Evolution of the lightsaber

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II (PC/1997)

The first Dark Forces was filled with first-person running and gunning, not too far removed from Doom. The sequel focused on Kyle Katarn's transformation from regular ol' soldier to Force-sensitive sentinel, lightsaber and Force powers included. Even though it was an FPS, lightsaber actions switched to third-person, a move that made sense but left us wanting a true in-your-face method of dueling. This is also the first instance of multiplayer lightsaber duels across the burgeoning internet.


Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi (PSOne/1997)

Often called the worst Star Wars game of all time, or the worst fighting game of all time, or the worst anything that appeared on Earth in 1997, Teras Kasi can still proudly claim to be the first one-on-one fighting game with lightsabers. But, in keeping with its immense suckage, they don't cut people into bits or behave like energy weapons at all. Might as well be a stick. But wait... what's this?


Oh how precious, they used lightsabers as energy bars. See, because it's Star Wars and it's a fighting game. Tip of the hat, dev team.

Star Wars Trilogy Arcade (Arcade/1998)

A massively popular arcade machine with three distinct play types - X-Wing piloting, on foot blasting and lightsaber dueling. All were controlled via a flight stick, which kinda-sorta feels like a saber handle if you squint and imagine really hard. After Vader you're off to best Boba Fett by deflecting blaster shots. It's not the 1:1 control that people babble on about, but it's a whole lot closer to the real thing than anything prior.

Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles (Dreamcast/2000) 

New movies meant new canonical video games, and after 1999's Episode I tie-in (with first Maul lightsaber) we got this brawler that let you handle purple and yellow sabers in addition to the standard blue, green and red. As with any good beat 'em up, Power Battles had a list of combos for each Jedi rather than simple slash-slash-slash attacks we'd seen up to this point.

A couple of years after the Dreamcast version hit stores, a watered-down GBA port appeared to aid the Episode II blitz. See those tiny blue... things? Lightsabers!


Star Wars: Obi-Wan (Xbox/2001)

Another turd Forced out of the LucasArts orifice, this one focused on Obi-Wan prior to Episode I. You run, you swing, you turn off the game in disgust, but it's worth noting for its all-analog lightsaber control and for centering on one well-known Jedi for the duration of the game. There's also a chance to fight the whole damn council as a way to prove yourself worthy of Jedi-dom.

Xbox, PS2 and GC games look bare and lifeless by today's standards, but as far as lightsabers are concerned, there isn't much visual change from here on out. But our journey is far from over...


  • Spacem0nkey77 - August 20, 2010 11:46 a.m.

    Holy shit Time Killers!! I totally forgot I loved that game!!
  • sk8r7 - August 19, 2010 7:49 p.m.

    the first knights of the old republic was also for pc-just saying
  • katwood92 - October 29, 2008 12:35 a.m.

    When we were little, my brother and I would watch the original Star Wars, then reenact scences from them, or make up our own.
  • jedi1203 - October 11, 2008 3 a.m.

    I like pie... =)
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - October 9, 2008 10:01 p.m.

    Death Star Battle did indeed precede the SNES game, but it's one repeating loop of "attack the Death Star," so I wasn't big on counting it as a true RotJ game. I'm a NERD.
  • sackboy97 - November 24, 2008 5:41 a.m.

    sorry i mean IV
  • sackboy97 - November 24, 2008 5:40 a.m.

    gamesradar u forgot soulcalibur VI
  • cultofbananas - October 9, 2008 3:50 p.m.

    " this was also the first console game based on Return of the Jedi" Hate to heckle, but that's not true! I had the original Return of the Jedi game for 2600 when I was a kid. Death Star Battle I think it was called? I don't remember.
  • eddiejoe502 - October 9, 2008 2:18 a.m.

    First. Good artical. Never really thought about the Argent Avenger being like a light saber until i saw this.
  • alf125 - February 20, 2009 9:07 p.m.

    jedi outcast was the best game ever
  • buminyaface - January 18, 2009 12:03 a.m.

    wheres the classic double bladed 'laser sword' cheat from ratchet and clank 3, that was awesome. anyways, great article gr
  • bron1417 - February 24, 2009 12:51 a.m.

    ah lightsabers they've come so far and they are not done by any means.
  • sadowolf - February 22, 2009 7:05 a.m.

    looks like you guys forgot about a little survival horror/action/piece of crap game called blue stinger for the dreamcast. not only did it have a beam sword, but also a stun rod that resembled a light saber even more
  • Conco - February 21, 2009 2:03 p.m.

    Yheah, I'm missing the Racthet and Clank one 2. I remember slashing enemies with that, sich good times.
  • shadowdude - February 20, 2009 10:33 p.m.

    anyone ever see the wii periferal thats basicly a lightsaber toy ? awesome

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