Saturday, March 30, 2013

32 BBY: Jedi Power Battles

Of all the video games adapted from The Phantom Menace, Jedi Power Battles seemed to be the most fun to play.  I watched this walkthrough, which featured two players going through the content as Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.  As a matter of interest (for myself mostly) there were 17 videos all together, totaling a little over 3 hours of footage.  It took me nearly two weeks to find the time to watch them all.  Anyway, the two-player feature I found to be very cool, as it reminded me of my days playing Contra in elementary school with my buddies.  Games are more fun when there are two players working together.
The platform for this game was the Sony Dreamcast, which had better graphics than The Phantom Menace from the PS1, and slightly worse graphics compared to X-Box’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan.

As seems to be a common feature of walkthroughs, the commentary was terrible – the players were mostly cussing their way through the content.  In the last two walkthroughs I’ve watched neither of the players made a concerted effort to at least partially script out what they might want to talk about as they play their way through.  It’d be nice if walkthrough players discussed the finer points of Star Wars as they played through a Star Wars game, but I may be asking for too much. 
As it is, for this walkthrough I listen to the latest podcast from (episode #247), which talked about the latest news and rumors behind the cancellation of The Clone Wars – a sad day for all Star Wars fans.  It would’ve been nice if the show had segued into Episode 3 the way the Genndy Tartakovsky version did, and then was reborn as Star Wars: The Dark Times. Unfortunately for fans of the show (myself included), the show has been killed. 

Moving back to my reactions to Jedi Power Battles, at this point in the project there is almost nothing fresh regarding Phantom Menace content.  Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan played through some levels and defeated Darth Maul at the end – the notable difference being Qui-Gon’s survival in two-player mode.  I suppose I could speculate about what Star Wars history would've looked liked if Qui-Gon had survived, so here is a bold and unorthodox prediction: he would’ve joined Count Dooku and fallen to the darkside.  Yes, that’s right.  I think it’s completely reasonable to think Qui-Gon would’ve turned.  Without getting into a long diatribe of Qui-Gon’s questionable actions from pervious sources, check out my response to one reader’s reactions to my own thoughts on Gray Jedi in my post on KOTOR II: The Sith Lords.  I basically argue that Dooku was not completely off base when, in Attack of the Clones, he told Kenobi that his former apprentice would have joined the Separatist confederacy.  Crazy, I know.  What do you think?
For my next post I’m going to briefly look at the video game Jar Jar’s Journey.  Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

32 BBY: Obi-Wan's Adventures

Before I had decided to no longer play video games for this project I had already purchased the Obi-Wan’s Adventures game on E-Bay, but I had yet to purchase a Gameboy Colour to play it on.  I figured when I had squirreled away 40 bucks I'd pick one up, but that never happened.  So now I have the game sitting on my shelf without a Gameboy to play it. Then I found this website, which is fantastic, but a resource I wish I was aware of before I dropped money on this game.   I played through the first three levels, and pretty much understood what it was all about after that.
As it is, there is only one walkthrough video online to watch and you can see it here.  It’s the first level of nine, where the plot of the story follows what is basically found in the movie. From what I can gather from the write-up at Wikipedia there are two deviations from the story we’re familiar with.  There is mention that at one point in the game Obi-Wan faces off against some bounty hunters.  Also, in order to get into the city of Theed to liberate it at the end of the story the heroes needed to travel through some ancient catacombs, both elements missing from most retellings of this story that we’ve come across. I thought the catacombs on Naboo bit was neat.

I still might play through the game on my spare time, but in the interests of moving this project forward I’m going to check off Obi-Wan’s Adventures as ‘dealt with’. 
For my next post I’m going to take a look at Jedi Power Battles.  I found a 17 part walkthrough on YouTube, so I’ll get cracking on that a.s.a.p.  Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

