Serious Star Wars aficionados should enjoy the game's story, but they'll be forced to slog through a lot of tedious action to see how it pans out.
One of the most popular Star Wars characters has always been Boba Fett, the soft-spoken yet ruthless bounty hunter seen in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Though true Star Wars geeks are quick to cite that Boba first appeared not in Empire but as a cartoon character in the embarrassing 1978 TV production The Star Wars Holiday Special, we got a surprising glimpse at the bounty hunter as a young boy in this year's Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. There we also learned of where Boba Fett apparently mastered the tricks of the trade: from his father, Jango. Attack of the Clones met with mixed reactions--it featured plenty of impressive special effects along with plenty of awkward romantic sequences, but the scenes featuring Jango and son stood out among the highlights. Now Boba Fett's predecessor is the star of his very own video game in Star Wars Bounty Hunter, a third-person action game that allows you to do most all of the cool moves that Jango did in the film. Unfortunately, the game has some pretty glaring shortcomings all around, and while the design might have looked solid on paper, it just didn't make for a fun, engaging, or good-looking game.
If you've seen Attack of the Clones, then you know that Jango, shall we say, loses his head near the conclusion of the film. Fortunately, the events of Star Wars Bounty Hunter take place well before that moment. The story of Bounty Hunter is probably the best aspect of the game and is told through well-done 3D cutscenes using good voice-over--Jango himself is voiced by Temuera Morrison, the same actor who plays him in the movie. In Episode II, we learn that Jango is the template for the Republic's mysterious clone army, and Star Wars Bounty Hunter explains how Jango came to be chosen for this important role. At the beginning of the game, Darth Sidious--later Emperor Palpatine--is shown speaking to his apprentice, Darth Tyrannus (also known as Count Dooku, the character played by Christopher Lee in the film), whom he orders to seek out the most skilled, most efficient bounty hunter in the galaxy. Thus, even though Jango Fett himself might not realize it, during the course of Star Wars Bounty Hunter you'll know you're really just helping set up an evil trap. That's actually pretty interesting, and if you're a big Star Wars fan, you'll enjoy seeing new events from the story told from the bad guys' perspective. That approach is not unlike what LucasArts did with its classic bad-guy-focused space combat sim, TIE Fighter. It's too bad that the only comparison to be drawn between TIE Fighter and Bounty Hunter is that they both let you play as Star Wars bad guys, since beyond that, Bounty Hunter doesn't exactly rank up there as one of the better Star Wars games.
It's not that the basic mechanics of the game aren't interesting, because they are. Jango Fett has access to numerous acrobatic maneuvers, weapons, and special moves. He can run quickly, use his dual blasters to pick off multiple targets simultaneously, climb, use evasive rolls, and crawl through tight spaces, and he can use numerous other weapons and gadgets such as a flamethrower and a welding torch to knock down thin walls. Jango can even take out foes using just his bare hands, and of course, he'll have a trusty jetpack throughout most of his adventure, which lets him fly far and fast, but only in brief durations. Some aspects of the controls work well. The game's autotargeting feature makes aiming at multiple foes too easy, if anything, and Jango does a fine job of grabbing hold of ledges if you fall short of a jump. The jetpack also sets up some pretty good sequences.
However, Bounty Hunter suffers from an array of technical problems that have plagued other third-person action games. You can move the camera perspective using the right analog stick, but the camera will still cause you some major headaches when in tight corridors or when trying to draw a bead on a specific enemy. Often it'll automatically swivel to point you in entirely the wrong direction. Clipping and collision-detection issues also abound. Jango can frequently be seen sticking right through parts of the environment, which really cheapens the game's presentation and makes the characters and levels seem hollow. The game's frame rate is occasionally smooth but generally just inconsistent. It'll slow down terribly in some of the game's larger environments, especially when enemies abound, and this together with the camera problems will certainly frustrate you at times.
- Player Reviews: 51
- 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: