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January 27, 2004

Pazaak, Tatooine & The Sith

I am about 27 hours into Star Wars, Knights of the Old Republic and it occurs to me that the epic novel is back. Except it's not a novel, but a video game.

It seems almost disrespectful to call this massive interactive tale a video game. I realized that once I finally managed to capture the Ebon Hawk from Davik and Calo Nord when Talis was being destroyed. I flew through the atmosphere, fought off a dozen smaller spacecraft, and just like Han Solo's Millenium Falcon I punched into hyperspace.

It wasn't until I started playing this particular game (and I have played one other Star Wars game before, finding it tedious and unusually difficult) that I realized how much Lucas has made of his galaxy far far away. I knew there were many series of books written and I knew that many Star Wars fan[atic]s had been very disappointed in recent films that I thought were pretty good. I thought all of that was playing off the simplistic themes of the first (middle) trilogy of films. But KOR shows that this galaxy is at least as well thought out as that of the Star Trek series.

After having watched the bonus material for the making of Episode One, I concluded that Lucas was a self-important monomaniac who only had one idea in his life that he was milking forever. Now I'm not so sure. Now I see him more like Linus Torvalds, as the facilitator of a garden where 1000 flowers are blooming.

The Star Wars Galaxy is massive, and hundreds of creative people are populating its planets, pushing and pulling its Force and making a lot of fun and adventure for us. More power to them. Now excuse me, I have some more Wookiees to liberate.

Posted by mbowen at January 27, 2004 09:17 AM

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I still haven't finished the, presumed, final battle of the game (TopSpin is now commandeering my game time) but I really enjoyed the story elements of KOTOR. Each planet has it's own underlying drama going on and you can choose to deal with all of the issues that arise, or not. You can choose the path you're on and all the while this larger epic story arc isn growing around you.

It's my favorite game of last year and that's saying something because I spent a lot of time loving Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker and Soul Caliber II.

Posted by: Jason at January 27, 2004 03:48 PM

You say "Now I see him more like Linus Torvalds, as the facilitator of a garden where 1000 flowers are blooming. "

I wish this were more true. I wish Lucas would sit back and let other people make the movies. Or, at least stop making them primarily with an eye to Happy Meal toys.

After seeing Fellowship of the Ring my first comment to my wife was "That's what "The Phantom Mennace" should have been."

And no, I don't mean "the Phantom Mennace" needed hobbits. :-)

Instead, we were given someone's pet CGI project with characters I either hated or couldn't care about. I am one of those fan[atic]s who read all the books. The last two movies don't even come close to capturing the heart or size of the Star Wars universe that exist in the books and that you've seen in the video game.


Posted by: Andy at January 28, 2004 09:05 AM

KotOR was indeed phenominal. I only wish that Raven had also released an independent version of Pazaak so we could have it on our computers like Free Cell, Hearts, or Solitaire.

Posted by: Matt at February 22, 2004 03:18 PM

It took me about 4 hours to figure out how to beat Bastila. When I found out that I'd have to beat Malak 9 times, I quit.

I had chosen the path of a Sentinal and therefore became the healer of the crew. I gave the more devastating and dark force powers to Juhani and Jolee Bindo. So I said forget it.

Still I had a ball with it.So much so that I was fool enough to rent Jedi Academy - a complete waste of time. It's amazing how much the gameplay varies between multiple titles. Are ANY of the other Star Wars games worth trying at all?

Posted by: cobb at February 22, 2004 10:28 PM

The other great Star Wars game is the original X-Wing simulator for the PC...makes you feel like you're a real member of Red Flight in the first movie.

Posted by: SWFan at April 15, 2004 10:30 AM

I am 38 hours into the game and i am on the starforge about to fight lord malak, again for like the 10 time and discovered he's more powerful than me. WHAT A SURPRISE!!! Looks like a good ending though. I think its better than all of the games I've played. I can't wait for the new sequel to come out around 2005!

Posted by: K Katarn at May 8, 2004 03:05 AM

Wow, people are sure whiny about EP I and II - its because they all wanted to get to "Vader" right away, and didn't give a damn about how he got there.

EP I and II are both fine SW films. The problem is that many idiots had 20 years to think of how EP I and II should be, that they cannot come to grips with what it actually IS. Thus, people pissed with Jar Jar, people calling the acting wooden (I thought jedi were SUPPOSED to be emotionless? "There is no emotion, there is peace" remember?), people losing touch with the innocence that made Star Wars great - they want a more "mature" Star Wars now, and yet, fail to see the equally childish things in the original trilogy. Its a shame - such people are probably very sour in life - unable to just relax and take things in as they were meant to be, rather than try to force them into some preconceived notion.

Anyway, on KOTOR - it is one of the all time greats in video game plots, and I hope the sequel (now out on X-Box, waiting for PC version in Feb) is equally as impressive.

Posted by: Zion at December 25, 2004 10:21 PM