Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (video game)
|Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace|
|Developer(s)||Big Ape Productions|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation|
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is an epic space fantasy action-adventure role playing 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, and contains heavy RPG elements alongside its largely adventurous action-oriented game world. More open-ended than the majority of 3D games at the time, the project was notably innovative for its decade. 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 also features open environments to explore at the player's leisure, and dozens of NPCs with unique dialog.
The game was a commercial success, selling over 337,866 copies of the PC version alone by 2000. The game received high praise for its RPG-style gameplay, appealing graphics, and story, however, criticisms for its camera angles and voice acting were prevalent. Featuring varied environments, expansive character feedback and development, and a decent artificial intelligence system, The Phantom Menace is considered to be a 'gem' in the classic gaming community. For its time, the game managed to attract a cult following.
The plot closely follows that of the film, although it expands on some minor events that could have been silenced or cut from the film, or shows them from a different character's point of view. For example, it follows Queen Amidala and Captain Panaka's adventure on Coruscant during Anakin Skywalker's interview in the Jedi Temple—something that is never shown or mentioned in the film since the film follows Anakin's point of view.
The storyline mainly surrounds Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan. The story features several boss fights, such as a Tusken Raider Cheiftain and Darth Maul.
The Trade Federation, led by Viceroy Nute Gunray, has a formed a blockade of the planet Naboo. Hoping to resolve the conflict, the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, Finis Valorum, sends two Jedi Knights, Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate with the Viceroy.
However, after they arrive on the ship, the room they are being held in begins to fill with poisonous gas. Realizing it is an assassination attempt, the two Jedi escape the room and fight their way through the ship, battling the Trade Federation Battle droids. They reach the hangar bay and escape in a ship to the swamps of Naboo.
There, they meet with Jar-Jar Binks, an exile of the underwater Gungan city. He brings them there, where they fight off hostile Gungan guards before confronting Boss Nass. Qui-Gon manages to convince him to spare Jar-Jar's life and they depart for Theed, where they rescue Queen Amidala. Along with Captain Panaka they flee the besieged capital and make an emergency landing on the desert planet of Tatooine.
As Qui-Gon escorts Anakin back to the ship, he is attacked by a mysterious Sith warrior. Qui-Gon fights him off and escapes with Anakin. The group returns to Coruscant so that the Queen can speak with the Chancellor. After Panaka escorts her through the dangerous streets of Coruscant, she decides to return to Naboo and retake Theed.
During the attack, the Sith warrior reappears, revealing himself as Darth Maul. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan duel Darth 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 Darth Maul, allowing the Sith to impale Qui-Gon. Obi-Wan then attacks him and finally defeats him atop a scaffold (not seen in the film). Qui-Gon makes Obi-Wan promise to train Anakin as a Jedi before he dies of his wounds. The game ends with a celebration on Naboo.
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. Throughout the game, the player fights against Darth Maul, Trade Federation battle droids, AATs, Tusken Raiders, etc. The game was among the first 3D Star Wars games to feature lightsaber duels.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace received generally positive to mixed reviews, with Gamepro giving the game a 4.5/5 rating for the Playstation version and GameRankings giving it a score of 62.28% for the PC version, and a 54.39% for the PlayStation version.
In the United States, the computer version of The Phantom Menace sold 337,866 copies by November 2000, according to PC Data. The game was a bestseller in the UK. Its PlayStation version received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
Blake Fischer reviewed the PlayStation version of the game for Next Generation, rating it one star out of five, and stated that "If you are not afraid, you will be. You will be."
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