RELEASED: September 2004
AVAILABLE ON: GBA
With work on the third and final film in the Star Wars prequel trilogy underway, Lucasfilm once again capitalized on the success of the original and published a DVD box set that included yet again revised versions of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The first official DVD release of the Star Wars trilogy called for a video game - I guess. On the same September day the fabled box hit the shelves - and left them just as quickly, thanks to millions of enthusiastic fans around the globe - a less commercially successful Game Boy Advance title arrived, this time courtesy of Ubisoft. They did fine work on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith some time later, how did they fare with their first Star Wars game? Well, the sales might not have been too impressive, but it is quite playable! However...
...Exciting is hardly the word I would choose
Luke Skywalker recounts his story of how he first turned from a farmhand on Tatooine into an ace pilot who destroyed the Imperial Death Star, then a high-ranking officer of the Rebel Alliance on Hoth, and finally, an outstanding Jedi Knight who helped his father Darth Vader to return from the Dark Side of the Force and fulfill his destiny as the Chosen One.
|Could you help out even a little, sis?|
Graphical details - you want those? Well, you've come to the... wrong place! Just as the game itself is influenced by cinematic platformers such as Another World and the classic Prince of Persia - the engine is actually that of the Game Boy Advance version of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time - the graphics also follow the less artificially detailed, yet more physical and dynamic chain of command. So, the game is not really that much of a sight to look at in the big picture, and the backgrounds are extremely dull, but from a purely physical view, the game looks quite all right, and some larger cel-shaded sprites such as Jabba's Rancor pet look perhaps detached, but quite damn cool in themselves. As far as presentation goes... Luke has a funny way of carrying his lightsaber in the Episode V part - looks like it is somewhat ripped off from Prince of Persia, as well. I said "in the Episode V part"; Luke's clothes and style change in each "movie" - and once _during_ Episode V, which is quite neat. I don't have much to say about the music. Maybe I've played a bit too many Star Wars games lately, since I find it very repetitive. As a matter of fact, it is quite repetitive. It feels like there's just a randomized playlist of familiar tunes looping all the while. The sound effects are once again on the mark, not much of a surprise there.
|I never understood this line, or that "you |
will" part. Luke's his own man.
In most stages, you just run forward and blast/slash all sorts of enemies to high hell while trying hard to find the correct route to your destination in these maze-like pits of death - Obi-Wan and Yoda's spiritual forms show up from time to time to curse you for going into the wrong direction, so don't worry. In some stages, you have a companion. On one occasion it's Leia who "helps you out" in combat, but most of the time it's R2-D2; you need him to "solve puzzles", in other words figure out a very simple way how to get your less agile partner in the right spot to reprogram high-security doors, so you can pass through them. If your companion is incapacited, you die and need to start the screen over. In the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter stage, R2-D2's purpose changes and losing him does not equal defeat; he just won't be there to repair your shields. In other words, you're just doomed.
|Regardless of the context, this is ALWAYS |
|The cel-shaded Rancor looks really nice in |
motion, so much better than the rest of the
Star Wars: Apprentice of the Force started to bore the hell out of me in Mos Eisley, and since there are no landspeeder sequences, you can imagine how soon you make it to Mos Eisley. Cloud City took the cake, I simply couldn't stand the game anymore - sure, it's playable, but it's so God damn plain and boring! I clashed through the rest of it like a zombie, and the whole thing left a really lame aftertaste. Star Wars fans will surely enjoy the game to some extent, but I'm also sure they'll get a better run for their money playing some other games that have these very same themes.
GRAPHICS : 7.0
SOUND : 7.0
PLAYABILITY : 6.5
LIFESPAN : 5.0
CONCLUSION : 6.2