With The Last Jedi due to hit theatres very soon I decided to take a look at an older Star Wars game that no one ever seems to mention, good or bad; Star Wars: The Battle for Naboo. I know that Rogue Squadron, Racer, and Shadows of the Empire were the huge Star Wars games on the Nintendo 64, but Battle for Naboo deserves some credit as well. The game takes place during the mostly panned Prequel trilogy and I think just due to that people don’t give it a shot, which is quite sad. Factor 5 was the king of Star Wars game on Nintendo consoles for quite a few years, and I’m still surprised hardcore flight sim fans pass this title up. The game plays just like Rogue Squadron, except you are on Prequel planets using Prequel vehicles; it is really well done.
The first thing that I noticed when I got past all the companies that brought us this title was the fact that this cartridge game has the actual Duel of the Fates by John Williams playing during the menu. This was unheard of on cartridge games back then, we were lucky if we got midi music during the game, not full scores. The song also instilled huge nostalgia in my heart, I hadn’t heard that song in quite some time and it took me back to when Episode 1 was the talk of the town. The Prequel movies were my Star Wars movies that I really got involved in and many a great memory is linked to that song and those movies. Once I entered my name and started the first mission I heard actual voices as well, this was another unheard of thing on cartridges and it was a nice surprise as I rumbled my speeder around Naboo looking for my commanding officer. The nostalgia factor plays high in this game for me, and I can’t wait to dig out more Prequel era games and enjoy them once again.
Star Wars: Battle for Naboo takes place over fifteen missions that run alongside the story in The Phantom Menace. You play as Gavin Sykes, a soldier for the Resistance, and you get enjoy battling The Trade Federation all over Naboo. Sykes begins his arduous campaign during The Fall of Theed and must rescue Captain Kael from Federation droids. You continue this fight all over Naboo, gaining interesting allies, like the Hutts and liberation certain parts of Naboo once Queen Amidala returns. The story is a nice little tale of what was happening while Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan were traipsing all over the galaxy in their shiny cruiser. It isn’t an epic tale, but it is nice enough to move us from level to level so that we can finish the fight with the evil Trade Federation.
I was surprised how good the controls were in this game considering the design of the N64 controller. Obviously, the Thumbstick controls your vehicle, and it actually feels right while holding this controller, I never got a hand cramp like I use to with other N64 games. While in your vehicle pressing A is thrust and B is primary weapon, secondary weapon is on the yellow d-pad, press the left one and you’ll get your torpedo’s and such. Hard-brake is the Z button, pressing this with Right Trigger, tight turn will be needed for tight turns since there are some (shudder) timed missions. The gray d-pad allows you to switch views from close-view, first-person view, and normal view; these can help you get through some tough spots, but I found I never really need to change from the normal view I was given. These controls may sound a bit daunting, but after a few trials and errors, you will be fragging The Trade Federation with no problem.
Factor 5 really surprised me with Star Wars: Battle for Naboo, having owned all their other Star Wars related titles, I was always reluctant to purchase this one. I don’t know if it was the Prequel stigma or just the fact that I’m not too great at vehicle-based games, and this game is one of the more difficult vehicle-based games that I have played. The 15 levels make it a pretty long game as well, which is always welcome when you’re spending your money on an older title. If you’re a big Star Wars fan or vehicle-based game fan you should give this title a look, I’m somewhat ashamed that it took me so long to get it into my collection. I hope that many Star Wars fans can let go of their hatred for the Prequels and pick up a cheap copy of this title, you won’t be disappointed and may even find some enjoyment out of the Prequels somehow.
Star Wars: Battle for Naboo
- The nostalgia factor is huge in this title
- Controls are very good considering they are on the N64 controller
- Graphics aren't as bad as I thought they would be
- Game has actual music and voice-over dialogue, rare for a cartridge game
- Maps are garbage in this game
- Game is very difficult, to my suprise