Oh, Star Wars. For every Knights of the Old Republic or Battlefront we are gifted with, there are a dozen more terrible games clogging up stores, tons of games in every possible genre that simply don’t understand what makes the universe so special.
Last week, we took a look at the best Star Wars games ever made. Today we take a look back at some of the most Star Wars video games we’ve suffered through, the numerous cheap cash-ins and downright broken games that have threatened to besmirch its good name.
Here is Screen Rant’s list of the 12 Worst Star Wars Video Games Ever Made.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan (2001)
A spiritual follow-up to the excellent Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, PC gamers were originally upset to find out that Star Wars: Obi-Wan would be an Xbox exclusive, at least until they saw what it was and realized they had dodged a bullet. The game lets you play as the young Jedi in the events leading up to Episode 1 which, yes, means that this is a prequel to a prequel, though you eventually get to the events of the first film and play through “classic” battles like the Darth Maul fight.
An action title with a broken camera that always leaves you with the worst possible angle during battles, it also features massive, empty levels that give you nothing to do between each boring combat. The game tried to do some interesting things with lightsaber combat by mapping it to the Xbox analog stick, allowing you to flick it in various directions to control the lightsaber. But this couldn’t fix the broken level design or muddy graphics. A poor first showcase for the series on Xbox.
Star Wars: Yoda Stories (1997)
Released for PC in 1997 during LucasArts’ waning phase, Star Wars: Yoda Stories is the game that killed their attempted “Desktop Adventures” series that kicked off with Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures. This was a time when LucasArts had abandoned their classic adventure games and were trying new things, and mostly failing at them.
Yoda Stories looks like a cutesy Pokemon-type game at first glance: a top-down RPG that sees Luke Skywalker completing tasks in the swamps of Dagobah. Rather than doing anything cool like lifting X-Wings out of the murk or fighting yourself in that creepy cave, you’re tasked with all sorts of laborious missions, detailed by some absolutely terrible writing. You will slowly trudge around the world getting into battles with Stormtroopers where they disappear with little bloop sounds when you shoot them.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (2010)
This should have been a no-brainer. The Force Unleashed is not a bad game and it really makes you feel like you’re a master of the force, but it has many issues. Too many QTEs, too much frustrating gameplay, and a linear, repetitive experience left many gamers with a bad taste in their mouth. So there was hope for a sequel, but they were soon dashed when The Force Unleashed II hit.
This time one of the best parts of the original, the compelling story, was gone. It still looks and controls great but by starting you off with all the powers from the first game, you felt overpowered from the beginning with nowhere to really go. Many people blamed the rushed production schedule for it and dismissed it as a cash-in, and poor sales showed the distrust of the game. Maybe another installment in the future could pick things back up, because there’s certainly potential here.
Star Wars: Rebel Assault (1993)
Remember when Commander Jake Farrell swooped in with his A-Wing to save Rookie One just before he destroyed the first Death Star? That was a great Star Wars moment, wasn’t
Well if you were looking for fidelity to the films, you will find none in Star Wars: Rebel Assault. Rather than playing Luke Skywalker, you play as Rookie One (a way to not pay for the voice actors and likenesses?) and do all the same heroic things Luke did in this rail shooter. Despite the weird loss of the classic characters, the game wouldn’t be so bad if it just focused on the ships. After all, you fight on Hoth, destroy the Death Star, and generally do all the things you’d expect from a Star Wars game, but frustrating controls that made you push the aiming reticule far to the right or left of the screen just to turn made it almost impossible to beat.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes (2009)
The Clone Wars is a better series than anyone could have hoped for, but along with it came the inevitable cash-in games. Case in point: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes, which is not just an unwieldy title, but an unwieldy game.
The first thing you’ll notice when you start it up is how ugly the graphics are, and next you’ll realize that it’s a platformer that features terrible controls. Yoda will keep popping up to tell you what to do and you have to hit a button to shut him up, and that goes on for hours. Another annoying element is that you have to use droids to do everything. Want to break through a rock barrier? You’ll have to jump on top of an enemy droid to do it- nevermind that you’re playing a super-powered Jedi who has a lightsaber strapped to his hip. The game is clearly aimed at a younger audience, but you have much better options than to bore them with this.
Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing (2001)
“Mario has his own kart racing game! Sonic does too! hell, even Crash Bandicoot does! Let’s make our own!”
