Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Star Wars Omnibus Volume 3: A Long Time Ago Review


It’s been quite a while since I read my last Star Wars comic so it’s good to be back. It definitely brings quite a few issues here along with the next annual. Han Solo may still be trapped thanks to the events of the movies, but the comics weren’t about to let that sideline him so you’ll still get your share of Han Solo adventures here thanks to flashback issues and the annual which is all about him. You can definitely tell that he was quite the fan favorite back in the day. (Still is!)

There are a lot of different adventures here. The first few are still dealing with the fact that the rebellion doesn’t have a home base after they were chased out by the empire. All of the characters split up to find a new home, but none of the planets seem to be sticking. Finally they find a planet that might work out and currently it is home to a bunch of little gerbils among a rainbow planet. The rebels may like it here, but will they be able to co-exist with these creatures rather than taking it for themselves? The rebels are on the right side, but the individual members can be a little hasty at times and they nearly do try to steal the world which would have been dicey. Fortunately Leia saw reason here.

One of the big story arcs that starts off early as a subplot involves a new character named Shira. You know right away that she’s going to be a big character because she has an actual design as opposed to all of the random pilots who are running around the ship. She also seems to be trying to get in between Leia and Luke so as a rival you know that the comics wouldn’t be done with her too quickly. Her saga is a lot of fun and definitely puts Luke’s force abilities to their ultimate test. You may suspect the twist about her early on, but it’s really well executed as you may start to harbor some doubts by the end. She’s just such a nice character after all.

I also dare say that this is the longest saga in the collection as most of the stories are stand alone adventures. One such stand alone is C3PO’s comic at the very end. It’s sort of like a meeting of the supporting characters as the main characters are the droids, Chewy, and the gerbils. The main villain is a powerful sorcerer and the whole thing is so random, but pretty fun. You also realize how lucky the rebels are to have managed to survive so long with such a powerful villain right in their midst. The guy was literally living right outside the base which is pretty crazy.

Meanwhile we don’t get to see a ton of Vader and the others, but whenever he appears he definitely does look quite good. Everyone is pretty scared of Vader and you would expect no less. They even reference how he is always murdering his lackeys so now some of them are ready to fight back. It makes sense to try and take Vader out because otherwise he will surely destroy them. The attempt goes about as well as you would expect though. Vader is simply way too powerful and the fact that he can use the Force means that the humans will never truly have a chance against him.

One of the generals was pretty solid. I forget his name, but he ends up being demoted after an earlier mission to an abandoned planet and even then the rebels show up to beat him once more. The guy definitely had more heart than most of the other Empire flunkies and at least he was trying. It was ultimately a futile effort but even Vader had to comment on how the guy actually had some honor. In the end you just can’t hope to beat the rebels. They may be outnumbered but whenever they get into a fight every one officer is able to beat around 5-10 Stormtroopers. It’s no wonder why the rebels are making such good ground.

They definitely aren’t the most loyal of companions though. They’re very quick to turn on Luke after he is framed. Of course the whole point of being framed is that nobody knows the truth, but Luke is the guy who saved the solar system from the Death Star and he’s been fighting against the empire his whole life. Why would he suddenly change sides now? Lando and Leia at least stay on his side, but even they aren’t bold enough to do it in public. They should have just stuck by him here as he easily could have been in major trouble otherwise. At least the jury wasn’t rigged so once it went to court he came out all right.

I haven’t talked much about Lando, but he serves as Han’s replacement while the infamous bounty hunter is still trapped in ice. His team-up issues with Chewy are fun even if he doesn’t have quite the same connection. The characters can never let him forget how he betrayed them all a while back so he’s got a lot to prove in each issue. Lando’s done a good job of making up for his earlier actions though and he even manages to save his own city at one point. I wonder if he’ll continue to be a main character once Han returns or if he’ll go back to being a guest star. Only time will tell.

Finally there are also another fun saga which involves Leia heading to a world that’s like the Savage Land. She meets up with a guy who’s like Kazar and a bunch of others who have been under attack by a faction of the Empire led by some cool alien creatures. She helps them fight against these guys and while their technology may not be too advanced, they definitely do know how to fight when it counts. The only iffy plot here is that the main guy is engaged but he falls for Leia. The whole time he even keeps telling himself that this isn’t good, but can’t seem to truly stop himself until Luke comes and puts an end to this. The fiancee was super forgiving the whole time and took it surprisingly well, but the guy should have never weakened so much anyway. Still, it was fun seeing some real hand to hand fights in a Star Wars comic.

