Video games based on movies rarely work, so how about making a video game based on one of the most commercially successful movie franchises of all time? In 1999, Big Ape Productions and LucasArts teamed up to release Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for the original PlayStation. Is the force strong with this one? I feel a disturbance in the force in this Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace review.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Plot:
Okay, if you don’t know the plot of Star Wars Episode I, just go watch the movie instead of reading my brief explanation of the game. In short, you will be playing the majority of the game as Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn as they rescue Anakin Skywalker from the planet Tatooine. You’ll also be saving Queen Amidala from the Trade Federation who has invaded her home planet of Naboo seeking to put a stop to a trade dispute. If you don’t know how the movie goes, you shouldn’t be reading this review!
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Gameplay:
The Phantom Menace is unique in the way you play it. During my Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace review I played as Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Padme, and Captain Panaka making my way through each level. Most levels will be filled with hostile enemies like battle droids or sand people that you will have to take care of but there are also puzzles like finding the correct parts for Anakin’s podracer or making your way through the Naboo forest to reach the Gungans. The puzzles that you move objects around to clear a path or climb to a ledge are pretty easy but missions, where you need to talk to people to complete your object, are more difficult.
Each character can pick up different weapons with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon being the only two to use a lightsaber. Sometimes it’s easier to use blasters than lightsabers but I found that running or avoiding battle is even better in some situations during my Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace review. Most NPCs you can interact with by talking to them to gain information, items, side missions or play Jedi mind tricks on. This is the best part of the game in my opinion as most conversations can turn hilarious with the options you choose especially with Obi-Wan or Qui-Gon. It’s funny to listen to Jedi become so rude or play tricks on innocent beings. When I went through Mos Espa to search for Anakin I started killing some thugs that got in my way. The orphans would come running up to me and ask hilariously “Who are you gonna murder next, mister?” I’m not sure if they got the real voice actors or not but they all sound legit.
The graphics have aged terribly but I’m not sure if that’s due to my mammoth tv that I used during my Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace review. Either way, they are pretty gross and the faces are almost unrecognizable. The battles are both fun and frustrating. When you are Jedi you can use force push to knock down droids. Sometimes it kills them, other times they can still shoot you from their rear which is a nice touch. Boss fights are a big pain, they are very difficult to defeat and I found myself using blasters on them instead of lightsabers. I was killed numerous times but discovered that most bosses can be defeated by poor design. Hiding behind a corner and continuously shooting at them to lower their health is how I defeated most major enemies. They shouldn’t be so difficult but I shouldn’t be able to kill them with those easy glitches. There are no checkpoints but you can save the game whenever you want. Make sure to do that because you will die throughout the levels.
Most levels are designed well and filled with secrets to discover, but there are a few that are extremely aggregating with switches and locks located in extremely hidden areas that will take you ages to discover without looking at a guide. My biggest complaint from my Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace review is how stupid JarJar and Queen Amidala are in the game. JarJar I expect because he is completely useless and might be the worst character in the galaxy but Amidala I expected more from! She bitches and complains every second in the game and her escort missions are the worst. She’ll yell at you that she can keep up and to move forward and then before you know it she’s disappeared and stayed behind so you have to go back and find her and slowly walk and check to make sure she is following you but then again she will yell at you to keep moving. She doesn’t listen well either and walks right into the line of fire which results in her death. She should just stay that way to save the galaxy. When you are in Mos Espa she loses JarJar and asks for your help. You talk to her about it and then she says informs you that she doesn’t need your help and to move along. Bitch, make up your mind! When I did an escort mission with her on Coruscant where she squabbled every two seconds about how the bad guys were coming that I literally went into the setting and turned off the volume for the voices because she was so annoying.
The final battle with Darth Maul was just like the other boss fights. I had no idea what I was doing and just hacking away with my lightsaber after trying to weaken him with a blaster. He killed me a few times during my Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace review and it looked like I had no hope of beating him because I had low health going into the fight. One attempt I randomly beat him but his health bar never showed up and he died after thirty seconds of fighting him. Was it a glitch? Was it the force? Who knows.
The game omits the entire Naboo battle between the gungans and the battle droids as well as Anakin in his Naboo Fighter in space. I wish I could have played one of those battles but the game does offer many missions that take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes to complete.
I was in third grade when Star Wars Episode I came out in theaters. I’m pretty sure it was released on the last day of school and I remember rushing home on my bike so my parents could drive me to my cousin who was in college. He wanted to take me to see the movie as we both loved Star Wars. He even gave me a green lightsaber before we left and an ice cream cookie. What a cool guy! I loved the movie as a kid and believe it’s the best of the prequels although that’s not saying much.
About a year later, my dad I and were out shopping like we usually did on the weekends. It was a tradition that my dad let me pick out a PlayStation game or Pokemon cards whenever we went shopping. This time I decided I wanted a PS1 game and found Star Wars Episode I. He bought it but unfortunately for me, we had one more stop before heading home. It was World Market and my dad likes to spend what seems like hours in the store looking at all the weird foreign things. The only thing that helped pass the time was reading the manual of the game while I sat in a chair as my dad browsed the store. I was so impatient and couldn’t wait to get home!
I loved playing the game and all the cool dialogue options you could choose. Murdering innocent lifeforms throughout the game always gave me a kick to hear their dying screams or cries for help. I know it sounds terrible but if you’ve played it you know what I mean. I spent hours just exploring the cities and planets, I couldn’t get enough but I could never beat the game either as a kid. There’s also an amazing music video that comes with the game. I watched it so many times, I’m sure I had it memorized as a kid. Watching it again was the cherry on top of my Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace review.
My friend became obsessed with the game and even wrote a walkthrough for it in fifth grade. It’s funny because he doesn’t get excited about anything now but back then he loved this game and was a huge nerd about it.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Review Score:
Star Wars Episode I is a nice attempt at a faithful adaption of the movie. It adds its own elements to the story and blends missions of action and strategy together well. The graphics look very poor now and there’s some bad design with bosses and a few levels. It’s worth a playthrough and worth exploring all the worlds, especially to a kid back in 1999 who loved Star Wars.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace scores a 7.8 out of 10.
What would you write in your Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace review? Do you remember when Star Wars Episode I first came out? Who was your favorite character to play as? What was your favorite level? Did Queen Amidala annoy the hell out of you? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!