The Things You Learn About Yourself Playing Star Wars Video Games
Posted on September 21, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 52 Comments
There was a special on Star Wars-related FPS games on Steam over the weekend, so I bought a bunch of old games for $20 and then spent a large portion of the weekend playing Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. And while it’s all sorts of fun cutting up storm troopers and Sith acolytes with dual light-sabers, I’ve found that the greatest joy possible as a Jedi is using the Force Grip to lift people off the ground and then hurling them into chasms — of which there are an abundance in the game. It got to the point that I would lure my enemies to bridges and ledges just to hurl them off, snickering as their woeful cries end in a thump and a clatter of weapons on the ground.
Now maybe this isn’t what Jedi are supposed to do; maybe it’s not what Yoda would do. But, you know. The hell with Yoda, that lousy grammar-slaughtering salamander. If George Lucas didn’t want me hurling stormtroopers into chasms, he wouldn’t have let them put it into the game. You just know he’s doing it too, his sniggers roiling that damned neck of his as they fall. You’re welcome for that mental image, by the way.
Lucas doesn’t snigger, he chortles. Thick, deep chortles as he gazes over the rancor pit at Skywalker Ranch with Salacious Crumb perched on his thick middle.
Is there a WWYD (What Would Yoda Do?) hint key for the game? No? Then hurl away!!
But try not to snigger (or chortle, or snortle?) too much. It’s unseemly.
u must get force unleashed: not only can u grip them, but you can charge them with force lightning while they hover gasping in the air, then hurl them and watch as they explode.
And dont expect me to believe that in eight hundred years Yoda never choked out anyone with force grip and smiled as he did it. Sure, he’s all wise and backwards talking now, but he was a young salamander once…
That’s just proper good man, proper and oh so classic.
The Force Unleashed is also great for that, plus you don’t get the whole guilt thing cause your a darkie…
Then again, guilt can be overrated in certain instances.
What Carmen said. In spades.
I gained similar insight from the Destroy All Humans! series.
When Force Unleashed ever gets released for PC, I might.
“Not Dead or Abducted or Transformed Into a Newt” Nope transformed into a storm trooper hurling Jedi. Is that the jedi version of bulimia?
Meh. I prefer the Blue Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2. I remember one video walkthrough on it where the guy said that when he had a stressful day, he’d fire up HL2, turn on God mode, get the BGG, and just rock the hell out.
P.S. It works. >:)
Hm. Not sure what it says about me that my favorite SW shooter move was to walk into a room and just Force Pull everyone’s guns out of their hands and then walk around going saber happy while they wander in circles but never bother, oh, picking the guns up again.
I wouldn’t snigger. I’d mock.
I knew I wasn’t the only one.
This strategy is seriously overpowered against enemy force-users. If you give them a second they’ll use a force push or something and break free, but if you just flick them off the edge quickly…
Use the code to get full power on the first level, then pick up one and swing him back and forth, using him to club his friends.
No chortling – belly laughs!
Dark Forces was the first truly 3D FPS I played. Doom and Wolf were psuedo 3D (props to Battlezone too).
Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight was the first game that I used a dedicated graphics card for.
But I was a real fan of the flight sims. Tie Fighter was simply unreal.
I tended to be too clumsy with the Push and Grip powers to use them in the heat of things like that, but I tended to find I didn’t need to. The bad guys’ habit of showing off at your approach by igniting their sabres and leaping about tended to get them into real trouble on the narrow bridges and platforms late in the game – more than once I’d walk through a door and watch two Sith acolytes promptly fling themselves into the lava far below. Damn, I must’ve scared them.
On the other hand, on at least one occasion after I’d climbed up a long spiral ramp to confront a Sith I hadn’t realised was there, I ended up having to retreat pretty much back to the bottom to make sure my health, force powers and so on were cued up. Next thing I hear is “aaaaAAAAAAAWHUD!” as the Sith decides to take the shortest distance between two points and chase me down by just stepping off the ramp.
