The Force is strong with Star Wars: The Last Jedi this weekend, having already cleared $200 million domestically within just three days and promising to be one of the biggest hits of the holiday season. With that, it’s great to see the movie is getting some solid exposure, so people are sure not to miss it.
But not every Star Wars product got it this lucky. There were some that came out and didn’t get nearly as much fanfare as they deserved, whether it was a lack of advertising or people just not being aware of how good these games are. They had their fans, and sold adequately, but we can’t help but think they deserved better exposure.
So join us now as we look back at five sleeper Star Wars favorites that are worth a second glance, if only because they’re so much fun to play. Grab your old video game consoles and let’s take a ride through the galaxy!
Back when Attack of the Clones was making its way into theaters and continuing George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, LucasArts thought, “Hey, what if we put players in control of Jango Fett?” Not Boba Fett, mind you, but someone pretty darn close. Thus, the third-person action game Star Wars: Bounty Hunter was born, giving you access to Fett’s arsenal as he laid waste to enemies and took part in a special hunt hosted by Darth Tyranus.
Some parts of the game haven’t aged well, but the action still remains favorable to some fans. And aside from this year’s Star Wars: Battlefront II, we haven’t had too many opportunities to control a Fett, now have we? If you don’t feel like digging up your old consoles to play this one, don’t worry – you can get it as a PS2 classic on PlayStation 4 for a very reasonable price.
A first-person Star Wars shooter? Why, that’s such a crazy idea, it just might work. And that's just what LucasArts did with Republic Commando, following the events of the Clone Wars from Attack of the Clones as you control the leader of a command team of Clone troopers, taking on all sorts of dangerous adversaries.
The game was quite the rarity at the time, a first-person shooter that was so engaging, even non-Star Wars fans found themselves getting into it. And while some complained about its short time of play and somewhat bland multiplayer, it still offered something wonderful at the time – something we definitely wouldn’t mind revisiting with a sequel down the road.
Star Wars pinball machines are pretty common nowadays, with Sega’s old machine still making the rounds, and Stern releasing a spiffy new model that looks and plays wonderfully. But before those two, Data East released a classic ’92 table that’s still amongst the best from its library.
Featuring an elaborately designed playfield, audio clips from the film, a great music score that took John Williams’ score and remixed it to excellent effect, and a trigger launcher that let you wipe out Stormtroopers with a few well-timed blasts, it was quite entertaining. We’d love to track it down again, and maybe add it to the office. You know, for décor.
A lot of people recognize Atari’s classic Star Wars as the quintessential arcade experience, configuring beautiful vector graphics around the Star Wars world, along with a control scheme that worked very well for it. But that wasn’t the only game to make the rounds.
In the mid-80’s, the company produced Empire Strikes Back, utilizing the same style as the original Star Wars game, but with new scenarios, like shooting AT-AT’s and avoiding incoming damage to your ship. While different from the original game, Empire is great fun, especially if you can find a unit today.
There was Return of the Jedi as well, but that was a more traditionally found machine with a completely different art style. Still, enjoyable to play.
Finally, a lot of attention was given to the Episode I games that came out through 1999, including the self-titled Phantom Menace, along with Jedi Power Battles. But it’s Racer, in my opinion, that fared the best, because it combined the best of both worlds – simple arcade racing with the incredible world of the Star Wars universe.
Taking place across a number of circuits in the galaxy, the game was wonderful because it gave you access to a number of different racers, instead of just “whiny” Anakin. It also offered some neat little upgrades with each victory, along with tracks that really challenged your racing skills. If you haven’t given it a try yet, hunt down a copy and get to racing.
Oh, and make sure you give Sega’s Star Wars: Racer Arcade a try as well. It actually has controls set up like a real pod racer!