|If we are truly honest with ourselves, there is something that
the original Star Wars Trilogy is missing. Jedi. There just arent enough Jedi. Sure,
we get Obi-Wan for Episode IV, but after that its just Luke. And Luke isnt all
that much to rally behind. But when Obi-Wan is telling Luke about the Clone Wars you
cant help but conjure up a Legion of Jedi warriors fighting off the Dark Side with
their lightsabers. That is the movie you really want to see (at least its the one I
really want to see). Episode I gave us a few more Jedi, and Episode II and III seem to
promise even more. Jedi Power Battles does everything it can to give you your Jedi fix
until the next few movies, and in many ways it succeeds. I think this is a dream game for
Star Wars fans, especially those who dressed up for the ten consecutive showings of
Episode I on opening day.
The game loosely follows the plot of Episode I with a lot more lightsaber swinging. If youre looking for some new adventures or stories, you wont find them here. You have the option of playing as one of five Jedi initially, with other characters that you can unlock as the game progresses. Id list their names for you, but that wouldnt mean anything to you unless youre a die-hard fan, and if youre that much of a die-hard fan then Im sure you already know who they are.
The graphics look great. Theyre not the best youll find on the Dreamcast, but they are miles beyond the PlayStation version. Unfortunately, there are a number of glitches throughout the game that are only made worse by the fact that everything else looks so good. Objects flitter distractingly, and some even disappear from the screen. These are problems that would have been obvious to the programmers, but it seems that a release date took precedence over quality.
This game is almost worth the price of admission just to see Mace Windu (Samuel Jacksons Jedi--for the uninitiated) in action. He didnt charge up his lightsaber once in the movie, but you just knew that if he did, Darth Maul wouldnt stand a chance and here you get to prove it.
The combos are fairly easy to execute and some of them look fantastic. However, you cant deflect blaster fire in mid-combo. It can be a little frustrating to be in the middle of a combo move and see the blast coming at you and not be able to do a thing about it. One of the control issues that you will face with this game is the jumping. There is a lot of jumping from ledges, and if you dont judge things just right, you die. Sometimes, because of the camera angle, it is simply impossible to judge things just right. I often found myself closing my eyes at a ledge hoping that the force would guide my thumbs. Sometimes it did. Sometimes it didnt.
My favorite part of the game has to be deflecting blasters with my lightsaber. It is just cool in a way that Jedi Knight for the PC didnt get right. This would be a three star game if it consisted of standing on a ledge deflecting blasts from battle droids and sith probes. You also get special Force powers and moves, which heighten gameplay.
Jedi Power Battles is the most entertaining Jedi game on the market. Dont get me wrong, I love Jedi Knight for the PC, but the lightsaber controls for that game were awkward and clunky. I never used my lightsaber unless I had to fight a Jedi or light up a cave. I never really felt like a Jedi, but rather some schmo who lucked into a lightsaber. Being a Jedi just wasnt as fun as it should have been. In Jedi Power Battles its nothing but fun. Sometimes we all have a need to chop things in half with a big lightsaber, and this game meets that need.
The Dreamcast version adds to the PlayStation version by improving the graphics, giving you the option of playing as the cone head Jedi, as well as including training versus modes. The versus mode is a great place to practice combos and I really liked being able to whip friends with a lightsaber. I would have liked a little more attention to the background; its totally functional. There was no creativity involved in producing this arena. The folks at LucasArts could have created some really interesting 3D levels to take people on in, and a versus computer mode would also have been nice. This feature is an afterthought, a nice afterthought, but not a significant one.
I gave this game four stars because I am a Star Wars fan; for everyone else three stars might be a little more reasonable. But I couldnt stop going back to the game. Its not terribly innovative, and there are some glaring flaws in the programming, but I cant deny that its been one of the more enjoyable games that Ive played in the last few weeks. I know I shouldnt let my love of the franchise color my review, but Im only human. This is a must for Star Wars fans, and its a much better way to spend your forty dollars than ponying up for the trilogy when its released on VHS for the umpteenth time next month.