This is likely the reasoning behind why we were forced to suffer through cutesy, super-deformed versions of Obi Wan and Darth Maul in this otherwise standard kart racer, Super Bombad Racing. If there was no license attached to this game, we’d never have known of its existence, and that would be a good thing. It adds nothing to the genre and has sloppier controls than many of the more famous titles in the genre.
Worse than that, this game only features characters from The Phantom Menace, so it’s entirely possibly that you will be lapped by Jar-Jar Binks. Thankfully, gamers saw it for what it was and the PS2 version was the only one that was actually released, with planned Dreamcast and PC ports cancelled.
Kinect Star Wars (2012)
This, more than any other game, may have been what killed the promise of the Xbox Kinect. The concept of Kinect Star Wars is certainly sound enough, as it’s a series of mini-games that let you use gestures to control the force, play as a Rancor beast, or even (gulp) dance the night away as Han Solo.
Well, scratch that last one. Still, the idea of being able to jump in front of your TV and play a Star Wars game just by moving around was thrilling… but the execution? Broken. Gestures never worked as advertised, and when they did, you realized how shallow even these few mini-games were. You’ll never want to play one for more than a few minutes, although, amusingly enough, the dancing segments worked the best. But if you want a dancing game, you should probably pick up Just Dance or Dance Central instead, something that’s an actual full-featured dancing game that doesn’t feature the Emperor getting down.
Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi (1997)
Oof. Where to start with this one?
A PlayStation-exclusive fighting game that finally lets you decide who would win in a battles between Slave Leia or Boba Fett, or Darth Vader and a Gamorrean Guard; Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi is likely the worst Star Wars game ever made. Just the concept is infuriating enough, as you watch lightsaber-wielding Jedis wacking at Storm Troopers and Tusken Raiders over and over without much damage, while the firearm-based characters need to charge up their weapons to shoot, leaving them basically defenseless against the faster Jedis. This left you with a fighting game that only had a few characters that were worth controlling. Muddy graphics with a terrible framerate meant that it looks as bad as it plays.
Star Wars: Demolition (2000)
Ostensibly Star Wars: Twisted Metal with none of the charm of its influence, Demolition uses the Vigilante 8 game engine (another far superior game!) and seems to break it in every place it can. It’s a car combat game that sees you controlling various characters and vehicles and facing all sorts of clipping problems as you zoom around the world, struggling in vain with the ornery controls.
The story is equally silly. Podracing has been banned, so you’re playing a game hosted by Jabba the Hutt that has people flying around blowing each other up instead. The game features all the usual locations that make even less sense in the context of that story (why oh why are we on Hoth again.)
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Notice how many of these terrible games are based on Episode I? Perhaps it’s because the source material was so poor, but whatever the reason, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is a terrible third-person action game. It’s made worse by a camera that’s almost looking down on you from above, so high it is, and just as hard to control. That means you’re constantly getting shot by off-screen enemies and trying to wrench the camera around to find the location of the danger.
Most of the game sees you fighting off droids, although there are plenty of switches to activate and blocks to push. You know, just like in the movie.
Star Wars: Jedi Arena (1983)
Haven’t you always wanted to play with a Seeker Ball? You know, that thing that Luke trained with a lightsaber. Well your wish is Parker Brothers command, as they released this tripe for the Atari 2600, a system known for its extensive quality control.
Jedi Arena is a two-player game where to Jedi Knights play as Red and Blue characters and have to wave their lightsabers around to defend against laser blasts coming from the Seeker Ball. The Seeker ball is controlled by your opponent but it also can go off by itself and just start shooting all over the place, and you have to survive longer than your opponent. That’s all there is to it.
Star Wars: Attack Squadrons (2014)
Despite releasing in a playable beta, this game was so lackluster that Disney pulled the plug on it before it was even released.
Star Wars: Attack Squadrons was going to be a free-to-play browser game that allowed you to control various Star Wars ships in 16-player battles, but Disney abruptly cancelled it with no warning, saying that that they made the decision “so that we can focus on other Star Wars game experiences.” Ouch.
Rather than the X-Wing/Tie Fighter sequel we all were hoping for, we were going to get a game full of microtransactions, so perhaps this was for the best. Let’s see what Disney and EA do with the license next.
Are you still traumatized by any of these games, or are there any worse ones that affected you? Let us know in the comments below!