Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (video game)

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Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
The phantom menace video game.jpg
Developer(s)Big Ape Productions
Publisher(s)LucasArts
Platform(s)Windows, PlayStation
ReleaseWindows
PlayStation
  • NA: September 14, 1999[2]
  • PAL: September 24, 1999
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Single-player

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is a 1999 action-adventure video game released by LucasArts and based on the film of the same title. The game is set in several different settings seen within the film. The game is set during the timeline of the film, with players taking on the role of Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and several other characters from the film. Each playable character has a unique weapon and ability. The game features open environments to explore at the player's leisure, and dozens of non-player characters with unique dialog.

The game was a commercial success, selling over 337,866 copies of the Windows version alone by 2000. The gameplay, graphics, and story were praised, but the camera angles and voice acting were criticized.

Gameplay[edit]

The Phantom Menace is played largely from a top-down view. The game follows the plot of the film, but expands and alters points.

The player is able to control either Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Queen Amidala or Captain Panaka, depending on the level. If the player is playing as either of the two Jedi, they can use a lightsaber or execute a Force push in addition to using blasters, proton missile launchers and explosives (which are available for Amidala and Panaka). The player may also encounter and interact with other non-player characters for directions, advice, trade, side missions (such as rescuing a captive or stopping a mugging) or to access otherwise locked areas. Throughout the game, the player fights against Darth Maul, Trade Federation battle droids, AATs, Tusken Raiders, Jawas, and various alien thugs and droids. The game was among the first 3D Star Wars games to feature lightsaber duels as a combat feature.

Plot[edit]

The plot closely follows that of the film, although it expands on some minor events that were not present in the original film, or shows them from a different character's point of view. For example, it follows Queen Amidala (Grey DeLisle) and Captain Panaka's (Jeff Coopwood) journey on Coruscant during Anakin Skywalker's (Jake Lloyd) interview in the Jedi Temple—something that is never shown or mentioned in the film since the film follows Anakin's point of view. It mainly surrounds Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (James Warwick) and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Scott Cleverdon). The story features several boss fights, such as a Tusken Raider Chieftain, Jabba's Pit Beast, and Sith Lord Darth Maul (Gregg Berger).

The Trade Federation, led by Viceroy Nute Gunray, has established a blockade of the planet Naboo in the midst of an intergalactic trade dispute. Hoping to resolve the conflict peacefully, the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, Finis Valorum, sends two Jedi, master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate with the Viceroy. However, after they arrive on Gunray's ship, the meeting room begins to fill with poisonous gas. Realizing that Gunray plans to assassinate them, the Jedi escape the room and fight their way through the ship, battling the Trade Federation's army of battle droids. They reach the hangar bay and escape in separate ships to the swamps of Naboo.

There, Obi-Wan meets with Jar-Jar Binks, an exile of the Gungan city Otoh Gunga, who reunites him with Qui-Gon. Upon travelling to Otoh Gunga, Jar-Jar is imprisoned, leaving Obi-Wan to navigate through the city to rescue him while Qui-Gon attempts to negotiate for his release with Gungan leader Boss Nass. Qui-Gon manages to convince Nass to spare Jar-Jar's life and they depart for Naboo's capital, Theed, where Obi-Wan is again separated from Qui-Gon and Jar-Jar, forcing him to navigate his way through the Gardens of Theed. Upon doing so, he finds Qui-Gon and Jar-Jar with Queen Amidala and her entourage. He is then required to safely escort the group through the city as an invasion commences. Along with Captain Panaka, they flee the besieged capital and make an emergency landing on the desert planet of Tatooine.

Qui-Gon scours the market of Mos Espa for the vital ship parts needed to escape the planet and encounters child slave Anakin Skywalker, who helps him find the parts in return for help finding components to fix his racer. Following a deal struck with crime lord Jabba the Hutt, in which he had to kill one of Jabba's beasts in exchange for a sum of money, Qui-Gon uses it to make a bet with Anakin's master Watto and wins his freedom.

