Star Wars all but defines the word ‘Epic’. Featuring a vast universe, a massive and immersive mythology and an almost endless number of stories to tell. So far the movies have been limited to the Skywalker saga but the Star Wars video games have enjoyed far more freedom, exploring the far reaches of irs far-far-away galaxies through dozens of role playing games, first person shooters, third -person adventures and an almost unmanageable number of Lego themed releases.
Some games were great, others less so and a few are filled with controversy – most notably, the latest release from EA : Star Wars: Battlefront II which landed its developer in a firestorm of controversy over its micro-transactions.
With the next installment of the cinematic franchise ready to hit the silver screens again in December and gamers are once again eager for some interactive light sabre duels. Here are some of the best Star Wars games of all time which should satisfy any would be Jedi.
Super Star Wars Trilogy (1992 – 1994)
These three games are burned into my memory when it comes to games based on the Star Wars films. I know I can be accused of cheat as this is three games not one. Their connected original trilogy storylines, coupled with indistinguishable gameplay makes them one big release to me. These are rock solid side scrollers that allow you to play as Luke, Leia, Han and others from the franchise through 50-plus action heavy levels set across Tatooine, Hoth and other Star Wars landmarks.
This title has become notorious for its difficulty scale, some levels were incredibly easy whereas others virtually impossible. There were also stages which utilises the Super Nintendo’s mode 7 display, allowing players to pilot landspeeders across the desert or speeders across Hoth in pseudo 3D. An experience revolutionary in it’s time.
Dark Forces (1995)
Another title which was considered revolutionary, Dark Forces took advantage of the mid-90’s, Doom-led First Person Shooter trend. This gave gamers an in-your face rebel adventure that was gleefully heavy on Stormtrooper blasting. Here was the Star Wars we always wanted to see: down dark Star Destroyer corridors, across abandoned planets and facing off against alien beasts. Featuring stealth dynamics, alongside a range of weapons made it stand out from the glut of FPS games which had flooded the market.
X-Wing Alliance (1999)
The X-Wing/TIE Fighter space-sim games saw LucasArts at the peak of their efforts and it all culminated in X-Wing Alliance, the last game in the series. Boasting a story as strong as it’s predecessors, dogfights as brutal as ever and the chance to finally fly the coveted Millennium Falcon. This title’s blend of piloting and shooting offered variety that appealed to the masses. The early inclusion of voice work led to the character-driven battles we now see in most Star Wars games.
Bounty Hunter (2002)
You won’t find Bounty Hunter in most of the best-of lists and I include this here because of it’s originality. This title was part of the mid 2000s third-person trend, players took control of Jango Fett (father of Boba) as he blasts his way through different action-heavy missions using a ridiculous number of weapons: from flame throwers, sniper rifles, thermal grenades. It was a fairly simplistic game but the novelty of taking out targets while blasting around on your jetpack made it the best kind of brainless fun.
Knights of the Old Republic (2003)
Often considered one of the greatest of all Star Wars games, this was a much needed does of gravitas at a time where the series standard was the hated character Jar Jar Binks. An RPG set 4,000 years before the prequels, the game encouraged players to search the vastness of the universe. Gamers faced moral conflicts on their path to Jedi master or Sith Lord. With a story to rival the movies, fully realised characters, as well as throwbacks to the original flicks, there was no better experience for Star Wars fans.
The Force Unleashed (2008)
Plenty of games get the feeling of the Star Wars universe right, but you have to be a fairly heavy fan to truly get into most. The Force Unleashed was a game for the wider public, taking the viciousness of Jedi Knight, the epic scale of Battlefront and the involving tale of Knights of the Old Republic, for a third-person action adventure any casual fan could enjoy. As Darth Vader’s rogue apprentice, your Ronin-like journey was one of devastating missions and shocking twists, making this more movie like than many on this list.