Last weekend saw the launch of the Star Wars Battlefront Beta, which ended Tuesday. Despite some reports of glitches, for instance Luke Skywalker’s humours death after being trampled on by an AT-AT, overall reception of the beta has been positive.
Frequently good news regarding a game would lead to Four of a Kind detailing top retro games however, having already published a list of the top Star Wars titles (http://goo.gl/TB4V0Q) this week will present a look at the darker side of the franchise’s gaming history with four of the worst to come from a galaxy far, far away.
1. Star Wars: Yoda Stories (PC, Gameboy Colour)
Developed by LucasArts and released in 1997 Yoda Stories allowed fans to live out their dreams of becoming a Jedi under the teaching of one of the most iconic characters. The game is a top-down RPG set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi wherein players control Luke Skywalker completing his Jedi training via accomplishing numerous objectives and puzzles.
One problem for the game is the tasks as each is tedious, repetitive and monotonous. For example rather than using the force to raise an X-Wing from a murky swamp one task involves recovering a key. Secondly there is no central plot or definitive goal, merely one quest after another.
The writing is awful, the gameplay is too simplistic and oddly R2D2 speaks perfect English. Yoda Stories is the final game in LucasArts ‘Desktop Adventures’ series, mostly due to these flaws.
2. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Playstation, PC)
In order to defend this game one could argue the source material is already too weak to improve upon however Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is still a bad game due to numerous juxtapositions. The camera suggests it is a third-person adventure however it is often zoomed in too close suggesting an attempt at first-person viewpoint. Furthermore camera angles are so shocking that most enemies will attack before appearing of screen, meaning the need to swing the camera around or constantly be on alert.
Gameplay is also absurd as, in an attempt to create some level of variety, it is half hack ‘n’ slash and half shooter. Despite expanding on the events of the film, the voice acting and animations are awful. Collision detection is also terrible, mainly during lightsaber duels, and deflecting blaster shots with a lightsaber is unimpressive. Fundamentally the game is a poor cash-in on the weakest film in the franchise.
3. Star Wars: Obi Wan (Xbox)
Star Wars: Obi Wan is both a spiritual successor to Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II and an Xbox launch title. This immediately disappointed fans of the Jedi Knight series and anyone who bought Microsoft’s debut console solely for this game. As the title suggests players control a young Obi Wan, completing training and experiencing the events leading to Episode I.
A “Classic” mode also enables for the playthrough of scenarios depicted in the film such as the lightsaber duel against Darth Maul.
Essentially the game allows players to become a true Jedi Knight however blocky graphics, irritating camera controls and awful level design create a disappointing experience. One encouraging aspect of the game is the new feature of controlling a lightsaber via the analogue thumbstick in order to create a more free-flowing feel.
Nonetheless this is not enough to deter from a bad game that contains mostly empty levels with minimal action sequences.
4. Masters of Teras Kasi (Playstation)
Master of Teras Kasi is a Playstation-exclusive side-scrolling fighting game which, one the surface, is not a bad idea given some iconic lightsaber duels. Unfortunately the game is not Jedi vs Sith but instead incorporates multiple characters battling one another including; Slave Leia, Boba Fett, Storm Troopers and a Gamorrean Guard.
As a result lightsabers are reduced from powerful weapons to batons poorly colliding against various characters creating balance issues. These issues are not just evident in lightsaber wielding characters as firearm-based characters need to charge up their weapons to shoot, leaving them mostly venerable.
The graphics are also poor, sound is barely audible, frame rate is slow and the plot does not justify the overt endeavour to re-skin a fighting game within a Star Wars context.
That concludes this week’s examination of the worst retro Star Wars video games. As always feel free to leave a comment discussing any of the games presented or those omitted from the list.
Honourable mentions: Star Wars: Jedi Arena (Atari 2600), Rebel Assault (SEGA-CD), Star Wars Episode 1: The Gungan Frontier (PC) Flight of the Falcon (Gameboy Advance), Force Commander (PC), Star Wars Demolition (Playstation. Dreamcast) Super Bombad Racing (Playstation 2) and Jedi Power Battles (Playstation, Dreamcast, Gameboy Advance)