Gamestyle Archive intro: We don’t have to look too far in 2001 to find another example of a poor Dreamcast release. Such a shame given the possibilities the platform offered. The ‘shocking new age jazz funk’ soundtrack was a worthy accompaniment to the gaming experience it seems.
Published: February 2001
VERSION: Pal DC
DEVELOPER: Lucas Arts
GENRE: Star Wars
ACCESSORIES: Vibration, VGA and VMU.
RELEASE: Out Now
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away Lucas Arts were known for their quality games on the PC i.e. point & click games and Star Wars titles. Today is different, the company has certainly taken the quantity over quality route and as most console owners will testify apart from the average Podracing, recent releases have been very poor.
For this reason I approached Jedi Power Battles with caution which is a shame as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed similar titles such as the excellent Twisted Metal 2 on the PSone. The game is set just after Episode One, which has seen the Empire ban Podracing. Jabba the hut obviously needs his Tatooine betting revenue on the outer rim and therefore devises an even more dangerous spectacle that is Jedi Power Battles.
The game is a straightforward vehicle shoot ‘em up, nothing more. In the arenas you will find various weapons, shields and recovery points – just collect them and destroy your opponent. They’ve tried to put some resemblance of a story with each level in the one player mode but your only real incentive is to unlock new craft and characters. Other one player options are the tournament, high stakes and hunt a droid – a is a pathetic excuse for an option. Your win loss record will be with you throughout the game and will affect the odds and betting you can do in the High Stakes mode. The tournament mode will give you objectives that aren’t really hard to achieve because of the AI. The easiest way to win is arm your vehicle with the mine-like weapons and then let your opponents follow you and drop them every so often. They will continually make no attempt to avoid the mines and go straight over them, resulting in an easy victory. The self-targeting missiles are lethal but remove any skill from the combat. The one player mode is great in comparison to the two player offering.
For a game involving so much weaponry and carnage, the soundtrack and effects are fairly quiet. I won’t complain about the soundtrack as it contains the shocking new age jazz funk sounds that accompany most Star Wars releases – it really does nothing for game and slows the pace. While the sound effects are no doubt taken from the films, even with the sound level up full, they seem quiet and almost mono in their quality.
Graphically this game is a real disappointment; the only good thing I can say about the graphics is that the resolution is good. I can accept the mist in the Dagobah swamp level as perhaps realistic (its fantasy remember) but the Naboor stadium is under a constant state of being built. The pop up is shocking in all the level’s, which really renders long range shooting pointless. The layout and design are good but it is unfortunate that the programmers could not have done a better job. I did look down at my console to make sure this was on the same machine as Shenmue, Quake III, MSR, Crazy Taxi and Daytona.
It’s a shame that Jedi Power Battles is such a poor offering (perhaps the victim of being rushed out for Christmas in America) as if it was better executed it could have been an enjoyable game. One to avoid and that goes for the fans as well!