Star Wars Astromech Droid Collection – Part 1

As well as a Dalek Collection, I also maintain a collection of Star Wars Astromech Droids, and although this collection is significantly smaller than my Dalek collection, it still warrants its own four-part series. Part 1 will cover not one but two R2-D2 figures as well as quite a rare collectible, so we begin with:

R2-D2

R2D2

The most iconic Star Wars Astromech Droid, R2-D2 is present in every main Star Wars movie and is viewed by many fans as being a ‘main character’ of the series. R2D2 is represented at two points in his life by these two figures – the left hand figure is from Revenge of the Sith, and is supposed to replicate the effect of R2D2 using his jets to incinerate Super Battle Droids. The right hand figure is R2D2 on Dagobah, complete with the extendable telescopic eye and green swamp splash on the feet and lower body.

R4-P17

R4-P17

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s droid (which he goes on to forget he ever owns) appeared in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and is notable in being one of the few examples of a female Astromech Droid in the movies. In Episode II, R4-P17 aids Obi-Wan in his mission to Kamino, before disappearing – originally she was to appear in the arena fight, but her role was cut. She instead appears in the opening scene of Revenge of the Sith, in which she is torn apart by Buzz Droids. Obi-Wan, in all his Jedi mercy, barely notices.

R5-X2R5-X2

This figure is based off a droid working for Jabba the Hutt who appears in The Phantom Menace for about 14 seconds. The theme of ‘droids that have figures despite appearing in the film for less than 30 seconds’ will become common in this series, and this is no exception. The figure features a removable head, probably to simulate Jabba tearing the droid apart when its lack of screentime angers him.

R2-B1

R2-B1

This droid also appears in The Phantom Menace, and has slightly more screentime than R5-X2. This droid sits with R2-D2 in the belly of Queen Amidala’s ship, before being sent out onto the surface of the ship to repair some damage and blasted to smithereens by the attacking Trade Federation ships. R2-B1 has always been somewhat of a fan favourite due to his unusually contrasting colour scheme, and his determined dedication to duty.

R4-J1

R4-J1

This droid appears in Attack of the Clones for a fleeting moment, as Anakin and Padme search the cities of Tatooine. Despite this, not only does Wookieepedia have an article on the droid, but this figure was made of him as well. The parts for this droid were included with several other figures as part of the ‘Build-a-Droid’ feature in the toyline, meaning the figure can be disassembled and reassembled. Unlike many other astromech droids, the colour scheme doesn’t seem to line up with the front panels, and this isn’t a paint error, giving the droid a more unique look.

Stay tuned for Part 2! Remember to leave a like if you enjoyed, follow us or like us on Facebook for more content like this.

Top Ten Sci-Fi Spaceships

The Science-Fiction genre is replete with examples of iconic spaceships, often used as transports and even mobile homes for the characters in science fiction. As such, the ship almost becomes a character in itself, developing its own quirks and technicalities that give it its personality. But the question remains – which ship is the best? For this list we will be judging based on how useful the ship would be, and the extent of its powers. To begin:

10 – Red Dwarf – Red Dwarf

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Despite being a slow, unwieldy, ancient mining ship that is peppered with meteorite impacts, Red Dwarf always pulls though and provides a home for its disparate band of occupants. Also, it comes packaged with Holly, the transgender eighth generation ‘hologrammic’ computer with an IQ that supposedly exceeds 6,000. Depending on the day, Holly might be sane or totally senile, and the ship seems to attract trouble on a near-daily basis. Don’t look forward to speedy travel with the Dwarf, however, since it trundles along at a snail’s pace. You do, however, get Starbug, but its up to you whether or not that’s a good thing.

9 – High Charity – Halo

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The Covenant Holy City-ship of High Charity serves as the cultural, political and military headquarters of the alliance, and mobilises the Covenant assault force against Humanity.  The best thing about High Charity is its environments, which you explore during the Halo 2 levels Gravemind and High Charity. The curved purple interiors and modular architectural design demonstrate the alien nature of the Covenant, and in terms of power it boasts a slipspace drive for instant transportation and a vast array of destructive weapons, with docking structures that can contain and transport hundreds of capital ships. So whether you like strolling through botanical gardens or invading planets with huge fleets of warships, High Charity is for you.

