Strong with the Force
Since DICE's Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is on its way, and more information about it sure to pop up at Star Wars Celebration, we've been quietly considering the legacy of Lucas and co.'s ultra-franchise on Xbox consoles. And, as ever, after the quiet consideration comes the loud trumpeting of Team OXM's thoughts on the matter. What follows are 25 important, shocking or just memorably weird moments from our pick of the Star Wars adaptations, as well as other Xbox games inspired by the franchise.
Beware: major plot spoilers throughout
KOTOR's big revelation (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
When all of gamings plot twists are eventually drawn together by centrifugal attraction, the shocker that bubbles to the fore will be KOTOR's endgame reveal. If you'd been following the Jedi path, the discovery that your character is the brain-wiped husk of a genocidal Sith Lord threw all your actions into question. And if you were at one with the Dark Side, it felt like the best surprise birthday party ever. *evil party popper*
Force-fuelled dogfighting (Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter)
How do the Sith throw thunderbolts around? According to our inquiries, the source is a bag of angry cats each Sith keeps hidden about their person, generating a supply of static electricity. Whatever the explanation, it comes in handy during duels and space combat. In 2002's Jedi Starfighter, you can project it from your ship to frazzle anything that escapes your crosshairs. Those cats deserve RAF service medals.
Darth Vader joins Soulcalibur (Soulcalibur IV)
Originally exclusive to the PS3 version of the game, the artist formerly known as Anakin Skywalker was made available as DLC for Xbox 360 users. And a good thing too: Xbox 360's own exclusive Star Wars character, Yoda, was a bit of a letdown, thanks to his short reach and turgid evasion. As avid practitioners of the Dark Side, we heartily endorse Vader's habit of collaring downed foes with the Force and hurling them about.
Aerial action at the Academy (Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy)
While not the best Star Wars game, this 2003 LucasArts effort is easily the most well-rounded Jedi duelling sim. Picking a standout from its arsenal of lightsaber stances, acrobatic moves and powers feels like kicking a football into the Death Star's exhaust pipe from Alderaan. Still, the arching flip attack, where you deliver a strike to the opponents head while upside down, seems most worthy of celebration.
Frost Troll's dinner (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
There are more dead bodies in Skyrim than there are elevators on Bespin. Among them is a mouldy chunk of skeleton affixed by its feet to the ceiling of a cave, not far from a suspiciously sleek Frost Troll. A sword lies in the snow directly beneath, just out of reach. Remember that bit on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke narrowly avoids becoming a Wampa's breakfast? This is what happens if you don't practice your Force Pulling, guys.
The battle over Coruscant (Star Wars: Battlefront II)
The Battlefront series has a tortuous history, rife with studio closures and cancellations. But let's think of the good times. Let's remember clambering into a primordial X-Wing during a hellish scrap above the surface of Coruscant. Let's relive the thrill of swooping from the hangar bay to shred proto-TIE Fighters. Let's recall how we stole aboard a dreadnought and lit the beast up with thermal detonators.
The Havok unleashed (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed)
Say what you like about this much-touted 2008 franchise refresh, but it does indeed unleash the Force to full and satisfying effect. As Darth Vader's secret apprentice Starkiller, you're loaded down with ways to misuse the Havok physics engine, and there are none of the usual moral caveats. Wookiees giving you aggro? Seize one with Force Grip, cackle as he grabs at a friends arm, then fling them both into a tree. Problem solved.
Darth Maul's Pro Skater 3 (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3)
The temptations of the Dark Side of the Force can be difficult to resist. So much power and, more importantly, so much style. For example: did you know that any halfway-talented Sith Lord can pull off a BS tailslide followed by a pop shove-it, build to a saber spin and culminate with a 360 heelflip? Thankfully, Neversoft was alive to this particular aspect of Dark Side training and celebrated it in a Tony Hawk game.
"I don't like you either" (Mass Effect 3: Citadel)
While engaging in a banterific bout of heavy drinking with (potential old flame) Ashley, you'll be set upon by prancing tough guys in clumsy mimicry of Luke Skywalkers first visit to Mos Eisley's bar. This one sticks in the mind by virtue of implausibility. Its fair enough that offworld yahoos would try to rough up Luke at that point, he's just some country boy with crap hair. But Shepard? What were they thinking?
Han Solo's mercenary ride (Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction)
Every band of galaxy-saving adventurers needs a shady type like Han Solo. Nonetheless, we find the idea of the Millennium Falcon's captain dropping bunker-busters on airfields then letting rip with an M16 a mite hard to swallow. A Solo character skin is hidden away in Mercenaries - it doesn't alter the experience but it does prove that, whatever George Lucas may claim, Han is the kind to shoot first.
Anakin vs. the Jedi Order (Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
As humdrum as this straight movie spinoff generally is, it does allow you to enact every Sith Lords wet dream: an assault on Coruscant's Jedi Temple, sanctuary of all that is wholesome. It's a shame the melee combat isn't a match for the premise, and that you have to listen to Anakin throughout. I'll tear this place apart, he groans, like someone who's discovered the office printer is out of ink.
Wash your robot mouth out in Borderlands (Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!)
Many of the best Star Wars gags are delivered by R2-D2 and C-3PO, which is saying something given that one of them only speaks binary code. The same applies to the blue Claptrap and orange loader bot you discover in The Pre-Sequel!. An excerpt: I don't know where you learned such gusset-ridden sailor talk, but you should know that is anatomically quite impossible.