As Qui-Gon escorts Anakin back to the ship, he is attacked by a mysterious Sith warrior, Darth Maul, who was seen earlier watching Qui-Gon prior to the pod race in which Anakin's freedom is won. Qui-Gon fights him off and escapes with Anakin. The group returns to Coruscant so that the Queen can meet with her ally Senator Palpatine and plead Naboo's case to the Chancellor and the Senate. After Panaka escorts her through the dangerous under-belly of Coruscant (foiling several attempts by bounty hunters to capture her in the process), she decides to return to Naboo and retake Theed while Palpatine arranges for the Chancellor to be removed from office when he proves unable to handle the crisis.

During the attack, Darth Maul reappears. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan duel Maul, pursuing him into the generator complex, while the Queen and Panaka invade the throne room and defeat Gunray. Obi-Wan becomes separated from Qui-Gon and Maul, allowing the Sith to impale Qui-Gon. Obi-Wan then attacks him and finally defeats him, killing him atop a scaffold above a pit (in contrast to the film, in which Kenobi cuts Maul in half). Qui-Gon makes Obi-Wan promise to train Anakin as a Jedi before he dies of his wounds. Like the film, the game ends with the celebration on Naboo.

Reception[edit]

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace received mixed reviews on both platforms according to the review aggregation website GameRankings.[3][4] Frank O'Connor of NextGen's September 1999 issue called the PC version "A decent challenge, decently made. Just don't expect Jedi Knight."[19] Two issues later, however, Blake Fisher called the PlayStation version "the path to the Dark Side."[20]

Christopher Michael Baker of AllGame gave the PC version three stars out of five, saying, "Though the game's faults abound, I couldn't begin to count the number of times I exclaimed, 'This is SO cool!' That has to make up for some of them, but nothing can dispel at least some disappointment. What it all comes down to is that the Force is with The Phantom Menace -- but only as much as it is with the Jedi in the game."[24] However, Jonathan Sutyak gave the PlayStation version two-and-a-half stars out of five, saying that it "does not include anything original and will become repetitive to many gamers due to the lack of enemy diversity (most of the enemies are Battle Droids, true to the movie). By not adding anything new to the action/adventure genre and with all of its very straightforward puzzles, the only people this game will appeal to are fans of the film."[25] Edge gave the former five out of ten, saying, "After the sophistication of Jedi Knight and X-Wing Alliance, both of which demonstrated just how well the 'Star Wars' universe can be translated to the PC, it's impossible not to be disappointed with The Phantom Menace. A golden opportunity, tragically missed."[26]

Lawrence Neves of GamePro said that the PC version "progresses much like the movie. It starts off with a bang, gets a little dreary in the middle, and really picks up again at the end. The tedious hacking, slashing, switch-triggering, and NPC escorting may seem like the wait for the Phantom Menace movie tickets: a whole lotta time for a two-hour payoff."[27][c] However, Scary Larry said that the PlayStation version "leaves you exactly where the movie did. It has its moments of excitement and its spots of drudgery, and in the end you wished they'd put more [Darth] Maul in the game. But you'll never once say you didn't enjoy it, and that's all that matters."[28][d]