8 – Thunderbird 3 – Thunderbirds

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The ultimate classic rocket design, Thunderbird 3 might not have weapons but it is extraordinarily fast – able to make it halfway around the world in a matter of minutes, in some cases. Overall, the red rocket tops any other rocket-type ship in sci-fi, and the best part about it is that you might even get Tracy Island thrown in, as well as the ability to travel to and dock with Thunderbird 5, an orbital space station. Designed to launch as an SSTO (single-stage-to-orbit) rocket, the ship can be re-used unlike contemporary rockets used by NASA, and it even runs on the same fuel,

7 – Ebon Hawk – Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

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The spiritual predecessor to the Millenium Falcon, the Ebon Hawk serves as the home for the traveling circus cast of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. This ship was constructed over 1,000 years before the Falcon, so it isn’t as fast but it does seem to be more heavily armoured. However, featuring dual engines, the Ebon Hawk was certainly fast for its era, and could certainly hold its own against more powerful ships like the Leviathan. After all, this was Darth Revan’s ship for a reason.

6 – Serenity Firefly

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Similar to the Ebon Hawk, Serenity is a freighter primarily, designed to haul cargo from planet to planet. Thanks to heavy modifications, however, she serves as the vessel of Mal Reynolds and his crew, a band of vagrants and smugglers who partake in various illegal activities. The ship was described by Firefly creator Joss Whedon as the ‘tenth character’ of the series, and she has character indeed – fans have likened Serenity to freighters like the Millenium Falcon. The biggest strength of Firefly-class ships is their durability and ease of repair, and Serenity is no exception.

5 – USS Enterprise-D – Star Trek: The Next Generation

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The USS Enterprise is a fantastic ship in its own right, but the USS Enterprise-D surpasses it in almost every conceivable way. For one, it is essentially just a more powerful version of the original Enterprise, and it also has much more advanced technology aboard like the Holodeck and the Saucer Separation. Not only that, but the ship is also more luxurious, with more space and better living conditions – the original Enterprise was built with practicality in mind, with dull grey bulkheads and no inch of space wasted, whereas the Enterprise-D has a warm beige interior design with the occasional appearance of wood paneling. With the addition of the crew, particularly Data, the Enterprise-D is equipped to deal with any obstacle, whilst also providing a comfortable environment.

4 – Millenium Falcon – Star Wars

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Allegedly the fastest piece of junk in the Galaxy, the Millenium Falcon is certainly a go-to starship if speed is a priority. Han Solo boasts in A New Hope that the Falcon ‘made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs’, which sounds like he made it up on the spot but will undoubtedly be extrapolated to the Nth degree in the upcoming Solo Movie, but the general jist of what he is saying stands – the Falcon is a fast ship. Able to outrun any Imperial starship, this unassuming-looking freighter has gone on to become one of the most famous ships in the Galaxy, and aided in the destruction of not one but two Death Stars. The only real downside of the Millenium Falcon is its amenities – it is essentially a grotty smuggling vessel, with very few forms of entertainment to pass the time during the long hyperspace jumps (unless you count a dodgy holographic chess set and a flying ball.) The ship would be handy in a pinch, but for long-distance travel the Falcon falls short of the best ‘conventional’ starship in Sci-Fi, which is:

3 – USS Voyager – Star Trek: Voyager

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The Intrepid-class starship won the top spot for Top 10 Federation Starship Classes, and the most famous ship of its class is at least half of the reason why. The exploits of the USS Voyager top any starship of this dimensional plane, and its already advanced and reliable design is augmented by many modifications that the crew picked up during the ship’s time in the Delta Quadrant, including some Borg technology and a massively improved warp drive. With the Voyager also comes the Delta Flyer, a greatly upgraded and improved redesign of the standard Federation Shuttlecraft for ship-to-surface transport or even ship-to-ship dogfights, an innovation that other Federation starships lack. Despite the greater focus on tactical systems and speed, the Voyager still features the entertainment systems available on the Enterprise like the Holodeck, and is sleeker, faster and comes with a holographic medic.

