Since 1982, when the Battle of Hoth was first fought on the Atari 2600, we’ve seen more Star Wars video games than most people can name. Some good, some bad, and some with stories and characters as memorable as the films themselves. Here is a list of the games that I consider to have best captured that classic Star Wars feel.
5. Shadows of the Empire
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire was a multimedia project started by LucasFilm in 1996, consisting of a novel by Steve Perry, a six-part comic book series, and a video game on the Nintendo 64, which was later released on PC as well.
You take on the role of Dash Rendar, a Corellian smuggler and friend of Han Solo as you fight through a variety of locations in the Star Wars universe on foot, from the cockpit of a snowspeeder, and Dash’s personal starship, the Outrider. The story weaves in and out of that of the comic book and novel and is divided into four acts that have Dash fighting in the Battle of Hoth, tracking down bounty hunters before they find Han Solo, protecting Luke Skywalker from assassination, and rescuing Princess Leia from the clutches of the Black Sun criminal organization in an epic story set during and after the events of The Empire Strikes Back.
4. Rogue Squadron
Inspired by the Battle of Hoth level in Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron is an arcade-style action/shooter that places you in the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter and various other craft as you take on the Galactic Empire in the shoes of Rogue Squadron, an élite group of Rebel Alliance pilots put together by Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles.
The game takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, with the exception of the last level, which takes place six years after Return of the Jedi. This game has a very authentic Star Wars feel to it and is a great addition to any Nintendo 64 collection, whether you are a Star Wars fan or just a fan of arcade flying games.
3. Star Wars Galaxies (Pre-NGE Version)
Star Wars Galaxies was an MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. It allowed you to create your own character from one of ten different races and live your own Star Wars saga. It featured gameplay on both land and in space and allowed you to do a variety of things, including join the ranks of the Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance, build and pilot your own starships, run your own business, or just sit back and enjoy the music in the Mos Eisley cantina.
The game featured 10 planets at launch, but at the end of its lifespan, had 12 planets and 14 space zones. Prior to the infamous “New Game Enhancements” of November 15th, 2005, Star Wars Galaxies was an almost magical experience for any Star Wars fan. Unfortunately, in a misguided attempt to attract new players, Sony Online Entertainment, the company responsible for creating and running the game, drastically altered gameplay, causing many fans to cancel their subscriptions and demand refunds for the latest expansion, which was released only two weeks earlier.
Throughout the following years, the game went through countless revamps, returning it to a more complex and enjoyable state, but it never regained the magic of the original version. Star Wars Galaxies remained the most expansive Star Wars experience of all time until it was shut down on December 15, 2011.
2. Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Considered by many fans to be the greatest Jedi game so far, Jedi Outcast is near perfection. The only flaw I can think of is the inability to manually block. Other than that, it has an incredible storyline and interesting characters, including my all-time favorite Expanded Universe character and the Chuck Norris of Star Wars, Kyle Katarn, who you get to play for the third and final time in the four-part Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series as you return to the Jedi Order to put a stop to a new evil threatening the New Republic.
Simply put, Jedi Outcast is a must-have for any Star Wars fan.
1. Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars and roleplaying is the perfect combination for a truly unforgettable experience. The sound effects and graphics in this game are amazing, the combat animations are so natural-looking and perfectly choreographed, and the story is by far one of the best to come out of the entire Expanded Universe.
Set almost four thousand years before the films and featuring perhaps the greatest plot twist in gaming history, Knights of The Old Republic sets you on an epic journey to uncover an ancient secret and put a stop to the seemingly invincible Sith armada threatening the very existence of the Republic and the Jedi Order. Like Jedi Outcast, this game also has some of the most unforgettable and unique characters to come out of the Expanded Universe. All of these factors and more come together to offer an amazing Star Wars experience, and that’s why Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic deserves the number one spot on the most “Star Warsy” Star Wars games of all time.
What about you? Are there any specific titles not included in this list that you feel define Star Wars in gaming? Let us know in the comments section below.