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SHORT LIST 12 - August/September 1997

DARK FORCES

Twitching for another Star Wars fix after the spring's hype overload? Well, you're in luck, because the video games business has gone Star Wars bonkers, mate. First up, we feel the presence of this new Playstation version of the PC hit from a while back, in which Star Wars meets the classic Doom in a guns-blazing search for the Empire's secret new stormtroopers. The graphics betray Dark Forces' age (the original version is a getting on for three years old) and the game design is lacking in several areas, but the novelty of running around in a convincing Star Wars world (and it's the movie-sampled sound that really does the trick) will have you making a lot of allowances.

(From Lucasarts for Playstation, 40)

 

X-WING VS TIE FIGHTER

Meanwhile, back on the PC itself, this updated hybrid of two previous Star Wars games features modem and network play, enabling you and a bunch of mates to get together and fight out all those great space dogfights using practically any ship seen in any of the films. Swooping down on a poorly-protected convoy in a squadron of TIE Advanced (Darth Vader's prototype from the first movie) shouting "I have you now!" in a booming voice is especially gratifying, and while the game isn't much cop if you're playing on your own, the network match attracts fanatical support from all it touches.

(From Lucasarts for PC, 40)

 

SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE

One of the launch games for the Nintendo 64, Shadows Of The Empire was generally accepted as being the poorest of the bunch, and there's little arguing with that. The game is broken up into 10 varied sections (space dogfighting, riding a train through the Ord Mantell junkyard, speeder bike races through Mos Eisley and a scattering of Doom-style sections), but only a couple are particularly engaging in themselves , and brought together they make for a bitty, unsatisfying experience. There are a few nice moments (bringing down the huge AT-ATs with your tow cable a la The Empire Strikes Back), but nothing to justify the horrendous price ticket.

(From Lucasarts for Nintendo 64, 60)

 

REBEL ASSAULT 2

And finally, another vintage PC game newly brought to the Playstation. Rebel Assault 2 attracted fiercely polarised opinions when it was originally released, but it looks pretty lame nowadays, using the same multi-section design as Shadows Of The Empire, but giving the player much less freedom to move around and deviate from the game's preset paths. In fact, the truth of the matter is that despite a relentless barrage of new product, the best Star Wars video game experience is still to be found in the original 1982 Atari arcade machine, one of which you could buy now for the price of a couple of these games. Plus it looks great in your living room, so forget all of these and get one of those instead.

(RA2 from Lucasarts for Playstation, 40. For Star Wars coin-op, see Coin Slot trade newspaper, 0161 624 3687)

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