Reviewed: January 12, 2004
Released: November 24, 2003
Itís bad enough that LucasArts cannot make a good Star Wars title to save their Dark Jedi souls, but now they have corrupted THQ with the Dark Side of the Force with their latest opus to mediocrity, Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon.
On the surface you have a good concept: fly the Flacon around the galaxy during the Star Wars Trilogy, (Episodes IV - VI) with the occasional digression to land speeder or speeder bike. Not really covering a lot of new or even original territory there, but give the people what they like, right? Unfortunately this turns out to be just another shameless Star Wars knockoff, cashing in on the popularity of the original and proving the infamous Star Wars curse is still plaguing the franchise.
The first of many, many failures, what I think the developers were trying to do was translate the play style of the popular Rouge Squadron and Starfighter series to the GBA. However, trying to take everything a three dimensional aerial combat simulator does and stuff it inside a forward scrolling shooter, well some things are lost. The most significant of which are anything resembling good controls.
Not only do you have a very limited field to maneuver in, even smaller is your field of fire. In their attempt to carry everything over, you even have to lead your target ahead of the crosshairs, which really only gives you a vague idea of where your bolts are going to land anyway. Imagine playing any console game requiring a light gun but deciding you donít need to calibrate it first. Except here you can see where you are supposed to be shooting.
Also, things can remain on the screen for quite some time outside of your field of fire (think maybe an inch in from the edge of the screen you are closest to). Dodge your best but bear in mind you canít actually reach the edge of the screen, just some arbitrary inner margin.
Worse is when you get to the land speeder and speeder bike sequences. They function in the same forward scrolling manner, but there are things to hit now, and good luck figuring out what you can hit and what is safe passage.
Iíve gone between spaces that look like they are dead ends, blown up in ones that look bigger, and even ran into things that didnít even look like they would be a problem. Couple all that with the fact that stormtroopers are shooting at you, but seeing them, let alone shooting back is next to impossible. They miss most often anyway like any good stormtrooper should (clones of Fett my ass!) but that doesnít make it any less frustrating.
Sometimes the graphics are actually tolerable. They did try to push what the GBA was capable of rendering in 3D, and sometimes succeeded. The loading screen with the Rebel Fleet is good; as is the title screen Falcon, but my compliments end there.
The forward scroll is such that you canít make out more than the outline of whatever eyeballs, squints, or dupes youíre aiming at. Everything is jaggy, especially people and backgrounds. Mos Eisley looks like a bunch of poorly rendered polygons flying towards you in hyperspace. The Star Destroyer looked like an ugly wedge of white cheese that I ran into when it wasnít even on screen anymore.
To put things as bluntly as possible, these are just bad, and the only reason that I donít score this lower is that they at least tried to push the limits of the system and occasionally did pull off something worth looking at.
Fortunately the Star Wars sound effects have been around so long that by now Iím sure LucasArts has them on file in a computer somewhere ready to be rendered into whatever system necessary. The TIE fighter engine noise, blasters flying and that sort of thing are all as well put together as the GBA can make them.
Music on the other hand suffers greatly, both MIDI quality music as well as composition. I know at least three people who could do a better job and they DONíT get paid to do that for a living. They do at least make a nod towards the original scores though, and the theme is there on the crawl text so they again get a few points for the effort.
I really should score this lower, as I had no desire to play this beyond the first level. There are more levels though, and they are challenging (mostly because of bad play control and poor object collision, but challenging none the less). If you absolutely must finish everything you buy and you must buy every Star Wars game ever made, first get help, and not from that little green guy you found at the bottom of that bottle of Tequila. Second you might get your moneyís worth of game time out of this title, but you probably will have little to no satisfaction from finishing it.
Somehow this title made it out the door. Even if LucasArts isn't making the Star Wars games they should at least have final ruling on them and buried this game in the nearest Sarlack pit. It has some redeeming qualities which are massively out weighed by its shortcomings. If you see this game for $5 it might be worth the effort to pick it up but donít say I didnít warn you.