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Table of Contents

This guide is split into two main sections. The first deals with general hints, tips and techniques that apply to any situation you'll find yourself in. The second, on the other hand, takes a detailed look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of the six craft you get to fly and what you'll be flying against.
In the Beginning

Although TIE Fighter enables you to jump straight into a battle and start crushing the rebellion immediately, it's well worth taking time out to train and qualify on each craft beforehand. Not only do you get a promotion and some nice certificates and medals, but you also learn a lot that's useful later on.

The Training Simulator
This relatively simple obstacle course is good for sussing out TIE Fighter's basic controls, and demonstrates the main differences between the various craft - their speed and weaponry. To qualify on a ship you must finish level 8. Bear in mind that the course is essentially passive - nothing shoots at you, and hitting things doesn't damage your ship - so when flying a fighter with shields, turn the recharge rate down to minimum to gain speed. Likewise, keep the laser recharge rate at normal until your lasers are running low, and then increase it for a while. The TIE Advanced and Defender pose a unique problem in the Training Simulator - they're both too fast! If you turn the shield recharge to minimum you'll find yourself smacking into things all the time on the later levels, so put the laser recharge up to maximum to compensate, and be prepared to lower your speed even further if necessary.

The Combat Chamber
Whereas the Training Simulator gives you a good idea of how the ships fly, the Combat Chamber introduces you to the kind of situations you'll find in actual battles. For each craft there are four progressively more difficult and more Ďrealistic' (i.e. more like actual events) missions. Even if you skip the Training Simulator, you really should fly all these missions because they enable you to experiment and gain experience without putting your pilot at risk, as well as introduce most of the objectives you'll face later on - from identifying neutral craft to taking out minefields or attacking capital ships. Other than the instructions given on-screen in the earlier missions, there is little that refers specifically to these missions - treat them as battles and use the rest of this guide to help you out.

The Battles
TIE Fighter's campaign is split into seven battles, each consisting of five or six linked missions. Although you are free to skip between the first four whenever you want, it's best to complete them in numerical order - not only do they get more difficult, but it helps maintain the game's storyline. The rest of this guide is aimed at these missions.
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Take Control

It might sound obvious, but it's important to learn and understand the controls if you're going to do well. Outside of the basic movement, firing and targeting controls, the majority of TIE Fighter's key commands are designed to make life easier for you. Read the manual and play around in the Combat Chamber until you've mastered them. You'll not only be better at playing, you'll have more fun too.
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Situational Awareness

A flash way of saying 'knowing what's going on,' situational awareness is the key to success in TIE Fighter. You might be the best pilot in the Empire's history and a master of your starfighter's controls, but if you're not in the right place, attacking the right thing at the right time, you'll fail miserably. Luckily, TIE Fighter contains a whole range of features designed to help you keep track of what's going on, estimate what's going to happen in the near future and then do something about it. The first is the Mission Briefing itself. As well as telling you your main objectives, this gives you an idea of the starting positions of craft - and, by talking to your briefing officer, what you'll be fighting too. Remember to speak to the shadowy figure if he's there and get your secondary objectives. As soon as the mission starts, go to the Goals screen. This gives you the specific mission objectives, and often a hint as to what ships may be appearing later on. Exit the Goals screen and go to the Map, taking a close look at what's about and where they are. Now decide on your first target - and go for it. Throughout the mission, keep an eye on the Goals, Map and Log screens. The best way to do this is to check them immediately after each combat engagement (i.e. after blowing up or disabling a ship). By doing this, you'll know what's going on, be able to spot dangers and problems early on and have time to deal with them. This is of great importance in missions which involve defence - spotting attacking groups before they can do you harm is vital.
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ELS Settings

However, awareness of your starfighterís condition and current performance is just as important as an awareness of the overall situation. What this really comes down to is ensuring that you use the ELS (Engine, Laser, Shield) settings effectively and to your advantage. What makes this more complicated, though, is the fact that each fighter you fly behaves slightly differently. The TIE Interceptorís maximum laser recharge rate, for example, is phenomenal -it can actually charge up while firing at maximum rate. Nevertheless, there are some general points that apply across the board.

Lasers always recharge faster than shields. This means itís more efficient to transfer energy away from shields than to up the shield recharge rate. ELS management in unshielded ships is remarkably easy. In normal conditions just leave the laser recharge at normal. For extra speed drop it down - and when in combat put it up. Itís that simple. Your first priority on starting a mission should be to fully charge the shields (if youíve got them). Immediately transfer all laser energy to your shields, put shield and laser recharge rates up to maximum, and keep transfering energy across from lasers until theyíre fully charged. At this point, drop the recharge rates down to normal until combat starts. To get the most speed - and yet still be able to fight effectively - drop shield recharge down to minimum and put the laser recharge up to increased or maximum, then keep transferring energy across to the shields, a little at a time.

Always keep an eye on your laser and shield levels during a mission, and get used to playing around with the recharge rates and transferring energy around until it becomes second nature. Also get into the habit of spreading your shield evenly between fore and aft by hitting the shield key (S) three times whenever youíve taken some damage.
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Weapons

Weapons in TIE Fighter are basically divided into warheads and beams. While all craft have lasers, the other types of weapon are only available on certain fighters or in certain missions.

Warheads:

There are six types of warhead in TIE Fighter, each with different characteristics. The common link between them is that all require a lock-on if theyíre to hit the target with any degree of accuracy - which means flying straight towards the object for some time. The most important thing to remember is to pull away once youíve fired, otherwise the target will fire once you get in range. However, by moving away from the warhead you can easily divert the targetís attention - and the weapon is then unlikely to get hit by any stray laser blasts. Also remember that your speed is added to the weaponís when you launch it. Concussion Missiles: Only effective against enemy fighters and small craft, and best used while at a distance of about two kilometres. Itís a good idea to save these for A-Wings and similar nasties - most of which need a couple of hits, so launch in pairs. Proton Torpedoes: A good multipurpose weapon, effective against the slower fighters as well as moderate sized ships. Not so good against the real capital ships - they lack the required punch - but better than nothing. Heavy Rockets: The best weapon for dealing with large ships, combining a significant bang with a good range. Space Bombs: Unpowered and thus very short ranged, but the most powerful weapon available. Itís best to release these as close as possible to the target and pull away quickly. Advanced Missiles and Torpedoes: Improved versions of the basic missile and torpedo - always use them when the opportunity arises.

Lasers:

The most versatile weapon in the game, your trusty lasers will never let you down, provided you keep them nicely charged up. For more on the best configurations to use, see the run-down on the individual fighters over the page. Ion Cannons: Ion cannons donít damage craft as such but scramble a shipís controls and electronics, effectively disabling the craft and putting it into a helpless, immobile state. Only use ion cannons when the situation specifically demands it.

Tractor Beam:

This weapon system, only available in the final stage of the game, slows down enemy craft and makes them easier to hit. To be honest, for the amount of energy it requires itís not that effective, so youíre probably better off reducing its recharge rate to minimum and making use of the extra speed it provides instead.
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Know Your Enemy

During the course of TIE Fighter, youíll come up against a whole host of different ships, some more dangerous than others. While itís worth spending a few minutes comparing their statistics in the Tech Room, the numbers alone donít tell the whole story...
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Rebel Fighters

Z95 Headhunter:

This obsolete fighter is dead common, especially in the earlier battles, with its pathetic shields and unimpressive speed and manoeuvrability. Dangerous only in large numbers.

Y-Wing:

Although its shielding and armour are quite strong, the Y-Wing suffers from lack of speed. They pose the biggest threat during dogfighting when thereís a risk youíll run into the back of them. Their ion cannons and torpedoes can also threaten large ships.