Anyway, lacking the aptitude for proper Force Grip I went Lightside and cranked my Mind Trick up to maximum. None of that evil blue lightning for me – I mentally coerced enemy troopers into blowing away their friends and squadmates, then made them come up and stand unresisting in front of me while I hacked them to death. Because I’m not wicked like you people.
I’ve been playing a lot of Knights of the Old Republic recently (also because it was cheap on Steam) and although the RPG is less visceral:
a) Stasis Field is fun.
b) I’m not sure I’m cut out for the Dark Side. It’s like kicking puppies.
I think it’s the dialogue and voice acting. The people involved can write and act. Well, apart from the occasional determination of the Sith to evolve into a form that digests nothing but scenery.
and that special is still active… (http://store.steampowered.com/sub/2103/)… so… tempting… (what’s that my Visa®? I musssstt buy…? OK. )
Not so much of a FPS player, but I did recently play through most of Lego Star Wars and the very best part is being able to kill Jar Jar Binks over and over and over again while he just stands there. And being able to kill Anakin in all his many whiny-ass forms. The gameplay leaves a bit to be desired (the Indiana Jones and Batman Lego iterations are much better and oodles of fun in 2 player). Haven’t yet unlocked Darth Vader as a playable character, but I’ve been told that his special attack is being able to use the Force to choke people.
My personal favourite move from that game is to use the force grip to lift them, then toss the lightsabre and drop them through it as it whizzes round and round. You can also combine it with the drop into the chasm, so its body parts and weapons that go raining down.
Ooooh. I’ll have to try that.
Amstrad@15: actually, the first Dark Forces game was also fake 3D — it was based on a licensed version of the Doom engine. The sequel, “Jedi Knight”, was the first first true-3D Star Wars FPS.
(And yet, can I remember my girlfriend’s birthday without computer assistance? No. Sigh.)
you can do better than zoe messing up shocktroopers with a lightsaber!! ;)
Screen shots, no more say.
The Force Unleashed also gives scrolling commentary. CRUSH BONUS. FRENZY BONUS. LONG WAY DOWN BONUS.
Why oh why has there not been a good Star Wars combat/flight sim in years…
I think what you described here answers the question that you raised in previous posts: why didn’t Lucas make the Star Wars films feel even remotely close to the real world?
Because then he would have ended up with a film called “Star Wars: A Clockwork Orange”.
+++Why oh why has there not been a good Star Wars combat/flight sim in years…+++
I find myself thinking that it’s because joysticks – as in proper aircraft-style joysticks, as opposed to the little thumb-twiddlers on console controllers – seem to be a lot less common than they used to be and it’s tougher to create a really good, challenging flight sim that you can work with a mouse. The mouse-driven space missions in Star Wars Battlefront 2, my most recent experience of in-game flying, were OK, but nothing like the exhilarating contests I used to be able to have in the X-Wing/Tie Fighter sequence. (And when I think about it the most fun part of those missions for me ended up being hopping into a bomber and dodging turrets and interceptors to strafe the enemy capital ship.)
If most of your market no longer have the tools to play a high-level flight sim it’s going to be less worth designing one. Particularly since the non-flight sections of the game would probably still use the other controls and mean a bit of desk clutter or rearrangement.
That’s total speculation on my part, though. I’ll ask a friend who works in the design biz and see what he says.
Laen@26: Good question, if I want that kind of action I have to dig out the Gamecube for Rogue Squadron 2 (or Rogue Leader or whatever it was called…)
Or else play Battle for Naboo but that just makes all the neighbourhood kittens cry.
So, have you notice that there are no other characters like Yoda? Yeah, I’m thinking Yoda got his freak on in the early years, developed his whirling dervish of death attack strategy, and then spent the next 750 years attempting to atone for wiping out his own people. A “do as I say, not as I do” kind of instructor.
Doc. Mem. @ 22:
Okay I’ll grant you that Dark Forces wasn’t truly 3D (more like 2.5D). It made significant advances over the features of the Doom engine. I also disagree that it was a licensed and modified Doom engine. The Dark Forces team created an entirely new engine — appropriately name Jedi engine.
