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Star Wars Jedi Starfighter
Preview By: Christopher Coey
Developer:  LucasArts
Publisher:  LucasArts
Genre:  Shooter
Est. Release:  Spring 2002
Posted:  1-07-02

Set for a spring 2002 release (hmmm, isn't there something else having to do with Star Wars being released around that same time?), Jedi Starfighter is LucasArts follow-up to the successful Star Wars: Starfighter.

For those not familiar with the game, shame on you. Starfighter was the first PS2 game to really take advantage of the new hardware. It's a space combat game on the surface, with graphics and sound that really pushed the envelope for game developers. But the thing that really made the original stand out above the competition was its scope. The levels were enormous, and the massive numbers of enemies to face on each level was staggering.

This time around, nearly every aspect of the game has been tweaked. This is truly a second generation title. Of course the already stellar graphics, and 3D engine have been improved. New ships have been designed, and a ton of new features have been added...the most exciting being the use of Force power during fighter combat.

One of the few complaints about the original Starfighter, as with many many other PS2 titles, was the game's length. There were 14 missions in total, which isn't a bad amount, but the missions themselves were often short. Jedi Starfighter boasts only 15 missions (single-player AND co-operative two-player missions), but they promise to be even larger in 'scope' than the first-generation predecessor. The game takes place in space, of course, as well as within a variety of "beautifully rendered worlds and environments" all from Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

In one of the very few spoilers that have squeaked passed the media machine at LucasArts, some pivotal moments of the movie take place around, or aboard Obi-Wan's personal Jedi Starfighter. Hence the title of the new game. This sleek starfighter is but one of four available ships (including the Havoc, from the original game). Players face off against over 40 different starships and capital-ships throughout the course of the game. Many of the ships are straight out of the upcoming movie, while others have been specifically designed for this game by LucasArts insiders.

As with the original game, the story of Jedi Starfighter takes place within the locations and settings introduced in Attack of the Clones, and "expands beyond the story line of the film itself and develops characters established in STAR WARS Starfighter," says Simon Jeffery, president of LucasArts. Players take the parts of Nym, the alien pirate first introduced in the original Starfighter, as well as a new character, Jedi Master Adi Gallia. As the story unfolds, the missions will have the player either controlling Nym or Adi attempting to thwart the plans of Captain Cavik Toth, and his Sabaoth Squadron. The two unlikely allies form a union against Toth, and the Trade Federation, for their own reasons, but the consequences of their failure could spell the end of both the Jedi Knights, and the fledgling rebel force (as well as Nym's home planet). Although the narrative is original, the missions intersect key points of the new movie, and (again, like in the first Starfighter) climax during the movie final battle sequences.

The two-player cooperative mode introduces two other characters, and their personal ships, to the environment. But at its heart, the game is a single-player game. If the story, stellar gameplay, and stunning environments don't blow your mind, the combat effects certainly will.

Those familiar with the Star Wars universe, and its lore, know that the main powers the Jedi have are: Sense, Alter, and Control. They are granted these powers through use of the force. And finally, force powers are available to the players in a starfighter combat game. In this case, however, there are four main abilities: Force shield, Force reflex, Force shockwave, and Force lightning. These may not exactly conform to current "Star Wars" lore, but they are pretty darn cool regardless. Force Shield, and Force shockwave are fairly self-explanatory. Force reflex works as a sort of slow-motion replay of the events, while allowing the player to move and shoot in normal time. But the real fun is sending a bolt of Force lightning through all the ships on screen, rendering the pilots unconscious. As mentioned before, the effects in this game are the highlight. Watching someone ELSE play this game will be almost as much fun as playing it yourself.

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