Star Wars video games are nearly as old as the franchise itself, which skyrocketed to fame with the very first film in the seventies (well, technically the fourth film) and has never looked back. It has become a cash cow for any developer able to sway George Lucas into agreeing to let them produce a video game, and fans of the series have always salivated over a new game that puts them as close to the galaxy far, far away as possible. However, both fans and critics have high expectations. There's very little nudge room whenever an entry makes its debut, which puts a lot of pressure on developers. Unfortunately, some crack under the pressure, with abysmal attempts that are scorned for decades. But some latch onto some of the elements of the fantasy universe and get them just right, with an attention to detail and authenticity well-received and applauded by the masses. Here are my picks of those worthy of the Emperor's praise, as well as others that should be thrown into a steaming pile of bantha poodoo.
Your character designation in Star Wars: Rebel Assault was "Rookie One," which was laughably appropriate, as the game itself seemed like it was baked by rookie developers. Compared to the X-Wing/TIE Fighter series, which came out around the same time, Rebel Assault was just an overall failure. The controls were probably its biggest crime, with hyper-sensitivity bound to careen you into a canyon wall a million times over. The space combat was even worse, as the ship was on autopilot the entire time. Players simply controlled the crosshairs to take down enemies, which were incredibly inaccurate since laser shots would follow the reticle even after they'd been fired. The graphics didn't help either, with choppy environments and clunky frame rate issues, causing players to crash and burn even more times. The lack of a save feature meant you'd be entering passwords so many times that it felt like you'd been kept after class to write them on a chalkboard.
By now, many retailers have relocated their Game Boy Advance cartridges into a glass case that can hold hundreds of them, all for bargain basement prices. This poor Star Wars entry, however, doesn't even deserve that prestige. The graphics may have looked decent (for a GBA game), especially in the piloting levels, but the controls were so God-awful that it was painfully obvious how quickly this game was rushed through production, whizzing by any quality assurance testing. You couldn't swing the lightsaber while standing still, it was nearly impossible to block unless you were standing still, and the button-to-action delay had you anticipating every attack, an infinitely harder task when enemies seemed to pop out of nowhere. The stages were also atrocious, keeping you walking straight ahead for the most part, with a major detachment between the character sprites and the background.
This imaginative prequel, which followed Obi-Wan Kenobi up to the events of Episode I, was an action adventure plagued with a lack of content. The combat itself was rather enjoyable, with plenty of attacks and force powers that allowed you to tackle even large groups of enemies. Trying to keep the camera at the right spot, though, made it more challenging, as you had to constantly make adjustments in order to keep all the enemies onscreen. The different attack combinations may have been fun, but spotty enemy A.I. made it rather timid on the difficulty scale. Speaking of scale, some areas were huge, but completely void of anything. There was no interaction with anything but the enemies, and after they were gone Obi-Wan would be all alone in sterile hallways and control rooms. The graphics were well below what the standard was for the Xbox system, and the geometric design looked more like something out of Star Fox than Star Wars.
I hate to put a nail in Galaxies' coffin, since after eight years it will be shutting down for good and this must especially sting for those who've spent hundreds of hours toiling away. But the toil is exactly what puts Galaxies on the worst list, as the character progression was so monotonous and tedious that a better format from developer Sony Online Entertainment would have saved us many a precious hour. The graphics were a step ahead of the competition when it launched, but the lack of content was blatantly apparent and the story was simply far beneath the epic tale penned by Lucas. The Jump to Lightspeed expansion unlocked spacefaring and combat, as well as new class options, but other major updates, namely the Combat Upgrade and New Game Enhancements, tackled certain issues with exploitation, causing backlash and a massive drop in subscribers. Dwindling numbers meant crunching servers together, which opened major lag issues. It had all the MMO requirements, but lacked the addiction and inevitably felt like a chore to play.
Another Game Boy title and another horrid product, Yoda Stories started out as a Windows game but somehow got trimmed down for the portable. A total of fifteen fetch quest levels with no definitive goal, awful mouse control translation onto the handheld, and inferior graphics put this title among the worst games ever made. It was definitely the worst among Star Wars games. If you have never even heard of this game, you're lucky. Now don't give it another thought.