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Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Review
P233, 32MB RAM, 2MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Nov 11, 01 (released)
|» All About Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds on ActionTrip|
Gareth Von Kallenbach
In 1977, audiences were introduced to the battle between the evil Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance in the classic "Star Wars" series. With the advent of computer gaming, fans longed to take command of something more than a simple starship or soldier and command forces on a large scale. When the popular Command and Conquer and Warcraft series arrived, it seemed only a matter of time until fans got a Star Wars themed real time strategy game to satiate their desires.
Sadly the first such game, Rebellion, was a flop. Hampered by a difficult control interface and resource management issues, the game failed to satisfy the gaming public. A few years later, Force Commander arrived, but due to its dated graphics, camera and gameplay issues, it also failed to make an impact on the gaming public.
When Lucas Arts announced that is was making a new strategy games using the Age of Empires II engine, hope sprang up amongst gamers that they might finally get a strategy game worthy of the Star Wars legend. That game is Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.
In Galactic Battlegrounds, players get to take on the role of the supreme commander of either the Empire, Rebel Alliance, Trade Federation, Wookies, Gungans, and Naboo forces. Each side has their own strengths and weaknesses, and has a wide range of buildings and weapons based upon their culture. For example, since the Gungan are an amphibious species, they have many great water based weapons to go with their land troops but they are not strong in the way of advanced space fighters. One of the classic features of the game is that unlike other RTS games, players have to collect more than one resource to build, and need to make sure that they have food and housing adequate for the size of the army they have created.
The game also features the classic characters such as Han, Luke, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader to name a few. While in many ways Battlegrounds is little more than Age of Empires II with new artwork and sound effects, it is a solid and enjoyable game. The variety of new and familiar units makes creating an army almost as much fun as sending said army into the enemy base and blasting it to the ground. The ability to increase the units technical abilities is an important part of the game, as being the first player to discover a new technology can lead to new weapons that gives the player a strategic advantage. I also liked the addition of shield generators in the game as the ability to add extra protection to key buildings helps when planning your defenses.
Unlike Age of Empires II, players do not advance in eras rather they advance in technology levels. The higher your technology level, the more weapon and building options you have. You do not want to be in the lower tech levels when the enemy comes calling on your base with an advanced army, as the battle is not likely to be long, nor in your favor.
One of my favorite tricks is to take a transport and load it with a few soldiers and a building droid. I then transport to the far side of an enemy base, unload troops, and defend the droid while it builds weapon emplacements that will fire on the enemy base and units. This is a good way to contain enemy expansion or at least get them to send troops to the area leaving other areas weaker for an attack by my main units.
Play balance is good between the sides, as each side has no overwhelming advantage over the others, thus increasing the enjoyment of playing the game as any of the various sides. The number of units that are contained in the game is also good and players are sure to delight in seeing the Imperial Walkers Tie Bombers, X-wings, Y-Wings Snow Speeders, and more come into play unless they are advancing on your units in a prolonged battle.
The Sith and Jedi also feature in the game as players have to build a temple to train and improve Force users for their side. I recall a moment where my opponent had an army of Sith and bounty hunters advancing on an area I was holding only to be decimated when he learned that I had developed bombers and that his Sith where not very effective against a series of strafing runs.
Multiplay is also featured in the game: there is the standard deathmatch and the defend the monument variety that is a lot of fun. The game also includes a great campaign maker so players can create their own maps and scenarios and increase their replay value.
Galactic Battlegrounds is a fun and solid game that despite having dated graphics and a lot of resemblance to an "Age" mod, it finally delivers the RTS Star Wars game that will satisfy the fans who have waited for a long time for a RTS game worthy of the Star Wars legacy. Galactic Battleground is a must for any Star Wars and strategy game fan and while not the most original idea, is very fun.
8.6 Very Good
A wide range of interesting units from the Star Wars universe. It's very fun to play;
But it presents little more than an elaborate Star Wars mod for Age of Empires II.
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