2 – Heart of Gold – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

heart of gold

The Heart of Gold is powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, a wonderful new method of crossing interstellar distances in a mere nothingth of a second, without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace. This incredible propulsion system temporarily launches the ship through every part of conceivable space simultaneously, and the only payoff is a temporary bout of extremely high improbability, which can cause hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, or a complete rewrite of the ships entire internal environment at a molecular level. Known effects have included the creation, and spontaneous upending, of a million-gallon vat of custard, marrying Michael Saunders, the transformation of a pair of guided nuclear missiles into a whale and a bowl of petunias, and transforming one of its crew into a penguin.

1 – The TARDIS – Doctor Who

tardis

The TARDIS may not look like much of a spaceship, but its abilities exceed all of the other ships on this list combined. Capable of traveling anywhere in time and space, the TARDIS can quite literally take its crew anywhere in any time period, and even other dimensions under the right conditions. If that were not enough, the ship is dimensionally transcendental, meaning the interior exists in a separate dimension to the exterior, creating the illusion that it is bigger on the inside, and the interior of the TARDIS is so vast that after over 2,000 years of owning the ship the Doctor has still not managed to fully map the floor plan. The TARDIS is alive, in a sense, and can alter and reshape its interior to suit the needs of its occupants, as well as allowing for a huge amount of internal systems such as a karaoke bar, a cinema, a library and a swimming pool, all of which occasionally move, change, or in rare cases fuse (causing the swimming pool to sometimes appear in the library). The ship is shielded to the extent that Dalek missiles – of which less than 10 are needed to eradicate a planet – don’t even scratch the blue box. Undoubtedly, no other spaceship in Sci-Fi even comes close to beating the TARDIS.

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And that’s our list of the Top 10 Sci-Fi spaceships. If you enjoyed, be sure to leave a like, and you can follow us and like us on Facebook for more content like this. If you have your own list of Top 10 Sci-Fi spaceships, be sure to leave it down in the comments below!

 

Top 5 Terrible CGI Star Wars Prequel Characters – and Top 5 Terrible CGI Star Wars Sequel Characters

It’s fun to bash the terrible CGI in the prequels, particularly because it’s not hard. You get mobile games with better graphics than the CGI of the CGI in Attack of the Clones, and despite the slightly improved CGI in Revenge of the Sith it includes even more truly awful and unnecessary CGI characters. As part of their quest to disassociate themselves as much as possible from the prequels (for better or worse), Disney decided to use more practical effects in their sequel trilogy, and yet even more godawful CGI characters slipped through the cracks. To clarify, this list is judging both the quality of CGI used for the character and the strength of the actual character itself, and with that, we start with:

Prequel Countdown:

5 – General Grievous – Revenge of the Sith

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Despite being totally obsessed with Star Wars as a child and knowing oddly specific knowledge about obscure parts of the lore and wider universe, I have trouble now remembering what General Grievous was supposed to be. It must have been explained in a tie-in novel or comic or even video game, but therein lies the problem. Nobody knew who General Grievous was because the film didn’t tell us, he appeared seemingly out of nowhere as a random Separatist leader who had lightsabers. I was among the relative few who watched Star Wars: Clone Wars animated TV show as a child, but that portrayed Grievous as a cold, calculating badass rather than the choking, shuffling Transformer-esque robot we got in the movie.

4 – Watto – The Phantom Menace

watto

The Phantom Menace ticks almost every box when it comes to criteria for terrible Star Wars movies, but a conspicuous exception is that it is not riddled with as much blatant CGI as its prequel siblings, but the CGI creatures that they do have are among the worst. Watto is not only terribly rendered but he is also terribly racist, embodying a crude Middle Eastern stereotype in his accent and character whilst also sporting a prominently large and hooked nose. But seriously, why did Watto need to be CGI? It would have saved a lot of time and effort to just put someone in an alien costume and have him stand there, even if you dub in the lines later. But no, instead we have to watch over half an hour of Liam Neeson negotiating gambling odds with the Crazy Frog. Thanks, George.

3 – Lama Su – Attack of the Clones

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“Who?” I hear you ask? Exactly. This idiot, Lama Su, appears briefly in Attack of the Clones to spout a huge wad of exposition about the Clone Army to Obi-Wan, but aside from holding the dubious honour of starring in what has been scientifically proven to be the most boring scene in all of Star Wars, Lama Su also holds the responsibility of the entire plot of Attack of the Clones in his hands. He’s the man with the answers, so to speak, and so when Obi-Wan goes to visit him you expect to finally find out answers to all the questions that have been cropping up throughout the movie: ‘Who is Count Dooku?’ ‘Who is trying to kill Padme?’ ‘Who wrote this script?’ spring immediately to mind. But no, when the movie was in dire need of some explanation as to the basic backstory, what we get is more questions. Who the heck is ‘Sifo Dyas?’ is he ever even mentioned again? Is he Count Dooku? We may never know.

