Star Wars: The New Droid Army
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  • THQ
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  • Adventure - General, Other
  • 2002
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6  |  Hey, Hell Froze Over!
Darryl B. , 1/30/2006 2:07:50 AM
Yep, for anyone familiar with the majority of my reviews, they've mostly consisted of Sega systems (Genesis, CD and 32X, with several Master System reviews to come in the near future), Atari (2600 and 7800), arcade, Colecovision, Vectrex and PC, among others.

Well, today I'm doing my very first Nintendo game review ever.

Now, before anyone tries to find out where I live to come burn me down at the stake (for anyone who might've read the first paragraph wrong), I don't have anything against the "Big N", I just never knew anyone who had any of their consoles, so I've hardly played any of their games. Once when I went to my grandparents' house, one of my nephews brought over his NES, which I got introduced to the game that was packaged with it (Super Mario Brothers, I think) and the light gun game where the damn dog laughs at you when you miss a target. Other than some very old Nintendo arcade games (all the Donkey Kongs, Mario Bros., etc.), that's been about it, until now. Yeah, not knowing anyone that has an N64, Gamecube or even an SNES, I know, I need to get out more. (Wait, finding someone who has access to a few THOUSAND games I've never played before, thus staying inside to do just that, doesn't exactly count as getting "out more" :P )

Due to my other nephew begging his mom/my sister for a couple of years to get a Game Boy, my mother/his grandma finally caved over this past Christmas, since time was running out anyway, since they're fairly cheap, and he was saving his money up to buy one as it was.

Out of the several E-rated kids' games my mom bought for him, of course the first one I'm going to want to try is the Star Wars one.

However, it's NOT a kid's game, or at least not for a kid who's under the age of 10, maybe even 12, and you'll see why, as it's very long, and quite tedious at times.

Due to Star Wars creator George Lucas not being able to make a Star Wars movie for every spin-off idea that he or someone in any of his multiple companies has -- thank God, due to a lot of people not liking the movie prequels compared to the first Episodes of 4-6 (hmmmm, that sounds confusing in print) -- quite a few of those ideas make it into video game releases. This one has quite a few good ideas in it, but the gameplay is a very long-playing ordeal, can be quite spotty at times, and isn't very fun overall.

Han Solo: Here’s where the fun begins! (not)

Taking part right where the Episode 2 movie left off -- as Jedi Master Mace Windu asks in one of the first cutscenes here in a Jedi counsel meeting how your "new arm" is doing -- there has been talk of a new kind of Federation droid being created, which a fellow Jedi was sent down to Tatooine to discover if this was true or not, but she disappeared. Dunno why they're sending a Jedi so green as Anakin down for the task, but oh well, what's a Star Wars movie (or game, for that matter) without a few plot holes in it?

Mace Windu: You believe it's this...BOY?

I was immediately put off by the first level, as Tatooine was deserted as hell. You mostly walk around empty desert, only occasionally running across a Battle Droid or Womp Rat, giving the latter a taste of your Light Saber, the other you deflect their shots back to them to destroy them. This is a bit difficult at first, as it takes pretty quick timing (press deflect right when they shoot), since God forbid a Jedi ever use a damn blaster...

Obi-Wan Kenobi: So uncivilized!

I was so confused going through this level -- not to mention BORED -- since I kept on expecting to be more to do everywhere I went, seeing if multiple, giant metal rings in the sand (whatever they were) yielded anything, but they didn't (Han Solo: Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff...), there didn't seem to be any way to jump up to the second level of sand dunes (don't Jedi KNOW how to do this already?!), nothing tucked away in a far-off corner, etc., etc. Ok, so it would seem wrong as hell in this game to find some secret cache full of gold (common in an RPG), but it was so blasted boring that it made me wonder why they developed the game that way.

Yoda: You must unlearn what you have leeeeeearned...

Yes indeedy, oh mighty Kermit the Frog reject...however, after that level, things get WAY busier in Mos Espa, the level after that, where you must deal with more Womp Rats, and it's full of people and aliens to talk to to find out what happened to the other Jedi. This is where several genres get combined, since the game starts out being in the adventure catagory, then almost a bit of a puzzle aspect is thrown in, and then the majority of the game is hack and slash, where you end up killing God knows how many hundreds, if not thousands of aliens, Droids, Womp Rats, etc. No wonder Anakin went nuts and turned into Darth Vader later!

Emperor Palpatine: Riiiiiise...

