Star Wars Episode I Game
You’ve seen the movies, you’ve lived through the marketing, you’ve probably even bought some of the toys, but no Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace experience would be complete without living the adventure yourself. Join Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Amidala, Anakin, Jar Jar, as well as many other characters to help free the planet of Naboo from the Trade Federation’s embargo.
This is an action adventure game based on the movie of the same title. The game itself follows the plot of the movie fairly closely. As the game progresses, you play different characters. Much like the movie, each character has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. You can also talk with certain characters you run across and depending on what you say, you may get some help in your quest.
Control in this game has a good feel to it and is responsive. There are a few options for changing the controls around, although none are user definable. The controls consist of basic walking/running, rolling left or right, changing weapons, using the force (if your character has this ability), jumping, and a general "use" function. The default control setting is handled in such a way that, depending on the situation, sometimes the analog controls are better and other times the digital work better. The one oddity to the control is the angle of the camera. It is a little higher than a standard "3/4-view" which in and of itself isn’t that bad, but makes it difficult to see what’s down the road. This does become a problem when you’re being fired upon by something that is out of your line of sight or if you want to view the landscape to see where to go next. Interestingly enough, I found myself craning my head a lot in a sad attempt to see what’s out in the distance.
Although the general gameplay and control don’t change much throughout the course of the game, the levels certainly do. There are a vast number of places you can explore in the various levels including some secret places that contain useful items. You’ll explore a Trade Federation ship, the swamp in Naboo, Otoh Gunga (The Gungan city), Theed Palace, Tatooine, and of course, Coruscant. Basically, if you’ve seen the movies, then you’ve more-or-less seen the levels. These levels closely follow the movie although you’ll spend more time on some levels than the movie ever did. Still, the more the merrier as it all adds to the challenge.
And speaking of challenge, this game certainly is one. There are no settings for difficulty so what you see is what you get. While this game isn’t incredibly difficult, it also isn’t that easy either. Just because you are a Jedi doesn’t mean that you’re invincible. There are often times when you have to really use your brains rather than your lightsaber to get through certain situations. There are also a good number of puzzles, such as rescuing Jar Jar in Otoh Gunga, which will put your mind to work. If you can’t seem to pass a particular point, try something else as many puzzles have multiple solutions. Fortunately, the game allows you to save your progress at any given time, which is VERY useful, as there are many opportunities to die. A good rule of thumb when playing Phantom Menace is to save early and save often. This game offers an excellent challenge that’s just right for the average to good game player.
The interface is easy enough to handle. When in the game, pausing allows you to look at your inventory and select items as well as save and load your game. As long as you can read, you should have no problems with the interface.
As an added bonus, the music video for Star Wars "Duel of the Fates" is accessible from the main menu.
The general look of this game is done well. The characters and various objects are all easily recognizable. There are a variety of neat special effects such as the glow of the lightsaber, large explosions, and lightning bolts shocking droids, amongst many others. The cut scenes at the beginning and between levels look incredible -- it’s basically like watching the movie all over again (although the scenes aren’t actual movie clips). The movement in the game is very fluid. Much like the movie, there are a wide variety of nicely rendered environments that the characters will traverse.
Superb. The sound effects in this game are wonderful and there are a lot of them. I was particularly impressed with the sounds of the lightsaber. The voices in this game are very similar to the actual actors. In some cases, such as Anakin and Jar Jar, the actual actors from the movie performed the voices for the game. The music in the game sounds just as good as the movie. In general, if you like the way the movie sounded, you'll like the way this game sounds.
This is an instruction book you will likely want to read. While figuring out the general controls is simple enough, there is a lot of information pertaining to items available, different weapons, different characters, and the various levels amongst other things. Since this is an adventure game, it won’t reveal everything, though.
This game is a must have for any action-adventure or Star Wars gaming fan. The game plays wonderfully and offers a nice challenge for a wide variety of skill levels, yet is not overly difficult. Phantom Menace will keep you occupied for quite a while with the amount of levels available and the time it takes to finish them. Really, the only (minor) gripe I have is that it would be nice to have the ability to change camera’s angle at times. Other than that, this game is loads of fun, which is why I give it a score of 88.