Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles

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Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (PS, DC)
Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles (GBA)
Jedipowercov.jpg
Developer(s)LucasArts
HotGen Studios Ltd (GBA)
Publisher(s)LucasArts (PS, DC)
THQ (GBA)
Director(s)Robert Blackadder
Kevin Boyle
Designer(s)Bill Hennes
Carl Wattenberg
Martin Yee
Michael Licht
Rebecca Perez
Programmer(s)Robert Blackadder
Charlie Skilbeck
Artist(s)Kevin Boyle
Bill Hennes
Paul Davies
Writer(s)Haden Blackman
Platform(s)PlayStation, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance
ReleasePlayStation
April 4, 2000[1]
Dreamcast
Game Boy Advance
  • NA: December 4, 2001[3]
  • EU: March 1, 2002
Genre(s)Action
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles is an action Star Wars video game set during the time frame of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The game was first released for the PlayStation, and afterwards for the Dreamcast and the Game Boy Advance (the latter under the title Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles).

Gameplay[edit]

Jedi Power Battles allows for two players to progress through the game. Here, players control Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Plo Koon as they battle against Trade Federation battle droids.

Jedi Power Battles is a mix of a platform game and a beat 'em up. Emphasis is placed both on completing jumping sequences and defeating enemies. Players can choose from one of five prequel-era Jedi and run, jump, slash, and use the Force through the game's ten levels, starting on the Trade Federation Battleship and ending with the battle against Darth Maul on Naboo. The player's primary weapon is a lightsaber used to fight through waves of enemies and deflect blaster shots. The lightsaber combat is rather simplified with a system that lets the player lock on to the nearest enemy using the R1 button. Items and the force can also be used for special attacks. On most levels jumping puzzles make up a large portion of the challenge. There are a few segments in which the player can pilot various craft. The single player campaign can also be played in cooperative mode with a second player, while the Dreamcast version has an additional training mode and a two player duel mode. As players progress additional lightsaber combos and force powers are unlocked.[4]

Five primary characters are available for players to use; Jedi Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Jedi Masters Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu, Adi Gallia and Plo Koon, with the latter two being unavailable in the Game Boy Advance version. Characters have specific lightsaber styles, force powers, weaknesses and strengths.[4] The game features both characters and levels that can be unlocked by completing specific tasks in the game, such as completing the game with a specific character. Up to four additional unlockable characters are available, depending on platform. Queen Amidala of Naboo and Captain Panaka, head of the Queen's security forces, are the only two playable characters to utilize ranged weapons. Sith Apprentice Darth Maul and Jedi Master Ki-Adi Mundi are also unlockable, though the latter is exclusive to the Dreamcast version of the game. Four levels can be unlocked which offer players unique minigames.

Plot[edit]

The game loosely follows the plot of The Phantom Menace and begins as two Jedi are sent to negotiate an agreement between the corrupt Trade Federation and the royal government of Naboo. The meeting turns out to be a trap and the two Jedi manage to fight their way through battle droids on the Trade Federation ship. The pair eventually make it to the planet's surface, where they fight through the swamps that eventually lead to the streets of Naboo's capital city, Theed. In the ensuing battle the Jedi are forced to flee with Naboo's Queen Amidala and several trusted members of her court on her starship.

The group arrives on Tatooine, where they hope to acquire parts to repair the Queen's ship. The environment proves hostile, and the Jedi are forced to defend themselves against Tusken Raiders and an attack by a dark-robed assassin while the parts are acquired. The group eventually makes their way to Coruscant, where a group of criminals instigate an attack. The Jedi fight their way through the attackers to see the queen to the Galactic Senate building. Concerned for the welfare of her planet and finding no hope in the apathetic Senate, the Queen and Jedi return to Naboo to liberate the city of Theed from the control of the Trade Federation.

Now allied with the Gungans of Naboo, the two Jedi fight their way through Gungan ruins to the city. They arrive and liberate a pair of droid STAPs. Utilizing the vehicle's limber controls and fast firing weaponry, they fight their way to the royal palace. Upon arriving the Jedi scale the side of the palace, using their force abilities to jump from platform to platform until they ascend to the top. Arriving, they find their progress blocked by the Sith apprentice Darth Maul, who had previously tried to kill them on Tatooine. The Sith engages the two Jedi as they push through the palace's generator complex. The Jedi gain the upper hand and Maul is defeated. The Jedi celebrate their victory with Boss Nass, leader of the Gungans, and Queen Amidala in a large celebration within the city of Theed.

