X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter

Genre: Flight Simulator
Release Year: 1997
Developer: Totally Games
Publisher: LucasArts
Age Rating: 12+
Playability Status: Fully playable (minor issues only)
Tested On: Windows 8 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

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The enduring popularity of Star Wars amongst videogame players has created a legacy of computer and video game titles spanning back over three decades. From the superbly atmospheric Star Wars arcade game to the more recent online roleplaying games, the conflict ridden fantasy universe has always served as a great background for game playing. LucasArts’ 1997 game, X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter, allowed Star Wars fans to play as either a rebel or an imperial TIE fighter pilot and duel with other players in deep space. The original version of this game was, unusually for the time, a multiplayer only title. With the slower internet speeds of the time, it wasn’t long before a singleplayer expansion was released. Called “Balance of Power”, it is this version of the game we will be focusing on here.


Like many old LucasArts games, X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter has a 16 bit installer. This means that, if you are running a 64 bit version of Windows, it will be impossible to install the game normally. Thanks to the work of Markus Egger, a replacement installer has been produced. However, even with this replacement installer, installing the game is still a little fiddly. Because of this, we’ve created our own installation script that will take your X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter files, prepare them for installation, then launch Markus’s replacement installer (which we’ve included without modifications, as per Markus’s terms and conditions). All you need to do is insert your Balance of Power CD and then your X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter CD when the installer prompts you to do so. You can download this replacement installer here (link broken? Let me know here).

If for any reason you don’t want to use our installer, you can find Markus’s original installation instructions here. If you have difficulty using our installer, check that you have all the prerequisites listed on that page too.

Running the game

Once installed, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter should run without any compatibility options set. Before you start on your career as a brave rebel pilot or devious imperial soldier, you will probably want to change the visual settings for the game.

Tweaking visual settings

Balance of Power supported both 3DFX and DirectX graphics cards. On modern machines, you should simply set all options to on or full. You can access the settings from the main menu by clicking on the “Config” button near the top right of the window. You should then select Single Player Flight Engine and Multiplayer Flight Engine by using the small icons at the left of the screen. The screenshot below shows the optimal configurations.


Configuring controllers

X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter originally required the player to possess a specialist flight simulator compatible joystick. If you have such a controller today, then undoubtedly this is the definitive way to play the game. If you don’t, it’s still possible to play the game with an Xbox 360 or similar controller. have compiled an excellent guide to configuring the 360 controller for use with the game. You can find the guide here. For reference, the controls are:-

Joystick Button 1: Space – Confirm critical orders
Joystick Button 2: E – Target closest fighter targeting you
Joystick Button 3: Alt-3 – Roll/Target ship in sights
Joystick Button 4: T – Next target
Joystick Button 5: W – Cycle weapon settings
Joystick Button 6: Alt-2 – Fire weapon
Joystick Button 7: F8 – Cycle Beam Settings
Joystick Button 8: B – Beam On/Off
Joystick Button 9: Enter – Match targeted craft’s speed
Joystick Button 10: Backspace – Full Throttle
Joystick POV U: X – Cycle Firing Settings
Joystick POV R: S – Cycle Shield Settings
Joystick POV D: F9 – Laser Recharge Rate
Joystick POV L: F10 – Shields Recharge Rate

You can set these options by clicking the Config button and then selecting Joystick options from the small icons on the left of the screen.

The main problem with using an Xbox 360 controller with the game is that X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter was designed around a joystick with a sliding throttle control. On a controller like this, when you throttle all the way back, the throttle control is at zero. On an Xbox 360 controller however, when both the left trigger and the right trigger are released, the throttle control appears at around 50% to the game. In other words, if you want to come to a stop, you have to keep the left trigger pressed down. The only workaround to this is to use Xpadder. Open Xpadder and click on the left trigger, then use the “Advanced..” button. The picture below shows the configuration we used:-


The first icon is a “release zone”. This tells Xpadder to perform this action only when the button is released. The second item is a delay, this is optional, but it seemed to make the control a little smoother when it was there. With this setup, your engines will power down every time you press and release the left trigger on the pad. This isn’t ideal of course, since the engines should only stop if you fully throttle down then release the trigger, but it’s better than nothing. Remember that to fly at full speed, you will need to hold the right trigger down.


X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter was designed as a multiplayer game and so has extensive multiplayer options that still work today. Discussing all the possibilities for multiplayer sessions would be an entire article in itself. If you are interested in competing with other intergalactic aces, check out this page.