As expected the art here is definitely quite good. It’s really nostalgic to see such retro art and these were fun times to be a Star Wars fan. The writers do a good job of coming up with so many adventures in between the movies while taking care not to actually meddle in the events that could come up in the next sequel. Luke is also a little more experienced with the Force than in the last collection so he does a little better here. He’s still got a ways to go though as some of the creatures are still able to mentally overpower him which definitely wouldn’t be happening once he becomes a Jedi Master.

Overall, This collection is definitely quite solid and continues to do the Star Wars series justice. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not you can easily jump into these comics and get what is happening. One solid thing about the old issues has always been that they go out of their way to recap the events for you to ensure that you always know what is going on. That’s definitely important and since most of the issues tell their own story you’re good to go. There are various plots that continue in the background like with Shira and Han, but you’ll quickly get what is happening there as well.

Overall 7/10

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7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike Review


All right guys, this is a milestone game. It’s my final entry in the Star Wars series! There’s still one or two games I need to get someday, but now I have at least beaten all of the ones that I own. Rebel Strike is definitely a good one to ends things off with. It’s not the best Star Wars game by a longshot, but it’s definitely a quality title all the same. It’s a classic aerial shooter title with some ground elements thrown in as well. While those parts feel more button spammy than the rest it does help make the game feel more complete.

The game’s plot roughly covers the trilogy as per usual. It seems to start with the second movie rather than the first though, I’m guessing Rogue Squadron II probably covered that one. The Rebels are losing ground against the Empire so their only chance is for a young jedi named Luke and another aerial fighter to take back their home and win the war. During the game you get to pick your path as you progress through the story. Depending on which level you pick will determine which character you play as. It’s a pretty interesting way to go forward for sure.

There are around 10-12 levels in the game although if you pay through all of the routes then you can add a few more levels. (Only 2 routes and 4 levels are shared) Most of the levels have the normal aerial combat gameplay. It’s pretty fun as usual although definitely a lot less polished than the others ones I played which is almost odd. Good luck trying to lock on to anyone as the enemies move too quickly. There was a long tutorial level to start the game off so maybe I missed a few things, but it seems to be like there may not even be a traditional lock on. The enemies also camouflage into the space sky really quick. It’s hard to get a read on them so at times the best thing to do is to just blast wildly. You can also turn infra red on which helps but it doesn’t look quite as fun when used for long periods of time. That said, I’d give a thumbs up to the gameplay overall.

The next gameplay style in the game is the human combat. This is the best part of the whole game so it’s a shame that it only shows up 2-3 times. You basically play as Luke or Han and go around blasting people. It’s definitely a style where spamming the A button is enough to get you through, but it’s very satisfying. It’s extremely simple and feels like you’re back in the arcade. Just run around blasting everyone until you get to the end of the level. There’s nothing more that you need to get to the end and if you ask me that’s exactly how it should be.

Finally you have one level where you’re on a scooter. This is the worst level in the game so I’m glad it only popped up once. The goal is to ride to the end of the level and take out all of the scouts along the way. There are about 11 and then one that you can’t beat until the cutscene plays. The level is annoying for a bunch of reasons, but one of those is the fact that the level explicitly tells you to eliminate all of the enemies. It even gives you an attack to help with that. So what’s the scam? Well, if you attack them then they start attacking back and they’re a lot stronger than you. The best way to win this one is to actually not even try ramming into them. If you just fly peacefully to the end you can just turn right and left and the guys will fall into trees. It feels cheesy and I doubt it is really the intended option. This level just wasn’t made all that well.

The graphics here are pretty good. We actually get some scenes from the movie as well which is always pretty fun. The space levels are a little hard because of how everything is covered by the shadows. I don’t really think this was intended so I will say that this does hold the graphics back a bit though. As for the soundtrack, it’s all themes that you’ve already heard a few hundred times before. They’re still good, but there’s nothing really new to talk about here. Star Wars uses the old themes as a crutch so I look forward to hearing some new tunes once that EA game comes out in the near future.

