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Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Game Boy Advance) artwork

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Game Boy Advance) review


"Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is a simple, humble story about a whiny little pissant’s journey into becoming one of the most iconic villains in movie history. Its video game counterpart is a simple, humble story about a whiny little pissant walking to the right constantly and killing everything he sees. "



Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is a simple, humble story about a whiny little pissant’s journey into becoming one of the most iconic villains in movie history. Its video game counterpart is a simple, humble story about a whiny little pissant walking to the right constantly and killing everything he sees.

Yes, that’s right. At its core, Episode 3 is a beat ‘em up.

It might seem like an odd genre choice, but it works surprisingly well. Not only are you charging with bringing that pissant (Anakin) to his ultimate destiny, but you can also play as the much more likable Obi-Wan Kenobi, as each makes their way through the events of the movie to that fateful showdown at Mustafar.

Unlike many games in character selection, that choice in Revenge of the Sith determines what levels you’ll be seeing. Save for the first few, Kenobi and Skywalker have their own unique set of stages and bosses to overcome, littered to the brim with battle droids, clone troopers, and Jedi Knights for you to destroy.

The base combative skills you have to wade through these troubles are not terribly extensive, but they get the job done. Luckily, you also have that mystical energy field (i.e. the Force) to supplement your asskickery with more impressive feats. Both Anakin and Obi-Wan have the standard telekinetic abilities, but their talents diverge from there to each Jedi’s mindset, their destinies. While Kenobi can call defensive, passive Force abilities such as slowing time, healing himself, or calling up a protective shield, Anakin’s skills give much inkling to his tragic fate and fall. He can decimate opponents with devastating saber throws, enhance his attacking power with his inner rage, or practice Darth Vader’s trademark Force Choke.

Your means of battle do not end there. Both Knights are bestowed upon them a special gauge that fills up when either meets their unique criteria. Anakin’s Fury bar builds ever higher as he lands blows on his enemies, or suffers their assaults. Obi-Wan must use the Force skills he has or deflect enemy gunfire with his lightsaber to charge his Focus bar. Once either has maxed out their gauge, they can unleash their ultimate moves, which are tried and true screen clearers. Each boss you knock off adds another Fury/Focus-friendly move to that list, which use only a portion of the bar. These new moves don’t have the all-consuming power of the first, but they add much needed versality.

Skywalker and Kenobi will grow in power over the course of their adventures in more ways than this one. Like many games nowadays, Revenge of the Sith utilizes a simple leveling up system on two fronts. The first being the green tokens you can find and earn through skillful and speedy play throughout any given level. These will be your chips to cash in for new Force powers, and to strengthen the ones you already have. Your other method of powering up has a simple requirement: complete a level. Every time you do this you’re granted a choice of increasing your player’s maximum health or Force, or to up their attacking power--but choose wisely, because it is impossible to max out everything.

Star Wars: Episode 3’s locales will be familiar to anyone who’s seen the movie, presented in crisp, large, and thankfully large graphics. This brings with it astonishing levels of detail for a handheld. Even Obi-Wan and Anakin’s lightsaber hilts are visually different. The art style is definitely inspired by the Clone Wars cartoon series, which is a welcome surprise. Also lifted from the Clone Wars series is a good amount of the soundtrack, which is equally excellent. Very atmospheric when it needs to be, very heart-pumping to help give you that extra push to smack down that boss.

Speaking of which, the boss battles in Episode 3 are a very curious beast, indeed. Perhaps in an attempt to best simulate a grueling lightsaber duel, these one-on-ones are set up almost akin to a side-scrolling Punchout match. You’re generally unable to score a hit against your foe unless you’re following up on a parry. Again like Punchout the bosses telegraph their attacks moments before making them. It’s up to learn to learn these tells, guard at the right time in the right area, then let them have it. It’s not a terribly bad way of going about it, but it does involve more pattern-memorization than actual skill, which is unfortunate. You needn’t worry about what to throw at them at all; save for when you’re not ‘supposed’ to be attacking them, the big bads of Sith don’t keep their guard up worth a damn. You can nail them with the same three-hit combo time and time again; they’ll never catch on.

Not a good thing in the least, and while this deficit in boss A.I. isn’t the only problem to be had with the game, they are in mercifully short supply. There are also issues of slowdown, but these are rare, really only coming into play during Anakin’s trials against Jedi Temple practice droids. The Temple also is home to a horribly lazy graphical oversight in that the Jedi you face off against all carry a green-bladed saber. While unlikely, this is not the oversight per se; that lies with the saber throw technique that they can use against you. This causes their weapons to become blue; the game is simply using the animation from Anakin’s own version of the attack for theirs as well.

Just sloppy to change color and back like that, but not to turn the game to the Dark Side. Nor is the mirroring, an extremely common effect in sprite-based games. Expect either character to ‘switch’ their weapon hand, and Anakin’s scar and glove to flip-flop depending on the direction you face. Again, very common, but one would just think in this modern day and age things like that would be a thing of the past.

All in all the title’s a very solid--if flawed and repetitive--effort, and quite worth a playthrough. Maybe even better than the movie…after all, the teeth-grinding Anakin/Padme scenes are kept to a minimum!

Rating: 7/10

turducken's avatar
Community review by turducken (March 06, 2007)

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