Day 2: Its 12:52, we're at Dom's house, and the update still isn't done.
Once again, the intrepid adventurers descended upon the Los Angeles Convention Center for Day Two of E3 2001. Today we saw some more Star Wars games, which I'm going to write about, but as a reward for reading about them, at the end are some far cooler reports, detailing an interview with Simon Jeffery, lunch with Tom Sarris and Dominic Armato, and over an hour and a half long chat with Mike Stemmle and Sean Clark. The oddest thing about all of those is that they all took place in the same corridor, purely by chance.
- Stemmle (or was it Clark? We don't remember!) talking about his new project.
The first Star Wars game I'm going to talk about today is Rogue Squadron II on the Gamecube. We had some high expectations of this game after we saw the cool AVI movie of the game footage, and we weren't let down. It looks great (for a console game). I don't pretend to know a whole lot about the Rogue Squadron series, but I do know this is one game I would like to play through. Its back in the time of the classic Star Wars Trilogy, so basically its main selling point is the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter-style assaults on the Death Star, but the fun doesn't end there. The other levels include assaults on Star Destroyers and Cloud City among other things. I'm pretty sure a Hoth level is going to be in there at some point. It seems fun to play; you can choose form a variety of starships and control your wingmen. You can even send them off to go kill other stuff that you can't be bothered with. The Gamecube is definitely a far better console than I imagined it would be.
For now, I'll pass you over to Andrew "telarium" Langley for some coverage of some more Star Wars games.
What? Where am I? Who the hell ARE you people!? Talk about Star Wars games? Uh, okay. The first game I previewed was Star Wars: Battle Grounds, and I must admit, this is a game I was nowhere near excited about seeing. The screenshots that had been posted on the LucasArts site thus far were just mediocre. However, I can assure you that the graphics really spring to life when animated on a computer monitor. The first thing that the LucasArts employee mentioned when operating the demo was that the user has the option of playing both classic and new Star Wars scenarios. You can battle it out on the ice planet Hoth between the Rebels and The Empire or you can duke it out with the Gungans on Theed. Each environment has its own feel and art work, which keeps the game feeling fresh and new. The man showing the demo commented that no environment artwork was used in more than one scenario.
The events in a game follow some of the story elements from the film. For example, if you're playing as the Empire on the planet Hoth, your goal is to destroy the ion cannon to keep the Rebels from escaping. There seemed to be some buzz about the use of Wookiees in the game. When asked what kinds of resources would be available for the Wookiees to fight with, the LucasArts employee mentioned that the battle habits of Wookiees had not yet been established, so LucasArts pretty much had free reign on what to do with them. No other Wookiee-related comments were made.
Of course, emphasis was placed on the fact that this is the first game from LucasArts to use a scenario editor. The scenario demonstrated, which was made by LucasArts employees, placed an army of Rebel soldiers against the infamous Darth Vader. Imagine a pack of Rebels firing rapidly on the approaching Darth Vader, yet their lasers do nothing as he takes each soldier down with a slice from his lightsaber. Unfortunately, a few Banthas got in the way and were tragically killed.
Overall, Star Wars: Battlegrounds seems to be a game that will entertain strategy game players. Even though I had little interest in this game before seeing it in action, I did walk away with more respect for this Star Wars title.
I wish I could say the same about Star Wars: Racer Revenge.
The game takes place between the first and second Star Wars episodes. Anakin has returned to race his pod against the bitter Sebulba. This time, each pod has its own health meter. The more you run into the pods, the less health they get and they eventually crash. The man running the demo said that their goal was to make the pod crashes more like in the film, which were impressive and rather violent. However, the pod crash in the game did little to make me go, "Oooh." I never did play the original racer game, but this seems nothing really new to me.
So that was my impression of the Star Wars games that I viewed. Now I'll hand it back over to Spaff so he can comment about the impressive private demo of an unannounced Star Wars game.