32 BBY: Star Wars: Obi-Wan

I mostly enjoyed Yoshishide’s walkthrough of X-Box’s Star Wars: Obi-Wan.  You can find the first video here, and all the other videos are linked after it.  What I did play of this game was tremendously fun, despite Yoshishide’s continual exclamations to the contrary.  His comments on the controls of the game were spot-on.  Having the right toggle stick be the lightsaber attack was ridiculous.  It made control of the character difficult.  But for all of Yoshishie’s ballyhooing about how terrible the game was to play it sure did seem like he was having fun.  As it is, I think Star Wars: Obi-Wan is a game I’ll return to in the future to play my way through.
What I didn’t like of the walkthrough was the continual swearing, and after video 5 I watched the remainder of the walkthrough with the volume down.  With three little ones around the house profanity is something I’ve all but edited from my vocabulary.  The English language is old, deep, and descriptive, and there are other words I can use to express anger, frustration, or disgust. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not like I’ve never sworn.  I grew up in an Irish household so I can swear with the best of them.  Like Ralphie’s dad from A Christmas Story, my father was a masterful curser, and I learned from the best.  He’s swearing would paint an artistic tapestry, my favorite occasions being when he would split a word to insert a curse.  It’s not just unbelievable, but un-@&%$#!&-believable.  I guess that’s why I enjoyed A Christmas Story so much.  The scene where Ralphie swore in front of his father was a scene taken straight from my own childhood.  Instead of blaming Schwartz however, poor Shawn Z. got the blame.

My desire to stop swearing comes from trying to set a good example for my children. Agree or disagree with the statement, I think for most people having kids makes them want to be better people.  Or perhaps that’s my na├»ve hope.  I’m reminded of St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians when he wrote: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways” (1 Cor: 13:11).  My attempt to stop swearing is my attempt to set aside such childish things.  I’m no longer an adherent of the philosophy, ‘If it feels good I should do it’.  Though swearing may make me feel good for the moment, it does not mean I should do it.  It’s a bankrupt worldview.
Anyway, I’ve digressed.  As for the video game itself, I have a bunch to say, the first being the terrible voice acting of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  I’m not sure who the actor was but he sounded like a Ewan McGregor impersonator with a cold.  It was painful to listen to.

I enjoyed the part of the game where Obi-Wan got to square off with some of the Jedi Masters in the dueling ring.  An underutilized character form the EU is Sineese Tiin, and he was one of the Masters Obi-Wan dueled. Though I myself never got that far in to the game, he seemed to be an easy opponent for Yoshishide. 
There seemed to be a bit of a continuity error regarding the Coruscant guard, and the Wookieepedia page of this game makes mention of it.  As it is, the Coruscant guard an interesting element of the first chapter. Obi-Wan had to rescue a member of the guard who got caught while undercover.  When I went to Wookieepedia to investigate the history of the Coruscant guard it seems  there is a bit of an incongruity between how the organization is presented in the game – as an apparent arm of the Coruscant police force that welcomes aliens among its ranks – namely Quarren, and what Wookieepedia has to say about it.  According to Wookieepdia the Coruscant Guard: “…began as a Republic military unit comprised of clone shock troopers and were later a specialized branch of the Imperial stormtroopers”.  It seems the Coruscant Guard, at least according to this game, existed long before it was made up exclusively of clones. But like I said, the Wookieepedia page on the game tries to account for this inconsistency by suggesting that the Quarren who was undercover was not part of the Coruscant guard, rather, the Senate guard. 

Moving on, cortosis is a Jedi foil I always find intriguing.  The mention of cortosis was neat, along with the Jin’ha.  Taking a look at their Wookieepedia page the Jin’ha are not mentioned outside of this game, but apparently are a species who had cortosis ore readily available, and even sold it to the Trade Federation for the production of their own assassin droids.  The scene in part 7 where Obi-Wan was battling assassin droids in the throne room of Theed armed with cortisis blades was neat.  It had quite the cinematic feel to it.  I think there are two neat story elements here one could mine for their own Star Wars short stories.  Do these Cortosis laced assassin droids make a second appearance anywhere down the line in Star Wars history?  Why wasn’t the Trade Federation making more of these to battle the Jedi instead of those useless B1 droids?
What I enjoyed most about the game was the first half, since it was material not found in the film.  The first part of the game before Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are on the Trade Federation ship reminded me of the Young Apprentice series, especially when Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon had to head  to the planet Obredaan to rescue Eath Koth and Plo Koon. The end of that level was particularly cool when the three Jedi Masters appear at the end of the level to help Obi-Wan with the Jin’ha.

There were also interesting bits of plot twists in the game, namely; when Amidala (really Sabe) was kidnapped by some tusken raiders and it was up to Obi-Wan to rescue her.
The final battle with Maul was somewhat anti-climactic, and its presentation was changed a little with Obi-Wan force-pushing Maul into the pit, and not slicing him in half. 

As it is, I’m glad to be done with this source.  It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find time to write for my project.  For those of you still following my progress I thank you for your patience.  It’s my hope to get to Bounty Hunters: Aurra Sing before the end of the school year. 
For my next post I’m going to take a look at Obi-Wan Adventures, a game found on the Gameboy platform.  Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.