Development[edit]

Level design began with what designer Michael Stuart Licht referred to as spatial studies. Design began with paper cut outs of various rooms. Licht would rearrange these rooms until he found a design that he felt worked. The papers had design ideas written on them so that other developers could understand the overall flow of each level. Bubble diagrams were then created which represented main ideas for each space. This was followed by various stages of overview drawings and other drawing studies. 3D level design began after such studies were completed.[5]

Characters were developed to have not only unique force abilities and lightsaber combos, with different lightsaber colors as well. Three characters had not yet had an on-screen appearance wielding their lightsabers. These colors matched the marketing coordination at the time seen in the Kenner toyline and Dark Horse comics. In the sequels Lucas would reveal that majority of Jedi only carry blue or green blades. Yoda was also off-limits as an unlockable character and it was not permitted to show him with a lightsaber, instead the sound of his laughter is heard every time the player collects a power-up. Jedi Power Battles was first unveiled in March 2000 via a gameplay trailer.[6]

Following the PlayStation release, developers sought to make improvements for the then upcoming Dreamcast version. Amongst improvements were 60 frames per second gameplay, tweaks to platforming sections, and a bugfix that ensured unlockable character Darth Maul would use both blades of his lightsaber, unlike his single blade on the PlayStation. Improvements in character animation were also made, and the game runs on a higher resolution.[7] HotGen Studios developed a GameBoy Advance game based on Jedi Power Battles. It was released a full year after the console releases in the fall of 2001.

Reception[edit]

The Dreamcast version received "generally favorable reviews", while the Game Boy Advance version received "mixed" reviews, according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[11][12] Jeff Lundrigan of NextGen said in its July 2000 issue that the PlayStation version "really needed a few more months of playtesting and balancing. As it is, this is best approached as an exercise in anger management."[34] Six issues later, however, Chris Charla said of the Dreamcast version, "Super Empire Strikes Back this isn't, but if you're looking for a hack-and-slash time killer, it'll satisfy."[33] Uncle Dust of GamePro said of the PlayStation version in its June 2000 issue, "Jedi Power Battles gets off to a frustrating start and has too much platform jumping throughout. But after you slash through the legions of battle broids to reach Darth Maul, you'll remember the thrill of the fight and forget the agony of the jumps."[37][b] Six issues later, Extreme Ahab said of the Dreamcast version, "if you have a high tolerance for falling repeatedly to your virtual death, JPB will reward you with spectacular visuals and hours of Star Wars fun."[38][c]

The game placed 30th in Game Informer's top 30 Star Wars games list in 2016.[39]