When Santa met Vader (Lego Star Wars II: The Original Saga)
Love the Lego Star Wars games, but always found them a touch lacking in festive sparkle? Enter the codes CL4U5H and TYH319 while loitering in the hub bar and youll be able to explore the Death Star as trusty Saint Nick. Now all you need to do is insert some appropriate music using the Xbox 360's USB slot - and occasionally bellow things like, "HAVE YOU BEEN NAUGHTY THIS YEAR?" as you chop Stormtroopers into twitching plastic giblets.
The mislaid lightsaber (Star Wars: Republic Commando)
The fondest piece of make-believe ever served up by Star Wars is the idea that swords have a significant edge over laser guns. It entailed the invention of a special kind of laser, which travels at roughly the speed of a migrating pigeon. Republic Commando puts that notion firmly in its place with a single line of dialogue, delivered as you brood over a long-abandoned lightsaber. A weapon for a more civilised age. Well guess what, times have changed. Cold.
Starkiller monkeys around (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II)
Alas, this ones more depressing than noteworthy. Not content with sullying our memories of Darth Vader, LucasArts had to go and drop another vintage character in there: Guybrush Threepwood, silver-tongued star of the Monkey Island games. There's a statue of the guy on Cato Neimoidia, pointing towards a sadly non-interactive wall, and you can even play as him - or rather his Sith alter-ego, Guybrush Threepkiller.
Skull 'n' crossbows (Halo: The Master Chief Collection)
Jedi vs Spartan? Now there's a fantasy match-up you could pose at any given sleepover party without fear of a corrective beating. Alas, no dev has dared cross the streams, so we'll have to content ourselves with in-jokes. When the IWHBYD Skull is active in Halo 2, marines occasionally compare Brutes to Wookiees.
Star Wars Kid returns (Tony Hawks Underground 2)
Star Wars Kid's YouTube reign of terror has long since ended, though some old folk whisper that he still wanders the halls of Reddit late at night, whirling his home-made saber. Those who harbour a guilty affection for the guy might want to skate up a certain apartment block on Underground 2's Boston level. Crash through a particular window and you'll encounter a bespectacled figure who offers to show you his moves. Don't worry; its less creepy than it sounds.
Square hearts Wedge and Biggs (most Final Fantasy games)
Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles are pilots for the Rebel Alliance, briefly featured in the films but explored at length in spinoffs. And, for some reason, the Final Fantasy series. Almost every game since FFVI includes a duo named for the pair: theyre members of AVALANCHE in VII, appear as guards in VIII, can be recruited as Blitzball players in X and run a shop in the first Xbox 360 instalment, Final Fantasy XIII.
X-Wings over the Pacific (Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault)
We didn't fight in World War II, for reasons of youth and cowardice, but we do harbour many harrowing memories of WWII videogames. There's the odd colourful moment in Pacific Assault's Airfield Ambush mission, however. Head inside the radio hut by the runway, for instance, and you'll be able to listen in on combat chatter between X-Wing pilots during the run on the Death Star. It's not quite the Millennium Falcon under a tarpaulin, but its a nice touch.
The struggle against Darth Traya (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords)
KOTOR 2 has plenty of things going for it, including a sympathetic, if dependably murderous arch-villain in Darth Traya, a Sith Lord who transcends both Jedi and Sith in that she regards the Force itself as an enemy. The scene on Dantooine, when she reveals her agenda to the player at last, ranks as one of gaming's few compelling examples of full-on exposition.
George Lucas meets George Romero (Dead Rising 3)
As is traditional for the franchise, Xbox One's first Dead Rising includes an item creation recipe for a [cough] laser sword, which may strike the Jedi aficionado as oddly familiar. You'll build it using gems and a flashlight, after finding the blueprint. The weapon isn't as flamboyant as others, but it insta-kills regular Zs and has a gratifyingly wide arc.
Mission's End (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
Much of the time, evil behaviour in games equals sarky dialogue and sexy eyeshadow. Those of a sadistic bent may wish to get to know KOTOR's Twilek teenager Mission and her faithful Wookiee chum Zaalbar. The latter swears eternal loyalty when you save his life, even if you follow the Dark path. Mission isn't as easily won over, but given a decent Force Persuade skill you can have Zaalbar kill her. And after? You should probably have yourself arrested.
The Didact's own Death Star (Halo 4)
Okay, so it isnt a direct lift from Star Wars, but its hard to play through Halo 4's penultimate section in which Master Chief and Cortana fly a Broadsword fighter through the guts of the Didacts flagship and not hear the echo of Episode IV's famous Death Star trench run. Its a dazzling sequence, though a frustrating one; Luke Skywalker didn't have moving panels to worry about.
Forging of the Alliance (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed)
The ability to bang Wookiees together like drumsticks aside, you might like to play the original Force Unleashed because its the story of how the Rebel Alliance was founded. Starkiller is dispatched by Vader to unify various senators against the Emperor, the idea being that the pair will usurp Darth Sidious in the chaos. Starkiller, however, succumbs to the Light Side while hobnobbing with the rebels. Serves you right, Darth.
The disco strikes back (Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga)
Only the mad hatters of Travellers Tales would see in the dreaded Stormtrooper a dancefloor maniac awaiting his chance to moonwalk. Hidden away in Lego Star Wars are three Stormtrooper discos one assembled by hand, the others activated by stepping on circles of light. Once in full swing, they'll attract nearby Stormtroopers like moths to a glitterball (and unlock an Achievement). Its one of many proofs that TT is now the nearest thing to the LucasArts of yore.