My god there have been a few Star Wars highlights this last week or so right?! With a new Trailer for Episode 9, Rise of Skywalker, a trailer for Disney+ series, The Mandalorian and confirmation that the legendary Ewan Mcgregor will be returning to play the even more legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi! It’s been a great few days to be a fan of all things in a galaxy far, far away!
All this Jedi hype got me thinking about my vast, VAST history with Star Wars video games; I’ve been playing games set in the universe since I was playing games in the first place! I thought I’d try and rank them into a top ten, which when I started I didn’t expect to take so long or be as difficult! There are so many games in this franchise and since I’m an unashamed fan boy, I love them all! even the bad ones… Looking at you Super Bombad Racing…
1999 was a weird time; when a film released there was a chance it wouldn’t just get one game, It’d get about 12. So when it came to Episode 1 we ended up with one official game, which was best described as a perfect storm of poor graphics, bad voice acting and strange controls, but also provided the most fun of my childhood with its many strange moments.
We’re not here to talk about the weird and wonderful though, we’re here to talk about good game. So Episode 1 also had Jedi Power Battles to its name, a game best described as Final fight meets Star Wars, you take your pick from 5 Jedi, Obi-Wan, Qui-gon Jinn, Mace Windu, Adi Galla and best of all Plo Koon. Running the gauntlet of action set pieces from the film and battling some pretty large bosses, including a giant cave dwelling larve… And of course Darth Maul!
Even more satisfying than fighting the famous tattooed Sith is playing as him, seeing him included in the roster of unlock able characters was a great reason to beat the game more than once to unlock him! Of course the game had a pretty easy exploit like most games of that time, this time in the form of Obi-Wan and his ‘saber throw special. This attack was like hurling the Deathstar at droids and would end fights before they even began! If you have a chance to get a copy of this game I’d highly recommend it, get a friend over and enjoy the co-op insanity!
Another Episode 1 era title, Star Wars: Demolition sees you taking part in a vehicle combat tournament hosted by infamous gangster Jabba the Hutt to replace pod racing. With a mixed bag of vehicles from across the galaxy and the only objective being to be last one standing you’ll have more fun than Luke did bullseysing wamp rats in his T-16. Among the choices of vehicles are an X-34 landspeeder piloted by stock Jedi Wade Vox, a swoop bike ridden by background legend Aurra Sting and most impressively, a fucking Rancor! Ridden around like a messed up horse by Malakilli, who you may remember as the man who cried over the Rancor’s death in Return of the Jedi! With heavy weapon pick ups, decent destruction physics for its time, and some cool looking special moves for each character (some less effective than others…), there are plenty of opportunities for carnage with AI bots or your friends.
Plus because it’s an Episode 1 era game, Maul is unlockable! Alongside Leia as Boussh on a speeder bike and Lobot in a bright orange Cloud Car! What the hell was going on, and why was it so much fun!
Star Wars RTS games are a surprisingly rare beast, for a franchise built around battles you’d think there would be quite a few more. From this limited pool I decided the pick the only one that allows you to play out both epic planetside battles AND some visually stunning ship to ship combat in space! Empire at War was stunning for its time and considering it was competing with some pretty intense competition from Command & Conquer: Generals. Luckily it held it’s own!
The highlight of the game was the Galactic Conquest mode, where you were given a map of the known Star Wars galaxy and had to build your forces and make your way planet to planet either liberating them as the rebellion or bringing down the iron fist of the Empire. Depending on the state of the planet you either head planetside to fight the locals, or if the enemy faction got there first you’ll have to break through their blockade first by bringing your own fleet! Careful though… If you stretch your forces too thin you’ll leave yourself wide open to revenge strikes! The best part though… Empire at War is back up and running with full online capabilities on Steam right now! Get to it!
Coolest man in the galaxy? Lando Calrissian. Okay, but after him is probably Boba Fett right?! Bounty Hunters in the Star Wars universe are one of the highlights of the series and Boba is the best of the best, but before him we had, Jango. Bounty Hunter, the game, is a ridiculously fun action adventure game where you get to see what the silver armoured hunter was up too just before he was picked as the basis for the clones in the Grand Army of the Republic. Using his myriad of weapons including the iconic twin Westar-34 blaster pistols, jetpack missile launcher and the deadly Kamino saber dart.
You run around fairly expansive levels looking for your bounties and taking down anyone and anything that gets in the way of your target! The game is loaded with nice touches too like Jango using his dual blasters to attack two targets at a time, or being able to grab heavy weapons from defeated bad guys to up your game on the rampage! Plus, and I can’t stress this enough, Jango is just a massive badass! He’s full of threatening phrases and an air of cool that a fair few characters in the series have!
Long title right? After the events of the first Jedi Knight game, which was basically just Kyle Katarn single handedly wiping out the Empire, Grandmaster Luke Skywalker has started up his own Jedi temple on Yavin 4. You take the role of Jaden Korr, a fresh faced wannabe Jedi who is assigned of one of Katarn’s two apprentices. Throughout the game you follow Jaden’s journey from inexperienced apprentice to powerful Jedi Knight as he travels planet to planet learning of a dark sider conspiracy to wipe out the New Jedi Order. During your travels you get to explore some famous places such as Tatooine and Hoth!
Best of all though is the lightsaber combat. Jedi Acadamy was a vast improvement over its predecessor which felt like it only had tacked on combat with the ranged weapons taking precedence. Since Kyle slowly became a Jedi during that game though it makes sense that Jaden, who is aware from the start of his force sensitivity, is immediately better with a ‘saber! So grab your laser sword, and separate a few stormtroopers heads and arms from their torsos!