Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace Review

This game manages to disappoint all audiences.

While there have been many good games based on the world of Star Wars, none of them have been very good on the PlayStation. This new Star Wars game, based on the first episode of the series, is no exception. Originally scheduled to come out shortly after the last May's release of the movie and the PC version of the game, this is one port that even a Jedi mind trick couldn't convince you to enjoy.

The PC version of the game was flawed in many areas. The PlayStation version brings most of those flaws over and adds some new ones in the process. As Obi-Wan Kenobi (and in other parts of the game, Qui-Gon, Queen Amidala, and Captain Panaka) you'll run through lots of different environments, hit numerous switches, and push some blocks around. Oh, you'll also come across gangs of droids armed with lasers. That's where the most basic gameplay flaw makes itself known. At this point, your lightsaber pretty much turns into a baseball bat, and you're expected to play batting cage with the droids, knocking their shots back at them with your weapon. You can also run up close and take a quick swing at the droids to destroy them, but hanging back and pounding on the swing button as the laser shots come in seems to work just as well through most of the game's levels. Aside from your saber swing, you can also roll around from side to side, do a back flip, and execute an occasional force push, which knocks down all the droids in the area for a few seconds, giving you enough time to run up and put them out of commission.

The game takes place from a third-person view that has a bit more in common with Syphon Filter than with Tomb Raider. The camera manages not to get in the way too often, though it would have been nice to be able to see a little farther in front of you. The game's graphics are, in a word, bad. Everything has a horribly mushy, pixilated look to it, and the muddy textures don't help at all. The sound is decent, and the soundalike voice actors do all right in most of the speaking segments of the game.

This game manages to disappoint all audiences. Game players will be frustrated by the game's sketchy control. Fans of the movie will be bummed out by the overall presentation. It all adds up to one Death Star-sized failure. People looking for a third-person game of this type that is properly done would be better off with Syphon Filter or Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.

The Good

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The Bad

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.