X-Wing:

A good all-rounder, the X-Wing is well armed, fairly well protected and capable of decent speed. In the hands of a skilled pilot they can be very dangerous in a dogfight, and the torpedoes pose a moderate threat to larger ships.

A-Wing:

Not particularly tough and quite lightly armed, the A-Wing is nevertheless one of the hardest ships to deal with because itís so amazingly fast. Theyíre best dealt with by concussion missiles from a distance, but beware the A-Wing may have the same idea. Once you get up close, your best bet is to maximise your speed and hope to get in a couple of good shots - A-Wings slow down noticeably once damaged.

B-Wing:

Something of a super-charged Y-Wing, the B-Wing is heavily armed, incredibly tough, but only moderately agile. The biggest problem is that it can soak up such a vast amount of damage and still be very dangerous to large ships.
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General Craft

Shuttle:

These are slow, unwieldy and make nice big targets. Beware of flying head-on into them, though, because their lasers can do a lot of damage given the chance. And be careful when matching speeds flying along slowly behind an unmanoeuvrable shuttle makes you an excellent target for enemy fighters.

Transport:

Virtually identical to shuttles (see above), except theyíre a slightly smaller target and, when armed with torpedoes, can pose a threat to large craft. Escort Shuttle: Unless youíve got a lot of missiles or torpedoes, youíd be taking a big risk attacking these in an unshielded ship. Theyíve got some serious guns up front and the rear turret (which can also fire sideways) is a nightmare. In a shielded craft, divert all energy to forward shields and make repeated attack runs, equalising shields as you go past donít match speeds and sit behind an Escort Shuttle under any circumstances.
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Miscellaneous Craft

This covers all the various Freighters, Transporters, Cargo Craft and Containers. As a rule, these are big, slow or non-moving targets that pose little or no threat and take a lot of pounding to destroy. However, occasionally some of the larger craft are armed with the odd turbolaser turret or two, so donít go blazing in immediately. Make a fast fly-by and see what happens to prevent any nasty surprises.
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Capital Ships

These are the big ships - Frigates, Calamari Cruisers, Star Destroyers and so on (including Space Platforms - which donít move). The first thing to remember is that attacking these ships in a TIE Fighter or Interceptor is suicide. A TIE Bomberís only chance depends on launching a large supply of torpedoes, rockets or bombs from outside laser range. Capital ships, with their profusion of turrets and lasers, nearly always do some damage to an attacking fighter, so shielded craft are a must. The second thing to bear in mind is that you can attack and destroy various parts of the larger ships separately. By experimenting in the Combat Chamber with invulnerability turned on or by recording a mission and using the camera controls you should easily be able to pinpoint any weakly defended areas - the Calamari Light Cruiserís underside, for example. Once youíve destroyed all the weapons in that area youíll be able to pummel the ship mercilessly without fear of retribution. So, to take out a large craft...

Destroy any fighters protecting the ship (some will continue to launch fighters as you attack - itís best to deal with these as theyíre released, rather than let them build up to dangerous numbers). Make sure your lasers and shields are fully charged. Get into a position from where you can attack a weakly defended area. Soften up the target with any heavy weapons you have, while outside laser range if possible. Remember you can target specific locations with torpedoes and rockets, so try taking out as many weapons as you can at this point. Get in close enough to use your lasers and make repeated strafing attacks against any remaining defences, taking time to fully recharge your shields between runs. Blast away to your heartís content and blow the target to bits (this might take some time with the real biggies, so be patient).

Although not technically capital ships, Assault Transports and Corvettes should be treated in much the same way. A skilful pilot should still be able to deal with them in a TIE Interceptor or even a basic Fighter though.
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Imperial Fighters

TIE Fighter:

The TIE Fighter is the most basic ship you can fly and, in many respects, the weakest. It can only take two laser hits before itís destroyed, and even one is normally enough to blow its sensors and make it virtually useless. This means itís vital you keep a careful eye on the three threat indicators above the laser sight, and pull away sharply if one lights up. On the plus side, the TIE Fighter is moderately fast and very manoeuvrable. In addition, you only fly this ship at the start of your career, where you normally only encounter the older and less dangerous enemy ships and have a strong numerical superiority. Make sure you use you wingmen well - strength in numbers is the TIE Fighterís main advantage. As its lasers are right next to each other, always use dual fire - if one beam hits, the other will too.

