Star Wars: Lethal Alliance hands-on

You gotta love the Star Wars universe. It's so expansive that even with the main core of the films done there's always room to keep pimping the franchise. And because there's a freakin' galaxy at stake in these star wars, there will always be more than enough heroes and villains to populate the never-ending supply of video games we get.

Case in point: the star of Ubisoft's Star Wars: Lethal Alliance is orange-skinned hotbox Rianna Saren, a Twi'lek who's recruited by Jedi Kyle Katarn (of Jedi Knight fame) and Princess Leia to help nab the Death Star plans. Yeah, we know: it was Bothan spies according to the original Star Wars film dialogue - we're guessing they figure in somewhere.

Anyhow, along with playable droid Zeeo, the two of you will traverse familiar Star Wars locales like Mustafar, Alderaan and Tatooine. Set between Episodes III and IV, the Galactic Empire has placed most every planet under martial law. The classic opening scroll explains that the rebel alliance is already planning to take 'em down. We all know what happens next (and if you don't, then go buy one of the three versions of the original trilogy on DVD, sinner), but for now don't expect to see Luke, Han or Chewie.

There are no lightsabers or force powers here either. You've gotta rely on good ol' fashioned run 'n gun gameplay, while Zeeo aides as a shield or uses other abilities like a ground stomp to stun nearby foes. Thankfully, the gameplay doesn't boil down to run down this hallway, shoot this stormtrooper and then proceed. There's a little bit of that, but deadly hazards spring up from time to time to break the monotony. Moving mines and roving lasers routinely patrol hallways to thwart your progress, but they're easily avoidable. Additionally, you'll have to scale pipes and chain-link fences to cross gaps and deadly drops. Again, nothing too difficult, but it helps to break up the bang bang.