Star Wars Starfighter: Special Edition manages to maintain the charm of the Lucas films and also deliver an entertaining foray into the Star Wars universe.
When Star Wars Starfighter was released for the PlayStation 2 earlier this year, Sony's flagship console was sorely lacking the library of games that it now boasts. At the time, it was one of the better-looking games in the Sony lineup and appealed to gamers by being the first Star Wars-themed game released for the console. LucasArts, hoping to extend Starfighter's success to the Microsoft Xbox, has now released a beefed-up port of the game. Sporting a number of new levels, graphical tweaks, and an improved multiplayer mode, Starfighter will give Xbox owners a chance to pilot a number of ships and take the roles of three reluctant heroes created specifically for the game.
Starfighter is a story-driven space sim that places gamers in the cockpits of different ships with their own unique look and feel. Many of the characters that exist in the Star Wars universe go hand in hand with their ships. While there were many X-Wing pilots in the classic movies, none embodied the sleek design more than Luke Skywalker, and the favorite Millennium Falcon is rarely mentioned without Han Solo being mentioned in tandem. The three heroes of Starfighter are no different, and the ships they pilot are designed with their traits in mind, or vice versa. Rhys Dallows, a young hotshot pilot, helms the aerodynamic Naboo fighter; the mercenary Vana Sage takes control of her Y-shaped high-speed fighter; and Nym, a rugged space pirate, commands his armored fighter-bomber combo. Each character and ship combo follows its own path and missions tailored to its strengths and weaknesses. Nym, for example, spends most of his missions taking out Trade Federation artillery and dropships, along with droid fighters and the like. Rhys' missions are geared toward the frantic space battles Star Wars fans have come to know and love, while Vana's missions lean toward seek and destroy.
Gamers who are familiar with the line of themed shooters previously released by LucasArts will be immediately familiar with the design of the game and will take to it in a short amount of time. Calling to mind such games as the Rogue Leader series, Starfighter is straightforward and doesn't stray from the formula set forth in these games. You can expect to spend a good amount of time blasting and bombing your way through a set number of missions (roughly 19 in the Xbox version, with the new additions) on your way to the inevitable battle with a large and seemingly indestructible foe, in this case, a federation command ship.
The game will sound immediately familiar to Star Wars fans or to anybody who's seen or heard the parts of the films from which the game draws its inspiration. Laser blasts, explosions, engine noise, and the tinny voices of the droid enemies are the same that were used in the Episode 1 film, and the soundtrack consists of John Williams' powerful score. The game even starts with the classic scrolling text and theme music that seem to have become a requirement for all forms of Star Wars entertainment.
Each pilot has the ability to command a small number of allies in some missions by sending them verbal orders. There are a set number of commands for each, which are easily accessible through the four basic directional controls on the D-pad. In several missions, for example, Nym flies with two or more wingmen, who wait for orders to attack or defend targets and can be quite useful. The problem with this is that there are only two or three lines of dialogue for these command sets, and they will get old rather quickly. Expect to hear Nym bark, "Attack my target" and "Defend my target" more than a few times in each mission.
In addition to the small complaint about redundant lines, the AI in each of these allies is somewhat thin. They will often swoop directly into your line of fire, and hitting them with a glancing laser blast will trigger another set of redundant comments and exclamations. As with the commands, expect to hear your allies yell "Whose side are you on?" a number of times before you get accustomed to keeping an eye out for wayward friends.
- Player Reviews: 6
- Game Universe:
- Star Wars Episode I: Racer (GBC, N64, DC, MAC),
- Star Wars: Yoda Stories (PC, GBC),
- Star Wars: Demolition (DC, PS),
- Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC, GC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Starfighter (PC, PS2),
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (PS2, GC),
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (GC, PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars Galaxies (PS2, XBOX)
- Number of Players: