilots use basically six types of interceptors. The main difference between the two is that TOG fighters are built to accomplish several jobs well whereas CAF machines are designed for specific purposes and are thus limited when used to carryout functions outside those parameters. TOG fighters are generally faster but CAF interceptors carry better armor and armaments. In a nice twist, the Renegade Legion, part of the Commonwealth, can also use captured TOG craft, limited only by the ability to get parts to keep them flying. Throughout the missions of the game, you'll encounter many other types of space faring vessels such as destroyers, frigates, cruisers, battleships, carriers, escorts, gunboats and corvettes. There is no shortage in the variety of weaponry employed in the battles as lasers, electron and neutron particle cannons, mass driver cannons, several types of missiles (for example, Radiation Intensity Seeking Missile, Scanner Silhouette Seeking Missile, Transponder Guided Missile) and shields make up the primary arsenal for your battling heroes.
For the most part, the flight engine in Renegade: Battle for Jacob's Star is adequate. It may not be as fast as some of the other major flight combat simulations on the market but it manages nicely to portray the feeling of being in a space environment. Dogfighting can be a bit frustrating as your turns are not executed with sharp and crisp precision and speed of maneuverability is less than perfect. But, these are minor complaints when viewed in the overall context of how the game plays. Well planned mission objectives support over a dozen types of missions such as reconnaissance flights, escorts, rescues, intercepts, defense, pickets and sweeps. All missions, regardless of complexity, involve use of computer calculated Navigational Points. There are many options available which make playing the game possible for either the novice or experienced wannabe space pilot. You choose one of several pilots to use as your alter ego and can select the number of wingmen, the ship you want to use and the difficulty level in the practice mode (called Holo-Space) where you are attacked by seemingly endless swarms of TOG interceptors. This goes a long way toward getting you familiar with the "how to" fly controls and functions of your interceptor of choice. Once comfortable and confident you can handle it, you can embrace the mission-oriented campaign mode.
The designers included a feature I'd love to see in more games of this type: the ability to insert your own musical CD of choice while flying your missions. Imagine the possibilities. Black Sabbath, Metallica, B-52's. The game's techno/rap musical score is lively but can get repetitive. While not the best of the genre, Renegade: Battle for Jacob's Star is a solid entry.
Graphics: Very detailed, well done game universe. The care used in developing and rendering the various fighters shows. All in all, a visual delight.
Sound: Sound effects, voice and music are not bad but the option to use your own musical CD's as background sends this rating higher.
Enjoyment: You can get involved in the storyline and actually care about your mission to save Jacob's Star. Learning curve may be on the tough side for newbies but once mastered, it controls well, if not slower than most. A good package.
Replay Value: You can always fly that last mission better than you just did. Good amount of options regarding ships, pilots and difficulty level gives this one a high rating.
Command a squadron of rebel pilots to outfly and outsmart the Terran Overlord Government invasion force.
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