2 – Dexter Jettster – Attack of the Clones

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Imagine it. You’re sat in the cinema, watching Star Wars: Attack of the Clones for the first time ever. You thought The Phantom Menace was pretty bad, but so far this film seems  promising – there’s been a speeder chase, explosions, lightsabers, even some mention of a wider story that you may or may not have been interested in. Overall, it seems more like proper Star Wars.
And then this brown, hulking, four-armed CGI creature comes shambling over to Obi-Wan Kenobi, calling him his ‘old buddy’ before giving him a hug, pulling up his trousers and squeezing his bloated computer-generated body into a plastic booth in terrible futuristic 1950s space-diner. Who let this happen? Who created this abomination? Why does he have that creepy Mario mustache?
Like many prequel characters, ‘Dex’ only appears in one scene – a bland, one-dimensional throwaway character who is cobbled together on a computer. But think – with the Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone movie coming out, maybe there’s a chance that Disney will do Dex justice.

1 – Jar Jar Binks – Who Else?

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There is very little I can say here that hasn’t already been said. Jar Jar Binks is overdesigned, overacted and overly hysterical, and he appears far too often throughout the prequels. As a one-shot Dex character, Jar Jar might just be remembered now as an embarrassing scene from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, but due to the diabolical decision to make him a main character in the first prequel movie cast a shadow across the entire trilogy, and due to his prominent role in what will soon be considered the ‘first’ Star Wars movie, his poorly-rendered shadow now looms over the entire franchise.

Sequel Countdown:

5 – Maz Kanata – The Force Awakens

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If you thought the prequels were the only Star Wars movies with totally unnecessary CGI characters, you were wrong. Enter Maz Kanata, who singlehandedly introduced at least 3 major plot holes into not only The Force Awakens  but the wider Star Wars story too. If she has been on her planet for over a thousand years, why have we never heard from her before? If she’s older than Yoda then surely she would have some interesting things to contribute to the prequel story if anyone thought to ask her – heck, Obi-Wan should have gone to her instead of Dex, She’d probably have had Palpatine’s diary lying around in her back room somewhere. Come to think of it, she never explains how she retrieved Anakin’s lightsaber from Bespin, so after being pointlessly shoehorned into The Last Jedi and possibly even the Han Solo Movie, we may be due a fourth round of Maztime in Episode IX.

4 – CGI Tarkin – Rogue One

cgitarkin

The uncanny valley reached new depths with this creation, which in fairness is a highly accurate representation of the late Peter Cushing (who, after ANew Hope, would go on to play the Doctor in the garish and hilarious Dalek Movies), that sparked debate upon the initial release of the film as to whether or not the digital recreation of an actor who is long dead was even ethically justifiable. Regardless, old Wilhuff has appeared once before, in the prequels – except that time he was played by Wayne Pygram pretending to be a younger version of the character – but when Rogue One came around, they felt that the movie needed a totally accurate digital recreation of Tarkin, who looks like he is made of plastic compared to the real members of the cast. Admittedly, the performance of the actors imitating Cushing do a fantastic job, and overall the level of quality in the cameo is high, it just the visuals which let it down.

3 – Porgs – The Last Jedi

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Of course Porgs are objectively adorable, there’s not question about that – but were they necessary? Well, the answer is certainly no, unless you factor in that Rian Johnson needed something to cover the fact that the island used to film all of Luke’s scenes plays host to a Puffin colony. From a marketing perspective, Disney certainly jumped on the idea of having a tiny puffin-shaped creature to turn into thousands of mass-produced stuffed toys, McDonalds Happy Meal prizes and lunchboxes, but their scheme did backfire somewhat when it turned out the movie was terrible, and so now everyone has a central icon to rally against in hate of this movie, and it’s the poor Porgs.

