A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….
It’s one of the most iconic opening lines in the history of film & regardless of whether you enjoy Star Wars or not you can’t deny its importance. The movies are timeless & very well loved where as the games are often scorned & laughed at. Good Star Wars games are hard to come by & Episode 1 does little to change that.
The Phantom Menace is based off the movie of the same name & follow the plot mostly. It puts you in the role of a number of characters from the movie such as the Jedi, the Queen & her guard. The game plays out in the 3rd person perspective & has a wide variety of levels. Opening with the Jedi on the trade ship, continuing on Naboo before travelling to Tattooine & ending with the Darth Maul battle.
Unfortunately this is one of the worst looking games on the PlayStation, ugly is the best word to describe it. The level design is a mess of jagged & sharp edges. The only difference between the swamps of Naboo & the cold metal of the trade ship is the colour.
Characters are extremely blocky & move like robots. The work seems to have gone on making the light sabres look & sound as authentic as possible…which they do. That swoosh noise & blocking blaster shots from droids is one of the highlights of the game.
As is the excellent music lifted directly from the film. There are no original voice actors but it hardly matters, the voice acting is kept to a minimum & cutscenes are lifted from the movie itself.
A lot of the levels are lessons in frustration as the games dodgy controls has you falling to your death several times over but at times the game surprises. None more so then the Tattooine levels that see the game take on a slight & limited RPG style. Walking around & talking with residents while trying to find parts for the pod race. These are easily the best moments in the game & I just wish they were longer & more varied.
Sadly the much anticipated Darth Maul battles are some the most disappointing bits in the game as it quickly becomes clear that you can’t really cause any damage until a certain time or section is cleared.
The game has flashes of quality let down by terrible controls, below par graphics & disappointing execution. This could have been so much better!
Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace