OReilly Star Wars Features Part 1

Pulse Cannon: Oct 6, 04
Michael O’Reilly

Greetings and welcome to the Pulse Cannon, back once again after a week off to let others hog my glory. No really, it was suggested that 3 columns in one day might be a bit much for you fine folks, so we all decided it was wise to space em out just a touch. So there for I now begin my bi-weekly column adventures with this first foray. Two weeks ago in my last column I discussed the 3 best games/series in the Star Wars universe. And since that actually got a response I’ve decided that this week I’m going to go into the worst of the same universe.

First off though, I’m going to post this little missive I got from Paul, from somewhere, who wrote the following to me:

“Not much to add, but I really agree with you about Darth Vader and Super Empire Strikes back.

What’s cooler than a one on one Light Saber fight with Darth Vader? And where you can use your force powers?

I think that’s the best final boss of any game.

I seem to have lost my copies of the SNES Star Wars games and it’s driving me nuts!

keep up the good work.”

I couldn’t agree more Paul, the final boss fight with Vader in Empire has to be the most enjoyable moment I’ve ever had in a Star Wars game. As for losing your copies and it driving you nuts, I feel your pain, after I finished the first game I foolishly decided I didn’t need my copy (or my SNES) any longer and sold it to a friend. Soon enough Super Empire came out and I had to get another SNES just so I could play it. And would you believe I did the same thing after I beat Empire? Sure enough Jedi came out and I had to scramble to find another SNES. Ah the joys of youth, part time jobs and no bills to pay…

Now then, onto what I consider the worst of the Star Wars universe games. We’ll start in a downwards countdown from bad to worst. This isn’t easy folks. This list actually started out as a worst of five, but as I wrote I was reminded of a few other games, so I’m going to write about five today and then give you the other five next week.

10: Rebel Strike (GC)

I’m going to start with a game that dissappointed me in so many ways, and that is last years sequel to Rogue Leader, Rebel Strike. I did the review on this one while we were still at 411. You can look it up in our spiffy Writer profile down at the bottom of this here page, and I probably wasn’t as hard on this one as I should have been. Over the time since I wrote that review I can say the game has not aged well at all. The graphics still look fantastic but the gameplay is really killed by the on-foot missions. Add to that the flight controls that make the game feel restricted and missions that are scraping the bottom of the barrel of the movies for new missions and you have a game that is very clearly one of the lesser games in Star Wars history. Which is a great shame because Rogue Leader was so fantastic, despite having a few of the same flaws. Story line really does matter it seems. That and knowing when not to go outside your limits.

9: Rebellion (PC)

Ninth on my list is Star Wars: Rebellion. When it was first announced it seemed to many people that they were making an RTS game based on the Galactic Civil War, and while that kind of wound up happening people didn’t get the game they were hoping for. Where people were expecting Starcraft with Star Wars they wound up getting something very similar to Medieval: Total War, only on a much grander scale, if thats even possible. And really if you take Rebellion for what it actually is it’s not that bad of a game. It’s not Starcraft with Star Wars, but it’s not trying to be. If you want to take over the galaxy, order the death of millions by destroying a planet with the deathstar, or simply conquer the universe with a huge starfleet, you can do it with this game. I guess what it really boils down to is what people were expecting and wanted vs. what they actually got.

8: Shadows of the Empire (N64)

This is another game that was really just a misfire in many ways. It was a game that was supposed to launch with the N64 but wound up being delayed to help tweak the gameplay elements. The storyline was completely unique, and actually very cool, but while the flying missions were quite excellent, spawning the entire Rogue Squadron series of games from the reaction that the Hoth level got, the on foot missions just didn’t have the same polish (a fate strangely similar to my number 10, Rebel Strike). I personally felt like Frankenstein running around a stage, the control was just not quite there. The level designs didn’t help either. Some missions the screen was so dark you had to turn the brightness up to see where you were going.

7: Pod Racer (N64)

The first of the “me too” cash in’s on my list, this was LucasArts trying to emulate the success that games like Wipeout had attained, while still feeling like a Star Wars game. What was produced was a game that really had nothing to do with Star Wars execpt for where it was…in a galaxy far far away. And while the gameplay isn’t really that bad, the scene in the movie it comes from is clearly there to sell the videogame, and is much longer than it needs to be. So for that alone, it deserves to be on this list.

6: Demolition (Dreamcast)

Seeing the success that Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8 had attained, LucasArts decided to produce another “me too” game, this time a vehicular combat game produced by the people who made Vigilante 8. And they did such a good job of it that people would play it and say hey cool, Vigilante 8 with Star Wars characters. If you liked Vigilante 8’s gameplay then this was actually a decent game, but it should never have been made, the gameplay just doesn’t suit the universe.

And there you have the better half of my top ten horrible Star Wars games. Look back in two weeks to see who made the top five! And in the mean time let me know about what you think of the first five, and give me your opinions on who should be next. Until then, this is O’Reilly unpluggin the Pulse Cannon.