Edit: good news! as of 28/4/2015 the 1995 version is now included on GoG.

So yesterday I was very enthusiastic about GOG releasing TIE Fighter. Now unfortunately, having investigated further, I have a bit of bad news. Your purchase gets you original 1994 DOS release, and also the 1998 version. What’s missing, though, is the 1995 Collectors CD-ROM edition. This boosted the graphics resolution up to SVGA, improved the cutscenes and also had some extra voicovers.

You might say, if you want an upgrade to the original, why not just play the 98 release, which added texture mapping? However, to me that rather changes the feel of the game. I think whether you prefer those early days of somewhat blurry textures, to clean polygons, is something of a matter of taste. Meanwhile the soundtrack is no longer the dynamic imuse system, changing on the fly to match events, that did such great work in building atmosphere and excitement. It’s just ordinary CD tracks.

So that release could be seen as TIE overhauled, and not entirely for the better. Whereas the 1995 one is still the original game, just sharpened up and improved. It’s in my view the definitive version, and hopefully GOG will add it sometime.

(RT if you’re reading, I just quickly tried the ’94 DOS version, and it recognised my generic USB joypad right away without any need to tinker with the config)