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Reviewed: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Producer: Lucasarts
Required System: Xbox
Overall Rating:
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: August 18th, 2003
Page: 1


Star Wars games have a tough bar to meet when we reviewers get ahold of them. They have to be witty, they have to be FUN, and they have to do that without straying from what we all know and love about the Star Wars universe.

Er... take THAT, George Lucas. One more philosophical smack in the face for Episodes I and II. 

Getting back on track... Star Wars games have an interesting history. Theoretically, one can go back all the way to the days of the original series of arcade games; the awesome Star Wars arcade game with its vector-graphic setup down the Death Star channel, the decently okay hack of that rom to create The Empire Strikes Back, and then the woefully inadequate and horrible speeder-bike game made of Return of the Jedi. And then there's the Intellivision and Atari games, the only properly good title of which was the halfway acceptable port of Star Wars to the 2600.

Then the titles slept a while... until we got Star Wars/Empire for the NES, and Super Star Wars/Super Empire/Super Return of the Jedi on the SNES. Somewhat lackluster all around, and likewise the Gameboy ports. In the PC world, the games did well to a point; Dark Forces was beloved by most who played it.

The next round was rather indifferent. Jedi Knight, and its expansion pack, were good but not awe-inspiring; Episode I: Pod Racer for the N64 was the only good title to come out of the Episode I spinoff titles (gamers gagged on Obi-Wan, were ambivalent on the actual Episode I title, and genuinely had big problems accepting the title based on Gungans). Episode I: Pod Racer promptly spawned horrid spinoffs such as "Bombad Racing" and the halfway decent, though needlessly bloodthirsty, Racer's Revenge sequel.

Jedi Knight has reached its sequel... which means the Dark Forces line now has three titles to its name. 

Enter Bioware, makers of such notable RPG titles as the Baldur's Gate series and Neverwinter Nights. Their goal, to produce a Star Wars title, set far in the past (so as to get away from the mess Lucas has made of the "present day" Star Wars universe), and based on Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars d20 system, a decent roleplaying system in its own right. Since BG and NWN gave them experience with the very-similar Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 system (the start of the d20 system core), they had a head start.

And the gaming community agreed... they have succeeded in giving us what we wanted to see.

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Added:  Monday, August 18, 2003
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 1/3

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