Title  : Star Wars Jedi Starfighter
Platforms  : Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 2
Publisher  : LucasArts
ESRB Rating  : Teen
Game Rating  : 8.8
Review by  : Robert Boyd

Star Wars Jedi Starfighter is an Xbox and PS2 game from LucasArts, and is not to be confused with its similarly-named predecessor, Star Wars Starfighter. This game's name comes from the ship that one of the two main characters employs. The slight titular variance hasn't made this game especially original, but it's fun nonetheless. 

In Jedi Starfighter, the player gets the opportunity of flying an advanced starfighter in over 20 arcade-style missions. The player's perspective is locked into cockpit view, which is great if you're aiming, but less effective if you're trying to avoid enemy fire. The game features two main characters: Adi Gallia (a female Jedi) and Nym (who was also in the original Starfighter game); which character you control is pre-set by the level. The game has a few connections to the Star Wars movies (particularly Episode II), but knowledge of the movies isn't required to understand the game's plot. The game missions feature a wide variety of enemies and objectives and take place both in space and above planetary surfaces. All the game's regular levels can also be played in a very fun two-player split-screen mode; this mode also allows the control of characters and ships other than Adi's Jedi Starfighter and Nym's Havoc. 

The Jedi Starfighter can employ the Force (aka. magic) in various special moves. Apparently, LucasArts has forgotten the instruction given by Yoda and Obi-Wan that only the dark side of the Force uses its powers in a direct offensive manner since in Jedi Starfighter, there is no prohibition against using the Force to destroy enemy ships. The Jedi Starfighter has several different special abilities including my personal favorite, Force Reflex, which slows time. Of course, this isn't all that different from the special moves of more conventional spaceships and the same could be said of this game; Star Wars Jedi Starfighter isn't an especially original game, but it's fun nevertheless. 

Jedi Starfighter features fairly good visuals. Enemy ships are a little plain when viewed from close up but explosions, lighting, and other special effects are all done quite nicely. Not surprisingly, the music and sound effects are as good as one would expect from a Star Wars game (which is very good). The game controls well and puts almost every button and pad on the Xbox's massive controller to good use. Whether you're telling a wingman to attack an enemy ship or using the sniper zoom feature, the game controls are responsive and easy to use. The game is not without flaws however. The story that explains the action is weak, and the occasional movie sequences are disappointing (especially considering how good the Star Wars movies have always looked). 

The level designs in Jedi Starfighter are excellent. Each mission has a number of essential and optional objectives and features plenty of adrenaline-pumping action. For example, one mission has the player protecting a city from a rain of bombs while simultaneously trying to take out enemy ships. Another level has the player defending a small group of commandos from enemy ships, tanks, and droids while the commandos break into a base's security system. Usually the player has to juggle offensive and defensive tasks, which adds a bit of strategy to the action. By completing certain optional goals, the player can unlock several hidden levels, ships, and other features that lend much to the game's replay value. 

The game starts rather slowly (I recommend skipping the long and boring five part training session), but quickly picks up speed. Jedi Starfighter isn't all that different from other space shooter games, but it's easy to see LucasArts' expertise in this genre. Jedi Starfighter is a fun game and comes recommended to all fans of action packed space-shooting games.


This article is copyright (c) 2002, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Gamebits, 20-Aug-02