Reviewers were critical of the game's high difficulty.[39] In the book Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts, author Rob Smith said the media had a "tepid response" to the game's difficult control system.[40] Edwin Evans-Thirlwell of Vice magazine expressed fondness for the game's cooperative mode. He noted that while the game was "dreadful" he praised the incentive for two players to work together to complete the game. He cited modern games such as those in the Call of Duty series, noting that with online play the desire to work as a team is lessened. This in turn brought his point that Jedi Power Battles provides an opportunity for two people to sit together and truly cooperatively work through the game.[41]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In Electronic Gaming Monthly's review of the PlayStation version, two critcs gave it each a score of 4/10, and the other gave it 4.5/10.
  2. ^ GamePro gave the PlayStation version two 4/5 scores for graphics and fun factor, 5/5 for sound, and 3.5/5 for control.
  3. ^ GamePro gave the Dreamcast version two 5/5 scores for graphics and sound, 4/5 for control, and 4.5/5 for fun factor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Episode I Returns With Video/Power Battles Release". Game Informer. FuncoLand. Archived from the original on October 20, 2000. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  2. ^ Dunham, Jeremy (October 4, 2000). "New & Improved Jedi Power Battles Ships for Dreamcast". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  3. ^ Harris, Craig (December 4, 2001). "Jedi, Shmedi". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  4. ^ a b O'Connor, Frank (2000). "Star Wars Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles (Preview)". Daily Radar. Imagine Media. Archived from the original on March 11, 2001. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Licht, Michael (June 3, 2003). "An Architect's Perspective On Level Design Pre-Production". Game Developer. Informa. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  6. ^ IGN staff (March 29, 2000). "Star Wars Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles (Preview)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Stahl, Ben (August 15, 2000). "Jedi Power Battles Hands-On [date mislabeled as "May 17, 2006"]". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on November 10, 2000. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  8. ^ "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles for Dreamcast". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 20, 2019. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  9. ^ "Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles for Game Boy Advance". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 21, 2019. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  10. ^ "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles for PlayStation". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on May 20, 2019. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles for Dreamcast Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles for Game Boy Advance Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  13. ^ Chung, Terry. "Star Wars: Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (DC) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  14. ^ Miller, Skyler. "Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles (GBA) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  15. ^ Sutyak, Jonathan. "Star Wars: Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (PS) - Review". AllGame. All Media Network. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  16. ^ Sansone, Chris (October 30, 2000). "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles - Dreamcast Review". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on November 9, 2000. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  17. ^ Young, Jeffrey Adam (April 28, 2000). "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (PS)". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on August 16, 2000. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  18. ^ Einhorn, Ethan (January 2001). "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (DC)". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 138. Ziff Davis. p. 199. Archived from the original on January 29, 2001. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  19. ^ Kujawa, Kraig; Boyer, Crispin; Johnston, Chris (June 2000). "[Star Wars Episode I:] Jedi Power Battles (PS)" (PDF). Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 131. Ziff Davis. p. 166. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  20. ^ Bramwell, Tom (May 23, 2000). "Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles (PSOne)". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on January 7, 2001. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  21. ^ Reiner, Andrew (January 2001). "Star Wars [Episode I]: Jedi Power Battles (DC)". Game Informer. No. 93. FuncoLand. p. 123.
  22. ^ Reiner, Andrew (March 2002). "Star Wars Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles [sic] (GBA)". Game Informer. No. 107. FuncoLand. p. 91. Archived from the original on February 27, 2005. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  23. ^ Fitzloff, Jay; Anderson, Paul; Reiner, Andrew (May 2000). "Star Wars [Episode I]: Jedi Power Battles - PlayStation". Game Informer. No. 85. FuncoLand. Archived from the original on October 26, 2000. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  24. ^ "REVIEW for Star Wars: Episode I Jedi Power Battles (DC)". GameFan. BPA International. October 18, 2000.
  25. ^ Chau, Anthony (April 20, 2000). "REVIEW for Star Wars: Episode I Jedi Power Battles (PS)". GameFan. Shinno Media. Archived from the original on May 11, 2000. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  26. ^ Shoemaker, Brad (October 20, 2000). "Star Wars: Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles Review (DC)". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on November 10, 2000. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  27. ^ Fielder, Joe (April 10, 2000). "Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles Review (PS)". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on March 2, 2001. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  28. ^ Mad Carl (October 15, 2000). "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles". PlanetDreamcast. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  29. ^ Lafferty, Michael (December 19, 2001). "Star Wars Jedi Power Battles Review - Game Boy Advance". GameZone. Archived from the original on February 25, 2008. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  30. ^ Dunham, Jeremy (October 4, 2000). "Star Wars Episode One - Jedi Power Battles (DC)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  31. ^ Nix, Marc (January 24, 2002). "Star Wars: Episode One: Jedi Power Battles (GBA)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  32. ^ Conrad, Jeremy; Perry, Douglass C. (April 6, 2000). "Star Wars Episode 1: Jedi Power Battles (PS)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  33. ^ a b Charla, Chris (January 2001). "[Star Wars Episode I:] Jedi Power Battles (DC)". NextGen. No. 73. Imagine Media. p. 95. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  34. ^ a b Lundrigan, Jeff (July 2000). "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (PS)". NextGen. No. 67. Imagine Media. p. 92. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  35. ^ "Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles". Nintendo Power. Vol. 152. Nintendo of America. January 2002. p. 132.
  36. ^ Rybicki, Joe (June 2000). "[Star Wars Episode I:] Jedi Power Battles". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Vol. 3, no. 9. Ziff Davis. p. 101. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  37. ^ Uncle Dust (June 2000). "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (PS)" (PDF). GamePro. No. 141. IDG. p. 120. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  38. ^ Extreme Ahab (December 2000). "Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles Review for Dreamcast on GamePro.com" (PDF). GamePro. No. 147. IDG. p. 150. Archived from the original on January 13, 2005. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  39. ^ a b Reiner, Andrew (May 5, 2016). "Ranking The Top 30 Star Wars Games". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on May 9, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  40. ^ Smith, Rob (2008). Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6184-7.
  41. ^ Evans-Thirlwell, Edwin (March 25, 2015). "'Jedi Power Battles' Is the Game That Made Me Somebody's Best Friend". Vice. Vice Media. Retrieved June 3, 2022.

External links[edit]