I’ve got a baaad feeling about this…
A not so long time ago, in a ranch not so far, far away, someone over at LucasArts
had a plan. This plan was to put forth a game in every genre possible and make
a pretty penny off of the Star Wars faithful. From there, the crusade began
and would ultimately show some mixed results. A few great games, such as Jedi
Knight, would arise to take their place in the hallowed halls of gaming history,
while others, such as the recent Jedi Power Battles and Force
Commander, would bomb like a malfunctioning thermal detonator. So what’s the
next game from a galaxy far, far away? Star Wars Demolition.
If you’ve ever played Vigilante 8,
you know exactly what you’re getting into. Demolition basically just
throws the Star Wars universe into the mix. Take control of a vehicle/creature/jetpack
and blast the stuffing out of your opponents.
Ever wonder if Boba Fett could single-handedly take out an AT-ST ? Curious
how a STAP would do against a Rancor? Well, wonder no more. Demolition
gives you the pick of the roughest, toughest, meanest hombres this side of Chalmun’s
Cantina. Over ten characters can be chosen in this all-out battle for supremacy.
Game modes include Battle, Tournament, High Stakes and Hunt-a-Droid. Battle
is a one on one fight, Tournament pits you against several opponents whose numbers
increase with each level, High Stakes allows you to bet on your performance,
and in Hunt-a-Droid, well, you do the obvious.
Demolition’s multiplayer mode features both versus and co-op play. This
is great except that the split screen is run vertically rather than horizontally.
Your field of view is so narrow; it’s almost as if you’re wearing blinders.
Why no option to switch?
The worlds in which your battles take place will be familiar to anyone remotely
in touch with the Star Wars universe. Hoth, Tatooine, Naboo, and even
the second Death Star are just some of the arenas. The best part about each
of these worlds is the level of interactivity. On Tatooine’s Dune Sea, players
can use their tractor beam to throw an opponent into the Pit of Carkoon. The
second Death Star features wings of tie-fighters on strafing runs, and Hoth
sports an attack on all contenders by AT-ATs. If your opponents don’t get you,
the level just might.
When it comes to control, things are made simple. Driving your vehicle/creature/jetpack
feels just like Vigilante 8 complete with drift maneuvers. When standing
still, players can rotate 360 degrees….
…which you’ll have to do quite often, since there’s no reverse. I’ll say
that again for the hard of reading: no reverse. This would have definitely
come in handy on all those occasions when you run up against buildings. Isn’t
backing up sort of key in a game called Demolition? Sheesh, even airplanes
have a reverse gear. Why doesn’t my landspeeder, dammit? Stopping and turning
allows the others a perfect opportunity to send a proton torpedo right up the
wazoo. And speaking of proton torpedoes…
Demolition could have used more in the way of weapons. Besides your
standard lasers, players can pick up one of only four secondary weapons common
to the Star Wars universe. Proton torpedoes, concussion missiles, thermal
detonators and tractor beams are the only choices. While finding out the best
situations for each of the weapons can be fun, the game would have definitely
benefited from a wider assortment of destructive fury. After all, this is a
A few power ups are also thrown into the mix, though they just don’t have
a big impact on the gameplay. Cloaking devices, deflector shields and energy
converters are all helpful, but they don’t seem to give you much of an advantage.
Players can also find droids to increase the efficiency of their weapons and
shields, but again, these little guys can only do so much.
Two vital structures on every battlefield include shield and weapons generators.
At these stations, contestants can recharge their shields and weapons to an
optimal level. These charges aren’t free, though, as they will slowly drain
your credit supply.
When it comes to visuals, the Demolition team has got it right. The
damage modeling on the vehicles is excellent. There’s nothing better than seeing
you opponents fall apart piece by piece before you send them to the scrap heap.
On the other side of the gun, seeing your vehicle getting trashed add a bit
of urgency to your cause.
Blowing stuff up in Demolition is definitely fun in all its Star
Wars glory, but the more you play, the more you’ll notice the imbalance
in gameplay. One thing that I learned early on is that offense is not the best
policy. Players can unleash all their destructive force immediately, but without
the proper weapon and enough charge, you’ll barely scratch your opponents. Also,
offensive play ends up draining the credits you have on recharges. It seems
to me that a game like this needs plenty of offensive attitude. Demolition
seems to reward defensive play instead, which leads to less thrashing.
But despite my fears, Star Wars Demolition turns out to be a decent
game. There’s some room for improvement, but what we’ve got isn’t that bad.
I just wish there were an Ewok fighter. Yub, yub!