Star Wars Clone Wars

Review

posted 11/19/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: GC
Who would have ever imagined that the new home of quality Star Wars titles is the Nintendo GameCube? Those who were loyal enough to purchase the GameCube on launch day were blessed with the excellent title that was Rogue Leader, the next entry in the excellent Rogue Squadron series. Now nearly a year later they receive the next entry in what looks to be a long line of excellent titles, Star Wars The Clone Wars.

Focusing on the elements that transpired near the end of the major motion picture, the game thrusts you into the midst of an ongoing civil war. Throughout the course of the game you’ll assume the role of various characters from the saga as you kick some major separatist tail. The storyline spans quite a ways further than the end of Episode II, introducing some new characters and possibly some spoilers about Episode III. You’ll be able to step into the cockpit of quite a few vehicles including a fighter tank, a gunship, landspeeder, assault walker and even a maru. That’s right, you can step into the gunner seat of one of those gigantic pig-looking things. Certain sequences of the game will force you to hop out of the cockpit and kick some ass, lightsaber style. Those these are probably some of the weaker levels in the game; it’s still a nice deviation from the norm.

Maneuvering each vehicle is quite simple. Movement is handled with the analog stick. The shoulder buttons allow you to strafe the vehicle left and right in order to avoid oncoming fire, each vehicle has a special ability and a special weapon in addition to the primary weapon. Special abilities range from concentrated lasers to limited usage of a speed boost, all of which will prove to be vital to your success in the game. In the rare instances that you pilot the gunship, the shoulder buttons control the throttle of the ship as opposed to the strafe function, to allow you to speed up or slow down during combat.

Combat is what makes this game entertaining. While in the tanks the game plays much like a 3rd person shooter. Circle strafing is a necessity if you’re thinking about getting anywhere in this game. When a target gets into your sites the vehicle will lock on and essentially, it works like an auto aim function in order to compensate for the GC controller’s inaccuracies. Most of the time enemies will serve as mere fodder for you and your abilities. You’ll end up killing endless hordes of enemies and for the most part it’s one hell of an entertaining experience. There is plenty of variety in the missions, from breaking out of a separatist compound to defending a fleet of drop ships from an all out attack, there’s a lot of variety to be had here.

For the most part, the missions are structured quite well. The briefings are detailed and give you an idea of what objectives you’ll have to meet. Each objective is represented by a marking on the mini-map as well as a directional arrow on the top of the screen that points you towards the next objective. Often times cutscenes will occur in the middle of a mission to help break up the action and showcase what lies ahead for you. Presentation is just excellent and is some of the best too appear in a video game in years. Missions tend to run quite long and may last you upwards of 20 or more minutes. Quite a few problems arise when you discover there are no lives or checkpoints in the missions. Nothing is more frustrating than fighting for 20 minutes only to fail the mission because you couldn’t successfully destroy an obscure convoy. Including extra lives or respawn points would have easily cured this problem.
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