Game Room

`Battlefront' provides action-filled `Star Wars' experience

October 07, 2004

Unless you've been secluded in Jedi training camp on Dagobah recently, you've probably noticed that the original Star Wars trilogy has come out on DVD.

Along with the movies, LucasArts has released a new Star Wars game that lets players satisfy their darkest desires.

No, you can't make Han shoot first, but you can blow up Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks in the new Star Wars Battlefront.

Battlefront is an all-out action extravaganza that lets you play both the bad guys and the good guys in the most famous battles from the Star Wars films.

You can run through the prairies on Naboo, sneak through the ice caves of Hoth and dodge the Sarlacc monster on the planet Tatooine.

You can even re-create battle tactics from the movies, such as crushing the two-legged AT-STs with swinging logs on Endor.

You can play off line against the computer or a friend, but this game is built for online play. Up to 16 players can be in an online game at once, and you fight for control of individual bases.

You'll die continually, but each base that you conquer lets you respawn a little closer to the enemy stronghold.

There are also tons of vehicles you can commandeer, from wimpy speeder bikes to Tie Fighters to lumbering AT-ATs. You can jump in and out of vehicles during game play, and you can take control of enemy vehicles that have been abandoned.

PC gamers will recognize a lot of these elements from Battlefield 1942, where armies can swarm across land, sea and air, and the genre translates well to the consoles.

There are some problems.

On some maps, one side has a clear advantage, such as when the Imperials have access to AT-ATs and AT-STs. The Rebels don't have anything with comparable firepower.

When you hop into an X-Wing or Tie Fighter, the controls are a little slippery, and it's easy to slam into buildings or the ground.

Star Wars Battlefront isn't very complex, and the game is really just a series of battles without a plot. But you already know the plot, and the action is a lot of fun.

If you can overlook the occasional mismatches and get a grip on the flight controls, you'll have a blast. There's nothing like nailing an Ewok with a laser blast right between the eyes.

Knight Ridder/Tribune

Star Wars Battlefront

Price: $50

Rated: Teen, for ages 13 and up.

Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation 2 and the PC.

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