2 – Everything in Canto Bight – The Last Jedi

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So whilst not everything in the Canto Bight sequence was CGI, there were a lot of critters running around – the alien mounts that rampage through the casino merely added to the cacophony of visual diarrhea in this scene, with one particularly annoying alien insisting on inserting dozens of gold coins into BB-8 – why? Surely BB-8 isn’t hollow? And why does BB-8 have a mechanism to fire them out like bullets? The thing that most annoys me about Canto Bight, however, is that it continues the sequel trilogy’s trend of introducing vast swathes of new alien races without supplementing it with aliens we already know exist in Star Wars. Sure, the Galaxy is a big place, but after seeing recurring races like Rodians and Twi’leks so often in both the prequels and the original trilogy it seems odd that suddenly everything is different.

1 – Supreme Leader Snoke – The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi

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Despite the hundreds of theories stating otherwise, Snoke turned out to be totally useless in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, simply serving as a poor-man’s Palpatine to play the role of the ambiguous evil dark lord master who is really strong with the Force. Unlike Palpatine, who is shown to be the puppeteer from the beginning, Snoke seems to have suddenly emerged from the shadows, and it is this trait that initially peaked everyone’s interest. Sadly, however, the potential for this character was extinguished in The Last Jedi, as Snoke is tossed aside as quickly and easily as Palpatine was before him, and now the hopeful theorists are left to widely speculate their way to insanity trying to uncover the hidden meaning behind this character that was ultimately as contrived and disposable as the multitude of CGI characters in the prequels. His death scene definitely had shock factor, and it did come as a surprise, but it is extremely likely that Rian Johnson wanted it that way to make the movie more memorable – at the expense of a potentially important character. And note I say potentially important – Snoke had all the makings of a good villain, but we just never found out enough about him to understand either his motives or his place in the Star Wars universe. As such, he is now cut in half and cast into the chasm of irrelevance like Darth Maul before him.

So that’s the Top 5 Terrible CGI Star Wars Prequel Characters, and the Top 5 Terrible CGI Star Wars Sequel Characters, if you enjoyed then do remember to leave a like and you can follow us either here or on Facebook. Look down below for more articles like this one.

Top Ten Star Wars Video Games

Star Wars is one of the few movie franchises that is able to maintain excellent quality in both its films and its games (apart from a slight dip in the early 2000s…) so it comes as no surprise to most people who know Star Wars fans that just as many people like the video games as the movies, so it makes sense to do a list ranking those as well. Now bear in mind, I’m only ranking the games that I have actually played here, and although I have played a lot of Star Wars games, I haven’t played them all. Noticeable absences will be The Force Unleashed II, Rogue Squadron and all the early Jedi Knight/Dark Forces games. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the list, and coming in at number 10:

10 – Obi Wan

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Poor Star Wars: Obi Wan. If only you had been in development for another 2 years. The main reason why this is even on the list at all is that I used to have great fun with it as a kid, and for the life of me I can’t understand why. It has terrible controls, terrible gameplay, terrible dialogue and terrible voice acting. Not to mention the graphics are terrible, and the game crashes more times than I could count. They tried to get Ewan McGregor to play Obi-Wan in this game and I presume he said no, so they got another Scottish actor to take his place. Unfortunately, he doesn’t drop his Scottish accent, and so Obi-Wan goes through this entire game sounding like a Scotsman with a cold pretending to be Obi-Wan. But theres something about the game still… maybe I’ll give it another chance. Until then, Scottish Obi-Wan saying “DUH YUH UNDERSTAHND MAH LANGUAGE” will haunt my every waking thought.

9 – Republic Commando

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Republic Commando is one of those games that you have to play to truly understand. On the surface it looks like just another Clone-orientated first-person shooter like the Battlefront games, but it is altogether different to what you might expect from a game in this genre. In much the same way as Halo defies its genre to deliver excellent story, world-building and music, Republic Commando delivers a refreshing new look on the internal composition of the Clone Army as we take control of an elite squad of Clone Troopers who are sent on daring covert missions involving stealth and tactical teamwork. The plot is excellent, and there will be no spoilers here – but it’s great.

