X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter is slightly different to the other games in the series. It was conceived as a multiplayer-focussed version of the first two games, and includes no real storyline; its single-player element is simply a set of unconnected missions, and there are no cutscenes. Since the story element of the first two games was what many fans found the most compelling aspect, LucasArts recognised this as a mistake, and introduced the expansion pack for X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, which includes a series of missions with a proper storyline and cutscenes in the style of the first two games. They also returned to the story-driven format for the final game in the series, X-Wing Alliance.
As well as dogfighting designed to resemble the free-wheeling duels of World War I, the games also offered the challenge of managing power resources and wingmen, and using weapons effectively.
Most of the games featured hand-drawn (and voiced - this was quite unusual in the days of the first two games, X-Wing and TIE Fighter) cutscenes at crucial points in the storyline, although these were nothing like as extensive as those in the Wing Commander[?] series to which the games owed much. They also featured music from the movie trilogy, which in some games responded to the player's actions, using the iMUSE system[?].
The games in the series were:
Two expansion packs were released for X-Wing, B-Wing and Imperial Pursuit. One expansion pack was released for TIE Fighter, TIE Fighter: Defender of the Empire. Both games were re-released as "Collector's CD-ROM"s, with the expansion packs included. These also tweaked other areas of the games, including bugfixes, improved graphics, rehashed cutscenes, and the addition of voiceovers for the mission briefings and in-game radio messages. X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter also had one expansion pack, entitled Balance of Power. In 1998, the Collector's CD-ROM versions of the first two games were combined with a cut-down version of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter and released as a single pack, X-Wing Collector Series. In this edition, X-Wing and TIE Fighter are retrofitted with the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter graphics engine, which uses texture mapping instead of Gouraud shading. X-Wing Alliance has no expansion pack.
The games were made by Lawrence Holland's "Totally Games" company, under license from LucasArts, and released by LucasArts. There are no plans to release further games in the series, although in an interview in 2003, Mr. Holland indicated he might return to the series at some point in the future.