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Game Over Online ~ Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

GameOver Game Reviews - Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (c) THQ, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (c) THQ
System Requirements Game Boy Advance
Overall Rating 50%
Date Published Wednesday, July 17th, 2002 at 05:39 PM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Unlike 1999's Phantom Menace, the GBA is the only platform that will get the play-by-play recount of the movie, aptly named Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. In Hollywood, films that are based on actual pieces of literature tend to be ones with fleshed out characters and plots. The Insider was based on a Vanity Fair magazine article and it even got an Academy Award nomination. Vice versa though, where books are based on movies, the results tend to be less successful. The same, unfortunately, happens for games that do play-by-plays of movies. On Nintendo's handheld, Clones is no exception.

While many people complained the loquacious first half of Attack of the Clones was the weaker part of the movie, Clones on the GBA is the complete opposite. The first two seconds, with digital samples of John Williams' memorable score is present, as are still images taken from the film itself. They tell the story and like many Star Wars games, lets you play out the sequences that were not included in the movie. The first sequence is how Anakin gets to the speeder while Obi-wan hangs on to the assassin droid in Coruscant. Like Lucasarts' very own Obi-wan Xbox game, there is a reason why George Lucas never thought to film how Anakin gets to the speeder. That's because action here is very dull and derivative. And that's exactly what Clones proceeds to cover.

For much of the game, you'll assume either the roles of Anakin or Obi-wan. While Lucasarts always provides a commendable bank of visuals and sounds to draw upon, the licensed developers here have put them to work in a very mediocre side-scrolling platform game. The design is inherently at fault. Because the characters are so large on the screen, the requisite jumping sequences play out poorly. Obviously the developers understood this and have included a heavy dose of action to show off the fluid animation put into Anakin or Obi-wan. All very well but they go on for an unnaturally long time. After half a dozen creatures, you're continually slashing away with the lightsaber, slashing and slashing and slashing, long after any possible reason could exist for all this inane action-followed by yet more slashing.

This wouldn't be so much a problem if the lightsaber was an effective weapon. Obi-wan, on the Xbox, had innovative lightsaber play and some unique force powers. The controls in Clones are frustrating, even without such complexities. For some strange reason, you can only swing the light saber while you're moving. Could this be because you're expected to perform moves with the direction buttons or could it be that when the developers played this through, they inherently knew (and thus moved constantly) where to hack to get at all the enemies in one pass? I have a feeling it's the latter but it gets frustrating particularly when you're crouched and overlapping an enemy creature but unable to hit it unless you move.

Hollywood observers pitched Attack of the Clones against Spider-man. Both have churned out games for the GBA and both share the similarity of bringing some sort of 3D component to the handheld version of the game. The 3D component here is interesting but like the Spider-man portion, limited and unpolished. It's not always clear because of the diminutive handheld where the action is going. But at least it's not as protracted as the main bulk of the game.

Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Star Wars, having watched the entire original trilogy when I was younger (albeit, not in the theatres since I was too young or not yet born). I've played most of the Star Wars titles and even though some like the Starfighter series are simple in nature, I'm not particularly against a mass appeal product for Star Wars. The franchise sets itself up for mass appeal. Star Wars games of late have returned to the gaming limelight, producing impressive games like Jedi Knight II or Jedi Starfighter. Even the most mediocre ones, like the Galactic Battlegrounds RTS titles, are fundamentally solid games. On Nintendo platforms, Star Wars has an even better track record with Factor 5's Rogue Leader. But that respectable streak is now broken with this game. Jar-Jar Binks and the Gungans may have been terrible for the movie franchise but Clones' release on the GBA is absolutely abysmal.


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