Over the years LucasArts and various developers have experimented with putting theStar Warsfranchise into various gaming genres. Some of them have worked out incredibly well, but a few of these experiments proved that adding Star Warsto the formula, doesn’t make it good. For Star Wars Day, I’m breaking down some of them.
Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi
It’s almost impossible to have a list like this and not mention Masters of Teras Kasi, which continues to be counted as one of the worst Star Wars games out there. While I largely agree with that sentiment, I think the reason why is different from others. It’s just weird. When you think of the Star Wars universe and all it has to offer, a Mortal Kombat style fighting game doesn’t immediately spring to mind.
That premise alone is enough to raise some eyebrows and stoke the ire of some fans. What made things worse, is that the game itself was mediocre at best. The fighting mechanics weren’t polished, and featured odd power-ups that made no sense in terms of Star Wars. While the general idea of giving fans the ability to have their favorite characters face-off in battle could be interesting, it sure as heck didn’t work out that way.
While a couple cameos in the Soul Calibur series somewhat redeemed the ideas of Star Wars characters in a fighting game, on the whole, I think we’re all grateful this franchise never went anywhere.
Star Wars Demolition
There was a period of time in the gaming realm, where vehicular combat (i.e. Twisted Metal) was all the rage, and LucasArts wanted to cash-in on the action by slapping something together utilizing the Star Wars license. When I “slap together” that’s pretty much what I mean when it comes to Star Wars Demolition.
The game’s story tries to make sense of everything and explain why Star Wars vehicles/characters would be involved in such a death race. Essentially, Podracing (which got a badass game) has been outlawed, so in order to appease the hungry masses, Jabba creates this demolition instead; because, that’s way safer right? The game itself is about as flimsy as the premise; featuring clunky game mechanics, poor visuals (even for the time), and buggy to the point of not being any fun. Not too mention the game featured Boba Fett as himself without a vehicle…yes a vehicle combat game with a character who had no vehicle.
I could see why this might make sense. Some of the coolest moments in Star Wars have come from big spaceships/tanks/etc (you know, “vehicles”) slugging it out in massive battles on the screen. Demolition, however, didn’t take that approach, instead making the matches seem way smaller than that. If you want to duke it out with Star Wars vehicles, pick up the old Battlefront 2..way more fun.
Star Wars: Force Commander
The Star Wars brand seems perfectly suited to the Real-Time Strategy genre of games. The movies, are about a war on a galactic scale with armies on both sides. A couple of games have made excellent use of this concept, but one of their first outings with the genre (the first in 3D) was a poor effort indeed.
Force Commander had the right idea; taking command of armies on for both the Empire and Rebellion and forging it’s own unique story that at times intersected with the most interesting battles from the original films. The main problem came down in the game’s execution. Force Commander was their first attempt at using a 3D RTS engine for Star Wars, and their lack of understanding that technology was apparent.
The controls aren’t intuitive and require a steep learning curve to fully understand what you’re doing. Even then, the results aren’t that impressive and caused a lot of grief. I remember even navigating my way around the battle maps was something of a chore to accomplish, and building units/structures was computer punching-ly frustrating. Fortunately, Force Commander was not the end of their RTS excursions and fans were given the excellent Galactic Battlegrounds and Empire at War to enjoy.
Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing
Episode 1 Racer and Racer Revenge both proved that a racing game set within the Star Wars universe has potential and something I’d like to see again. But not every attempt has been successful, especially when LucasArts decided they wanted to get in on the more cartoony/arcade style gameplay of Kart racers (Mario Kart, Crash Team Racing, and a slew of others) with Super Bombad Racing.
It took the karting formula and in it’s place put in some heavily stylized and deformed Star Wars characters behind the wheels. Overall it’s not a terrible idea, but it’s not a concept fans were looking for. For one, it’s not a strong karting game. It’s mechanics aren’t horrible, but they’re far from polished, and the short game time it boasts made one thing very clear: this was nothing more than a cash grab.
Star Wars Kinect
What Star Wars fans doesn’t dream of wielding their own lightsaber and hurling enemies around with the Force? The idea behind Microsoft’s Star Wars Kinect game was specifically to accomplish that and give fans the chance to experience Star Wars in an immersive way via the Xbox 360’s Kinect sensor. It’s a neat idea, but failed to impress on any level.
First of all, the motion gameplay aspects weren’t all that fluid and I found myself many times flailing around trying to get my character on screen to do what I wanted it to do. But poor mechanics and weak story aren’t the reasons this game is making the list…it’s for it’s weird dancing mini-games.
Yes, for some reason, the developers thought that putting in a Dance Central style dancing game, where your favorite Star Wars characters dance (along with you) to parody songs, was a good idea. I understand wanting to have some irreverent fun with the Star Wars license, and give fans something unique and quirky, but in the end the presentation was too weird to fly with the fans. Hopefully EA will learn from this little experiment and never do something that crazy with their new games.
Trying things out is the only way for any artistic medium (including video games) to grow and find new ways to entertain people. While these Star Wars related experiments were ultimately bad ideas, some of them were based on concepts of things fans could potentially be excited about. Considering the vast amount of Star Wars games out there (both good and bad) it’s easy to see how these games were oddballs, not fitting in anywhere, but developed none the less!
Which of these weird Star Wars games did you play? What games would you add to this list?