A New Hope or Clown Wars?
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Star Wars fans must be sick of being taken for a ride when it comes to games. For some reason, known only to George Lucas himself, good Star Wars games are hard to find. The Clone Wars is one of the latest contenders, but could it be 'a new hope'?
Clone Wars follows on from Rogue Squadron - you know, that game all Cube owners had to buy due to a lack of anything else, plus the fact that you got to blow up the Death Star. This game starts where Attack of the Clones leaves off in the movie theatre. The wars have begun and it's your job to blast everything in sight in a variety of craft and battles.
In Campaign Mode you can choose from Padwan, Jedi or Jedi Master difficulty settings. There are no character choices as you get to play everyone from Obi Wan through to Anakin and Master Windu. First up is a battle in a pretty featureless desert. At this point you'd better get used to featureless deserts because you'll meet a good deal more of them as the game progresses. The missions are fairly long and usually consist of trying to protect a convoy from enemy fleets. It's just a question of flying around shooting stuff - all fairly uninspiring.
Enroute through the scrap yard of Ruxus Prime, it's time to hit the pedal to the metal in your speeder, with a timed pursuit to stop an enemy foiling the Republic's plans. This was quite good fun, because it mainly involves going real fast and just whizzing under steel girders and the like. Other than that it's all pretty standard stuff.
One of the levels you play as Obi Wan and Anakin has modified your tank so that you can deploy the rest of the troops as you see fit. Get them to take out the turrets whilst you concentrate on taking out the enemy fleet. This can prove quite useful when things get a bit hectic, but generally it does nothing to enhance the dull gameplay.
Later on in the game Anakin is captured by Count Duku, as the lame story line comes to a climax. I just hope it has no bearing on the next Star Wars movie. At this point you hook up with a female character and escape into the forest, home of the wookies, and speed between the trees Return of the Jedi style"cool.
My main complaint is that it's just tedious and repetitive, no matter how much of the game you play. Hover tank things are replaced by land speeders, are replaced by dinosaur creatures called Maru. Then there are the landscapes; desert is replaced by snowscape, which is in turn replaced by forest and grassy knolls, but none of it makes a blind bit of difference because you're still doing exactly the same thing as you did seven levels previously. It's relentless tedium and full respect to anyone who can be bothered to play to the end of level 16.
The first thing you'll notice about the Star Wars universe is that it's very foggy. Or is it just that the draw distance is pitiful? When it comes to the graphics, the Clone Wars report card would say "must try harder next semester." Of course we wouldn't want Anakin's CG model to out act Mr. Wooden himself, Hayden Christensen (film actor playing Anakin in II & III). With this in mind, all the cut scenes were suitably poor and added nothing to the experience.
I'm afraid to say, Lucas Arts have managed to pull another pile of junk out of the Star Wars bag and I wish they'd just stop. Clone Wars struggles home with only 2 GiN gems, because it's another disappointing journey into the awesome Star Wars universe. If you liked Rogue Squadron, I suspect you may like this despites is flaws. But then again, if that is the case you really don't deserve to own a machine that could be playing Metroid Prime instead.
Chella is GiN's UK-based product tester. A self-confessed Cornish pasty addict, Chella is never happier than when she's slacking off to play a five-gem game. : firstname.lastname@example.org.