Review by Azbats

"Hands down the best Episode One game avaliable"

Battle For Naboo was one of those games that I wasn't too sure about when I first heard about it. Rogue Squadron had been great, but with the continually mediocre Episode One games, the N64's dwindling popularity and LucasArts' hit-and-miss track record of late, I skipped over this title when it was released late last year. The fact that the game only made it to smaller retail outlets wasn't very encouraging either. Then I read IGN's review, and knew immediately I had to get this game before it was discontinued. Too finish off this long story before it gets to be longer than the actual review, I managed to nab the last copy of Battle For Naboo at my local mall. I was not disappointed.

Battle For Naboo takes us behind the scenes of the movie. It shows the extent of the Trade Federation's assault on the planet, and how the resistance was able to gather allies and keep the droids at bay until Queen Amidala returned. By making the main character an everyday officer fighting for survival in the midst of the chaos, the game provides a tighter, more emotional story than Rogue Squadron and gave me more incentive to make it to the final level.

Graphically, Battle For Naboo is on the same level of Rogue Squadron, with the environments greatly expanded. The second level has you zipping along grassy plains that seem to stretch out forever. The designers have paid great attention to detail, and all the vehicle models look impressive. The framerate is not solid, but generally constant. Perhaps the biggest surprise graphically is how the engine can go from taking the player through convincing buildings and landscape structures, then turn around and have the player flying high in the sky within the same level.

Many reviews have pointed out the superior sound work in Battle For Naboo, and the praise is justified. You'll realize this the moment you reach the main menu, and the Duel of the Fates wordless choir comes on in the background. Other music from John Williams' score has been reproduced. While the quality is not as good as the originals, the resemblance is uncanny. Plus the soundtrack includes a cut not included on the original music CD, when Anakin destroys the control ship. I found myself switching on the cart just to listen to the music at times. Other sound staples such as laser blasts and engine whines are true to the movies. Voice acting is also excellent, bringing life to characters you really never see, since they're also inside the vehicles.

Battle For Naboo's gameplay is solid. Whereas Rogue featured all air combat missions, Naboo has almost an equal amount of land and air-based missions. Mission objectives come in basically two varieties; seek and destroy, or protecting a convoy. Fortunately, the latter missions are not as frustrating as Rogue Squadron made them. Other objectives may include stopping enemy progress by destroying a bridge or blocking a tunnel. Add in the game's ability for you to switch vehicles in mid-mission, and you'll never be bored. Replayability comes in the form of medals to be earned and secret levels to unlock.

I was hooked on Battle For Naboo the moment I turned the game on, and can truly say this is one game Star Wars fans need to buy. For the uninformed, the game also comes with commentary ala DVD-style. This novelty alone is a reason to purchase the game, but not the only reason. If you've been put off by the merchandising madness and poor games of Episode One, at least look into Battle For Naboo, which feels like a true labor of love.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/05/01, Updated 08/05/01

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