Take to the skies above Naboo and protect the planet from the onslaught of a greedy invasion by the domineering Trade Federation. This is the call to arms in Star Wars: Episode I: Battle for Naboo. Though most of the action takes place in a fighter or defense vehicle high above the Naboo landscape, story animations and ship selection options take place in 3D-rendered scenes on the planet's surface.
In many aspects, Battle for Naboo follows in the worthy footsteps of the classic Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, designed to offer fast, furious dog-fights in the planet's atmosphere with an action-oriented, arcade style of play. A storyline set in the Episode I timeframe helps this title to stand out from its predecessor, as well as the larger areas for battle -- some up to five or six times the size of those found in the Rogue Squadron games.
Graphics & Sound:
Released by LucasArts and developed in conjunction with Factor 5, the same people that brought you Rogue Squadron, Star Wars: Battle for Naboo is a treat from start to finish. Graphically, the game is beautiful. Naboo draws upon the same technology of Rogue Squadron and enhances it. The first thing you notice with the graphics is the draw distance has greatly improved. In laymen terms, this means how far you can see looking toward the horizon before things start to get foggy. In Rogue Squadron, you could not see all the way to the horizon. In Naboo, you can see all the way to the horizon almost all of the time. The games designers have thrown a few tricks in there, like drawing the whole landscape but not drawing the buildings until you get close to them; but none of this is disconcerting. With this improved draw distance, you can see the trade federation ships a lot sooner!
Naboo's sound track continues the long tradition from other Star Wars titles with splendid orchestral tracks and dazzling 3D sound effects. During a mission, you might even hear your squadron leader say where his cover is if you happen to wander off. I do wish that while flying your missions, you could listen to music from the original trilogy because the music from Episode One is just not as memorable.
Star Wars: Battle for Naboo has just upped the ante for action shooters in the Star Wars universe. While I found many previous title like X-Wing a little mechanical and without much storyline, Naboo is chock full of storyline and adventure. You will control Lieutenant Gavyn Sykes, a native of Naboo. Your mission, or your series of 15 missions, is to protect your planet from the invading Trade Federation. The game follows the movie storyline very loosely but offers original characters like Sykes, original locations on Naboo not seen in the movie, and original vehicles like the police cruiser and Gian speeder. You might wish to think of the game this way. While the main characters are off on Tatooine and Coruscant, you are doing your duty for the Royal Security Forces by defending your planet. Will you succeed?
Naboo once again improved on what Rogue Squadron did by not only having air or space battles, but also having also land and sea battles. During some of the missions, you might even be commanded to change vehicles from a police cruise to a gun boat. Keep an ear out for your objectives from your squadron leader and follow orders, because the Trade Federation ships have a habit of trying to draw you away from the main action.
During each mission of Naboo, you will have the chance to earn medals which are based on timing and accuracy during the missions. If you finish all of the mission with all bronze medals, you unlock a secret mission. If you finish with all silver medals, you unlock a different secret mission, and the same with the gold medals. This lends itself to replay ability of the game because after you finish a mission, you can re-fly it to improve your score. You might even try it with a different ship to see what the difference is. I do wish that there was a multi-player option in Naboo. Wouldn't you like to fly a Naboo Starfighter against your friends and family?
Naboo does a drawback in regards to its radar system. The radar display is two dimensional with no way to tell up and down. Your radar might show enemies heading your way, but are they above or below you? After getting used to this drawback, you can sit back and enjoy Star Wars: Battle for Naboo!
One of the great things about Star Wars: Battle for Naboo is that after only a short learning curve, you are ready to fly your missions. Surviving the missions is another story altogether though. Flying well enough to win a gold medal will most likely cost you many ships and hours. There is no skill level to set at the beginning, so be prepared. One might think that the later missions will be considerably harder than the early missions and you would be right, but some of the early ones are really challenging. I won't tell you which mission I was stuck on for days as it's just too embarrassing.
I truly believe that the best controller to fly Star Wars: Battle for Naboo is the joystick or flight-stick. It seems to be designed for them. You might disagree and say that the gamepad is better. That's ok. You can be wrong if you like (just kidding). Seriously, any multi-buttoned controller will serve your purpose. During the missions, you will have two weapons which change on each ship. Most of the time, your primary weapon is a laser cannon and your secondary weapon consists of different types of missiles. In Options, you can set the buttons to your preference, so make sure your primary weapon is on a comfortable button. Navigate of the menus before the game can be done by using your keyboard, mouse or controller. There are force feedback settings, but unfortunately, they are pretty light. There is no way to decrease or increase the feedback, just on or off.
In conclusion, Star Wars: Battle for Naboo is one of the most enjoyable arcade/action games out there and LucasArts and Factor 5 have a lot to be proud of. They took a great game like Rogue Squadron and improved it. Maybe for their next version, they will have added multi-player options and the 3D radar. These things will only add to the replay ability of Star Wars: Battle for Naboo!
People who downloaded Star Wars: Battle for Naboo have also downloaded:
Star Wars: Starfighter, Star Wars Episode I: Racer, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, Star Wars: X-Wing Collector Series, Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D, Star Wars X-Wing (Collector's CD-ROM)
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