Having a franchise as large and genre spanning as Star Wars has led to some incredible video games to come out of the Star Wars cannon. Here we list our personal fav's in the hope of giving you the reader something good to play on this most geeky holiday. May the forth be with you!
Early in its life, the Gamecube hosted the brilliant Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. Like the N64 predecessor, the game eschewed lightsaber to concentrate on airborne battles, and made excellent use of the various spaceships available in the Star Wars canon. A-Wings, B-Wings, X-Wings, Y-Wings, Tie Fighters, and yes, the Millennium Falcon were all available at different stages; some levels gave you a choice of several (although why anyone would pick the stupid B-Wing we don't know...however YMMV). Each had unique weapons and handled differently enough to be worth trying out at least once. The levels were an excellent mix of choice moments from the movies (Death Star trench run as the opening level? Oh yes), and filling in moments that you didn't see. One of the best levels was taking the Snowspeeder and tripping up spindly-legged AT-AT walkers on freezing cold Hoth. The sounds were right, the levels looked good and rendered a ton of objects at a time, and the soundtrack was appropriately epic. Battles were chaotic with lasers and enemy ships everywhere, and ensured you could meet a sticky end after being t-boned by a Tie Fighter or massive bloody asteroid. As well as being an excellent recreation of the Star Wars experience, Rogue Leader gave a lot of bang for its buck. Finished the game once? Good, go back and try and get a gold medal on everything without crying. There were a number of entertaining bonus levels, including an opportunity to play as Darth Vader. Sure, we should be on the side of the Rebels, but still... Darth Vader, y'know? Rogue Leader still stands the test of time; go find a copy on eBay and lose yourself in the skies above Hoth and Endor, and watch out for laser cannons. - Carla
For the selection of Star Wars day I have re-played one of my favourite and most enjoyable game experiences: Star Wars Battlefront II. To this day I still have my cousins copy which I borrowed many years and I have no intention of returning it to him ever. I remember going round to play on his version of the game for the first time and being amazed at the size of the maps, the number of enemy units, being able to use the classic vehicles such as the AAT or AT-AT and really immersing myself into the battle and thoroughly enjoying it. However it was when I realised I was able to fight as Darth Vader that my excitement spiked. There was so much fun to be had hacking down various enemies using the lightsaber, naturally producing my own lightsaber sound effects while doing so, finding an unlucky individual to choke the life out of while they struggle to be free of the invisible noose around their neck. Of course another very important aspect to the game was the introduction of battling in space, piloting the all too iconic X-wing while engaging in dogfights with TIE fighters was almost too much for me to handle, blasting enemy ships into endless space was all too rewarding. The main reason I love this game is that I was able to feel like I was a part of the epic battles that took place in the films and it’s one the most enjoyable and fun games I’ve ever played… now if you’ll excuse me I believe I have to go dig out my PS2 again and happily waste a few hours. - Luke
A full year before Bioware’s genre-changing colossus Knights of the Old Republic would arrive and completely redefine what it meant to be a Star Wars video game; Lucas Arts released Star Wars: Bounty Hunter. The game was designed to serve as a prequel and tie-in to Attack of the Clones, featuring bounty hunter Jango Fett in the playable role as well an original story which included a number of characters from the movie saga, such as both Count Dooku and Darth Sidious. Bounty Hunter’s voice acting is actually particularly notable because it features Temuera Morrison reprising his film role as Jango as well as Leeanna Walsman reprising her role as Zam Wesell, both of whom appeared together in Attack of the Clones. Bounty Hunter is a third person game featuring elements of shoot ‘em up, platformer and role-playing styles of gameplay – with the addition of Jango’s jetpack allowing the battles to be more flexible than most shooters. There is also an option to activate first person mode in order to seek out nearby bounties by ‘scanning’ the surrounding NPC’s. Collecting secondary bounties in this manner could unlock special items to be used in-game. The game reveals the canonised explanation for how and why Jango Fett was ultimately chosen to become the template for the Clone Army as featured in Episode II and III, and also gives a deeper insight into Jango’s life as a bounty hunter and his motivations as a character. The story follows Jango’s mission to hunt down a Dark Jedi called Komari Vosa, under contract from Darth Tyranus (Count Dooku), although this mission is actually a test of Jango’s capabilities. Along the way Jango encounters progressively more challenging crime lords from throughout the galaxy, ultimately overcoming each and upgrading his arsenal as he does so. All in all, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter was a simple and atmospheric experience and fit in comfortably within the Playstation 2’s unique library of shooters. It also provided the more hardcore of Star Wars fans with something to gawp at and – in that respect – was just as loyal to them as Enter The Matrix was to the fans of that franchise, containing a similarly self-contained narrative which was a part of much larger ongoing series. - Ben
Before any idiot at Lucasarts uttered the letters MMO, the studio, along with RPG geniuses BioWare created what is, for me, one of the greatest games ever made! Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is set 4000 years before the battle of Yavin (the zero-year event of the Star Wars Universe) and follows the story of a gender-neutral, amnesiac soldier/scoundrel/scout who wakes up on a Republic starship as it’s bombarded by Sith forces. Within minutes, you, the nameless hero, are plunged into a whirlwind adventure to save a Jedi prodigy, escape the Sith and travel the galaxy in pursuit of an ancient artefact that could turn the tide in the constant battle between the light side and the dark. Knights of the Old Republic 2 – The Sith Lords follows on from the events of KotOR. The Jedi are all but extinct and the Republic, though victorious, struggles to keep order against and angrier, darker galaxy. You play as a Jedi exile who begins to reconnect with the force after meeting a shadowy, blind old woman. Soon you discover a far darker threat is brewing in the galaxy as an ancient Sith triumvirate moves to eradicate the Republic and the Jedi once and for all. KotOR2 suffered from a rushed released date and a shed load of cut content (which thankfully has been restored by online fan communities) however it features a far more colourful array of characters and quests that stick with you through countless playthroughs. They may not have the best graphics, and the voice acting might leave a fair bit to be desired, but the stories behind these games really are something special, giving us a wonderful insight into the early days of the Star Wars universe. With the first game now available on the iPad, there’s never a better time to get playing! - William
Back in 1977 it wasn’t hokey religions and ancient weapons that had crowds flocking to see Star Wars. Nor was it a lightsaber duel between the light and dark sides that truly won the day for the rebellion. Instead the key draw of the first ever film in the franchise was the stunning and revolutionary visuals that created the thrilling final battle between the plucky rebel X-Wing’s and ominous looking Imperial TIE fighters, culminating in a truly epic fireworks display on the part of the Death Star. While a few games tried to replicate the feel of being at the controls of these iconic machines, it was 1993’s release of the simply named ‘Star Wars: X-Wing’ and its 1994 sequel ‘TIE Fighter’ for MS-DOS that truly set the mark for laser blasting, dogfighting goodness. Featuring brand new 3D polygon graphics and gameplay that helped define an entire genre of future space shooters, both games offered their own storylines that fully immersed the player into the Star Wars mythos and took the opportunity to give them a key role in either the Rebellion or the Empire. This was helped by an array of different objectives and playable starfighters that offered a sense of variety, and an energy system that forced the player to make split second and sometimes costly choices over whether to power their weapons, shields or engines. Now graphically outdated both games still provide a great gaming experience that fans of space shooters will love, and while two other sequels for the series were made over the 90’s it is these two that provided the first quintessential feeling of being able to take on the whole Empire (or rebellion) yourself. As for which of the games is best? That just depends on which side of the force you are. - Paul