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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by LucasArts

Ups: You get to be a Jedi; nice graphics; adventure and versus modes; it's fun to be a Jedi; good control; did we mention Jedis? 

Downs:  Jumping; clipping; not so fun if you're not into Jedis.

System Reqs:
Sega Dreamcast

jedi1-01.jpg (3231 bytes)If we are truly honest with ourselves, there is something that the original Star Wars Trilogy is missing. Jedi. There just aren’t enough Jedi. Sure, we get Obi-Wan for Episode IV, but after that it’s just Luke. And Luke isn’t all that much to rally behind. But when Obi-Wan is telling Luke about the Clone Wars you can’t 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 it’s 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.

jedi2-01.jpg (4553 bytes)The game loosely follows the plot of Episode I with a lot more lightsaber swinging. If you’re looking for some new adventures or stories, you won’t 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. I’d list their names for you, but that wouldn’t mean anything to you unless you’re a die-hard fan, and if you’re that much of a die-hard fan then I’m sure you already know who they are.

jedi3-01.jpg (3108 bytes)The graphics look great. They’re not the best you’ll 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 Jackson’s Jedi--for the uninitiated) in action. He didn’t charge up his lightsaber once in the movie, but you just knew that if he did, Darth Maul wouldn’t stand a chance and here you get to prove it.

jedi5-01.jpg (2915 bytes)The combos are fairly easy to execute and some of them look fantastic. However, you can’t 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 don’t 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 didn’t.

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 didn’t 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.

jedi6-01.jpg (3579 bytes)Jedi Power Battles is the most entertaining Jedi game on the market. Don’t 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 wasn’t as fun as it should have been. In Jedi Power Battles it’s nothing but fun. Sometimes we all have a need to chop things in half with a big lightsaber, and this game meets that need.

jedi4-01.jpg (2054 bytes)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; it’s 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 couldn’t stop going back to the game. It’s not terribly innovative, and there are some glaring flaws in the programming, but I can’t deny that it’s been one of the more enjoyable games that I’ve played in the last few weeks. I know I shouldn’t let my love of the franchise color my review, but I’m only human. This is a must for Star Wars fans, and it’s a much better way to spend your forty dollars than ponying up for the trilogy when it’s released on VHS for the umpteenth time next month.

--Jason Frank