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reviews >> xbox
Star Wars : The Clone Wars

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: Lucas Arts
Developer: Pandemic
Year Released: 2003
Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: Teen

Visuals 7.25
It's not the best looking game, with some blurry textures, odd color choices and an inconsistent framerate. Knowing what the Xbox is capable of, this really could have been prettier.
Audio 8
Music is very much like a Star Wars movie. Passible impersonations of celebrity voices.
Gameplay 7.5
The "driving" portions of the game are pretty easy and straightforward, but the flying portions suffer from some odd collision detection. The on-foot portions of the game really do not fit in with the rest of the game.
Replay Value 7
It won't take long to get through the single-player campaign, and if you still like playing the game, there's multiplayer modes and online modes to get into.
Reviewer's Impression 7.5
It looks and feels like an average action game based upon a license. You can tell that the developers didn't change much in this port other than add online play. This project almost seemed like a waste of time on Lucas Art's part.
Overall 7.25
The other half of the special pack-in offer is better than the lacking Tetris Worlds, but it's still not that great of a game. Sure, there's online support, but that can't really save a game that hasn't changed much graphically, or add more to the single player experience.

Back in the Christmas season of 2003, Microsoft decided to do the pack-in thing again like they did in 2002, by giving new Xbox owners Tetris Worlds and Star Wars: The Clone Wars on one disc. As I've said in the Tetris Worlds review, this was a much weaker package than the Sega GT 2002 / Jet Set Radio Future pack that was offered in 2002. I can understand Microsoft's intentions on providing games for people to play over Xbox Live, but these two games offered are probably the weakest games to give people as their first game. As you've read in the Tetris Worlds review, that game was sub-par. Does Star Wars follow the same course? Let's find out.

Clone Wars is pretty much a port of the Gamecube and PlayStation 2 version released almost one year prior to this version, only now you can play online in the Xbox build. I kind of wonder why Lucas Arts even decided to port this one to the Xbox, and even go the extra mile to slap on online support. It's not a very big or lengthy game for a single player experience, and the multiplayer modes would almost mimic vehicular combat games of the past. The graphics also seemed to not have changed that much, either. Sure, there's some bump mapping thrown in on the terrain on some stages, but the textures still seem a bit blurry, the color scheme is off in some stages, almost as if there is no lighting, and the framerate is not locked down. You would think that some of the simpler things such as the framerate would be fixed, but the developers seemed more intent on giving players an online mode.

The gameplay itself seems rather simplistic in most cases, but suddenly throws a curve-ball in gameplay that kind of disrupts the flow of the design. Most stages will play something like a vehicular combat game, except you really just fight off hoardes of oncoming enemies than an identifiable character. Some stages will call for you to defend an armada or a caravan of commrades, or clear all enemies out of an area so a ship can land. But a couple of stages break up the driving action with on-foot action, which really doesn't match the game design as a whole. It almost seemed like a last minute addition to the game, or the designers felt that there should have been some Grand Theft Auto influence thrown in. Whatever the reason, it really doesn't work. There are some times where you will have to fly around, but that seems more relevant than an on-foot portion.

It doesn't take long to finish the game through the single player campaign. There's 16 or so stages, which could be completed in five hours or so, maybe longer if you go for a tougher difficulty level setting. There's some secrets to unlock, but that pretty much goes towards the multiplayer modes. Depending on how much you like playing this game, there are some multiplayer modes to get into, as well as online play. But it really doesn't make the game better.

Final Thought

Microsoft really missed the mark on the 2003 holiday game package they offered. It seems like they pulled out the cheapest games that had online support to throw in a package and make it seem like something special. As for Star Wars Clone Wars itself, it's an average adaptation to a boring movie. There's more action, but that's about it. I don't mind the fact that this seems like a vehciular combat game, but the design should have been more consistent and offer more types of enemies to fight against. This game really doesn't take much advantage of the Xbox in terms of it's hardware, but it does offer Live support. It's not a terrible game to go online with, but there's better action titles that are online enabled for the system.