8 – The Force Unleashed

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Hype was in the air when The Force Unleashed was first announced, particularly due to the announcement that you would be playing as a dark side warrior, an angle that had been touched upon before in Star Wars games but had rarely been the sole focus, certainly not of a whole game. The Force Unleashed offers the ability to truly unleash the rage of the Dark Side of the Force, but the Wii’s controls make it obscenely difficult to do that, so I got the DS version instead. The story is fairly good, but what really makes this game fun is customising your lightsaber and collecting all the points necessary to upgrade your character.

7 – Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

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Come on, this couldn’t not be on the list. Lego Star Wars is a masterpiece of videogaming, not least because it is quite literally fun for all ages. The game is straightforward and simplistic, and yet it offers a certain level of challenge with the collection of minikits and other bonuses. I chose Complete Saga to go here because it really is the best of both the earlier games combined, allowing for seamless cross-trilogy travel with a huge amount of levels. Admittedly, I completed this game 100% my sister over the course of 3 months, and its arguably the greatest achievement of my life.

6 – Battlefront II

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It may interest some people as to why Battlefront II is 6th and yet its predecessor, Battlefront, is 5th. It seems to be a commonly accepted belief that the second game improves on its predecessor in almost every conceivable way, and it is true that Battlefront II has many added features – the ability to play as heroes, space battles, sprint, more units, tracking points, ranking etc. I love this game in its own way, not least because of the excellent array of mods that are available, but there is something about the original game that means I can’t put the sequel higher.

5 – Battlefront

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This game was one of my absolute favourites as a child, and I still play it to this day. What is undeniable now is that Battlefront trumps Battlefront II in terms of maps. Bespin: Platforms, Geonosis: Spire, Rhen Var: Harbour, Kamino: Tipoca City, Tatooine: Dune Sea, the list goes on. And the original Battlefront had much more focus on the Episode II era, which the sequel lacked due to the hype surrounding Episode III at the time.

4 – Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast

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Since this was probably one of the first games I ever played I have a nostalgic attraction to Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast. I used to play the first level over and over again when I was younger, not understanding how to progress but just loving the idea of shooting up Stormtroopers. As I got older and actually managed to complete the game, the story enthralled me, not least because I had been baffled by it to such an extent as a kid. The multiplayer was brilliant too, even against bots, and there is a fantastic depth to the customisation in this game.

3 – Knights of the Old Republic

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I am not normally a fan of RPGs, but KOTOR is the exception. The best thing about this game is that it is set so far before any of the Star Wars films are set that it can essentially create its own universe, having the Jedi be an Enclave of peaceful monks on Dantooine, the Sith a legion of soldiers who destroy planets with orbital bombardments, and the Galaxy an unknown place for your character to explore. This is like Star Wars as you have never seen it before…
And there’s a fantastic twist at the end. But again, no spoilers.

2 – Empire at War

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Addictive games are sort of cheating when it comes to ranking lists, because when I’m in the mood for a game of Empire at War I’m usually there until 4am. The Galactic Conquest mode is fantastic, allowing you to build your own fleet and defend planets as you attempt to seize control of every corner of the Galaxy. One of the best things about this game is the ability to choose whether or not you wish to personally take control of land or space battles, so if you want to just focus on space then you can have the computer auto-resolve your land battles and turn the game into a fleet command simulator. Or, you can forego the space encounters and turn the game into a Star Wars version of Age of Empires. Speaking of which…

Honourable Mentions

Galactic Battlegrounds

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Shockingly, I didn’t have this as a child. Despite putting countless hours into Age of Empires II: The Conquerors in my younger years, I didn’t realise there was a Star Wars version, which is strange since it uses the same engine and you’d think that searching for cheats and secrets about AoEII would have led me to encounter something about Galactic Battlegrounds. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, probably because very few people even remember that this game exists anymore, which is a shame.

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (DS Port)

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Bit of an odd one here, but this is another Star Wars game I used to play a lot as a child and it’s actually quite good, the side-scrolling 2-D sections when playing as the Jedi remind me somewhat of beat-em-up games that you find in arcades, until the game suddenly shifts to a fully 3-D space battle simulator. The only thing that really brings this game down is the boss fights, which mostly boil down to memorising the enemy attack patterns and whacking them when they’re vulnerable.

Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

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The problematic little brother. Of course, this game was not made by BioWare, and was actually created by Obsidian, who unfortunately shipped the game but forgot to put most of the things they had made onto the disk. Using mods this game can be returned to its original state but the release version remains a broken mess with too much content missing.