TIE Interceptor:

A souped-up TIE Fighter, the Interceptor is faster, better armed and can take three or four hits. Despite this, itís still a fragile craft and you should be just as careful with it. The craftís main feature is the speed of its laser recharge - at maximum rate you can fire continuously and still build up charge! This means youíll normally only have to put it up to increased rate to maintain a full charge, which frees up more energy for your engines. Although not quite as critical as for the TIE Fighter, wingmen are still important and you should take care to assign them specific targets. Due to the distance between its four lasers, configuring your weapons is more difficult. Dual fire is a good compromise for most situations, combining a good rate of fire with a higher chance of hitting, but single fire is best against defenceless targets such as containers.

TIE Bomber:

The Bomber is the slowest of the unshielded craft, but also the toughest and most heavily armed. You can afford to soak up a good two or three hits before youíre in any danger, and it can take up to six to destroy. Itís just as well, though, because the sluggish responses combined with the need to fly straight at enemies acquiring locks makes the Bomber a prime target. Luckily, Bomber missions are normally supported by Fighter and/or Interceptor squadrons and a significant number of wingmen who you should use to make group attacks on your objectives. In a couple of missions youíll be required to dogfight in this craft. You should selectively use missiles against the fastest enemies- but beyond that itís just a matter of keeping your laser recharge rate down to normal for as long as possible in order to maintain speed while fighting. Dual fire is normally best in these situations, with single fire against non-threatening targets.

Assault Gunboat:

The slowest and most unwieldy of the shielded craft, the Gunboat is also the one youíll be flying most of the time. Because of its hyperdive, the Gunboat is ideal for surprise raids, and with its ion cannons itís perfect for when something needs capturing. To get the most out of the Gunboat, make maximum use of its shields and play around with the ELS settings as necessary. For dogfighting, itís best to drop the shield recharge to minimum and put the laser recharge up to maximum, then transfer energy across when the shields start to disperse. Luckily, the Gunboat can carry a very heavy warhead load - 12 missiles in total - which you should use to take out A-Wings and the like while you finish off Y-Wings and so on with your lasers. Like the TIE Fighter, these are right next to each other in the nose, so set them to dual fire at all times.

TIE Advanced:

The TIE Advanced is a joy to fly and suitable for almost any type of mission. Even A-Wings pose little problem for its high speed and agility, strong shields and four laser cannons. It really is very impressive indeed. Unfortunately, you only gain access to it later on in the game, and itís only used in the toughest of missions (in some youíre flying against Imperial traitors). Itís when you have to fight enemy TIE Advanceds that you really begin to appreciate what a tough ship it is. As well as being a great fighter, the TIE Advanced is also ideal for attacking large ships. Its high speed means you can put shield and laser recharge rates up to maximum and still be going more than fast enough to attack other craft. Itís normally best to use dual fire against fighters and single fire against large targets.

TIE Defender:

The TIE Defender is, quite simply, the most ridiculously powerful ship of them all. Itís insanely fast, loaded down with guns and has shields that are twice the strength of any other fighter. Even TIE Advanceds pale into insignificance next to this baby. As such, itís actually quite hard to give any useful advice about flying it - if youíre good enough to have reached the last few missions (where this ship appears), then you shouldnít have many problems. To be honest, thereís very little you can do wrong with a ship like this. Itís best to keep the lasers set to dual fire when dogfighting, and turn the tractor beam down to minimum recharge, unless you find it more useful than we did. For a real challenge, try completing the first Combat Chamber mission after youíve shot every container (thus triggering all the enemy ships to arrive at once). Have fun.
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