There isn’t much replay value here, but it’s still a little better than some of the other games. You can go back and play the other paths to experience the full story. There are also some unlockables and you can try to earn a gold medal. Ultimately this may not be a whole lot so I would say to keep that in mind. The main campaign is only a few hours long as well so this is the kind of game that won’t really last very long. That means that the gameplay has to be tight and I thought it was. As long as you like aerial fighter games then you’ll be fine.

Overall, Star Wars Rebel Strike is definitely a good one to get. It’s to be expected though since it did come out for Gamecube. That console is still the ultimate gaming machine and I don’t expect that will ever change. It was really a pivotal moment in gaming history. Star Wars Rebel Strike may ultimately be lacking a little polish in some areas, but its core fundamentals are strong and that’s what counts. If you haven’t played this game yet then it’s worth buying, especially if you can find it for a good price. If it’s overpriced and out of print then I would just suggest getting a different Star Wars title. Most of them have a similar feel to this one so the price is key.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of The Force Review


It’s time to look at another retro Star Wars game. This one is also for the Game Boy Advance, but do not be alarmed. It is significantly better than the last one and feels like a true Star Wars title. This brings us back to the level of quality that you would expect from such an esteemed franchise. This one can proudly call itself a Star Wars game and nobody would bat an eye. It’s got good gameplay and while the game is admittedly pretty short, it’s at least no a chore to get through. No password save system this time.

The plot follows the original 3 movies. You play as Luke Skywalker in all of the levels as you recount the events. While most of the levels take place on the ground you do get a pair of space levels. These may have been thrown together a little quicker than the ground ones, but they’re pretty reasonable. The constant checkpoints make up for the gameplay not being too refined here. As a result it flows together pretty well and makes for a wholesome experience. The real meat of the game is the ground combat though and I liked it. It’ll remind you of the old school beat em ups like Streets of Rage or the Ninja Turtle games.

For the first half of the levels you fight enemies with your blaster. As the game progresses you eventually switch to a Lightsaber and slash away at everyone. Both styles of combat have their positives of course, but the lightsaber does pack more of a wallop, but you have to get up close which makes it a little more risky. The levels typically end as you make it to the end like a traditional platformer but sometimes you have to find a card key to make it past a door. The levels are fairly short but you will be stopped at times to take down all of the enemies. In that sense this one is definitely part beat em up.

It’s not particularly tough and when you die there is always a checkpoint so you will at most lose like 2 minutes of gameplay. The quickest way to deal with the enemies in my experience is to jump at them and use aerial attacks. They seem to do more damage than the ones on the ground and you can take out quite a few enemies this way. You also have a lot of options on how to take them down so really there is no reason why you would be stuck here. The only one I can think of is if you encounter a glitch. I encountered one glitch where I made it to an area that I wasn’t supposed to. As a result there were enemies under me but I couldn’t get to them to get out of the area. I eventually had to let them just shoot me so I could re-spawn and let them finish the job. At the end of the day that’s a pretty minor glitch though, could have been a lot worse.

There are actual boss fights here which was definitely nice. The battle against Darth Vader is definitely the highlight. He does a lot of blocking so don’t expect to just walk all over the guy. He’s a Sith Lord for a reason after all. As with the minions I found that the best thing to do here was to throw in aerial attacks. Mix them in with ground moves and eventually you will hit him. I’d also say to throw in some force push moves. They never hurt him, but while he is blocking those he is wide open to a strike. Just throw in all the mix-ups and you’ll be out of that boss fight in no time.

The graphics have definitely aged pretty well if you ask me. It’s the classic sprite look so the character models are on point and all of the effects look nice. It’s always surreal to see these games since it looks like something you could probably make into a sprite video. Once you’ve done that then you’re really set. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable, but we do get another retro remix of the movie intros which was nice to see. By the time this marathon is over I definitely won’t be forgetting the jingle for the opening credits.

There isn’t much, if any replay value here though. After you’ve beaten the levels there really isn’t anything to collect. The main story will only take you around 3 hours so you’ll be out of content in no time. You can get the game for cheap though so I wouldn’t say this is much of an issue. Better to have 3 hours of quality than 10 of a dragged out story right? It’s just the kind of game where you know beforehand that it’s going to be a one time experience.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this game. It’s got that nice Star Wars feel to it and the gameplay is solid. I always did like these retro beat em up games. The only time they can be annoying is when there are no save points and you have to start the whole thing from scratch, but otherwise it works pretty well I’d say. There is now only one more game left on my Star Wars marathon, but that game will have to wait as I work on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. I don’t have much experience in the XCom Gameplay, but I definitely like it on principal. It reminds me of the Fire Emblem style and I always like adding a little strategy into the gameplay. It just spices things up quite a bit. You can expect that review to be coming up soon.

