sunnuntai 17. huhtikuuta 2011

REVIEW - Star Wars Episode I: Obi-Wan's Adventures (2000)

GENRE(S): Action
RELEASED: November 2000

I actually remember when this game was released. It was promoted somewhere as Star Wars: Obi-Wan, which sounded way cool. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi has always been one of my favourite characters in the Star Wars universe, all the way from the first movie to the prequel trilogy. Even if he was just a Padawan and had awful hair in The Phantom Menace, his character development was one of the movie's greatest (and only) driving forces as far as I'm concerned. Well, Star Wars: Obi-Wan was actually an Xbox exclusive, a critically mutilated Phantom Menace prequel which came out in 2001, while the Game Boy Color game was actually called Star Wars Episode I: Obi-Wan's Adventures. "That's got to be the stupidest title for a Star Wars game I've ever heard", was my first reaction and it still holds true. As a game, it's yet another adaptation of the Phantom Menace storyline, this time from Obi-Wan Kenobi's exclusive point of view. Aaaggggh... I'll do this one more time. One - more - time. Luckily the game isn't as bad as it sounds like, it's actually quite innovative for a handheld game of its age. The Force isn't exactly strong with it, but it's there, somewhere.

Meet Obi-Wan Kenobi

Obi-Wan is Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn's highly impressive apprentice. When Qui-Gon discovers Anakin Skywalker, a child who he believes to be the Chosen One foretold of in the Jedi prophecy, Obi-Wan is suspicious at first but develops a friendship with the boy. He does his best to protect the boy from harm, and aid his master in his battles with the Trade Federation and the Sith assassin sent after their group.

I don't get _all_ the criticism towards the graphics. Sure, it's a bit rough and messy, but most critics say they can't really make out what's going on half the time - I can, for the most part. Depends on the floor texture, if it's too detailed it is indeed hard to make out what's happening. The music really ain't too good. A couple of vintage tunes such as "Duel of the Fates" check in, but they play on highly repetitive and awkwardly rearranged loops.

Everything in the game does
NOT look this messy.
The game looks very much like Jedi Power Battles, which came out on a handheld (Game Boy Advance) a couple of years later - the game is just a little bit more diverse, imagine that. The stages are pretty much the same, too; both games are based on the same movie, after all. You play as Obi-Wan Kenobi (duh), and your mission is to solve some simple puzzles, break down walls, destroy a lot of droids and make your way from the Trade Federation's blockage to the final, epic battle with Darth Maul, to set the stage for Episode II. The game kind of reminds me of old-school Metal Gear, without any form of stealth; the very familiar electric currents in the floors in the first stage take care of that.

It sounds cooler than it plays out like: besides the lightsaber, you can use the Force to dispose of enemies and obstacles. It's really boring, actually: you can't move anything with the Force grip. You can simply blow up anything you grab with it. Nevertheless, quite impressive, considering that Jedi Power Battles on a more advanced handheld didn't have anything of the sort, just direct attacks. You can also use a blaster, which is blasphemy. What kind of a Jedi or an advanced apprentice - like Obi-Wan - uses a blaster?! It's pretty mandatory to use it, though. One more detail I would like to point out about the combat, and one which I truly like, is that by mashing the attack button, and pressing the digital pad in any direction makes Obi-Wan walk slowly across the floor and swing his lightsaber around to deflect any blaster shots coming towards him, just like in the more recent trilogy. You actually need to use this move to make progress on a couple of occasions.

Tinkerin' with the Force.
At some point, the boredom sets in. The passages between screens, not to mention stage exits, are not in plain sight - they get lost amidst everything else. The stages are lengthy, they more or less follow the same initial pattern despite the potential of diversity brought on by the puzzles, and the high-pitched music starts to drill a hole in your skull sooner or later. The controls are quite stiff and incoherent, but at least there's not much platform jumping in the game, if any.

Star Wars Episode I: Obi-Wan's Adventures might have the stupidest title out of all Star Wars games... oh, wait. Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi. Point taken! The SECOND stupidest title... wait. Star Wars: Republic Commando. God damn it, THIRD stupidest title out of all Star Wars games. It's not the worst handheld game I've ever played, nor is it the best. It's also not the best game based on The Phantom Menace, but it isn't the worst either. That latter honour definitely goes out to Jedi Power Battles.

SOUND : 5.7


GameRankings: 62.33%

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