With all this talk about aliens you almost have to be a rocket scientist to understand this game.

Okay, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to play Rebelstar Tactical Command but it would certainly help. Youngsters weaning themselves off of Pokemon would be well advised to stay clear of this game unless they want to learn something. This game is more welcoming to those strategists that enjoyed games such as Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. While Rebelstar isn't as complex as these games it hangs in the same neighborhood.

Rebelstar tells the futuristic tale of the planet Earth ruled by aliens in the year 2117. This Arelian Empire is evil at the core, which forces a group of rebels to plot to overthrow them. Led by an ambitious trooper named Jorel, a small squad infiltrates the core using various tactics such as stealth and full-out warfare.

Implementing RPG elements you will acquire points for kills and healings that will be randomly distributed to your squad. You will be able to assign one of four points to any character you want to increase their abilities or weapon prowess. Skills such as healing and stealth are a necessity to the gameplay as well as equipping your teammates with various weapons such as grenades, rifles, lasers, chain guns and missiles.

Each character has a certain number of points which you must spent to make them perform a task at each turn. The game is turn-based so once you make your move you should consider using the environment to block yourself from attack. There are plenty of options at your disposal such as which weapons to use, ranged or close combat, stealth, heal, retreat, attack and so forth. I just love using the term, "so forth." It makes me sound important - and I really need that.

The menus are easily accessible but that's not much help if you don't know what you're doing. Turn-based strategy games are not pick-up-and-play games. You won't find these in an arcade. You should line up someone to teach you the finer points before you consider purchasing this game. The instructions are decent but they are no substitute for a good tutor or in-game tutorial.

Graphically the game suffers a lot. The renderings are very plain and the animation is stiff and jerky. It's got a colorful, cartoon presentation that would certainly benefit from more detailed graphics. The music is just plain awful. It's tinny and repetitious. Take those headphones off, quick, lest you go berserk!

A two-player Skirmish mode will squeeze more replay value out of the game but you should know that it uses the same cartridge and the same GBA system, so if you don't want to hand over control of your machine to some idiot you might want to think twice about this game.

System: GBA
Pub: Namco
Release: Sept. 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Dan