Star Wars and video games both grew in scope and popularity around the same time and have shared numerous entries that entertained fans for generations. As we’ve recently discussed, some Star Wars games have not only added to the Star Wars franchise but become enduring classics themselves with their own specific fans.
But as with many cash cow franchises, having Star Wars stamped on the cover doesn’t always guarantee a quality product and certainly doesn’t guarantee a quality video game. Plenty of titles out of the hundred plus games released with the Star Wars license have disappointed fans and gamers over the years.
Here are the biggest pieces of bantha foodoo out there. The most lazy, cynical, unrefined, and or poorly executed video games that ever shamed the name of Star Wars, whose lack of faith is way beyond disturbing. Here are The 15 Worst Star Wars Video Games Ever!
15 STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH (2005)
There was plenty of Jedi action in Revenge of the Sith to be mined for a video game. A 3-D lightsaber hack and slash, with Force powers thrown in and 3-D Fighter boss battles thrown in sounds like a fantastic game. But Revenge of the Sith the game for X-box and Playstation 2 didn’t really live up to its premise.
The game is centered on stringing together combos with various types of lightsaber, force and physical attacks, but the game’s hit detection and enemy physics are totally hit or miss. It really undermines the player’s efforts to keep up sustained hits on the enemies and score higher rated kills when the player can’t be confident that their combos will connect.
The graphics were a bit of an eyesore as well. And the voice acting went for an even hammier, more melodramatic version of the hammy melodramatic delivery in the movie. We didn’t need to hear or see a worse Revenge of the Sith Anakin Skywalker.
14 STAR WARS: OBI-WAN (2001)
It seemed like a novel idea to map the swinging and positioning of a light saber to one of the analogue sticks on a controller. But Star Wars Obi-wan just couldn’t deliver on that novel mechanic. Perhaps some of the fidelity of control was lost when Obi-wan was suddenly and inexplicably converted from a PC game to an X-box exclusive. It was rumored that Obi-wan was originally planned as a sequel to the excellent Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. Fans expecting a new iteration of that game’s dynamic lightsaber combat, maybe even controlling saber movement with the mouse, would be sorely disappointed.
The game also created certain continuity problems with Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Set in the weeks immediately before Obi-wan and Qui-Gon were dispatched to Naboo, Obi-wan apparently encountered and rescued Queen Amidala from criminals during the course of the game, before they ever met in the movie.
13 STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED 2 (2010)
Despite some of the complaints against the first Force Unleashed, the game was well received enough to warrant a sequel. As with the first game, the early trailers were well received, hinting at the continued personal turmoil of Starkiller and even more fantastic applications of the Force and lightsabers. Granting Starkiller two lightsabers was certainly a logical progression for the sequel.
Unfortunately, Force Unleashed 2 was widely regarded as a downgrade from its predecessor. Even with two lightsabers in hand, most of the enemies were sponges for repeated hack and slash hits. Most of the game felt like the player was aimlessly swinging away without any finesse until the Stormtroopers and AT-STs just keeled over.
The sequel’s story also didn’t go over as well as the original’s. Having sacrificed himself to allow the Rebel leaders to escape the Emperor at the end of the first game, the sequel cheapened that resolution of Starkiller’s story by having Vader trying to clone Starkiller and make him more powerful and more obedient.
12 STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS: REPUBLIC HEROES (2009)
It’s usually a telltale sign of a rushed, simplistic, underwhelming tie in licensed game when it is released on all current platforms including the previous generation platforms and mobile platforms. Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes borrows the same wooden animation style from the favorite show as well as the main cast of heroes and villains. The Jedi character missions let one player and a drop-in co-op partner play as Obi-wan and Anakin through various platforming and combat sections. The Clone trooper mission let the player control various clone characters in third person shooter segments.
Both sections are drab and disappointing. The platforming is sloppy and the combat is brainless. The shooting is unintuitive and not at all rewarding. Chrome studios somehow managed to make a passable game in the same style with Jedi Power Battles, but their efforts didn’t hold up for Clone Wars: Republic Heroes.
11 STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (2002)
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones only received one licensed game that specifically used the title of the movie, and it was arguably even worse than the film. In 2002, THQ and LucasArts released Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones on the Gameboy Advance. The game is more or less faithful to the events of the film and lets the player take control of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi, and Mace Windu at appropriate locations. The levels are mostly sidescrollers with a few vehicle and space combat sections.