Overall 7/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Flight of The Falcon Review


It’s rare that I play a game that falls under a 5. For the most part there are usually fun things to enjoy in a game so I won’t be giving it a downright negative score. That being said, Flight of The Falcon is definitely one of those. It’s limited by a lot of things including poor level designs and the lack of a continue feature. Mix em all together and you’ve easily got the worst Star Wars games and it ranks as one of the worst titles that I’ve played. I don’t know what this game was thinking.

The game very vaguely follows the plot of the original trilogy. The levels have you flying around in the Falcon as you blast away at enemies or try to make it to the end goal in the time allotted. There are 14 levels but good luck seeing all of them. They are divided into 3 chapters. Once you’ve lost all your lives and continues you’re taken to a game over screen and start back from level 1. You can put in a password so that you can continue but it only takes you to the beginning of a chapter. So for example, if you lose on level 6 then your only options are to start over at level 1 or skip to level 7 which starts chapter 2. There is no way to return to where you started.

Even for password save games this is a bit much. I can’t think of any other game which is so restrictive with the continue feature. If you ask me there wasn’t a whole lot of quality control done on this game. It seems like they really slapped it together. Aside from this, the level designs aren’t any fun either. They all drag on for too long and there are glitches everywhere. The only real way to beat level 2 is to fly straight through the buildings. If you zoom straight ahead and start to turn then it’s like the building won’t exist anymore. You can just go through it and save some seconds. On the other hand, sometimes the building will appear and you’ll end up dying. One hit to the terrain is instant death of course.

You can expect to die a lot of times here. This game is super difficult, but not in a legit way. Throw in some good levels and it would be a pretty reasonable game. The objectives aren’t even clearly defined as you can easily get stuck in a level because you aren’t sure what to do. Some levels have you taking down enemies while others have you rushing towards the goal. Apparently you can determine this by looking at a small indicator near the bottom of the screen. Good luck looking for that one!

The graphics aren’t anything to write home about either. The sprites are very blurry and the camera literally can’t keep up when there are too many objects on the field. As a result you’ll die to invisible things in some of the later levels. A meteorite didn’t properly load so you bump into it and then it appears. Whenever you die like that it definitely does not feel legit. The soundtrack is also pretty bland. There’s nothing to it and I’m sure you’ll forget it within minutes of completing the level. It’s a shame, but the game had no soul to it.

Naturally that also means there isn’t a whole lot of replay value. If you can ace the levels you can beat this game in under 2 hours. Otherwise, you can also be here forever if you don’t conquer all of the levels. I beat the first 5 and then beat levels 7-8, but I’m not about to start from scratch every time I get a game over. I called it a day here, but call me back when the game gets an HD remake with a save feature that works. The password system just hasn’t aged well and this game takes it as low as possible.

I tried to think about any positive aspects of the game, but I’m running on empty here. I suppose the loading screens are pretty quick. You don’t have to worry about getting bored there because the levels do come up fast. Maybe that’s because the game doesn’t have to bother loading much since the game isn’t saving anything anyway, if so that’s a silver lining I suppose. Most of the cutscenes start out with 10-20 seconds of nothing happening though so I think the budget for the animations was probably pretty slim. There’s nothing exciting about seeing a ship move in slow motion for ages until the cutscene ends.

Overall, Flight of the Falcon is a game I’d recommend avoiding. Unfortunately it snaps Star Wars’ streak of solid games all around. I suppose when you get enough games you’re bound to run into a bad one at some point. The concept isn’t bad and at least it’s a unique style, but the execution was just really weak. I can’t say that I’ll be missing this game and hopefully the next GBA title in the series is a lot better. I can’t see how it would be worse to be honest so it should be uphill from here on out.

Overall 3/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron Review


The Star Wars marathon continues as I play through the final PSP experience. The Battlefront series has definitely been pretty fun. While I still do miss the overall gameplay of the first title, the rest have definitely been solid. Ironically I think this one’s gameplay is definitely weaker than Renegade Squadron, but it makes up for this with a more expansive story. The Battlefront games have all been pretty close when it counts.

