If you're looking for a discussion of the new "Star Wars" movie, look elsewhere, please.
But if you want a great aerial shooter that features a taste of new technology from your friends at Nintendo, come on in."Star Wars: Rogue Squadron," from LucasArts for the N64, isn't based on any specific movie. It features a faceless band with familiar names, Luke Skywalker first among them, battling in a variety of fighter craft to defeat the Empire's forces on behalf of the Rebel Alliance.
Oh, the new technology. That would be the 4MB Ram expansion pack, which plugs into the N64 console and allows game designers -- in this case LucasArts and Force 5 -- greater latitude in graphics, allowing delicious details in the ships and the environment.
You have five ships to choose from, although you have to earn new ones by working your way through various levels. You'll start with the ever-popular X-wing; your second craft is the Airspeeder. Also available are the A-wing, the fastest ship available; the Y-wing, which can handle both fighter and bomber duties; and the V-wing Airspeeder.
Each has its good and bad points, which you will learn as you pilot them into battle.
The standard weapon is the blaster cannon; each craft also has its own secondary weapons, including torpedoes, bombs and a variety of missiles.
For you "Star Wars" fans, there is the usual list of enemy weapons, including the ever-popular AT-AT, the Imperial walker; the AT-PT; and the Imperial Probe Droid, a robot recon device armed with a blaster.
The enemy's most popular aerial fighter is the TIE, a compact, maneuverable device with no shields that depends on maneuverability and sheer numbers to overwhelm the good guys.
You have to battle through several missions in each of four chapters, and your score depends on how fast you complete the mission, how much damage you do, how accurate your shots are and how many friendlies you save. You earn medals based on your performance, and the more and better medals you earn, the more likely you are to get hold of some secret aircraft later in the game.
You visit such familiar places as Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine; Corellia, home to Han Solo; and the final battle on the aptly named water world, Calamari.
This game is all about flying combat, you against Imperial forces bent on wiping out the Rebel Alliance.
Comparing this effort with another recent space game, "Colony Wars: Vengeance," is instructive. Colony Wars fights most of its battles in deep space, where Star Wars is mostly a matter of defending planetary objectives.
The graphics in Colony Wars are spectacular, with huge explosions and breathtaking deep-space vistas. Star Wars features more workmanlike graphics, also excellent but in a more subdued way.
Control is very good. The controls are pretty intuitive, and after a few minutes, you'll be blasting Imperial craft out of the sky like an ace.
"Star Wars: Rogue Squadron" is rated "T," for ages 13 and up.