Attack of the Clones for GBA is about as bad of an under-developed movie tie-in game as you can imagine. The controls are unwieldy, the challenge of the game is non-existent, the level designs are dull and repetitive and the game uses a dated password save system. There was just not enough care or effort put into this cash grab to make it a worthwhile game. The game was even released months before the film came out so it was hardly a fulfilling way to experience the story or action of the movie for the first time.
10 STAR WARS GALAXIES (THE NEW GAME ENHANCEMENTS) (2003)
By early 2005, SONY Online Entertainment and LucasArt’s Star Wars Galaxies had become and exciting and unique Star Wars MMORPG. While the game was admittedly unbalanced and time consuming, the sheer variety of gameplay options and player generated content was astounding, including mix and match professions, player cities and economies and an unlockable Jedi profession. While it was set in the early Galactic Civil War the game kept Jedi somewhat rare by having the class unlock conditions hidden until dedicated players finally unlocked the dangerous and difficult class.
Then, inexplicably and suddenly, SOE decided to upend all that hard work and customization with the release of the New Game Enhancements in 2005. The 34 customizable professions were condensed down to 9, including Jedi being playable right from the first character creation screen. Many subscribers were furious at these changes which they felt cheapened the efforts of players who unlocked Jedi prior to the update and dumbed down the overall combat.
There are still thousands of players who love one version of the game or the other, but the NGE for Star Wars Galaxies are still one of the most frustrating experiences Star Wars video gamers can ever remember.
9 STAR WARS: REBEL ASSAULT (1993)
One of the earliest CD-ROM games developed by LucasArts, Star Wars: Rebel Assault was a rail shooter that used full motion video and pre-rendered 3-D graphics to put the player in the cockpit of an X-wing. The game followed an aspiring rebel pilot known only as Rookie One who basically takes the place of Luke Skywalker. He starts out as a farmer on Tatooine and gets to do all the heroic missions that Luke partook in the original trilogy, except with a more official Rebel training regimen. The game even went so far as to replace big character moments with anonymous stand ins. For example it doesn’t have Han Solo swoop in at the end of the Death Star trench.
Despite having a lot of impressive technical capabilities under the hood for the time, Star Wars Rebel Assault was pretty disappointing as a game. The controls virtually ensured the player would crash into environmental objects and the game’s real time rendered graphics were largely unattractive.
8 STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS: LIGHTSABER DUELS (2008)
Gamers quickly saw the potential in the Wiimote to become a realistic controller for a lightsaber and Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels was one of the only games to take a shot at realizing that fantasy. For better or worse the game stuck only to characters that appeared in the Clone Wars TV show, even though it managed to get the show’s voice actors to reprise their corresponding roles for the video game.
But the make or break aspect was the gameplay after all, and unfortunately it fell flat as a pancake. The motion controls were imprecise and incorporating extra swings and combinations with the nunchuck during the heat of a duel was unintuitive. The campaign only let you play as Anakin, Obi-wan and Ahsoka through events depicted in and surrounding several of the show’s episodes. And the only other mode were simple challenges where all the playable fighters were available.
7 STAR WARS EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999)
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace the video game could technically be described as an action adventure game. You follow various playable heroes through the padded out events of Episode 1 dispatching droids with lightsabers and blasters and you also follow menu based conversations with various characters to advance the quest, not unlike Knights of the Old Republic of four years later. Would that either the action or the dialogue menus were anywhere near the quality of KOtoR.
The combat is simplistic and repetitive, despite the access to blasters, thermal detonators and rocket launchers as well as lightsabers for Obi-wan and Qui-Gon. The environments and character models are hideous and the camera severely limits the player's perspective. One of the only redeeming qualities about the game is the opportunity to kill npcs, including plot central characters, for some game and narrative breaking mayhem.
6 STAR WARS: SUPER BOMBAD RACING (2001)
A Star Wars cart racer doesn’t necessarily sound like the worst idea on paper. But Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing is a cheaply made, missed opportunity of a licensed game. Even just reskinning any of the Mario Cart games would have made for a better experience.
The first misstep is that the game skips most of the Star Wars movies in favor of tracks and racers based on characters that only appeared in Phantom Menace. That does mean you get to see Yoda and Darth Maul cruise around in cart racers but the roster also includes Boss Nass and Jar Jar Binks. And the characters all had cartoonishly large heads disproportionate to their movie counterparts. The track design was uninspired and the controls were nowhere near as precise and responsive, again as compared to Mario Cart. If you’re looking for an irreverent jaunt through the Star Wars universe, you’d might as well stick to the LEGO Star Wars games instead.