The game’s story covers the trilogy as well as some events after it. The main character is X2 and he is a clone bred for combat. Along with X1, he was one of the Empire’s finest soldiers. He ends up joining the rebellion though once Palpatine emerges and he finds out that he was on the wrong side. X1 remains evil though and will do everything he can to help the Empire win the war. It may not be Darth Vader and Palpatine that the rebels need to worry about after all.

It’s always fun to see how the games incorporate all of these new characters and events into the classic films. They fit them in pretty seamlessly to be honest. There are also a lot of fun nods to the last games as in 2 missions you get to support Renegade Squadron in their battles. It helps tie everything together into a larger continuity so that’s definitely pretty cool. Sadly you don’t get to fight with Vader this time, but you do take on some Jedi which is definitely a lot of fun.

It is easy to see how the Jedi ended up losing the war though. There is one cutscene where a Jedi shows up and manages to beat X1. However, he says that he won’t murder anyone. After saying this, the Jedi turns his back to X1 and is promptly stabbed. Did he really think that one line would cause X1 to turn good? Later in the story X2 is presented with a similar choice and while he also makes the hero call of not murdering X1, he at least doesn’t give the villain his back. Both X1 and X2 are definitely real fun characters though. They remind me of Starkiller to an extent. They also get hype as the villain takes down Luke Skywalker and the hero is ultimately able to trade blows with just about anyone in the game.

As for the core gameplay, it’s a classic 3D blaster style. You do get a lightsaber during the final few levels though so at that point it feels more like a beat em up. The controls are a little rougher than the last few titles mainly thanks to the camera work. It can be very hard to turn around as the camera shakes quite a bit so get ready for the villains to get a bunch of cheap shots in. Perhaps the developers realized this though as there are constant checkpoints throughout the game. Whenever you die you can find solace in the fact that you won’t have gone far. You’ll rarely have to replay more than 5 minutes of content to get back to where you are at.

You can heal your health by throwing a health packet or standing near a health point. Likewise there are various ammo points. Due to all of these methods of strengthening your character you are rarely in serious danger. So long as you play patiently you will definitely be fine. The aerial levels are back as well and these are definitely improved from the last one. You can move really quickly and the lock-on system is on point. You always feel like you are in control here and I actually looked forward to these levels. Typically they would be mixed in with the ground levels for a pretty good balance.

As for the length of the game, while it isn’t 3 hours like the last one, it is still pretty short. I don’t imagine it would take you much longer than 5 hours and honestly it would probably be more like 4. It’s definitely a short campaign, but of course there are other modes to keep you engaged like jumping into normal levels to have fun in. There’s no real post game though as the various unlockables don’t feel all that special. I got it for a cheap price and the value is pretty decent. I don’t think you’d regret the buy as even though it is short the gameplay is fun enough to keep you on board.

Going back to the length, this is also the kind of game where you can leisurely beat the level as you explore or you can blast through them. As the game uses a checkpoint system it’s very easy to cheese the game by running full speed to each objective. Even if you die after making it the checkpoint counts as a save point so each time you’ll be closer. As a result it’s not a bad idea to just run in each time. It’s not exactly how the developers probably imagined you’ll play though. Also, it’s not like you’re always saving a ton of time by doing this, but realistically there is no reason to actually fight all of the enemies unless you really want to. After all, there’s no EXP system here and I only tend to stick around and fight everyone when I can get level ups out of it.

The graphics are definitely solid and we do get more cinematics than last time. The Jedi vs X1 battle was really solid and we get other good action scenes as well. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see such cutscenes in the games and it does make the game feel a little more special. The soundtrack is about the same as always. I know the tunes are still good no matter how many times you hear them but I want to see the Star Wars games show a little more creativity with the upcoming games. There are a lot of new tunes they can come up with I’m sure.

Overall, Elite Squadron is a very fun game. It is definitely a step up over Rebel Squadron even if the gameplay is a little weaker. It’s very relative since all of the Battlefront games are very solid in that respect. The rest of the game aspects improve upon the original so you can’t count that as anything but a win. The next Star Wars game I’m playing is for the GBA so that’ll definitely be fun. It’ll be a fresh gameplay experience so it’ll be nice to see what the other companies could come up with. y Star Wars marathon is coming to a close, but it’s definitely been a fun ride. If you don’t have Elite Squadron yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 7/10