1 – Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

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The undisputed King of Lightsaber Combat. Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy lets you take control of a budding young Jedi apprentice with a great deal of raw untapped power. Thanks to massive upgrades from the previous game, Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast the already fantastic sandbox is bolstered with new moves, new force powers, new enemies, new vehicles and even new types of lightsaber to use: double-bladed and duel-sabers. Overall, this game builds on all the successes of its predecessors by refining the already damn fine lightsaber combat system and telling a well-crafted, self-contained story.

 

Star Wars Movies – Ranked Worst to Best

Most Star Wars fans have an easy time ranking the movies, since there almost appears to be a universally approved unspoken rule the the order of quality in terms of the trilogies so far, and that is that the Sequel Trilogy beats the Prequel Trilogy and the Original Trilogy beats them all, with almost no exceptions. For the record, I am including Rogue One as part of the sequel ‘trilogy’ since Episode IX hasn’t come out yet and it just makes things easier. I would like to think outside of the box for a moment and rate the films based on to what degree I personally enjoy them. So here goes:

9 – Episode I – The Phantom Menace

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Alright, so as far as thinking outside the box is concerned I haven’t got very far yet. But allow me to explain – there is a reason why Phantom Menace always comes up bottom in polls for best Star Wars movie, and that is that it is not only bad, it is also boring. As far as boring movies go, Phantom Menace falls into the worst possible category of films that could have been so much more interesting, and therefore much better, if just a bit more care and attention had been put into them. As it stands, Phantom Menace is riddled with plot holes, has little or no tension, is swamped in racist stereotyping and terrible dialogue, and ends in a convoluted mess of a conclusion that has four separate battles going on at once. Overall, the film has two bits that are less terrible than everything else around them, and they are the Podrace and the final duel with Darth Maul. Everyone says that these scenes alone redeem the film somehow, but I disagree. They are visually exciting, but that is all that can be said for them. There is no tension at all in the Podrace save for the bloated length and although the illusion of high speed that Lucas creates during this sequence is impressive, visuals alone do not make a scene. The same is true of the final duel between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Darth Maul – we know next to nothing about Darth Maul and we have barely had time to know Obi-Wan either, so when Qui-Gon dies its a foregone conclusion what is going to happen because we know that Obi-Wan must survive. Added to all this is the numerous other fatal flaws that the film has, there’s the midi-chlorians, the boring political element that would surely baffle children, the decision to sideline Obi-Wan for the less interesting Qui-Gon, and the terrible child acting. Overall, the decision to make a prequel is almost always a misguided one, and Phantom Menace stands as a testament to a worse-case scenario.

8 – Episode VIII – The Last Jedi

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A lot has been said about this film recently, and it’s obvious from where I’ve positioned this film on my list where my views on this movie stand. However, I don’t hate this film, far from it. I actually really enjoyed watching Episode VIII, but there are some things about the film that just really bugged me, such as the seemingly forced humour, the pointlessly inserted characters like Maz Kanata and DJ, and the implausibly misguided decision to kill off Luke Skywalker and not Princess Leia. There were good things about the film, such as Rey, Kylo Ren and scenes like the throne room duel and the destruction of the Supremacy, but then there were some outright strange decisions, such as the characterisation of Luke Skywalker, the decision to kill Snoke, the Porgs, and the scene in which Leia flies through space like Superman. Overall, the film wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t too good either.

7 – Episode II – Attack of the Clones

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Attack of the Clones is a strange one for me because it was my favourite Star Wars movie for years as a child. I loved the battles, the lightsabers, the fact that Jango Fett was in it, and because it was a sequence of bright images played in a sequence. On reflection, the film is totally bland, with a story that meanders and relies too heavily on plot elements that are not properly explained to us. Who is Count Dooku? Who is Sifo Dyas? Why are the Separatists rebelling? These are never explained and so we are almost forced to not care about the political plotline. This is somewhat refreshing since Phantom Menace relied so heavily on political exposition to deliver plot elements, but that isn’t much to be proud of. The best thing by far about this movie is that you get a feel for what the Galaxy was like before the Empire, with the Jedi at the height of their power. The special effects of aged horribly, and considering they make up over half of the movie, it shows.

