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When LucasArts unveiled their lineup of stellar games including Clone Wars as well as the upcoming RTX Red Rock and Gladius at E3 2002, I was a bit more than impressed to say the least. When I heard that they would be developing a title that would put you in the shoes of one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy, Jango Fett, I was immediately in love. While not necessarily my favorite out of the bunch, it was definitely the most anticipated Star Wars title out of the bunch.
After months of waiting and dozens of Episode II viewings, I was finally able to get my hands on it. Did the wait bring a fun, action-packed Star Wars title to the table? Absolutely. Bounty Hunter director, Jon Knoles, was spot-on when he said, "There are few things cooler than jetpack-strafing sideways or backwards while you fire off a missile into a bunch of goons."
A Star Wars video game is all about capturing the Star Wars Universe. To make it look great and to actually put you into the settings that some of these characters go through. Bounty Hunter does an excellent job of showing off some of the spectacular settings such as Coruscant or Tatooine. Even the new locales such as the asteroid prison facility, Oovo IV do a nice job at detailing the land far, far away. Character models are nicely detailed and react to lighting effects in a very astounding manner from time to time, which may take you off guard. Also, I’m sure that I am not the only person who will laugh hysterically at some of the death animations. Don’t get me wrong, they look great, but once your target wobbles around for a bit and then flops down, face first into the dirt, you can’t help but laugh. Excellent work!
The weapon effects are just plain awesome. Obviously, they’ve recreated the Star Wars weapons and whatnot, but for some reason they look extremely clean here. The title seems to polish up on the blaster fire. I was surprised since I’ve been accustomed to seeing the same old stuff, but Jango’s dual blasters look nothing short of amazing in action. The jetpack is also an amazing quality in the title. The bursts of fire and particle effects used in the jetpack really make it even more fun to play around with.
The audio in this game is probably the best that I’ve heard in a Star Wars game to date. First off, the voice acting is excellent, grade-A talent. Temuera Morrison reprises his role as Jango Fett and does a great job at fleshing out the character even more. The interaction between each character works amazingly well and actually feels as if it belongs in a Star Wars movie.
The sound effects are more than just astounding. Sounding straight out of the Episode II DVD, the effects are crisp, clear and beautiful. John Williams’ score shines in this title and it’s extremely apparent with various tracks from the Episode II soundtrack thrown into each level.
The music is amazing and wondrous to listen to. I was very impressed with the audio in The Clone Wars, but Bounty Hunter seems like only a taste of things to come. Since this is the last “announced” entry into the Star Wars universe for a console, I’m extremely excited to see what does come.
Bounty Hunter succeeds at what it was sent out to do: put the player in the shoes of Jango Fett. While it doesn’t literally do this, it gives a great feel as to how Jango would be able to plow through hundreds of enemies to get to his prized bounty. The action can become very diverse, especially once you’ve mastered the jetpack strafe. There are many weapons but nothing is as fun or entertaining as Jango’s trademark dual blaster pistols. The targeting system is great and lends a great help to the third-person shooter. However, there are some moments where you won’t be targeting the opponent you want to blast. These moments can be extremely frustrating during boss battles. While you are fighting a boss (usually a gigantic ship) a few cronies are usually running around trying to nick you with their blasters. However, the targeting won’t let you lock onto anything but the boss unless you’re extremely far away from it and extremely close to the cronies. This is more of an annoyance rather than something that harms the title badly, though.
What does harm the title is the camera system. The camera is set in real-time and doesn’t allow you to fiddle with it unless you’re manually targeting something. This can be a bad thing, especially when you’re in a firefight with several enemies while balancing in a two-foot beam five miles above ground. The camera doesn’t take away from the absolute fun of this title, however, but keeps the game from becoming excellent.
The great part about the play mechanics in this title is the optional bounties. While you’re going through a mission, you’ll have the option to scan various enemies and citizens to see if there is a price on their heads. Some are worth more alive than dead, so you’ll be able to tie them up and capture them for credits. These credits unlock new features such as Outtake reels and pages from the Jango Fett Dark Horse comic book. Things like this are starting to make games like Bounty Hunter interactive DVDs, which is extremely welcome in my book. If they could create a technology to incorporate the movie that the game is based off of with the disc itself, I would welcome it with all the praise in the world. Even a commentary while playing the game would be amazing, but that’s getting off the subject. Bounty Hunter may not play like a dream, but it is definitely as fun as one.
Strangely, there is no multiplayer features available in Bounty Hunter. While it would be just plain awesome to have a two-player duel with Jango and Zam, this neither helps nor hinders the game, however, since there are plenty of Star Wars multiplayer titles out there. If you’re more interested in duking it out with your friends, Star Wars style, pick up The Clone Wars instead of Bounty Hunter.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter is a welcome addition to the Star Wars Universe. After the recent releases of The Clone Wars and Jedi Outcast, the Cube is turning out to be a Star Wars fan’s paradise. Bounty Hunter gets down to the gritty details of being a bounty hunter in Star Wars and creates an extremely fun experience for the player. While there is no multiplayer, we’re more than happy to play a bit more capture the flag in The Clone Wars than risk a sub-par Star Wars multiplayer experience.
This title looks good, feels good, and sounds exactly like Star Wars. Some have torn the game down but I can’t imagine why because the title is so fun and well worth our time. If you have a doubt, give it a rental before you buy it. If you’re a Star Wars fan or even enjoyed Attack of the Clones, pick up Bounty Hunter!
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