Review by Tenshi No Shi
"Far less annoying than Jar-Jar."
After the smashing success of Rogue Squadron, it was a safe bet that Factor 5 would be releasing another Star Wars game on the Nintendo 64. With the release of The Phantom Menace, it wasn't a huge surprise that the 'sequel' to one of the best Star Wars games ever crafted would take place in the Prequel Universe.
Battle for Naboo follows most of the events that took place in Episode I, but also goes behind the scenes to show you what went on when the camera wasn't focused on the Jedi. You are Lt. Gavyn Sykes of Naboo's Royal Security Forces. When the Trade Federation begins its invasion of Naboo, you become part of the resistance to take back your planet. Your journey to this end will take you all over Naboo and even beyond as the battle reaches a climax in space. Missions include everything from bombing conveys to rescuing prisoners. Every mission has a different look and feel to it, so won't easily get bored with the plot.
It's the Nintendo 64, so don't expect a whole lot in the way of graphical flair. Surprisingly, what is there far exceeds most of what you'll find on the system, so it's easy to see where Factor 5 did there best to squeeze every last ounce of power out of Nintendo's dying system. The game moves very smoothly, with only a slight hint of slowdown when the screen is ablaze with enemy fire. There is a surprising amount of detail present as well, really showcasing the talent of Factor 5's programmers and artists. After seeing this, it makes you wonder what they have in store for us on the GameCube
What can I say about Battle for Naboo's sound other than it's the best you're likely to hear on the Nintendo 64. Factor 5 have really established themselves as audio wizards with both of their Star Wars games- something that Nintendo has obviously noticed since Factor 5 designed the sound system for the Gameboy Advance. Great music samples (which fade in and out depending on the situation) and incredible voice work will have your jaw on the floor more than once. Best of all, the sound really helps to immerse you in game- a rare feat for any game on any system.
Those familiar with Rogue Squadron should have no problem adapting to Battle for Naboo. With the addition of ground vehicles, the controls have been slightly modified but unfortunately remain a tad on the touchy side. Nothing that can't be compensated for, but some of those bonus upgrades are tricky enough to get to without trying to fine-tune your aim Also, and this just might be my imagination, the N-1 Naboo Starfighter doesn't seem to be as responsive in this game when compared to the bonus version you can unlock in Rogue Squadron. A very minor complaint that means nothing compared to the overall perfection of the controls.
Design-wise, Battle for Naboo takes everything you loved about Rogue Squadron (naturally), throws in a space battle (!) and mixes in some ground missions. The levels are well thought out, adding to the already established story of the movie. The levels are naturally bigger, though not a huge leap over Factor 5's previous effort, providing a much richer environment to explore. Missions are much more varied this time around, yet still boil down to 'blow everything up and protect everything else'. The only thing that keeps this from getting monotonous is the ability to change vehicles during certain levels. This new play mechanic greatly enhances the 'fun-factor' and will hopefully be included in future games.
Just like Rogue Squadron, Battle for Naboo has a ton of secrets waiting to be unlocked. Everything from hidden missions (of which there are three) to hidden craft (so you want to fly Darth Maul's ship do you?), this game will keep you busy for quite some time. And if you thought getting all of the Gold Medals was hard, just wait until you try and collect the hidden Platinum Medals
There are only two kinds of people who are going to enjoy this game- those who played the hell out of Rogue Squadron or those who loved the Phantom Menace. Anyone else should give this one a rental over a long weekend to see if it warrants a purchase.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 08/07/09
Game Release: Star Wars: Episode I Battle for Naboo (US, 12/18/00)
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