6 – Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

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The final chapter of the Original Trilogy is a fantastic film in its own right, but it just doesn’t hold a candle to either Episode IV or Episode V. The biggest problem with Episode VI is that the ending is basically a rehash of the ending of Episode IV but with a more ridiculous villain. Despite filling the evil manipulator role really well, Palpatine seems somewhat of a ridiculous ‘big baddie’ for the Star Wars universe, considering the fact that Darth Vader is a menacing robot man with an evil mask and Palpatine is an old man in a black cloak. His motives seem really strange too, he asks Luke to join the dark side whilst offering no real temptation or reason as to why he should, other than the vague assertion that the dark side is powerful. Even when he finally decides to kill Luke, he dawdles and relishes his victory to such an extend he ignores both the fact that the Death Star is about to explode (again) and also that Vader is about to betray him. One aspect of this film that used to be one of its most redeeming features was the wholesome ending, but the new films have spoiled that now and so Episode VI is lesser today than it was.

5 – Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

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This may seem somewhat of a controversial opinion, but I firmly believe that Episode III is better than Episode VI. As they both take the role of the ‘final act’ in their respective trilogies, it is easy to compare the two and George Lucas deliberately inserted references to all of the Original Trilogy films into Episode III. The best thing about this finale is that it ends the despised prequel trilogy on a dark and sombre tone – the formerly sickeningly child-friendly and happy prequel films end on the darkest Star Wars film to date, with scenes including the massacre of a temple full of unarmed children, the massacre of a room full of unarmed politicians, and the massacre of at least 600 defenseless Battle Droids. The film does have some really emotional scenes, such as the Order 66 scene, the scene in which Anakin realises Padme is pregnant and the best scene in the film – the final conversation between Anakin and Obi-Wan before the two former friends part ways. The lightsaber duels in this movie vary, from the bland and dull Dooku fight and the overlong Anakin and Obi-Wan fight to the two fantastic duels involving Palpatine.

4 – Episode VII – The Force Awakens

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While I didn’t like Episode VIII very much, I am not a sequel-trilogy hater. I really enjoyed Rey’s story in both Episode VIII and its predecessor, Episode VII. Whilst I accept that the film has its issues – most notably the fact that the film essentially rehashes the basic plot structure of Episode IV – the film itself is an enjoyable and refreshing return to the original formula of Star Wars, and it feels that little bit more authentic than the Prequel Trilogy did. The new characters are all likeable and relevant (except for Maz Kanata, who makes no sense) and the pool of acting talent is rich, from the charismatic John Boyega to the energetic Daisy Ridley. Overall, it rebooted Star Wars strong, ignorant of what was yet to come.

3 – Rogue One, A Star Wars Story

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The original prequels may have failed, but the sequel prequel did what the prequel trilogy tried to do, the inverse of which the sequel trilogy did right, in that it was an effective stylistic sequel but chronological prequel to the original trilogy. Rogue One gives audiences a Star Wars experience, and although the main plot is far from relevant in comparison to the Skywalker lineage, the film does solve several major plot holes of Episode IV whilst also standing on its own two feet as a movie. I would even consider showing this film to people who had never seen Star Wars before, apart from the fact that it is so action-packed that the original films may seem boring by comparison.

2 – Episode IV, A New Hope

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The original Star Wars, originally called Star Wars, is a fantastic experience. Unfortunately, it is exceedingly difficult to watch the film in its original form, since the only versions that are released nowadays are the heavily edited special edition versions. Episode IV had several re-releases, each one adding or altering more and more of the film until it has reached the point where entire scenes have been added, dialogue has been altered, and the focus or point of entire scenes turned on their head. Nowadays, it is difficult to watch Episode IV without these changes becoming more and more obvious, to the extent that they almost impact on the enjoyment factor of the film. For a lesser movie, they might, but this is the original Star Wars experience, and it still holds up. Essentially a traditional swashbuckling fantasy adventure in space, Episode IV kicks off the franchise with a beautifully immersive experience.

1 – Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back

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And then came the big one. Not much needs to be said here, since Episode V is often considered to be one the best movies of all time, and it is not hard to see why. It improves on Episode IV in almost every single way, bringing new planets, new characters, new adventures, new threats and shocking new revelations to the main characters and the audience. Imagine the shock that would engulf the internet if Episode V was released today, it would be truly Earth-shattering.