Video games based on movies have a mixed reputation. If you’re old and nostalgic you may remember enjoying games based on films like Jurassic Park, Aladdin or GoldenEye. If you’re not as nostalgic you might point out some of the absolute stinkers, most famously E.T on the Atari, but a whole host of lacklustre titles drew from popular films from the late 90s onwards: games like Fifth Element, The Crow and even Spice World. Movie tie-ins, then, were once good, got worse and are now, if you’re optimistic, are getting better again. Star Wars is one film franchise that has seen a lot of treatment on the other small screen, and by no means are all of them good (Sorry Masters of Teras Kasi), but here are 5 that are worth checking out.
#5 Super Star Wars
In many ways the history of Star Wars games reflects movie tie-ins generally. Super Star Wars for the Super Nintendo is in many ways a platform game with a shiny coat of space-paint – like many games of the same era. The three games in the series does a pretty good job following the plot of the films – they look good, they have all your favourite characters and scenes, and its actually pretty fun. Sure, they’re not perfect – they’re frustratingly difficult – but overall they’re all solid experiences.
#4 Battlefront 2
One of the main goals of a video game adaptation is to make you feel like you’re taking part in the action. To bring the universe to life. Super Star Wars may not capture this feeling, but the Star Wars Battlefront series, with its focus on the epic battles of the series and its focus on rank and file troops does this much better. The couch multiplayer of Battlefront 2, as well as the many improvements over the first entry make it well worth checking out if you still have a Playstation 2 hooked up. And if you don’t (and you don’t mind loot crates) the series is continuing on current-gen hardware.
#3 Dark Forces
The other key aspect that made for a great Star Wars game was what it added to the series in terms of plot and character. Acting out the most memorable battles is great and all, but taking part in a new Star Wars adventure? Well, that’s even better. There’s a slew of great games that fulfilled this role and fleshed out the expanded universe or gave beloved characters a little more screen time. Star Wars: Dark Forces was one of the most famous of these, delivering a compelling narrative and giving birth to fan-favourite character Kyle Katarn. After Disney took over Star Wars the great canon-purge tragically rendered all these games non-canonical, so don’t go looking here for any insights into the latest films.
#2 Rogue Squadron
It may be difficult to imagine now but there was once a close association between quality Star Wars titles and Nintendo Hardware in the era of the N64. Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer may be the first game that came to mind if you grew up with Phantom Menace and an N64, but Star Wars: Rogue Squadron was the real highlight. Not just a good Star Wars game, but a great game in general, it was a must-own title for the console. Rogue Squadron, and both of its Gamecube sequels, feature some of the best ship-to-ship combat in this galaxy or any other.
#1 Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic managed to pull together many of the strengths from the rest of this list. It’s immersive world and compelling game-play made it a stand out game in its own right, but the game also featured a sharp original plot-line and its own interesting characters. The game received a sequel before getting the MMORPG treatment. BioWare’s RPGs have continued to evolve since, focusing on their own original IPs like Mass Effect, but there’s a reason Knights of the Old Republic (better known as KOTOR) is available on everything from PC to Android devices – for many its still a definitive Star Wars experience