reviews\ Nov 3, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Star Wars The Clone Wars - GC - Review

At the end of the movie when clones finally attack,

Count Dooku ran away, too chicken to fight back.


Two Jedi followed, ready to fight,

Yoda came too, knowing that something wasn't right.


Dooku fought well, Sith Lords are so mean!

But they are no match for the one who is green.


Yoda defeated Darth Tyrannus, saving the day,

Unfortunately, the Sith Lord still got away.


The Clones Wars aren't over, and neither are the sins,

When Episode II ends, this game begins…

As if you weren't already aware, November is unofficially the second biggest Star Wars month of the year (right behind May, when Attack of the Clones hit theaters).  Aside from the DVD and VHS release Episode II, three brand-new Star Wars games will be coming to a console near you: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Bounty Hunter and Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.  The first major Star Wars video game released in months, Clone Wars is a superb mixture of three different gameplay styles: vehicular combat, flight combat and third-person action.

Most (if not all) of the screenshots indicate that Clone Wars is strictly a vehicular combat game, but this is not the case.  The majority of the levels require the player to take command of a tank-like vehicle, drive around the area and destroy any droids that you see.  There are other objectives -- sometimes you'll be required to protect one of your own bases, or stop the enemy from destroying your allies.

Each vehicle has its own unique control style.  For example, the Republic Gunship (yes, you heard right -- you can control the Republic Gunship!) is a low-flying attack vehicle with amazing firepower.  The Clonetrooper-controlled laser cannons automatically lock-on to the nearest target, whether it's an enemy in combat or a ship trying to escape into space.  Remember the rocket-shaped ships on Geonisis in Attack of the Clones?  You'll have to blow up a lot of those.  The Gunship also has a powerful secondary weapon that shoots out a cluster of rockets, as well as standard laser that has an unlimited amount of ammo.  While controlling the Republic Gunship, you can't fly very high, but you can fly over most of your enemies and quickly maneuver in and out of harm's way.  For these levels alone, Clone Wars is a must-play game for all Star Wars fans.

Later on, you'll have the luxury of commanding an AT-XT Assault Walker (similar to the two-legged walkers from The Empire Strikes Back).  Once again, the game really shines by giving the player a completely different control style.  Most of the vehicles can dodge left and right, but you'd be crazy if you expected to see a giant walker perform such a move!  Its controls are very stiff and unstable, making you feel as if you really were controlling an AT-XT walker.

The walker can tilt its head left or right, giving its pilot to a greater shooting radius, just like in the movie.  To do this in the game, simply press the L or R button.  The deeper you press the button, the more the head turns!  With careful timing, you could quickly reposition the walker's head and take out a number of enemies without ever having to move any closer to them.  Pressing the buttons lightly enough to achieve this is very difficult, but I'm glad that LucasArts went the extra mile and included the feature anyway.

Other levels will put you in the driver's seat of a Maru (a dinosaur-like creature).  Lasers have been strapped to his back, giving you some protection against the giant bugs that will attempt to take you down.  You can also drive a speeder bike (similar to the one that Anakin used in Episode II), as well as a droid hover scooter, which you'll have to steal in order to escape a dangerous forest.  The multiplayer mode lets you take control of some of the Trade Federation's awesome vehicles, including the Intergalactic Banking Clan Hailfire Droid (the enormous, two-wheeled vehicle that battles the Jedi on Geonosis).

Although a bit too short for its own good, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a must-own game for every true Star Wars fan.  If you waited in line to see Attack of the Clones; if you couldn't wait to see the movie at IMAX; or if considered getting a job at a video store just so you could take home the Episode II DVD and see the deleted scenes before the general public, then this game should be in your collection.  It is a true Star Wars game, one that takes the action and excitement of the movies and turns it into an interactive masterpiece that'll entertain you for a very long time.  I won't be able to watch Episode II again without thinking of Clone Wars!  When I play it, I'll want to watch the movie and vice versa.  Don't fall to the dark side, gamers -- buy Clone Wars and experience the finest Star Wars game that LucasArts has ever made.

Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 8.5
Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the SW game I have been waiting for!  Honestly, I've enjoyed a lot of the Star Wars games, but most of the good ones take place in space.  I love Rogue Squadron, but have longed for something more.  Now that something is finally here.  The sheer variety in vehicles is amazing, and the non-stop action make this a game that you'll be dying to play again and again.  The only downside is that it's short.  But with replay value as high as this game has to offer, you'd be foolish not to buy it.

Graphics: 8.5 
Clone Wars is a great-looking game.  It's not as realistic-looking as Rogue Squadron (no Star Wars game is), but the polygonal ships are truly stunning.  It's not movie-perfect by any means, but when you see over one hundred Clonetroopers, over one hundred droids and dozens of vehicles blasting each other all at the same time, you'll be impressed.

Sound: 7
As a movie soundtrack, it was perfection.  In a game, it's great, but not quite as impressive.  Episode II has a phenomenal soundtrack, one that I enjoyed very much, but only a select few of its songs are used in this game.  Most of them are repeated over and over again, which gets a little annoying after a while.  Plus, the voice acting is terrible!  The Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson impersonators are terrible.  I know that it would have cost a lot of money to get the real actors to lend their voices to a video game, but the alternative is the horrendous voice acting we have here.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 8 
I can't thank LucasArts enough for making this game!  Sure, anyone could have made a game that was based on the Clone War, but LucasArts made one that actually threw you into the middle of it.

Multiplayer: 7.5
The multiplayer mode leaves a little to be desired when compared with the rest of the game, but there’s no denying the fact that using the Trade Federation’s vehicles to blow up your Jedi Knight friends is one of the coolest things you can do in a video game.  It reminds me of the old arcade game Tokyo Wars, except with a lot more variety and a lot more fun.

Overall: 8.5
For the first time in my life, I was completely engrossed in a Star Wars game.  The action is non-stop, which means that the fun never fades.  Most of the movie's coolest vehicles are controllable at one time or another, including the awesome Republic Gunship!    I admit, the third-person missions aren't as exciting (mainly due to the clunky control scheme and the weak objectives, which include tasks as basic as using the Force to take back your lightsaber).  But they're very brief and require little skill to beat them, so you'll be back to the fun part of the game before you know it.  When you pick up a copy of the Episode II DVD next week, be sure to bring enough cash to buy Star Wars: The Clone Wars.


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