X-Wing Alliance

Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance is the sequel to both Star Wars: TIE Fighter and the multiplayer-focused Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. X-Wing Alliance presents the story of the Azzameen family, a family of space traders. The player assumes the role of Ace Azzameen, the youngest of the Azzameen children, juggling military duty as a fighter pilot for the Rebel Alliance, and allegiance to his family, flying larger heavily armed freighters for the family business, amid a bloody family feud and in the larger context of a galactic civil war.

X-Wing Alliance is the fourth game in the venerable Star Wars space combat series, Like the others, Alliance was created by Lawrence Holland's Totally Games group, so those of you familiar with the series will be on comfortable ground. Totally Games again puts you in the seat of a number of Alliance fighter craft and a few new ships that you've never had the pleasure to commandeer. 

combat

The multiplayer options in Alliance were quite good, considering it was created in 1999. Up to eight people could compete via a LAN or through the MSN Gaming Zone and the game ran well on a 56k or  ISDN connection. Higher was always better but there was a major back-draw. The game was rushed to the market (being part of the original timeline of Return of the Jedi) and Lucas film was about to release Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. 

As a result the implementation of the netcode was not perfect. The player acting as server had an advantage we will not explain here (classified). The best players in the Zone knew all those quirks and therefore ruled the game.  

XWA Pilots could choose between 28 different fighter craft from both the Alliance and Imperial factions (as well as a few non-aligned ships), each offering a unique flying experience. For example, the A-Wing is swift and can out turn nearly every other craft in the game, but is lightly armored. The Imperial Shuttle, on the other hand, is a sloth in comparison, but it can dish out plenty of damage and take a beating to boot. In addition to the ship variety, there's a nice diversity of game types, ranging from simple races to the standard deathmatch to huge capital ship runs. Nearly every game variable is customizable by the host, who will have full control over such variables as time limit, point limit, and the setting of the mission (either in deep space, a mine field, or an asteroid field). 

Murgen started playing via 64k ISDN with low ping (5 ms). Unfortunately ISDN was dial-up and charged per minute making XWA and TLords an expensive hobby. He switched to cable in 2001 but cable was slow and had a very high latency due to insufficient capacity to the actual internet. His rating plummeted down, playing was no longer fun. ADSL became available in 2003 but it was too late. XWA was fading away, and so was the MSN Gaming Zone. It was time to move on.  

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