Mark Marrow
22 Oct, 2005

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Review

DS Review | Potential, this one had.
Stars Wars is no doubt a cult favourite amongst nerds, and for good reason. It’s a fantastic two-part trilogy that explores the scientific boundaries that most of us dream about. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to fly around in space alongside a bloke called Wedge? We could talk all day about how great the movies are, but the same can’t be said about the games based on the Star Wars license. They usually vary in quality from top of the range products to others we’d rather forget. This trend has become worse in recent years for most movie-to-game transitions and the Star Wars license hasn’t particularly shown any improvement of their own, and especially when looking at previous handheld titles they usually tend to be rushed out products scaled down to get a quick cash-in due to movie-tie ins. Does Ubisoft’s latest title finally provide handheld gamers with a game to cling to, or is it yet another product that’ll act as a door-stop until the next title comes out?

The title follows the story of the movie of the same title, as we watch Anakin’s final transformation from promising Jedi to ruthless Sith. The game does a decent job of telling the story of the movie, but obviously for a title of this size certain key areas are certain to be left out, and this seems to be the case for the game. While the game does a good job of telling gamers all the key areas of the story, it does leave out certain story elements that build up anticipation to the climax sequences. While this isn’t a problem at all, it does feel slightly disappointing from a fans standpoint expecting a seamless story telling of all key events from the original story.

While the game doesn’t follow all areas of the original story, it does however allow gamers to follow the paths of either Obi-Wan Kenobi or Anakin Skywalker to experience two separate and distinct gaming experiences. Each character has his own set of attacks and Jedi powers, as well as separate paths that span across the game’s 26 levels. From the two different perspectives, gamers will encounter several levels that the other character will experience, while the others consist of levels that build to the final conclusion of the movie. In certain levels in the game, there are 3D star fighting levels that share certain similarities of those of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, on a much more lesser graphical scale of course. The game does a fantastic job at separating the two characters from one another making the experience to complete and to succeed in their stories that much more rewarding, as it feels like quite an accomplishment when feeling the true power of a Jedi or Sith.

Feeling the true power of a Sith Master

While each character does offer enough variety from each other to feel like a different experience, each of their own levels are pretty much similar in structure. While Obi-Wan Kenobi is in Utapau making his way towards the death of General Grievous and killing droids, Anakin is fighting in a similar styled mission fighting droids as he has been given the task to spy on the Chancellor. While the backdrops and stories are obviously different, the enemies are structure virtually the same as one another and even similar boss battles are given after each areas - aside from there being different characters, however the same fighting sequences do occur.

The obvious nitpick that gamers may make towards this game is that Ubisoft has merely ported over their GBA version of the game under the same name, apart from adding a few minor inclusions such as a few touch screen menus, better sound quality, and obviously the 3D star fighting missions. While in most cases this would decrease the appeal of the title and the credibility of the developer, the gameplay is pulled off surprisingly well and the exclusive additions for the DS version makes the experience remarkably fulfilling despite it’s GBA-like appearance.

For the most part, Episode III’s action takes place on 2D side-scrolling maps, channelling similarities from titles such as Final Fight or Double Dragon aside from infusing the experience with the Star Wars Universe. In previous year’s, handheld consoles have always had particular trouble producing decent side-scrolling titles due to the GBA’s simplistic control layout, however, thanks to a healthy selection of buttons, the DS allows gamers to pull off an array of stylish lightsaber and Jedi moves that never feel repeated throughout the game – a common problem with consoles that lack enough buttons to pull off various combos.

Something that usually falls victim in these sorts of button-mashing titles is that gamers will usually find a certain combo that will almost always eliminate enemies easier than others. The developers have however provided certain gameplay elements that encourage gamers to use other moves. In this case, the game has a ‘special force bar’ that allows gamers to pull off a devastating, unique move that wipes out all enemies on the entire screen, which is particularly useful in tighter situations in the later half of the game, once the bar is full. While gamers could survive without this move, it is good to see that the combat encourages gamers to add a little bit more flexibility to their progression and how they could approach certain areas.

Another encouraging sign for the game is that each level gives a percentage completion rate, which measures how fast you finished a level, if you used your Jedi powers enough and even hidden special orb power-ups that can be collected through each level. While these may just sound like nice little novel ideas, collecting enough points in each level will provide gamers with a sort of currency that’ll allow gamers to acquire new and stronger powers such as Lightsaber throwing, choking, Jedi speed and Obi-Wan even has a helpful healing ability.

While most ports are frowned upon (something that seems will happen often between the GBA and DS), Episode III does a fairly impressive job at separating the two experiences from one another. The Nintendo DS version offers significant extras over the GBA version. While the game still retains its GBA brawler appearance, the Nintendo DS version provides gamers with several touch-screen controls (which are useless we might add), a much cleaner resolution, and much better sound quality. However, the one feature that stands-out is the game’s 3D space fights that certainly sets this game apart from its lesser counterpart. The battles don’t provide particularly stellar 3D graphics, but the space fights move extremely smooth, and the gameplay structure of it all feels really nice.

Makes you want a Rogue Squadron game, doesn’t it?

But the greatest thing about these space fights is that aside from the missions in single-player, gamers can try out various space fight maps in multiplayer, which is clearly the game’s most enjoyable mode. The multiplayer fights feel amazing as players can dogfight against three other aircrafts, either human-controller via wireless (multiple cartridges are required), or even bot-controlled featuring various AI difficulties, or a combination of both. The space fights are an absolutely blast even when you’re playing by yourself with bots. Anyone who has played Star Wars: Rogue Squadron or Rogue Leader would know what to expect.

The game offers a nice variety of comic book like graphics that look great and clear on the DS’s screen, and the animation and detail on the characters is quite impressive even though it’s merely a GBA crossover. The sound effects aren’t particularly inspiring, however the game is complete with a high-quality soundtrack including a lot of familiar tunes amongst Star Wars fans.

While the game is a mere GBA port for the most part, the game still remains as a fulfilling experience that does a great job at providing gamers with an overall enjoyable experience. The game is unfortunately fairly short, even despite there being two separate characters and difficultly levels to choose from. While we were motivated to continue on to finish the game 100% (hey, I’m a Star Wars nut), it is likely that a lot of gamers will feel unmotivated by the slight repetition in levels and enemies to ever become a Jedi/Sith Master for either Obi-Wan or Anakin and acquire all their move sets. The strongest gameplay aspect of Episode III lies within the game’s multiplayer and 3D space fights. It’s an absolute blast to play, and if you lack friends with the game you will likely grow tired of the AI controlled bots. Star Wars fans will definitely find an extremely fulfilling experience within this little gem, but due to the game’s shortcomings (being a port for the most part and it’s length) it would more than likely be recommended to look into renting this title, as the experience will soon wear off. If there is one thing we can pull from this game though, is that we are highly anticipating the outlook of there being a Rogue Squadron-like title being produced sometime in the future. Please oh please, someone make us one.

This review is brought to you courtesy of Infinite Gameplay, with unlimited game rentals starting from $19.95 a month.
The Score
Personally, I would love to give this game a better ranking. The space fights almost sell this game by themselves. However, the game lacks enough difficultly or motivation to offer gamers with a long and rewarding experience. And the fact that this is merely an enhanced GBA title isn’t particularly inspiring for DS fans either. Now, give us a Rogue Squadron-like title already Ubisoft. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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1 Comment
8 years ago
I would love to get the Dark Force series on DS. It would rock bring back the old classic PC star wars games back
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