Rebel Strike demo disc promotion

Empire building.

American fans who pre-order the latest instalment in LucasArts' Nintendo-exclusive Rogue Squadron series will receive a special bonus disc containing demos, trailers and other bonuses, the Star Wars publisher has announced.

Of course this won't be the first time US Cube owners have been rewarded for their pre-orders. Earlier this year, Nintendo offered fans of the Zelda series a GameCube port of classic N64 RPG Ocarina of Time as part of their promotion for The Wind Waker, a move which led to more than half a million pre-orders in the US. The disc was later bundled with the game for its European debut on May 3rd.

But unlike the Zelda promotion, LucasArts will be offering players a one-level demo from Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike itself set on the planet Hoth, a section of the game recently demonstrated at E3, along with demos of LucasArts' forthcoming Gladius, and Rogue Leader, the best-selling Cube launch title.

Other Star Wars bonus material will also be included on the disc, and the highlight for critics and hardcore fans is bound to be a GameCube port of the original 1983 Star Wars arcade game, still a popular fixture among 10p-toting students in university bars and chip shops around the UK as they sup on deep-fried Mars bars.

On the inclusion of the old Atari arcade game, Julian Eggebrecht, CEO of Rebel Strike developer Factor 5, said "[Factor 5] wanted to give gamers another taste of the classic Star Wars experience. Plus, I think the game is still a blast."

Reports from the US suggest that the disc will be made available quite a while before Rebel Strike is released this September to give gamers the chance to pile in with pre-orders. Whether the incentive will work as well as it did with Zelda is another matter, but after the success of Rogue Leader, Rebel Strike's popularity is almost certainly assured.

It is not currently known whether LucasArts plans to ship the disc outside the US, but pre-orders are rarely as popular in this area of the world, although these days big retail chains like GAME sometimes offer gamers PS2 demo discs in exchange for a chunk of the eventual cover price. Any promotion would also need to be run past Activision, which continues to act as LucasArts' distributor in the region.

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