Star Wars: Battle for Naboo
Even though the words "Rogue Squadron" are nowhere to be found in the title, Battle for Naboo (coming out this fall) could be considered a follow-up to the popular Nintendo 64 shooting title in almost every way except story and setting. Naboo has the same type of flight/shooter gameplay, but this time it takes place during the events that surround Star Wars: Episode 1, plus graphics that make its predecessor pale in comparison. (That nasty fog has been pushed way back.) LucasArts has also added a feature that allows you to switch between two vehicles in the middle of a mission, so you might start a mission in a land cruiser, and end the battle flying through the sky in one of those freaky-looking Naboo Fighters.
Download Star Wars: Battle for Naboo
The story has only Just begun
You know the story by now... the nasty Trade Federation is threatening the peaceful planet of Naboo and they've sent in the huge pile of overgrown electric can - openers that are the Neimoidians to take people hostage. While it takes place around the same time as the events in the recent movie. Star Wars Episode One: Battle For Naboo has an entirely different storyline. You play Lieutenant Gavyn Sykes, a young pilot who is just one of the many soldiers on the planet rebelling against the Trade Federation invasion.
Made by the same team that brought you Rogue Squadron this game features 16 missions set throughout Naboo and its surrounding space. Controlling ground, sea and air vehicles you have to fight against Federation battle droids, starfighters and even fully-armoured battle tanks! You get to pilot a variety of craft in your battle against the invaders, including an N-1 Starfighter, a heavily - armoured Battle STAP, a Gain Speeder and a stolen Trade Federation Gunboat! This game is already looking very impressive and if the gameplay and graphics come up to the standards of Rogue Squadron then it's guaranteed to be a hit.
One of the most promising things about Battle For Naboo is that it has a dynamic difficulty setting, which means the better you are, the harder the game gets. So if you thought Rogue Squadron was difficult then you ain't seen nothin' yet! Left just hope Jar Jar Binks doesn't make any kind of appearance, except perhaps as a target!
It is a time of turmoil. The Planet of Naboo has become a pawn in a grand chess game orchestrated by the Dark Lord, Darth Sidious, using the Trade Federation as his tool. Trade Federation forces have begun landing on the planet in various attempts to control strategic bases and supply lines to the various regions of the planet. As Queen Amidala races to defend her world at the Senate Council on Coruscant, Trade Federation forces have dramatically increased.
Lt. Gavyn Sykes of Naboo's Royal Security Force finds himself one of the instrumental pieces of this chess game. From piloting a Gian Speeder to flying a Naboo Starfighter, Lt. Sykes must accomplish various missions, from Search and Rescue to Convoy Escort to all-out space battles as he valiantly attempts to defeat the Trade Federation.
Star Wars: Battle for Naboo is a flight combat game for the Star Wars fan who lives, breathes and dreams of being a part of the Star Wars universe daily -- the type who watched Episode 1 at least twenty times a week on the big screen. For everyone else there are few, if any, groundbreaking, mind-blowing features to this game.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Battle for Naboo was brought to you by the developers of Rogue Squadron. Folks, I thought Rogue Squadron was a fun game. It didn't have all the dials and screens like the X-Wing or TIE Fighter simulation games, but it had that "arcade" feel -- minimal learning curve, sit down and start shooting. Battle for Naboo is an image-swap of Rogue Squadron: different vehicles, different scenery, different music, different mission objectives, same game.
The gameplay is straightforward. You fly one of seven vehicles ranging from a Heavy STAP to a Trade Federation gunboat to the Naboo Starfighter. You will not have access to all these vehicles at the same time -- as you progress through each mission, you will get the opportunity to choose vehicles appropriate to each mission. This is understandable -- after all, flying a Heavy STAP in space without any way to breathe would be dumb -- but in order to fly the various vehicles, you must complete each mission and survive each area to reach a hangar where you can change to a different vehicle. You have three lives for each mission. Use them wisely; if you die, you start the mission over. And over. And over.
