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Starwars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Developed by: Lucasarts

Published by: Lucasarts

Price: $40 CPU RAM Hard Drive CD-ROM Sound Video Misc
Requirements P200 32MB 100MB 4X Direct X6 compatible 4MB 3D Accelerator Direct X6 compatible 3D accelerator Required
Reviewed On PII450 128MB 8.4GB 5x Creative DVD Sound Blaster Live! Matrox Millenium G200 Diamond Voodoo2 12MB

Reviewed by: Ben Ivers

May The Force Be With You

If you haven't seen the new Starwars movie then do so before you read this review as they follow the exact same story line. In some peoples opinions this is a good thing. To me, it's not. Now don't misinterpret this, as I am a Starwars fan from way back and still love the original movies, but Episode One doesn't seem to have the magic that the others did. It would seem that Lucas replaced that magic with annoying characters (Jar-Jar Binks) and a boring story. This tends to hold true for the Starwars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace game (TPM).


Well as I said earlier, the story is exactly the same as the movie. So, if you have seen the movie, skip to the next section. If not, then dig yourself out of the cave that you are hiding in and read on (going to see the movie is also a good idea).

The story begins with Jedi Knights Obi Wan Kenobi, who you control (you get to control other characters later), and your Master Qui Gon Jinn being sent to strike a deal with Trade Federation Viceroy that has barricaded the Democratic planet of Naboo. Basically all hell breaks loose on account of the fact that Naboo is about to be invaded by the Trade Federation with their droid armies. This sets you off on a mission to save Naboo and its young Queen Amidala.

Later you end up on Tatooine where you by chance meet up with young Anakin Skywalker. I don't want to give away the ending, so I won't. Play the game, see the movie, or read the book. Only one is necessary and only one is tolerable.

Gameplay -- 6.5

The gameplay in TPM is not bad, but it's not necessarily good either. You play the game from a third person view and can control Obi-Wan with either a keyboard or a gamepad. It doesn't really matter witch one you choose, because it is a real bitch to remap the keys for either and you soon learn to play with the awkward default key settings.

There are a few weapons for you to use. The first is of course the traditional lightsaber, which is always a novelty. One cool thing about this weapon is that you can deflect laser blasts just like in the movie. This is very helpful because you have no shields or armor to speak of. The next is the Force Push, which is a nice little feature you can use to stun some droids or flip a lever. It may not be the most useful weapon but it is handy and kind of cool. Then there is the plain ol' blaster. Do I need to explain this? Didn't think so. There is also a light repeating laser which fires at a higher rate but does less damage. This is nice against bigger bosses. Next is the Proton Missle Launcher, which is a wonderful weapon, very powerful but only carries 5 rounds. There are also 3 types of grenades: Thermal Detonators, Flash, and Gungan Energy Balls, which stun enemies.

The most annoying part of the gameplay is the stupid jumping puzzles. This just insults the intelligence of any respectable gamer. This is something that I would expect from a console but not a PC game. In case you didn't know, TPM is basically a ported Playstation game. The other puzzles consist of pushing and pulling objects as well as finding and flipping switches. The hardest missions are the escort ones because you can't help but feel a need to join your enemies in attempting to kill your "Cargo", especially Jar Jar Binks.

Graphics -- 7.8

The graphics for the most part were nice. The characters seemed to be animated and drawn nicely and were very fluid. The backgrounds seemed kind of grainy but nothing was really bad. After all, this game was originally made for the Playstation so not much can be expected anyway. The movies are a bit of a disappointment. They are not drawn directly from the movie, which is kind of a disappointment. While they do look good, I was really hoping for some clips out of the movie. Why they chose to make their own is rather strange because the main menu screen has four little movies that play when you move your mouse over them that represent the other menus, and these are, or at least seem to be, clips from the movie. All in all though the graphics are about average.

Sound and Music -- 8.0

The sound of the Starwars Episode 1 movie was very good and the game reflects that. The music definitely helped to set the mood for the proper environment. The scores are basically the same from the movie and act as a wonderful backdrop to the game. The sound effects were wonderful. They all sounded as realistic as they could. They seemed to be drawn straight from the movie, which isn't a bad thing. Even the voice acting is good for a computer game, although they weren't able to get the real actors for most of the characters (although they did manage to get the actor for Jar Jar to do the voice)


Although there were a fair amount of flaws, I did find myself getting into TPM. It's kind of fun to reenact the movie yourself. I wouldn't recommend this game to any real hardcore gamers but I might to the casual gamer. TPM is just about average (well, maybe a little below).

Our rating out of 10: 7.0

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