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Star Wars: Lethal Alliance Package Art
GENRE
Action
DEVELOPER
Ubisoft Casablanca
PUBLISHER
Ubisoft
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
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Star Wars: Lethal Alliance

A more fitting title for this first-person shooter may have been Star Wars: Unlikely Alliance. Rianna Saren, a Twi'lek mercenary sporting a cybernetic lekku (head-tail) teams up with Zeeo, a flighty, floating droid, sharing brains and brawn, muscle and mechanics to become one unstoppable force. Lethal Alliance follows the path of this odd couple as they encounter yet another Alliance which becomes increasingly lethal to the newly-formed Galactic Empire.

visuals

Ambitious for a DS game, environments and characters are rendered in 3D. While not beautiful, said environments are functional and inoffensive. The rest of the game mixes in 2D graphics by way of touch screen puzzles and hand-illustrated cutscene sequences.

It's clear designers pulled back on the environmental details to focus on the main character; Rianna's movements are refreshingly believable in their fluidity. A kindred spirit to femme fatale Aeon Flux of another universe, Rianna exhibits the same acrobatic feminine grace while delivering the same lethal results to anyone in her way.

audio

Lush, ambient Star Wars orchestral background music covers for chunky, low-bit sound effects. With no option for adjusting effect volume, players should turn them off altogether for a less jarring and more immersive aural experience. Sound effects are not missed. A change in music signals combat with the same effectiveness of the "Halt!" spoken by every single enemy.

gameplay

Lethal Alliance's level progression is linear, but levels remain varied enough to be compelling. The straightforward certainty of direction fits in with the confident character of Rianna. Droid and humanoid guards are encountered in some areas and all must be destroyed to progress. Increasing numbers of enemies are balanced by increased protection from Zeeo, who attempts to shield Rianna in combat.

Combat could have been a bit more balanced. While it's true Rianna can cooperate with Zeeo to deflect blaster bolts or perform a proximity-stunning ground pound, these moves are comparatively limited in effectiveness because of their range and being limited to only one use at a time. While less interesting, standard FPS strafe-while-blasting fare remains the most effective, combining both offensive and defensive maneuvers. Targets are fairly easy to destroy, thanks to an excellent auto lock-on. Health packs are sprinkled thoughtfully throughout each area, and often found when most needed.

But blasters are only half the story; fans of slicing (computer hacking in the Star Wars universe) actually get to do some. The slicer is none other than droid Zeeo, who disables obstacles for Rianna via puzzle manipulation on the touch screen. Said puzzles are well thought out with varying levels of difficulty. Unlock doors, disable force-fields, download maps; you name it, Zeeo can slice it. Some puzzles even require Rianna to act in the real world while Zeeo's at work in the virtual one.

multiplayer

Lethal Alliance sports three different multiplayer modes: Intel Chase, Virus Outbreak and Survival. These modes are multi-card only and are inaccessible without another player. Each boasts a slightly different objective, and all feature various location choices from Mustafar to Tatooine to the Death Star. In Intel Chase the first player to find a power converter and repair their control panel wins. Virus Outbreak is a survival game where players must avoid infection or infect others with a computer virus. Players must destroy all others to win Survival.

overall

FPS offerings on DS are few and far between. Happily, Lethal Alliance's puzzles and exploratory nature lend interest to the adventure and keep players coming back as the story unfolds. While not the most challenging game, Lethal Alliance hits its mark in appealing to the widest possible range of Star Wars gamers new and old.

final score 7.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Paul Starke
Staff Profile | Email
"In Japan this was named a 'trouble bug.' (...Is it really a bug?)"


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