The PC version sold 337,866 units in the U.S. by November 2000, according to PC Data.[29] The PlayStation version was a bestseller in the UK.[30] It also received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA),[31] indicating sales of at least 200,000 units in the UK.[32]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In Electronic Gaming Monthly's review of the PlayStation version, one critic gave it 6/10, and the rest gave it each a score of 5.5/10.
  2. ^ Three critics of GameFan gave the PlayStation version each a score of 60, 68, and 55.
  3. ^ GamePro gave the PC version 4/5 each for graphics, sound, control, and fun factor.
  4. ^ GamePro gave the PlayStation version two 4/5 scores for graphics and control, and two 4.5/5 scores for sound and fun factor.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ IGN staff (May 18, 1999). "Star Wars Hits The Shelves". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  2. ^ GameSpot staff (September 14, 1999). "In Stores: PlayStation Phantom Menace [date mislabeled as "April 27, 2000"]". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on January 18, 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace for PlayStation". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  5. ^ Ivey, Ray (August 23, 1999). "[Star Wars Episode I: The] Phantom Menace (PC)". Adventure Gamer. Archived from the original on July 8, 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  6. ^ Schuytema, Paul (June 17, 1999). "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (PC)". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  7. ^ Pacchiano, Ronald V. (October 8, 1999). "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (PS)". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  8. ^ Chick, Tom (June 27, 1999). "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace [sic]". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on May 18, 2003. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  9. ^ Price, Tom (August 1999). "The Phantom Blemish (Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 181. Ziff Davis. p. 122. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  10. ^ Davidson, John; Boyer, Crispin; Smith, Shawn; Shou, Che (November 1999). "Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace [sic]" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 124. Ziff Davis. p. 252. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  11. ^ Bergren, Paul (August 1999). "Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace [sic] (PC)". Game Informer. No. 76. FuncoLand. p. 74.
  12. ^ "Star Wars 1: Phantom Menace [sic] (PS)". Game Informer. No. 78. FuncoLand. October 1999. Archived from the original on May 21, 2000. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  13. ^ Rodriguez, Tyrone "Cerberus"; Ngo, George "Eggo"; Mylonas, Eric "ECM" (December 1999). "[Star Wars Episode I: The] Phantom Menace (PS)". GameFan. Vol. 7, no. 12. Shinno Media. p. 17. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  14. ^ Liu, Johnny (June 1999). "Star Wars Phantom Menace [sic] Review (PC)". GameRevolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on October 12, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  15. ^ Dulin, Ron (May 28, 1999). "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace Review (PC)". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  16. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (September 16, 1999). "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace Review (PS)". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  17. ^ Blevins, Tal (May 27, 1999). "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (PC)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  18. ^ Cleveland, Adam (October 5, 1999). "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (PS)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  19. ^ a b O'Connor, Frank (September 1999). "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (PC)". NextGen. No. 57. Imagine Media. p. 92. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  20. ^ a b Fischer, Blake (November 1999). "Star Wars: Episode I [The Phantom Menace] (PS)". NextGen. No. 59. Imagine Media. p. 121. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  21. ^ Kujawa, Kraig (October 1999). "Star Wars: Ep. I The Phantom Menace [sic]". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Vol. 3, no. 1. Ziff Davis. p. 112. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  22. ^ Osborn, Chuck (August 1999). "Star Wars [Episode I]: The Phantom Menace". PC Accelerator. No. 12. Imagine Media. p. 83. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  23. ^ "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace". PC Gamer. Vol. 6, no. 8. Imagine Media. August 1999. Archived from the original on March 8, 2000. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  24. ^ Baker, Christopher Michael. "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace (PC) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  25. ^ Sutyak, Jonathan. "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace (PS) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Retrieved November 20, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ Edge staff (July 1999). "Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace [sic] (PC)" (PDF). Edge. No. 73. Future Publishing. pp. 82–83. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  27. ^ Neves, Lawrence (July 21, 1999). "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace Review for PC on GamePro.com". GamePro. IDG Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 15, 2005. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  28. ^ Scary Larry (September 1999). "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (PS)". GamePro. No. 132. IDG Entertainment. pp. 124–25. Archived from the original on January 13, 2005. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  29. ^ PC Gamer staff (November 2000). "Where Have All the Legends Gone? By the Numbers". PC Gamer. Vol. 7, no. 11. Imagine Media. pp. 42–43.
  30. ^ "PSM Charts". Official UK PlayStation Magazine. No. 52. Future Publishing. December 1999. p. 28. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  31. ^ "ELSPA Sales Awards: Gold". Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Archived from the original on March 19, 2009.
  32. ^ Caoili, Eric (November 26, 2008). "ELSPA: Wii Fit, Mario Kart Reach Diamond Status In UK". Game Developer. Informa. Archived from the original on September 18, 2017.

External links[edit]