It’s one of those cardinal rules all gamers become insidiously aware of: games based on movies will suck ass. And suck it hard. It’s not quite an instant guarantee, but it’s certainly a safe assumption. There have been some real shockers born of the unholy union of movies and video games. (It’s all rather like inbreeding. The result of such never the twain shall meet shenanigans is generally a baby born with webbed toes, a small goatee and a body like the Elephant Man. He’ll probably throw up on you immediately as the midwife hands him over. And then shit. That’s the kind of evil that results from this.) Intriguingly, this phenomenon also works in reverse. Terrible German director Uwe Boll achieved worldwide notoriety for a series of the most hellish pieces of crap ever committed to celluloid. BloodRayne, Alone in the Dark and House of the Dead were all sadistically mutilated by this farcical film-maker’s vision. As far as pleasant methods to while away a couple of hours go, a lengthy scrotal-acupuncture session (with broadswords) would be more gratifying. Followed by a sulphuric acid enema.
In short, then, such tie-ins aren’t pretty propositions. I’m saving some of the really dire creations for later in this series. For now, I’d like to introduce one of a meagre selection of quality movie-based games. Step forward, Star Wars: Rogue Leader.
This Gamecube launch title was the sequel to N64 and PC’s Rogue Squadron, and thrusts you into popular set-pieces from the original trilogy. There’s nary a whiff of the later toxic tossbag triumvirate, so there will be no moronic jabbering from Jar Jar Binks here. (Much as I’d like to reduce the fool to a quivering pile of gore and general squelching viscera with one of Rogue Leader’s high-powered laser cannons, I can’t help but count this as a blessing.) The game is a series of missions, starting with perhaps the greatest scene in the franchise. To begin, you’ll take the role of Luke Skywalker as he tries to resist laughing idiotically to himself at the sexual euphemism of thrusting a photon torpedo straight into the Death Star’s exhaust port. (He had planned to call Miss Death Star again after this, then recalled she would be a smouldering wreckage by that point. Additionally, Darth Vader would have been far too busy being majorly pissed/conjuring up notions of tyrannical vengeance methods to answer. As we know, Luke Skywalker says humongous festering monkey balls to voicemail.) From here, you’ll take on those Star Destroyers in your Y-wing, and trundle amongst the frozen flora and fauna of Hoth. Tripping the lumbering walkers with the tow cable of a Snowspeeder is my personal highlight. I delighted in this Wile. E Coyote approach to problem-solving while watching the movie, so performing it later was a lot of fun. It all just shows the great faith to the source material. Everything is punctuated by cutscenes from the trilogy, just enough to bolster the experience and never proving excessive or intrusive.
Rogue Leader was successful, I’d venture, because it supported the cinematic experience offered with a solid gaming foundation. Take the tutorial level, a open-ended romp around Tatooine. Instead of a tedious screen listing the controls, you learn the ropes by being unleashed to fly about the planet terribly. You are free to explore as long as you wish, taking on various challenges as you go. These run the gamut from racing your fellow pilots to seeing how many of those weird creatures you can put to the sword via rapid laser immolation. (I don’t actually remember the names of these things. Seemingly some form of Space-Gallimimus. The whole business was reminiscent of that Jurassic Park scene, when the herd revert from trundling about eating grass and licking their own balls and whatnot to instantaneous stampeding shitstorm when the Tyrannosaurus steams in. Like several tonnes of pissed husband, demanding to know where his dinner’s at on arriving home.) To segue neatly back to my point, though, there’s an extensive range of missions. Each awards you with a series of medals, dependent on your performance. The task of acquiring these, and the assortment of unlockables, helps to ensure that Rogue Leader feels far more robust than many such tie-ins. It’s a fantastic experience, and a hefty challenge, that you don’t need to be an obsessive of the franchise to appreciate.
While the game isn’t directly based on any one movie, it’s vital to the topic for a variety of reasons. As anyone that’s seen the Super Mario Bros movie will know, ventures of this sort should often simply be put down. Not with a painless chemical concoction, as you would with a balls-dragging-on-the-floor elderly dog with two weeny walking sticks, but with a shovel to the face. As such, Rogue Leader deserves to be celebrated. It both delighted Star Wars fans (and we know how those crazies can be) and gamers alike by simply being faithful and a great game in its own right. I can count the amount of instances such a feat has been successfully pulled off on my testicles.
And I’ve only got two of those.
Rest assured, though, some of the franchise’s games did indeed bite the big one. Take a look at this criminal assault on the senses, for example:
Article by Chris Littlechild
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