Ah, yes, Shadows of the Empire. There's huge nostalgia for this one, and it has its moments — specifically the opening Hoth battle which stands head-and-shoulders above anything else the game has to offer — but it undeniably benefited from the fact that there were so few games available for the N64 for several months following launch. Players who did pick it up paid an arm and a leg and were possibly inclined to give it more chances than it deserved. It's not the worst game on this list by quite some margin, but it's probably best left in the memory banks. Time hasn't been kind to ol' Dash Rendar.
Still, cracking box art, no?
The best thing about this game is the other games it features. Included on the disc is almost the entirety of Rogue Leader now playable in split screen 2-player mode. It also features the original Atari Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi arcade games. These alone make it worth picking this game up if you see it cheap.
Rebel Strike itself, though? Oh dear. You think the on-foot sections might be passable, then you play them and realise no, they're just terrible. Simply delete the marquee game from the disc and this is actually a fine Star Wars package.
This lacklustre third-person shooter served as a prequel to Attack of the Clones (well, it kind had to considering how — SPOILERS! — Jango loses a vital body part in the movie), and despite looking and sounding passable (and having a wicked cover), it didn't have the necessary technical chops to make it memorable in any way. A shame, but perhaps we'll see this sort of game done right in the future. Star Wars 1313 might have been cancelled, but Mandalorians are so hot right now.
Taking the multiplayer duel mode from The Force Unleashed and stretching an entire game out of it, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels also stripped out some of the complexity of its progenitor and offered fewer fighters. Anyone looking for their dream 1:1 lightsaber game would also be disappointed - this as Waggle City. Not bad, but it had the potential to be so much more.
Another Ubisoft entry, Star Wars: Lethal Alliance put a Twi'lek on the cover, which is about the most exciting thing it has going for this third-person shooter. Ditching lightsabers for blasters, the story introduces characters new and old (Kyle Katarn's in it) and features the theft of the Death Star plans before Rogue One arrived to wipe the canon clean. With obligatory touchscreen shenanigans because DS, it's not awful by any means, just generic.
Star Wars deserves better, no?
The Clone Wars suffers from having only the least desirable vehicles from the entire franchise available to pilot. Perhaps we're biased towards the classic vehicles, but AT-ETs and Republic gunships don't get the pulse racing like a good old fashioned AT-AT or an X-Wing. Still, this game offers some decent vehicular combat and a dose of clunky on-foot lightsaber-y stuff, too. There's some more colour once you get off Geonosis, but it's a very beige game in more ways than one.
n-Space is a company with a bulging portfolio of Nintendo DS ports from hallowed franchises, including Call of Duty, several James Bond games and multiple Disney titles. They were also behind the DS port of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed which provided the base engine used in Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron.
As a portable version of the Battlefront series (the original Battlefront, not the more recent, lovely-looking versions), it's not a bad interpretation, although — surprise, surprise! — the basic gameplay gets a bit repetitive. It's not the ugliest thing we've seen on DS, especially the ship-based sections which look pretty nice, but if Elite Squadron were a child asking if it were beautiful, we'd cunningly change the subject and point overhead at a passing plane. You can't hold a game of this vintage's visuals against it, we suppose, and we'd take brilliant mechanics over graphical finery any day. Mechanically this is solid, which is enough to get it edging towards the top half of this list.
Jedi Academy is a lengthy trek across the (Expanded and non-canon) Star Wars universe that acts as a nice little time capsule back to when Star Wars games were a bit blockier and a bit sillier (perhaps for the better). The multiplayer might not stand up like it used to and the game is certainly showing its age, but it's still got plenty of lightsaber-swinging and all-in-all is a decent chunk of nostalgic Star Wars gaming, even if you can't play as Kyle Katarn. Speaking of which...
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Jedi Knight II released on GameCube years ago and the recent Switch release was certainly a Force hit of nostalgia. Showcasing aspects both good and bad of this particular vintage of game, poor pacing can make it a bit of a slog but it features some decent combat and characters. And Kyle Katarn. If you played the original, you'll likely be able to weather its antiquated design and enjoy the game for what it is, but new players might lack the patience.
Hold up — we're getting a Force premonition vision! We see... a mediocre third-person saber-swirler. Repetitive. A bit clunky, but not unenjoyable... and a Darth Vader voice over that isn't quite there.
Handled by developer Krome, the Wii version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed featured a bespoke multiplayer duel mode which was uninspiring, but not unpleasant. In fact, the Wii version — which has since been ported to Switch — isn't bad at all, it's just not as smooth, polished or fun as you want it to be. The DS version scaled everything back as you'd predict.
Overall it's fine, but we wanted unlimited power and this just feels a bit, well, limited.