5 STAR WARS: DEMOLITION (2000)
The late 1990s saw the first wave of popularity for vehicular combat video games like Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8. In 2000, the developers of Vigilante 8, Luxoflux, partnered with LucasArts to develop a vehicular combat game based on the Star Wars universe called Star Wars: Demolition for the Playstation and SEGA Dreamcast.
In the game, the Empire outlaws podracing, specifically Jabba the Hutt’s podracing racket. So Jabba announces a new outlet for all the pent up destruction in the galaxy’s criminal element. Boba Fett, Lobot, Darth Maul and Leia (of all people) entered to compete for prizes. Plenty of iconic vehicles and weapons from the movies were playable including AT-STs, ATTs, snowspeeders, STAPs, Jetpacks, Podracers and even a Rancor mount. Aside from the macabre satisfaction of seeing the seedier characters in Star Wars blow each other up in gameplay and in cut scenes, this derivative game had nothing to offer from the use of its license.
4 STAR WARS: MASTERS OF TERÄS KÄSI (1997)
With lightsaber duels being one of the most iconic elements of Star Wars action, a fighting game based on the franchise seemed like a no brainer. LucasArts developed just such a game themselves in 1997 exclusively for the Playstation called Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi. The 3D fighter was similar to other prominent games in the genre, like Tekken, at least in general design.
The end product had none of the depth or dynamic combat that other similar titles boasted. The controls and balance were terrible, not to mention the blocky graphics and discouragingly poor frame rate for a fighting game. The game’s attractive roster of Galactic Civil War Era characters, including Darth Vader, Luke, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Mara Jade and both slave bikini and bounty hunter Leia, weren’t enough to redeem this unpolished mess. The only other time Star Wars characters have appeared in a dedicated fighting game was as guest cameos in Soul Calibur 4.
3 KINECT STAR WARS (2012)
SONY and Microsoft were in a pretty blatant race to compete with the motion controls offered by the Nintendo Wii by 2010. One ace (or dud) Microsoft had in its favor was the promise of a motion control Star Wars game for their proprietary Kinect peripheral.
Unfortunately the final product was an insulting, measly offering of minigames that didn’t play well and further let down video gamers hoping for a decent Star Wars motion control game. Turned out that the lack of a physical controller of any kind for the Kinect was inadequate for capturing the feeling of wielding a physical lightsaber and it didn’t help that all the gestures for swinging the saber or using the Force were imprecise. The racing and rancor rampage modes were even more of throwaways. But the worst part of all was the Galactic Dance-off. Watching Han Solo, Leia, Boba Fett and company pantomime dance moves for the player to Star Wars themed versions of pop songs at the time was more than fans could stomach.
2 STAR WARS: FLIGHT OF THE FALCON (2003)
One has to wonder what the Gameboy Advance ever did to THQ and LucasArts. After the terrible Attack of the Clones movie tie in game in 2002. THQ and LucasArts released Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon developed by Pocket Studios in 2003. The game aimed to give players a portable chance to pilot the Millennium falcon and other iconic craft against the Empire while following a story focused on Han Solo and Chewbacca.
The game was panned almost ubiquitously. The Gameboy’s controls were not at all suited to a pseudo 3-D level design. The graphics were not only repulsive to look at but did a terrible job of conveying any sense of space for navigating the environments. The game also gave players a double whammy of overly long repetitive levels with a password save system. So even if you wanted to continue at the exact tedious point from where you left off, it was inconvenient to do so.
1 STAR WARS: YODA STORIES (1997)
In Empire Strikes Back we got to see some of the more crucial moments in Luke’s early training with the Force on Dagobah. Moments like his encounter with the phantom in the cave, where his own face was revealed under the mask of Darth Vader, or when Yoda demonstrated some of the true potential of the Force by lifting Luke's X-wing from the swamp.
Star Wars: Yoda Stories has none of those moments. Instead we get to tread through the rest of the tedious busy work Yoda apparently gave Luke as part of his Force training. Even though the levels were procedurally generated, there was no depth at all to the missions or the mechanics. There’s no overarching goal to the game itself and the only available quests involve fetching keys or solving puzzles. Not even a cameo from a bewildered Indiana Jones can make up for the boredom of Yoda Stories.
Are there any other terrible Star Wars games you’ve had the misfortune to play? Tell us in the comments!