Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
We always hoped it was true, but we never dared believe the rumours. Way back in 1997, while visiting the LucasArts HQ just outside San Francisco, California, heard that a number of people at LucasArts were working on two top-secret projects dial would be ready for a simultaneous release with the first (then unnamed).
Episode 1 movie.
Last month LucasArts announced that The Phantom Menace and Episode 1 Racer would be released at the end of May/June, and the whole world almost wet itself with excitement. While Episode 1 Racer does indeed look pretty special, the game that's getting Star Wars fans most moist in the trouser department is the one that follows the plot and shares the name of the forthcoming movie.
Use The Force
Unlike Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2, where you assumed the role of a certain Kyle Katarn, in The Phantom Menace you get to play four different characters (see panel opposite) who actually feature in the movie, changing roles at various points when the storyline demands. For the majority of the game you control one of the two Jedi: Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi Wan Kenobi (Ewan MacGregor). The action is Tomb Raider-style, top-down 3D with a CPU-controlled camera that moves capably to frame the action. Just like Lara, you can run, jump, swim, climb and fight - just as you could in Dark Forces 11. Similarly, a number of more sophisticated manoeuvres can be pulled off, along with certain special 'Force' moves such as the Force Push. One particularly smart feature is the ability to block laser fire with your lightsaber, a relatively simple yet effective manoeuvre that you can't help but gasp at when you first see it.
Live The Movie
As the title suggests, the game faithfully follows the movie in terms of plot, character and location. You start off as Obi Wan Kenobi alongside your mentor Qui-Gon Jinn, aboard a Trade Federation battleship above the planet Naboo. As the game progresses, you get the opportunity to explore various locations on, around and beneath the planet, as well as the remote deserts of Tatooine and the densely populated capital Coruscant. The game is full of a variety of NPCs that are featured in the movie, including Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Jabba the Hutt. Seamless in-engine cinematics help to keep you thoroughly absorbed, while occasional dialogue with the key characters ensures that you're always informed as to the state of affairs.
Although The Phantom Menace is very much an action/adventure game, if s not move-and-fire, hack-and-slash. There are a number of one-on-one confrontations with major characters, but not all the levels require you to fight your way out of trouble. One set piece, for example, requires you (as Captain Panaka) to safely escort the Queen through the gigantic city of Espa while being chased across rofftops by a myriad of baddies.
Believe The Hype
The Phantom Menace is undoubtedly a Star Wars fan's wet dream come true. Exquisite visuals coupled with an engaging and progressive storyline make it a potential candidate for Game Of The Decade. Hopefully it will live up to the hype.
The Phantom Menace throws up more than its fair share of puzzles to confound young Jedis. But, rather than drag you through the whole saga, here's a strategy guide to the most tricky problems.
Level 1: Trade Federation Battleship
It's very straightforward until you reach the puzzle at the end where platforms mock you by shifting and sliding around for no apparent reason.
The elevator leads to the exit, but it's inactive, so go right through this small tunnel. An obstruction blocks your path. Head left and use this hand scanner to clear the path ahead. With the barrier removed, another hand scanner is revealed. Use it and wait for the catwalk to move in front of you. Use the hand scanner at the end and quickly back off the catwalk before it moves again. Return to the elevator to complete the level.
Level 2: Swamps Of Naboo
The swamps of Naboo pose little threat and it's impossible to get lost. There are several occasions when you're ambushed by full squadrons of Battledroids and there is a puzzle that presents a dead end. The game environment is littered with clues to aid progress. Here, the disturbed earth indicates that this hollow log should be pushed towards the mound of earth.
A change of perspective gives a bird's-eye view of the scene as you jump up and negotiate two logs leading to an apparent dead end.
Once across the logs, turn right and double-jump up the grassy bank. You'll grab just enough vegetation to be able to clamber up. Faced with two back-to-back double jumps whilst under attack, a bit of lateral thinking is required it you're to reach Jar Jar Binks. Another change of perspective reveals a vine hanging overhead. You still need to anticipate the Stapp attack pattern, but going 'Tarzan' will save you hours of frustration.