Missing 3D objects – If, after starting the game, you cannot see any 3D objects in space, you may need to turn off 3D acceleration in the games options. This does of course mean the game will use lower-detail models. We tried numerous suggested workarounds to restore 3D models in the game, from unofficial patch utilities to hacked versions of DirectDraw, but unfortunately we were not able to get 3D acceleration working on our test PC.


  1. Lee C says:

    Will this work for X-Wing Alliance, or is there an installer for XWA?

  2. Brian Rubin says:

    Thank you so much for this, it helped my friends and I get a game together the other night. :)

  3. Jackson says:

    It wont work for just the normal version of Xwing vs Tie fighter, is there any way for me to bypass the balance of power insertion?

  4. Mark says:

    I loaded x-wing vs tie fighter onto my new computer and sadly realized I had loaded only the Multiplayer disc. I got the master disc and loaded it on, and the only screen I was able to access the Multiplayer screen. That’s when I found this sight. I uninstalled everything, bought Balance of Power and went through the entire sequence of installing with this website’s patch. Everything seemed to work, but when I entered the game I could only access the multiplayer screen again. In addition, the pilot I created from my first install of the multiplayer disc was already logged in. Are there some kind of shadow files that are blocking the campaign version? I have tried deleting every file that says “Xwing” on my entire computer to start fresh, but nothing seems to work. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    • BuckoA51 says:

      You could try deleting the X Wing Vs Tie fighter registry keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC

  5. Mark says:

    I tried looking for that file, but couldn’t find it. Where would I look?

    I also tried loading it on a completely different computer and had the same problem. Only “Join a Game” multiplayer screen opens when I click either “Play Balance of Power” or “Play X vs. T.” There should be a single/multiplayer option or a “play solo” button, but its not there. Anyone tried this in the last month or so and gotten it to work? I also tried the method listed at this website. Again, got through the entire process with no issues, but then when I went into the game only multiplayer mode.

    I’m using a Windows 7 laptop.

  6. Jamster says:

    What if we dont have the balance of power disc but we have the master game disc and multiplayer disc

  7. wow I have been looking for years for a clean install and I have tested solo mission. waiting to find some fellow players to test the mulitplayer. Check out our site and have fun

  8. Stevic says:

    The Loader works great on Win7 64 bit system; Remembering that one needs to use the Master disk or Disk one for X-wing vs Tie Fighter and not the Multi-player disk. When I first tried to install XvT/BP I couldn’t find the original disk set, so I used a back, however even though the games install correctly; I was only able play the multi-player campaigns. The second install, after I had recovered original XvT/Bal-Pow box sets from the loft, the actual installation went really smoothly and game now seems full operational. I just have to remember the endless number of key commands and try deceiving what some of commands actually do. There is just one small problem changing ‘Brightness’ in setup seem to lockup the game.

  9. Bryan says:

    I tried this tonight twice but had some problems. Toward the end of the installation the installer could not find several of the requested files. Based on the names it looked like mostly cutscenes but a few others too. When I tried to start the game (both BoP and XvT) I got a “not responding” message and then it closed. Any ideas? I am on a laptop with Windows 8.1.

  10. Bryan says:

    According to the readme file:
    LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC

  11. Bryan says:

    I think I got everything copied over manually. At least, nothing was showing up as missing. However, I still get the main menu then a “Not Responding” message just before it closes. It is in there somewhere but the computer does not want to run it. Help!

  12. Stevic says:

    Bryan, have you tried running setup in DirectX folder from the Balance of power CD

  13. Dan says:

    Got t running on my desktop just fine and my kids are totally digging on it but I want to play! Beeing trying to get it running my laptop but I don’t have a cd drive. Is there a regedit I can do or config file I can change to point to a file system copy of the game on my hard drive? Going to try and map a folder as a drive a see if I can trick it.

  14. tom says:

    this is great but doesn’t allow for install of vanilla XvT

  15. Yogurt says:

    You can turn on 3D with
    It works with all X-Wing games. ~:)

  16. JimBeam823 says:

    Ironically, this old Windows 95/98 game works just fine on a Mac with PlayOnMac. Configure wine to run in Windows 98 mode and go. You will also need the “no CD crack”. The only thing that doesn’t work is the CD music. PlayOnLinux does the exact same thing for Linux.

    3D acceleration works (Intel Iris Pro), but is buggy. 2D mode is perfect. XvT isn’t XWA, there’s not that much difference between 2D and 3D.

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