The Phantom Menace Game
The Trade Federation has planned an attack on the peaceful planet of Naboo. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi have been dispatched to the area to resolve the conflict before anyone gets hurt. Upon arriving on the Trade Federation ship, the Jedi sense that something is afoul. The Neimoidians have planned a trap for them and are proceeding with their plans of taking over the planet.
Meanwhile, on the planet's surface, the Queen and her faithful aide, Captain Panaka, are in a desperate battle of their own to try to escape from the planet and proceed to Coruscant to speak with the galactic government about their situation.
If I give you any more information, as to the storyline, it would spoil the game for anyone who hasn’t seen the movie yet. But I will tell you that you will meet up with a slave boy named Anakin Skywalker and that there is a new villain named Darth Maul. But of course, you already knew that.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
is a new top-down shooter based on the movie. It requires a quick hand and a little bit of luck to get through the game. While I am the type of person who likes the first-person perspective, it was kind of nice to play a game from the top-down angle, although I would have liked to be able to change the camera view to make it easier to see things in front of me.
I had very little trouble setting the game up to play. After changing all my options for my joystick I was ready to begin mowing down some droids. Upon starting the game you are Obi-Wan and all you have to defend yourself is your trusty lightsaber. While this weapon is very good at close range it has something to be desired at a distance. But the programmers knew this would be a problem so they gave you the power to redirect the laser fire from your enemies back at them. Now that is where the game is really fun! There is nothing like standing in a crowded hallway just flailing your lightsaber around and seeing laser fire shoot in every direction. It takes a little bit of timing to "hit" the laser with your lightsaber but once you "master" it (get it? Jedi Master?), it can be a very helpful weapon enhancement.
One area that could be improved is the artificial intelligence for some of the characters. There is a level in the game where you have to escort the Queen to her ship. I wish I had a quarter for every time I had to go back and guide the Queen around a corner because she got stuck somewhere. And you have to be careful because if you get too far ahead of her, she will be killed and you will then, of course, die also.
The Phantom Menace is very pleasing to the eyes, as it should be when you consider that it requires a 3D accelerator card to play. The backgrounds and cutscenes were stunning. I was impressed by the perception of depth throughout the game. There is a level in the game where you (Obi-Wan) and Qui-Gon are fighting Darth Maul on these round platforms that are floating in this big tube-like structure. WOW!! I never really liked heights very much as it is, so when I had to jump from platform to platform it kind of made my stomach queasy.
Performance wise, the game never once bogged down on my system and there was plenty of action on the screen at all times.
My hat goes off to the folks who did the score for this game. Here is where the game truly shines. The music for The Phantom Menace sounded like it came straight from the movie itself. LucasArts game soundtracks always seem to impress me. The crackling of a lightsaber, screeching blaster fire, and mechanical droids all made the game more realistic and enjoyable. It brought me back to the glory days of the original trilogy.
Windows 95 or 98, Pentium 200 Mhz or faster, 32 MB RAM, 4 MB PCI or AGP Direct 3D graphics accelerator card, 16 bit sound card, 4X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 6.1
The book that is enclosed with the game is more than sufficient to get you up and running as fast as possible. It gives a brief storyline and the usual descriptions of some of the people you will encounter in the game. Of course, like everyone else, I had already seen the movie, so the guide was put to the side and buried under a pile of new action figures and empty Mountain Dew cans.
is just like the movie. Some people are going to love it and others are going to walk away from it with mixed reviews. I, personally, thought the game was enjoyable to play and was excited when I had a chance to write a review for it. As with any game that is based on a movie, there were inconsistencies in the storyline that a few Star Wars freaks might find irritating. I know I would have liked to have a chance to control Jar-Jar and take on a few thousand droids on Naboo, but they didn’t put that in the game. Maybe, if enough of us write suggestions to the "master" programmers at LucasArts, they will see the light (saber) and we can "force" them to make an add-on pack for it.