Level 3: Otah Cuca
This prison complex comprises of a series of underwater tunnels. Navigation is simple, with only one route to Jar Jar's cell. The guards aren't hostile, but there are a couple of tricky puzzles.
Your progress is blocked by a locked door. There are four pillars in a side room, one of which is lower than the others. Push the box to the pillar, jump up and trip the switch. Doing this will lower another platform and provide access to another switch. Repeat the exercise for all the platforms and the pit will eventually open. Jump onto the green pressure pad to clear the way ahead.
Level 4: Cardens Oftheed
This level is divided into three main sections: the gardens (reasonably safe and easily navigable), the approach to the Palace (heavily guarded and protected by a difficult maze), and finally the Palace itself (which consists of a series of button pushing/water lowering problems). Only two situations really test the grey matter. Initial progress is rapid until you meet an apparent dead end. Looking across the chasm, notice the black and silver device mounted on a concrete block. Either deflect the incoming flak to destroy the object, or shoot it with your gun to extend the bridge across the water.
Level 5: City Of Theed
This would be an easy level were it not for the baggage that you're forced to take with you (it's actually the old bag herself - the Queen). Unfortunately, although her Royal Highness slows you down, her survival is necessary to complete the level. Here's how to keep her alive: Push this statue some considerable distance, otherwise, her Royal Largeness won't squeeze through the gap.
Deep into the city complex a Battletank blocks the locked gate. Work your way round to the rear of the tank and shoot the droid. This gunfire will cause the tank to move off, revealing the switch that opens the gate.
You'll arrive at a set of closed blast doors. Backtrack to these stairs by the star logo and go up and through the room with the nagging wench in.
Climb out through the window and along this vine. Locate the door switch in a side room and rejoin the Queen to continue onward.
Level 6: Mos Espa
pace. Put your weapon away, because it's time to go shopping. Using the little cash you have and your Jedi powers of persuasion, you need to acquire two fuel converters, a servo control and a mass coupler.
Level 7: Mos Espaarena
This is another sedate level where the aim is to fix Anakin's podracer so that he can win the race, and his freedom.
The first obstacle is Jabba's champion. Keep moving, and use your weapon of choice - your lightsaber - to slay the slovenly beast. Watto holds the key to completing this level, but the locals won't tell you where he is. Loosen their tongues by buying drinks. To find the ignition capacitor to start Anakin's podracer, push this false wall in the room overlooking the race Arena. Kill the monster guarding the device and return it to Anakin to complete the level.
Level 8: Encounter In The Desert
This level looks and plays like an afterthought and is by far the easiest in the whole adventure. You'll fight Darth Maul twice in the desert, but don't waste your time trying to kill him - it's impossible.
Level 9: Coruscant
This is a long and taxing level that contains a tricky 30 crate moving puzzle that causes major aggravation. You'll arrive at a pit containing a lowered lift and two crates (although one is behind a force field). Jump into the pit and move one crate to the corner (by the broken railing). Jump up and enter the control room. Use the left lever to raise the lift and close down the force field. After a few seconds push the lever again to lower the lift. Push the box that was behind the force field onto the lift and use the lever to raise it Then push the first crate to the lift and climb up onto it.
Push the box from the lift to the edge of the precipice and flick the call button for the floating platform. Use the crate as a springboard to climb aboard.
Level 10: Assault Ontheed
You switch repeatedly between the Queen and Obi-Wan. As the Queen, you'll be battling against legions of battfedroids. and as Obi-Wan you have to take on Darth Maul again with your lightsaber. As the Queen, you encounter an impregnable blast door. Go off to the right and speak to the soldier and the R2 unit. R2 will then open the door by the wounded soldier. Blow up the power generator inside to force the door open.
Level 11: The Final Battle
This is the longest level, which sees you controlling the Queen and Obi-Wan again. Tasked with collecting all the hidden key passes, it's finding and collecting the red key that proves the most taxing problem. Move the box by the elevator onto it. Go upstairs and drag the other crate to the ledge above the elevator and drop it off.
Download Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
PC compatible, P-100
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace Screenshots and Media
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