"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."
There have been many Star Wars games on the Game Boy Color, but none of them have really captured the feel of the
movies. Star Wars Episode 1: Obi-Wan's Adventures (which I'll simply refer to as Obi-Wan's Adventures from here
on in) is the first game on the Game Boy Color that actually re-tells the story of The Phantom Menace. The difference
is that Game Boy game tells it all from the view of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
"Strong in The Force is he. Train him we will not."
The game is played from a top down view. The first couple of levels are isometric, but the level designers seem
to have forgotten how to do isometric in the later levels. Obi-Wan's Adventures is purely an action game. You have
a choice of three weapons - the Lightsaber, a Blaster Pistol, and of course The Force. For the majority of the
game though, you'll find yourself relying on your Lightsaber because the other two require ammo to use. The Lightsaber
also comes in handy as a mock shield because you can use it to deflect laser blasts right back at your opponents.
There are puzzles to solve too. Most of these come down to simply turning on switches in the correct order. The
Force is also needed to solve some puzzles where you rely on it to move boulders or crates so that you can access
new areas. In one level, Obi-Wan's Adventures puts you in control of the Bongo, the Gungan sub that was seen in
the movie. This is probably the most annoying level because you don't have much room to maneuver and you don't
have anything to protect your sub with. You have to get hit.
"Act, don't think. Trust your instincts."
One thing that the Directional-Pad on the Game Boy is not really good at is angles. Unfortunately, that is how
Obi-Wan's Adventures requires you to move on a lot of the levels. I was forever finding myself running into walls
when I was trying to avoid falling boulders or other equally dangerous situations. It was also hard to aim on the
angle too, so must of the time you were firing off shots at walls, the sky, anywhere but at a Battle Droid.
Using the Lightsaber was limited too. Most of the time I just found myself rapidly pressing the attack button.
You had no way of deciding where to deflect shots either. You basically had to time the swings of the Lightsaber
with the laser blasts in order to hopefully send them where you want to.
"Hard to see, the dark side is."
From the time of the first screen, you know this is a title that some time had been put in to. Using the Hi-Color
mode, Obi-Wan's Adventures opens up with brilliant full color photos from the movie retelling the entire movie
in 30 seconds. The player is treated to more photos at the start of each level. It's photos like these that really
show off what can be done with a Game Boy these days.
The detail in the individual characters is amazing, especially considering their size. Unfortunately, it's because
of their size that the screenshots won't do this game justice. On stills they just look like blobs. But in action
you get to see the fluid animation of the characters. The size has also allowed the developers to be able to fit
in several opponents at any one time. This gives you the I'm-surrounded-by-Battle-Droids-but-I'm-not-worried feel
that you get from the Jedi in the movie.
The backgrounds in Obi-Wan's Adventures can sometimes get a little bland. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of
detail in the levels. It's just that it can get that they're all the same color. It means that some important things
like pick-ups can tend to blend in and hide.
Sound & Music
"A disruption in communications can mean only one thing - invasion."
They use the Star Wars music to great effect in Obi-Wan's Adventures. From the Main Theme over the start to the
Duel of the Fates on the first level, all the music suits the scenes perfectly. It changes too. Each level has
it's own music so you never get bored of the same repeated music.
Likewise, the sound effects are of a very high standard. The lasers sound like lasers rather than bleeps. Obi-Wan's
Lightsaber itself has three different sounds for it's attacks. The areas are also full of background noise like
the hum of the engines in the levels set on the Trade Federation ships. This adds that extra sense of depth that
you don't find in many Game Boy games.
"At last we shall reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we shall have
Obi-Wan's Adventures is by far the best Star Wars game I have seen on the Game Boy for a long time, but that does
not mean it is a brilliant game. It's far from it. What it makes up for in graphics and sound, it loses in controls
and playability. If you love the Star Wars franchise, well, you would have bought the game long before you even
read this review. There's nothing I could say that would make you do otherwise. However, if you're the gamer who's
after a solid action game, the down points of Obi-Wan's Adventures mean that you may want to look elsewhere.