SummaryIt's like the movie.... you know, flashy and dumb.
The GoodOk, ok so it's not my business if the movie sucked or not, right? let's stick with the game, so what are it's strong points? Graphics, and sounds. Technically this game is simply brilliant, the 3D graphics are a sight to behold, and the sounds are ripped right from the movie with tremendous quality. The game has all the money in the world thrown at it, and it shows, this is THE official game for the Phantom Menace, so obviously Lucasarts pulled no stops in what concerns production values, you get movie clips on the menu buttons (which makes it look like a dvd scene selection menu) a streamlined interface, John Williams score on every menu screen... wow! I can only imagine the kind of budget that they had!!
Last but not least the designers had the good taste NOT to have you play as Jar Jar... thank god.
The BadUnfortunately all that money was thrown into a game that plays like a remake of those old SNES Star Wars games. Remember those? The ones where you chose a character for each level and then played with them in platform-based levels? Well that's exactly what this game is. However since the 2D sidescroller perspective is too "retro" the action is seen from a tremendously ankward top-down view that sometimes shifts to a 3d view in order to showcase it's 3d-ness.
So there you have it folks, a game frozen in time that expects to get saved by it's new graphics, well, that would be possible if we were still on the days of the SNES, but we expect a little more nowadays. In fact, we expect a little more from Lucasarts! Quite frankly this is the most shameless Star Wars game ever released by these guys! Not because it's that bad, but because it is incredibly shallow! For the love of god! It's a platformer! And not even a good one! The sole objective of the game is to play through a series of different levels which usually require you to blast your way to the end of a movie-sanctioned location, and deal with some adventure touches placed in to spice things up and to emphasize that "This really is a complex game!" yeah right, whoever designed this clearly hasn't taken a look at the adventures being produced in his own company, all there is of adventuring in this game is playing errand boy for the various npc's you encounter.
The AI is m.i.a., and you'll have to contend with lame jumping puzzles, and a perspective that usually hides your enemies and makes it terribly hard to aim accurately.
Now, who is to blame for all this? The designers? The console gamers it was aimed at? The movie it was based on? Who knows, probably LucasArts was too afraid to take any chances with what is undoubtely one it's flagship titles, so they resorted to simply do what had worked 10 years ago with newer graphics and sounds. Hope they learned the lesson.
Oh and Jar Jar is still in the game as an NPC, and no, you can't kill him.
The Bottom LineWell I'm sorry but I have to make at least one analogy with the movie: the game perfectly captures the essence of the movie: It's shallow, it's for kids, it's got flashy graphics and sounds, it's got a simple story, and it has tainted the name of Star Wars forever.
You may consider buying it if you have kids, just like showing them the movie. But just like the movie...you can find better options around.