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Top 5 Star Wars Games, part 2

07/09/2011

WordPress has the weirdest analytics package. Or weirdest algorithms for directing site traffic, as I’ve been averaging maybe 40 visitors a day for the past week and then it just shot up to 200. Odd.

I’ve been having a weird nostalgia trip since yesterday about this Top 5 Star Wars games post. My brothers have weighed in, people on Facebook have commented…yet I’m still struggling with it. How do you judge these things? Is it by memory of a first experience, such as the first time you could wield a lightsaber in a game (for me, Super Return of the Jedi)? Is it by vehicle combat, as many games are very strong when controlling vehicles and then incredibly bad during “on-foot” segments (Rebel Strike). Or could it be game that has had the longest running impact (KOTOR). I just don’t know.

I do know I can’t rank this list. All I can do is throw out five Star Wars games that are my personal favorites for whatever reason. And yet every time I try to create this list, I’m reminded of yet another Star Wars video game, yet another experience, that screams to be included on this list somewhere. Rest assured, these paragraphs and posts following could be cut and pasted into nearly any order, and in fact were several times.

So…my Top 5 Star Wars video games.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox, 2003). This game is the reason why I own an Xbox. When this game was announced, I was intrigued, but it wasn’t until the reviews came out and I saw it in action that I knew I had to purchase it. I had been on the fence about whether to buy an Xbox or a PS2, and when this game was announced as Xbox exclusive, my decision was made. I drove to the nearest GameStop, sold my Sega Dreamcast and all its games, and used that money as a downpayment on buying my first Xbox, which was a refurbished unit (two mistakes there, first selling my beloved Dreamcast, and second, buying a refurbished Xbox. Don’t buy refurbished; buy new. I ended up replacing my Xbox because it crapped out on me, and my second one did as well later on…also used/refurbished).

What is there to say about this game? It has the biggest twist in Star Wars storytelling since “I am your father.” It was so customizable and offered so many things to do. KOTOR (as people refer to it now) also had this little gameplay bug (so I’m guessing) that made for endless joy while playing: as you are running around out of combat, you could turn your lightsaber on, and then by doing a “cancel action” maneuver, which was just pressing the Y button, you would swing your lightsaber as you ran, twirling it. Much like rolling everywhere as Link in Ocarina of Time, I didn’t go anywhere in the game without twirling my lightsaber, seeing the colors swirl followed by that distinct sound effect.

I have few gripes about this game. While I do wish it had been set during the Original Trilogy time period, I understand it couldn’t, what with Jedi and Sith and Mandalorians everywhere. The sequel, The Sith Lords, was also fairly unpolished and unfinished, and I can barely remember playing it (think I did in 2007 or so, even though it came out in Dec 2004). Still a little bummed that they never made a third KOTOR game for Xbox 360, but Bioware is working on The Old Republic for PC/Mac, which should be fun (hopefully). The below photo is just a joke that the game was released unfinished..

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 The Sith Lords

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2 The Sith Lords

Star Wars Rogue Squadron

Star Wars Rogue Squadron

Rogue Squadron(Nintendo 64, 1998). By the time Rogue Squadron was released, I had already played the incredible X-Wing and TIE-Fighter series on PC (and with a joystick!), yet Rogue Squadron on Nintendo 64 was something magical. Perhaps it was because the Nintendo 64 at that point still held such wonder for me, having enjoyed Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time previously, not to mention the incredible Goldeneye. This was also another game that I had first experienced at a friend’s house, and was so blown away I desperately wanted to be included in the experience, thus sharing it and making it even more important. Whatever it was, I loved this game.

The levels were tough too! This was, probably, the first game that I excessively cheated at…which, come to think of it, came to be a standard feature of all Nintendo 64 games I played, Turok 2 being a prime example (dang near impossible without codes). Once I discovered infinite lives or infinite missiles, I never went back. No shame in admitting I couldn’t have beat the game without codes. I remember purposely killing myself multiple times just so I could respawn with a new complement of missiles so I could finally destroy some target or building. Anyways, the cheat codes made the game. Plus they allowed you to unlock such vehicles as the Millennium Falcon (which, to this day, sucks to pilot in nearly every Star Wars video game!! A shame.), a TIE Fighter (awesome), a Corvette (cute), and a Naboo Starfighter. Programming in the Naboo Starfighter even before The Phantom Menace came out, and then releasing the code in time with the movie, is marketing genius. Plus, the ship was incredibly fast, responsive, and had green lasers.

I still remember Rogue Squadron codes to this day. Rogue Squadron later went on to having two sequels, the absolutely stunning Rogue Leader on GameCube and the follow-up Rebel Strike. Since then, however, Factor 5, the developer of the Rogue Squadron series, has disappeared. Rogue Leader had the best graphics of any console game for years, yet Rebel Strike had great vehicle parts yet terrible on-foot segments (don’t know why they thought they needed them). I haven’t beaten either of them, one of my many regrets. I suppose I could still pick them up cheap for GameCube, yet…haven’t. Don’t know why.

Since I’m writing so much about these games, I’m going to break this down into multiple posts. So far I have posted two of my top 5 Star Wars games; I’ll do two more posts devoted to Star Wars games, with the last post containing an honorable mention selection(s) as well.

Star Wars Rogue Leader

Star Wars Rogue Leader

Star Wars Rebel Strike

Star Wars Rebel Strike

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