reviews\ Dec 2, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Star Wars Bounty Hunter - PS2 - Review

Two thugs stood apart in front of him, blasting away. One was at a 45-degree angle off to the right, the other a little outside his left. Three more thugs were closing him from behind.

"Get him!" one yells as the firefight intensifies. Without so much as looking right or left, Jango Fett raises his twin blasters and pumps off two quick rounds from each gun. The thug to the left jerks backward, then falls face forward while the one to the right twists through the air. Both are dead.

Jango fires the jetpack, soaring straight up over the fire from behind him, then turns in the air. As he begins the descent back to solid ground he opens fire and all three embrace eternity.

Star Wars Bounty Hunter, a PS2 release from LucasArts, is a shooter game that will not only please fans of the genre, but also bridges some of the storyline between the films Episode 1 and Episode 2.

Those who have seen Episode 2 know that Jango Fett was the prototype for the clone army. He was also the father of Boba Fett, a bounty hunter in the time of Luke Skywalker, although Boba was a clone of Jango.

However not too much is revealed about this feared bounty hunter in the films ­ at least not with the depth that the cutscenes of this game do.

The game begins with Count Dooku receiving a holographic visit from Darth Sidious. Sidious reprimands his apprentice for failing to kill the Bando Gora’s leader (the Bando Gora are a mysterious and deadly cult) when he had the chance. Count Dooku is charged with eradicating the Bando Gora and finding the ideal specimen from which an army can be cloned. Dooku sees this as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. He places an incredible bounty on the head of the Bando Gora leader, reasoning that any bounty hunter able to collect the reward is not only extremely resourceful, but also the perfect template for the clone army.

That’s where Jango Fett comes into the picture.

Not only is this mercenary extremely deadly, but he is also ruthless, relentless and remorseless. So what if a few bystanders get in the way? You want to stand in a crowd of shooters, you take your chances.

The game itself begins with a training exercise of sorts. Chapter One of the program concerns Fett’s pursuit and capture of Meeko, one of the well-protected scum of the universe. During this early phase, players will learn the game’s controls and Jango will get his jetpack ­ he makes the merchant an offer he can’t refuse: give him the jetpack or die.

At its core, Bounty Hunter is a shooter game. Granted, Jango will have to solve some minor puzzles along the way, but this is a game that is action-packed. Can’t figure out how to get through an area? Hmmm, your cutting torch and that grating may offer a hint. Jango’s equipment also has a scanner, which will identify those who have a bounty on their heads. You can snag the perpetrator for the bounty, though there seems little reason to collect the money.

Each level is scored upon completion, which gives incentive to repeat the level. While the mapboards are quite large, the path through them is linear and early on players will be guided along the way by the power-ups glowing in the air.

Initially the control element s looked daunting, but after jumping into the game, they turned out to be somewhat easy to get a handle on. The jetpack does not have unlimited fire power though, and you will need to use it wisely.

The sound of the game is very good. Temuera Morrison, who played Jango in the movie, voices the character in the game. Of course, the special effects are wonderful and very much in line with the Star Wars universe.

Graphically the game is also very nice. The environments are well done and the animation is terrific. The cutscenes do an excellent job of advancing the storyline, not only of the game, but also of the film series.

Bounty Hunter is a shooter game played from the third-person perspective. In general terms of gameplay, it is solid, but unexceptional. What translates this game from the horde of average titles to the realm of excellent are the lead character and the universe. Regardless of what you may think of his role in the Clone Wars, simply put: Jango Fett rocks!

This is a game that will definitely be a must-have for Star Wars fans, while shooter game fans will find it challenging and quite enjoyable.

This game is rated Teen for violence.


Gameplay: 8.5
The game is, in many regards, a typical shooter game. The mapboards are nicely sized and there is a host of enemies to battle in each level. Load times are incidental and the cutscenes are excellent. The game does seem linear in the path taken through the maze of maps, and the only reason to replay the game is to better your score.

Graphics: 9.2
Some of the environments are not as well done as the others, but the overall look of the game is excellent. The animation and special effects are also superb.

Sound: 9.3
LucasArts scores its games well, and this is no exception. The vocal acting, music and special effects are all wonderful.

Difficulty: Medium
Knowing what you have to do, and doing it can be two different propositions, especially as the game progresses. The initial phase of the game is very easy to work through, but the game does get harder as the story evolves.

Concept: 9
Jango Fett is a character worthy of his own game, and LucasArts succeeds in taking players into his world. The controls are kept simple and the player interface is easy to navigate through.

Overall: 9
Jango Fett is a terrific anti-hero who fights without compassion for the innocent. If they get in his way, it doesn’t matter if they live or not. He is a pit bull hanging on to the trail of his target with relentless, dogged determination. Couple that with his athleticism, the way that designers have animated him, great environments and you have the ingredients of a very good game. This is a joy to play.


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