The Switch, where Star Wars games get another lease on life – What’s next?
Star Wars games have been on Nintendo platforms since the Nintendo Entertainment System with the release of Star Wars in 1992, or 1987 if you count the Famicom exclusive Star Wars. Since then almost every platform from Nintendo has been imbued with power of the Force, in some way or another, and with the Switch getting a lot of Star Wars games brought across, we thought it would be fun to see what games we would love to see be included in that group.
When we put forth ideas of what games could come to Switch, there were two trains of thought; the first being that the games would be remastered by someone, like Nightdive Studios for the Nintendo 64 games, or Asypr for Gamecube and beyond. But then like the dark side lifting its veil for the briefest of moments, we realised, “Hey, they have the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack”, meaning some of the older games could just get released in there. Of course, not everything needs to come across, but there are some classics from those older systems, so let us begin there.
For many gamers, Star Wars is closely aligned with the Nintendo 64 for a few reasons. The first is that, in Australia, there was a console bundle at Christmas that came with Shadows of the Empire included; the second, it was where Factor5 started to make their Rogue Squadron series of games. While there are four games from the console, Episode 1 Racer has been given the re-ported treatment already, so it doesn’t need to be included, but the rest are welcome.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is perhaps the best console Star Wars flying game around — and not only did it get a spiritual sequel in Episode 1 Battle for Naboo, it also got two sequels, but more on those later. It offered players a chance to connect the events of the original movie, with that of The Empire Strikes Back, and then Return of the Jedi, in ways that were always fun, even today.
Shadows of the Empire may no longer be canon, like almost all Star Wars games these days, but it does have a decent storyline… though not a decent camera. As Dash Rendar, you have to help Princess Leia save Han Solo and fight back against the evil crime lord Prince Xizor. The game had you visiting some familiar locations, while all the while interacting with new and favourite characters alike — plus you got a jetpack. It was also part of a push to get Star Wars back into the mainstream, with books and comics as well, in the lead up to The Phantom Menace releasing in cinemas.
Perhaps the lesser known entry for the Nintendo 64 roster, Episode 1 Battle for Naboo had you taking control of a new hero, during the Battle for Naboo, right there with the spot-on name. The game had you flying ships, ala Rogue Squadron, but it also had you race around in Landspeeders and those weird Single Trooper Aerial Platforms or STAP. It offered a lot of variety, which compared to Rogue Squadron could be seen as a blessing or a curse, depending on your point of view.
From the Super Nintendo, there are only three games: Super Star Wars, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and Super Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi, and all three would be great additions to the line up. The games tell the story of the original trilogy, though let’s just say that they are a little looser on some elements than others. Still, they are wonderful games and deserve to be experienced by as many players as they can.
While they are mostly side scrolling titles, the games did make use of the Mode7 effect that Super Mario Kart and F-Zero pioneered, to let you feel like you were travelling across the sands of Tattooine, fighting in the battle of Hoth or skimming the surface of the Death Star.
As for the games that we would love to see get some extra special attention, you may have guessed, but they are mostly from the Gamecube. Yes, strangely Star Wars: Episode 1 – Obi-Wan’s Adventures from the GameBoy Color did not rank high in our list. In an interesting twist, both Rogue Squadron games were ranked in 1st, with the Nintendo 64 release coming in at number 3 and for good reason — the entire series is fantastic.
Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
When the Gamecube was first announced, this was one of the first games to be revealed for the little purple box, and for good reason: it was stunning. Back then, Star Wars games didn’t really look like Star Wars; sure the Nintendo 64 games had their visual similarities, but everything was blocky and foggy, and Rogue Leader? This was something else.
With 10 main levels, plus some secret ones that unlock — including one where you can play as Darth Vader in his ship as he lands on Yavin 4 to destroy the Rebel base — there’s a lot to do. Plus you can fly classic Star Wars ships, and a Buick, which was always fun to see in space.
Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike
Where Rogue Leader began, Rebel Strike continued. Not in terms of story, as it does retell some of the same plot points, but it added so much more variety to the game. Now you could step outside of your ship and run around on foot, though those sections are not the best. But you could blast Stormtroopers as you rescue Princess Leia from the Death Star, then fly away in the Millennium Falcon.
Beyond the on-foot portions, the game had more locations to visit and levels to unlock, but it was the multiplayer that was insane. The series finally got multiplayer, and it wasn’t anything traditional, like some death match mode. No, the developers managed to take the entire Rogue Leader game, but now letting two players get into fights. If this game ever got a HD treatment, online multiplayer for this mode would be crucial.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter
For the longest time, it was always rare to see games let you star as the ‘bad guy’, because inevitably, the bad guy converts to good. But for Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, things are different. While you play as Jango Fett, he isn’t a traditional bad guy, though he still does occasional bad things. What made this an interesting game was the story it told, it showed how Fett collected his son’s iconic Slave-1 ship, how he was selected to be the cloning candidate and more.
Of course, with the acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney decided that story is not cannon, so who knows what happened now, but regardless there is a lot of fun in this game. The title did release on multiple platforms, but the Gamecube version was special; not only did it have better textures than the others, the model of Jango was twice as detailed as well. Plus, if that wasn’t enough, Temuera Morrison returned to voice the character, and ILM even made the cutscenes for the game.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Another game inspired by Episode II, The Clone Wars expanded on the brief bit of battle that we see in the movie, giving players a chance to see what galactic war can really be about. While the story was replaced by the now-beloved Clone Wars animated series, back when it was released, this was the only way you could see how the Clone Wars were playing out.
What made this game fun and different, especially on Gamecube, was that it included a full multiplayer offering. Sure, the 16 main single player missions are fun, but taking part in fights against friends, so much better. From large scale battles that had two teams of four, to single one-on-one duels, there was a lot to do with friends and if this game ever got a remaster, keeping that and making it work online would be amazing.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
This one is perhaps a little bit of a cheat, as we just got the first Wii game in the series on Switch, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider the second one to come across as well. The story picks up six months after the events of the first game and features many of the same gameplay mechanics, though Wii owners got an additional story level.
Given the success of the first game’s port to Switch, it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the second is already underway. For now though, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
I know what you’re thinking, “There was never a console version of Revenge of the Sith for Nintendo!” and you would be correct, but there was a DS entry and that’s the one we’re looking at here. While the game still follows the same plot as the movie, where it shined was its swap from a 3D action game found on consoles, to more of a side-scrolling beat ’em up.
There was more of a reliance on learning the moves of your enemies, especially in the boss fights, in order to be able to make headway through the game, but there were some force abilities to enjoy as well. The DS version also included a space battle sequence that let players shoot down targets, though sadly the GameBoy Advance’s co-op mode never made the force jump to this release.
So there you have it, the games from the history of Star Wars, that we would like to see get a second lease on life on the Switch. There are, of course, countless others from the GameBoy, NES, and even some Wii games we have left off, but if we just listed them all, we would be here until Revenge of the Sixth.
What games would you love to see brought across? Let us know in the comments below.