Things get better from there, and more interesting, to say the least, especially since there's only three planets that you'll visit in the game, but there are many, many levels in each one. Other than Tatooine, you'll also go to Coruscant and Metalorn. Some interesting places and folk you'll meet include the Dune Sea (where you must rescue kidnapped Tatooine farmers), Jabba the Hut's dungeons (although you have to backtrack a lot on these), the Jedi Temple, Jedi Archives (which Count Dooku wants to destroy, although they're laughably indestructable as Battle Droids can't shoot at you through those cases of records; guess the Force is with them!), the Pit from the Return of the Jedi movie (along with a female Jedi), two Jedi brothers (!) who appear to be wearing very, very tiny shorts (bah HA HA HA HA!), floating Droids that shoot (think the Probe Droid from Episode 4 that was going to be used on Leia, but it shoots lasers), the Clones that help you out by shooting bad guys (until they were commanded to go bad on the Episode 3 movie), and much more.

With how a lot of hack and slash and beat 'em up games go, luckily there aren't a lot of moves to learn here; the most important moves include just basically moving about, forward and backslash, a Twirling Attack (press a move button along with a Light Saber action button), and your Force powers. Mostly all you need to learn to get you through the game is to do a regular jump and the Twirling Attacks along with a couple of Force powers, and that's pretty much it. The controls work pretty well, but unfortunately the game's presented in a three-quarter 3D slant, which means you're going to be moving in weird directions: remember when Q*Bert was ported to home consoles? Joysticks that didn't lock in diagonal movements (unlike the arcade's) resulted in screwy controls. Well, that's what happens here too.

Back to the Force powers though: you start off with a fast movement in case you need to book out of a fight real quick if you're getting your butt whipped, then you later learn to use a high jump and Push, which is my favorite, which allows you to push enemies away while doing damage. Force powers have to be recharged, though, and they can be difficult to cycle through and use them with the shoulder buttons while you're trying to manipulate the regular controls as well, as certain scenes will call for. Ugh.

However, the sound effects are great, the music is pretty good, as well as the graphics, although there's not a lot of detail to the people in the game though, the faces are usually blank. But the buildings and all in the background are pretty cool, and some of the Star Wars humor is present as well, like when you run into Watto, which he asks what happened to that good-looking woman you were with, she was a real "looker, heh heh". (Geez, even Watto had the hots for Senator Amidala?!)

Back to the bad, though: the game can get tedious and very long, have unbalanced level design (the first boring level, but then getting gang-killed on others, R2 units rove around that you have nothing to do with; wtf?), some levels have plenty of passwords, others go far too long before you can earn a new one, resulting in you starting over and over again if you get killed. Having a way to restore your energy better (like some kind of med kit) would also help greatly. And none of us REALLY needs to be addicted to a game and waste hours playing it – but it happens; yeah, I know :) – but there was a time once that I got to a new level, said "ANOTHER huge (*#!ing level?!", and shut it off in frustration, which makes this one of the very few games I've ever played in my life that's addicting (since you want to see what's next), but it's not really fun as a whole.

Even though it’s got an E (Everyone) rating, like I said earlier, I wouldn’t get this for a kid under the age of 10, maybe even 12, if they don’t have much of an attention span and/or aren’t very good at games. I can understand the nine year old nephew not getting far in this, but he went back to it once I showed him some of the later levels I got to. Granted, that doesn’t make up for it’s really awful, lame ending, plus I imagined seeing an entire field of a new “Droid army” getting vaporized once I would make it to the end, but that didn’t happen either, once reality hit. So that didn’t help.

Darth Vader: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

There were a few times when I couldn’t figure out how to get past a few parts, which that, along with making the game more fun, would have improved this, making it more into a puzzle. It’s got some neat ideas and several surprises in it (the Jedi brothers wearing their obscene biking shorts, the first time you see the new droid, you’re sure to say “what the hell is that?”), but you really shouldn’t spend any more than ten, maybe twenty dollars on this game, tops. Buy only if you’re a Star Wars geek and/or you want a long-running game, since exploring every nook and cranny in a level is NOT necessary. Not a bad game, but it could have been better.

After all, due to my obvious ignorance on the Game Boy’s library – again, not that I have anything against Nintendo, I’ve always wanted one, like for something to do as I’m waiting to board a plane as the (on) crack security employees (cough, choke) are going through luggage and all – at least I’ll know what game not to get.

Yoda: Over review! 6/10

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