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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

LucasArts

 

Developer

Secret Level

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

May 2002

 

 

- Improves upon the franchise
- Finally get to “use the Force”
- Solid graphics and sound
- Involving story line
- Two-player co-op mode is great fun
- Some neat extras

 

 

- Some missions are extremely long and difficult
- Sometimes you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be doing
- Wingmen don’t do much dog fighting

 

 

Review: Star Wars Starfighter (Playstation 2)

Review: Star Wars Jedi Starfighter (Playstation 2)

 

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Jedi Starfighter

Score: 8.6 / 10

 

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“Use the Force, Luke!” Obi-Wan says from the grave as Luke Skywalker heads toward the exhaust port of the original Death Star.

However many times that situation is repeated in the gaming world, gamers have never been able to actually use the Force to help them out. You have only your skill (and a little luck) to rely on. Jedi Starfighter (JS) finally gives you the chance to use the Force during vehicular combat. Want to wipe out an entire enemy formation in one shot? Force Lighting is the perfect weapon – no matter how far away the enemy is. Too many targets to handle? Use Force Reflex to enter a bullet-time of sorts to really cause some damage. The addition of Force Powers has an enormous effect on gameplay – at least when you’re playing as Adi Gallia, Jedi Master and

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member of the Jedi Council.

Jedi Starfighter is set during the events of Episode II but takes you elsewhere in the galaxy until the latter stages of the game. Instead of having three playable characters like in Starfighter Special Edition (SSE), JS focuses on Adi Gallia and the pirate Nym, returning from SSE. In short order the two become involved with a Hex Weapon plot (hex weapons being an ultra-chemical weapon)

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then spirals into a much more pressing matter involving huge mechanical armies fighting masses upon masses of clones. The story of JS is better than that found in SSE, and the switches between the main characters is smooth and logical – and manages to add suspense to the story. Just as you’re getting into Nym’s character the story JS switches locations and puts you in Adi Gallia’s shoes.

Those that played SSE will be able to jump right into JS. With the exception of the Force Powers and the Secondary Weapons of Nym’s ship, the Havoc, there’s not much new to learn. These aspects can be learned in the optional training missions, which you should do to understand what kind of damage each fighter is capable of. Nym’s ship can now fire cruise and cluster missiles, and proximity mines, besides the standard bombs (and the “secret” Plasma Scourge). Not only that, during two-player co-op mode some missions allow the second player to man the turret gun. The Havoc is different from the Jedi Starfighter in speed, handling, and what’s available for secondary fire – the Havoc definitely has an edge when attacking large targets, using brute force with a few tactical asides. The Starfighter is a highly effective fighter-to-fighter craft – elegance being higher on the list than brute force. And you definitely need every possible advantage you can get because getting help from wingmen is extremely hit and miss.

Some missions are extremely long and difficult (ranging from shooting down Hex missiles to escorting capital ships or tugs), with very specific mission objectives and they are made even more difficult by wingmen that take forever to attack a target or come to your aid – at least when you’re mixing it up with fighters. Commanding them to attack larger ships, like Missile Frigates or Landers, they fare much better but for the most part you’re on your own. Even when you have a fellow Jedi on your wing basically it’s you against every damn ship the Trade Federation can throw at you. Split screen co-op is a far better way to play and a lot less frustrating. (At least then you can smack your wingman upside the head if they screw up.) [Just a side note: An option to play via LAN would have been a great addition so to avoid the curse of split screen.

 

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Split screen actually moves at a smooth pace, even with all the secondary fire going on. The graphics themselves are sharp and crisp – kind of like a healthy head of lettuce. The secondary fire, especially Nym’s Cluster Missiles, are impressive to watch. Also fun is using Force Reflex to really appreciate the explosions of large ships. You can play JS in first or third-person views, but I found myself playing in first-person for the most part and switching to third-person view when flying indoors. Either way, there’s no slowdown and the game looks great.

To complement the graphics is, of course, John Williams’s great musical score. I’d like to find fault with the music, but Mr. Williams is practically untouchable. Sound effects are good and the voice acting is very good, although sometimes there’s so much dialogue going on it’s hard to take it all in. This becomes a problem when you’re knee-deep in Genoshan fighters and some vital line of dialogue is missed because your concentration is elsewhere. This happened a few times to me, where a vital event is taking place but I was so busy blowing something up, I didn’t get a chance to take it in. The result is many play-throughs of each mission, which in itself isn’t really a problem but a logbook to keep track of the dialogue would have been appreciated if only to fully grasp what you should be doing (since the general objectives are outlined at the start of each mission and easy accessible during a mission).

Replayability wasn’t that high for SSE, but JS makes up for it. Besides the two-player co-op mode (can you tell this was a highlight for me? Of course, if you don't have a buddy this point is moot) it has lots of extras to unlock for completing levels and finding the hidden objectives. One of the extras, an amusing Day at the Offices of LucasArts, has the best musical Star Wars medley I’ve ever heard – beating out even the disco version of the main Star Wars theme.

Jedi Starfighter is a solid game in its own right and a great expansion of the Starfighter franchise. Besides being fun and challenging (it’s not insane challenge all the time), it’s got a variety of different mission types, the solid controls are easy to learn and use, the graphics and sound are well done, and the two-player co-op mode makes for an entertaining experience.

- Omni
(May 29, 2002)

 

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