Star Wars Lightsaber Combat Review

This 2D fighter barely qualifies for minigame status.

It's a good thing the Star Wars brand is so commercially durable, because THQ Wireless is milking the license drier than the Sahara with its release of Star Wars Lightsaber Combat on Cingular. Given that Star Wars Lightsaber Combat has only two fighters and a bare handful of moves, this 2D fighter barely qualifies for minigame status. In any case, there's certainly not enough content to justify the game's premium price.

What?! Darth Maul?! Again?!
What?! Darth Maul?! Again?!

As its name suggests, Star Wars Lightsaber Combat tries to re-create the flashes of highly choreographed brilliance that illuminate the otherwise turgid Star Wars movies. The swordfights in the movies are very eclectic. For instance, there are two-against-one duels, different sorts of lightsabers and fighting styles, and enemies that have different numbers of limbs. The Motorola V551 version of the game, on the other hand, always pits you and the young Obi-Wan Kenobi against the demonic Darth Maul, perpetually re-creating the climactic battle from Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. This would get tired quickly even if Lightsaber Combat featured great fighting gameplay...which it doesn't. The two combatants share the same soporific move set, meaning each can block, jump, crouch, move, and lash out with five or so different strikes. There are no special attacks or throws, let alone a combo system or charge meter.

At least Star Wars Lightsaber Combat's presentation is good enough to keep it from being a total waste. There are several different arenas that are true to the films, such as the reactor where Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan confronted Maul, and they're easily recognizable. Furthermore, even though the action is a bit sluggish on this handset, the animation looks great. Lightsabers clash with a burst of light, and the combatants move with Force-empowered grace, although there are hardly any animations to show off. The game's sound is generally acceptable, but the MIDI title theme is a strange choice, since it's not immediately recognizable as music from any of the movies.

Star Wars Lightsaber Combat is substantially behind the times, especially considering that last year's Shado Fighter has more characters and moves, runs much better, and is less expensive. Sure, Lightsaber Combat sports three difficulty levels and a high-score table. But you'll get bored with the game long before you make complete use of them. Keep your saber off, and blow your credits in the cantina instead.

The Good

  • Good animation
  • Nice backgrounds

The Bad

  • Very little content
  • Sluggish
  • Poor value

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