How does each vehicle handle? The same as every other vehicle in the game -- throttle forward, bank left, bank right, roll, sharp turn. There's a problem when you reach the imaginary boundaries of the outer space world and rudely bounce off. Trying to see or track the enemies becomes a difficult task, especially when you are zooming around at breakneck speeds. The radar tells you where the enemies are and whether you are facing forward or backward, but it is often unclear whether you are above or below your enemies until you run right into them or scream past them.
You have primary and secondary weapons. Use your secondary weapons sparingly because you never know what the mission will require, like blowing up a tunnel or taking out tractor beam installations. You also have a selection of three views -- the standard "Fly from Behind View," the "Fly from the R2-D2 View" and the "Fly from the Hood Ornament View." There is a target sight which I never used. Why, you ask? It doesn't really help, especially when trying to lead your shots. My eyes did much better than the sights.
The missions are interesting at first, but then become just plain annoying. I like to fly in and kill everything! Sometimes this is good, but mostly it isn't. You have to complete the mission. If that means letting the Battle Droids in their STAPS kill the civilians, then so be it. Some missions seem impossible -- protecting a convoy of four speeders when twenty ships are flying down your throat, for instance. Granted, if you are an ace pilot who can kill all enemies with one shot per baddy, destroy the tunnel before more baddies arrive and save the town all while drinking a Dew, you must be a stick jockey -- more power to ya! But once again, the mission is all that matters. If you get through with one hobbling speeder, Mission Complete. So it goes with the 15+ missions.
This brings me to a quirky addition to the game. After completing a mission, you are given a tally of kills, how long it took to complete the mission, how many civilians you saved, etc. You are then awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze ranking. Does this encourage you to try the level again? Not really. Well, it does open up some bonus missions and the Sith Infiltrator vehicle. Oh, and a cute little gallery of concept art and music scores. Sorry to say, that's not much.
Take the original Rogue Squadron game, switch the vehicle images, change the colors on the scenery and you have Battle for Naboo. Why so little commentary on the graphics? There is little to say except "Seen it, done that!" Let's move on.
When I think of Star Wars, I think of the "THX: The audience is listening" introduction which we've all seen before every Star Wars movie. Lucas pioneered the technology, so I expected at least something mind-blowing, if not eardrum-bleeding. To be honest, though, there was nothing at all remarkable about the sound. I flew half the game with the sound turned down. Hearing "I've lost my droid!" twenty or so times got tedious and annoying. There were no screaming TIE Fighter sounds or window-shattering explosions. I love John Williams' music, but "Duel of the Fates" can really make you go crazy after a while!
Sadly, there is no multiplayer support for this game. It would have been excellent if there were -- working with a real person on protecting a convoy, or taking out the battle station while talking out your strategy on a microphone? Cool! Missions would have more substance. Instead, the computer AI has your "teammates" flying off in some other direction. Hello? Need help from a wingman here! Frankly, multiplayer support would have made this game worth the money. LucasArts has done so much better with games like X-Wing Alliance, offering a multiplayer option. This would have made the game for me.
Windows 95/98/2000/ME, Pentium 2 or Athlon Class 233 MHz or higher (266 MHz or higher recommended for Windows 2000), 64 MB RAM or higher, 8 MB PCI or AGP 3D hardware accelerator, 100% DirectX 3D accelerator card, 16-bit sound card, 4X CD-ROM drive, 100% Direct-Input compatible input device, DirectX 8.0 or higher (included on CD)
It's your standard jewel case slip booklet. I didn't even read it. No loss, no gain. I miss the TIE Fighter documentation that showed details about every ship. It gave you that "Mission Critical Briefing" feeling when you first got the game.
This game is a direct sequel to Rogue Squadron. I'll go so far as to say that this game for the Star Wars prequel follows in the same line -- it seems that the developers at LucasArts stepped back in time while technology stepped forward. Nothing original, same old same old. Sorry, George, can't say I'm impressed.
If you are a diehard Star Wars fan -- if you bought every Episode 1 toy and game AND enjoyed them all -- this is your game. If you loved Rogue Squadron and still play it on a regular basis, this game is for you. For everyone else, I guess we can wait for the next episode in the Star Wars saga -- and the next LucasArts flight combat game.
"We will be watching your progress with great interest." --Chancellor Palpatine