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1995-2000
GamesFirst! Magazine

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by LucasArts / Luxoflux

10-01.jpg (3926 bytes)I love Star Wars. But whenever I say that, I feel like I have to qualify that love. I do not have my own lightsaber, but I do have an ample collection of action figures. I did not wait for days in line to see The Phantom Menace; I waited hours. The Star Wars Universe played a big part in my youth and functions more on a nostalgic level for me today. Because I care so much about the franchise, I find myself beginning to worry about its possible overexposure. There was a time when the Star Wars seal was synonymous with quality. You really had the impression that George Lucas wouldn’t let anyone go near his baby unless it was golden material. Maybe he’s been too busy to care. After all, he has been working non stop on the original trilogy and the prequels for about the last five years which coincides with the end of what I like to call "The Golden Era of Lucasarts." That’s not to say that there haven’t been any great games to come out of the franchise. It’s just that a Star Wars game is no longer guaranteed to wow. I remember the first time I played X-Wing and Tie Fighter and being amazed at the games’ ability to suck me into the Star Wars universe. Then came Dark Forces, which was like living out the ultimate dream. I bought an N64 because of the promise of a good Star Wars game. Shadows of the Empire proved to be among the first of many disappointments with Nintendo’s powerhouse. So far, I’ve enjoyed the Star Wars games for the Dreamcast, but I’ve never been wowed. Demolition is the best Star Wars console game available, but that may be damning it with faint praise.

1-01.jpg (3623 bytes)The folks over at Lucasarts have teamed up with Luxoflux,the makers of Vigilante 8, to give us a game for any boy who dreamed of blowing up his Star Wars toys but was too afraid that he would get in trouble with his parents. The premise of the game is simple and straightforward: Jabba the Hut is holding his own version of a demolition derby circuit where anything goes. There is no complicated plot to follow or any complex character motivation. You just need to blow everybody else up before they blow you up.

11-01.jpg (3284 bytes)This is Vigilante 8 with Star Wars themed setting and spacecraft. There is nothing particularly new or innovative about this game, but it seems to really appeal to a love for the Star Wars mythology while satisfying a need for destruction. The vehicle choices are excellent. It could have easily been a boring assortment of Tie Fighters, X-Wings, and Corellian Starships, but instead we get little Boba Fett with his jet pack, the Rancor Beast with a mounted laser canon, and the bounty hunter Aura Sing on her swoop. There are some great standards as well like a modified Landspeeder or an AT-ST. There is something for everyone here. The detail on the vehicles is spectacular. After playing this game, you might wonder why anyone would want to play with the toys anymore. This incredible detail extends to damage that the vehicles take while fighting. When your Snowspeeder is on its last legs, it looks it.

12-01.jpg (3778 bytes)The weapons are simple blasters that have been mounted on each vehicle and there are four secondary weapons that you can find throughout the courses. This may not seem like a lot in a day where we rate our shooters by the number of different ways you can kill your opponents, but trust me, the limited number of weapons actually enhances gameplay. I fear that if there had been too many weapons the player’s focus might shift from the actual goals of the game to getting their favorite canon. All of the weapons have special moves when fully charged and you won’t be disappointed with the effects. My favorite has to be the Rancor’s grab and throw move when he’s at a full charge. The only problem with the combat aspect of this game is the auto-targeting feature. It switches between opponents at a snail’s pace. I’ve missed a few opportunities to demolish some of my opponents right in front of me because the targeting system didn’t switch over fast enough. There is a manual override that I highly recommend using.

2-01.jpg (3133 bytes)There was a surprising amount of variety when it came to gameplay options. The various modes of play include a tournament, a high stakes game, a droid hunt, a simple battle game and, of course, multi-player. The tournament is self explanatory, except that you have to pay attention to how much money you’re making. Repairing sheilds and recharging weapons through the game costs you credits and if you don’t walk away with enough prize money, you won’t be able to unlock other characters. High Stakes mode gives you the option of placing bets on yourself, which was a nice touch. You play until you get to 10,000 or you run out of money. Droid hunt is a simple "blow up as many as you can before the time runs out" scenario. Battle mode is simply a matter of picking your opponents and vanquishing them. The multi-player on the Dreamcast enables up to four players at once which will provide a nice opportunity for bonding with friends and family.

3-01.jpg (3983 bytes)The battle arenas themselves are almost flawless. There are plenty of choices like the ice planet Hoth, the swamps of Dagoba, or the capital on Naboo. The attention to detail is where this aspect of the game really shines. For instance, when you’re battling it out on the surface of the Death Star you have to avoid Tie Fighters in the trenches and Hoth has roaming AT-ATs. The only problem with the arenas is that the backgrounds are constantly being drawn in which can be a little distracting at times, but the level designs are so well done that you want to forgive this one minor flaw.

5-01.jpg (3105 bytes)If you are a Star Wars junkie, this game is a no-brainer, and it will provide gobs of entertainment for anyone else who just likes to blow things up. When I reviewed Jedi Power Battles for DC I gave the game four stars, but I had to qualify that it was a four star game for Star Wars fans. I don’t have to make the same excuses for Star Wars Demolition. It doesn’t break any new ground, but Lucasarts has created a game that I can recommend to almost anyone without reservation, and it’s been awhile since I’ve been able to do that.

Jason Frank

Snapshot

Ups: Vehicular mayhem; Star Wars favorites (even the Rancor!); great level design; good multiplayer mode.

Downs: Some draw-in; no innovation.

System Reqs:
Sega Dreamcast

 

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