May the Fourth be with you! With so much Star Wars happening right before our eyes, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be playing some of the older and superb Star Wars games (sorry EA, Battlefront just didn’t cut it for us Star Wars die hards). LucasArts has been and always will be one of the best Star Wars game developers. Bioware also does a great job with the universe, but my hat will always be off to LucasArts.
These are the five Star Wars titles that require a mandatory play today:
5) Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith
I’m sure there were a lot of groans when this particular game was mentioned, but I’m not going to lie, Revenge of the Sith was one of the better Star Wars experiences back in the early 2000s. Perhaps there exists a nice nostalgia hue to my memory of this game, but I played it twice back to back to see both endings. This movie tie-in game was considerably better than 1999’s Episode One installment. Revenge of the Sith had you go through the story of the game, and if you hadn’t seen the movie up to that point, there were some considerable spoilers in the cut scenes and movie sequences. My favorite part of this game was the fact that you could win as Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar, which gave you a new ending. I know that it isn’t canon anymore–the movies still are–but Anakin beating Obi-Wan would have made for a much different version of Rogue One and A New Hope.
4) Star Wars Episode One: Racer
There was a slew of Star Wars games on the Nintendo 64, but the one that I remember enjoying the most was Racer. Hot off the heels of Episode One and breaking all the ticket sales records, this game hits the shelves and let gamers interact with one of the coolest aspects of Episode One: trade negotiations. Nope, I meant Pod Racing! I remember sitting with my buddies in a dorm room racing on Tatooine just for bragging rights. Every one of us wanted to be Sebulba because his racer sounded the coolest and he was the fastest. Many nights were wasted racing each other, thankfully our grades didn’t suffer, but our blistered fingers did.
3) Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II
Nintendo’s GameCube was the first console I bought from that generation, primarily for Resident Evil, but secondarily for the continuation of the great Star Wars series. Rogue Leader was one of the best series to come out of the N64 era, and Factor 5 upped the ante with the series’ first sequel. When I first tried playing this game, I actually got motion sickness and had to stop and get fresh air and such. I couldn’t believe how intense the dog fighting and the flying was–I still play this game when I want a real Tie-Fighter battle. The best part of EA’s Battlefront, to me, was the fighter mission, but there were so few maps, and you just didn’t get the depth and scope that Factor 5 gave these levels.
2) Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 1 and 2
When The Force Unleashed was announced, Star Wars fans went nuts, myself included. Gamers were going to be the one that chose how the canonical story went in-game, and I couldn’t wait. The story takes place between the two trilogies and tells the tale of the birth of the Alliance and the eventual Galactic Civil War. What made the game even more special was the mo-capping of Sam Witwer as the protagonist, Starkiller. It was supposed to be THE Star Wars game of the generation; sadly, it fell a little short and the sequel even shorter, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fun experience. I’m currently making my way through the game for the third time, and I am still loving swinging away with my lightsaber. Seeing the Star Wars universe after The Revenge of the Sith and the devastation of Order 66 still blows me away to this day.
1) Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
This is still my favorite Star Wars game ever made, and I’m thinking unless Bioware blows us out of the water with a Knights of the Old Republic III, it will remain my favorite. Up to the time I played this game, I was never very successful with RPGs. I would always start them, realize how daunting they were, then move on to something else. That didn’t happen with Bioware’s opus: I was pulled in from the get-go and wouldn’t put down my controller until I saw things through. I remember how amazing it was walking around on Coruscant and meeting all the unique and memorable characters, and being called “Meatbag” all the time. I really wish there was a way for me to play this again for the first time, but sadly that just isn’t possible. I can only hope that you’ve read this article through and decide to find a way to enjoy this far, far away galaxy.
Bonus Game: Lego Star Wars
My very first Lego game experience was on my original Xbox. I went out and bought Lego Star Wars and fell in love with the franchise. Traveller’s Tales took the prequels to another level by making them blocky and extremely humorous. I’m more of a fan of the older Lego games when they didn’t use dialogue from the movies; it seemed to me they had to be more creative with their humor, and the gamer had to be smarter to figure out the puns and the jokes. I wanted to add all the Lego Star Wars games to this list because anyone can play them–some of the titles above take a good amount of skill to play, but with the Lego games, anyone can play. I didn’t want to alienate children who are growing up in the Disney era of Star Wars, so if you have a kiddo and want to make some memories with them, grab a Lego Star Wars game and a second controller–you won’t regret it.
Did I miss some favorites? If I did, let me know in the comments or on Twitter, @SuperJerry13.