If you watched The Phantom Menace, you would have thought that the battle for Naboo was a pretty simple one, but apparently it wasn't. At least for this game's sake, anyway. Here, you're a royal pain in the Trade Alliance's ass in what is basically Rogue Squadron (the previous N64 SW action title) painted in Episode I colors. The premise is pretty simple; you hop into several different Naboo resistance vehicles (such as a Naboo fighter or Flash Speeder) and mow down Battle Droids and AT Tanks by the thousands. Most of the gameplay involves taking out lots of specific targets, but the other half usually revolves around protecting one thing or another. At one point, I had saved enough peasant dwellings from Droid attacks to feel like I was part of the Naboo Homeowners Association. Some of the missions are pretty superfluous, but others, such as attacks on space stations and assaults on heavy artillery, are intense. The graphics are nice too; the models of the Star Wars hardware are very detailed, and the laser lighting effects and explosions make the battlefield come alive in all its chaos. It's quite rewarding to take down a tank or a Destroyer Droid with a rocket or two. If it weren't for the blurry terrain, the repetitive pilot chatter ("Hit them hard and fast!"), and the low-quality cartridge Episode I music, this could have scored higher, but it's still one of the best Star Wars console games out there.
Gorgeous this game is, for RAM Pak it uses. Characters you will not recognize, for newly invented they are, but surprised you should not be. At your disposal several original ships are, and though scripted is their usage at times, choose between them to suit your preference you may at others. Nice this is. As worn out as the music the Star Wars license is, though, and while at first fun, tiring BFN soon becomes. Save you cannot, so finish game in one sitting you must. Pretty lame that is. Very similar to Starfighter in many ways it appears, yet own a PS2 you might not, so rent BFN you should. Otherwise, a Jedi craves not this thing.
I'm all for mindless battling, especially when it involves Episode I themes (yes, even with the new characters). Seriously, if you liked Rogue Squadron, it's a good bet you'll like Naboo even more. The missions are manageable and for the most part, really fun. The targeting system is a little touchy though, it takes a precise hit to destroy the baddies. Luckily you're given mucho shield so taking a few pops while you aim is no big problem. I'm impressed with the sound as well. The lasers, bomb blasts, music and voices sound great (although I could do without the cheesy screams). Aside from the lack of a save option, Naboo is a decent game.
Star Wars Episode I: Battle for Naboo
Developer: Factor 5
Featured In: EGM #132
Supports: Rumble Pak, Expansion Pak
Best Feature: Wide vehicle selection
Worst Feature: Blurry environments
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