I prefer to play Jedi Academy as Lando Calrissian. Does that mean I like to chill in my house sipping ice cold Colt 45 while the ladies await my undeniable charm?
My favorite ability in the entire game was the taunt.
the grip flip was easily the best move in the series. I think I mapped it to a button on my mouse to make it even easier. Please note also that if you flip them quickly and at a 45 degree angle, you have time to treat them like clay pigeons. Get that disruptor out!
force-pushing people through trip mines is also entertaining
I really hope that at least some of the stormtroopers give off the traditional Wilhelm scream when you throw them down a Chasm.
I’ve never played any of them, but IIRC my husband also enjoyed the Force Choke.
“Star Wars: A Clockwork Orange”.
I recently played through all the levels of “Call of Duty 4” and did a body count. You kill about 1,200 people from start to finish.
It keeps coming back to the safety rails…curse you Palpatine, and your irrational hatred of Civil Engineers! Where’s OSHA when you need them?
MatthewF@28: You can get joysticks for consoles. I just got one for my PS3 to play IL*2 Sturmovik. It’s a standard USB device and so works with the PC as well.
I’d kill for a modern update of Tie Fighter.
Oooo, looks like I’ll have to get Jedi Academy through Steam…didn’t even know it was available.
I’m a bit more old school about my Jedi technique. I’d either Force Pull them into me which would knock them over and then do the big nasty two-handed Death from Above move or work my way to find them between me and a bottomless pit and wait for the right moment to force push them to oblivion. I tended to play Jedi rather than Sith, so no Force Choke for me.
I hope I’m remembering this right. It’s been awhile.
My favorite was kind of similar, but not quite the same. Once force jump and pull were fully upgraded I would jump as high as I could over the head of the troopers, then do force pull. It would launch them incredibly high in the air, and then they’d come hurtling back down screaming and slam into the ground. It’s like throwing them off a ledge, but you don’t need a ledge. :)
My favorite: Force jump over the troopers, and while in mid-air do a force pull. Watch them go rocketing past you to bounce off the skybox, and fall screaming to their doom.
I used to watch my roommate take great joy from holding stormtroopers and wookies and other creatures over the fire and roasting them. It was a little disturbing.
This sort of thing is why I was always so weirded out by The Sims. When there are no actual consequences, people indulge their most twisted desires (to the degree that the game can represent them), and you get a brief look at what they’d be like if they weren’t constantly censoring their behavior.
And man, people are messed. Up. Walling people up, alive, and finding out how long it takes them to die is probably not what the creators of the program intended.
When The Sims first came out I had a Web site where I rated video games for parents, so they would know in detail what the content was and what their kids could do in the game, so one of the things I always did was play the game as if I were a sociopathic 12-year-old boy.
On that score it was amazing the horrible things you could do to your Sims. AMAZING.
There’s a web series called Zero Punctuation wherein a Brit living in Australia
demolishesreviews video games in short, animated cartoons. Very fun watching.
He had a good piece on this very topic, pointing out that for many gamers there’s a certain twisted delight in, pardon my language, being a dick despite the games intent. Especially with the Sims, there’s great fun in devising all sorts of fiendish traps precisely because you’re not supposed to.
The more interesting side to this, is that it’s not something you can really build into a game. When a game comes out where you’re supposed to be evil/mean/cruel to small fluffy animals, there’s not much fun in actually doing it. Well, once the novelty of your squirrel mortar wears off, then being evil in a game where you’re supposed to be evil becomes…routine.
I like the ambiguity of the Jedi Academy games. I can go along being the light-sabre-quisinart master up until the “make your moral choice” point, and there’s no points lost!
I love the Jeidi Knight games. The one secret I always found would work is the 1-2 combo of Force Choke…hold opponent for a second…then immediately Force Push them into a wall. The knockback stuns them for a few seconds which you then can move in and slice them into tiny evil parts. Works great when you’re being overwhelmed. Good times.
The one bad thing about the games were the non-sensical map levels and the forced puzzles. OSHA would have a field day on how hazardous going up the stairs and walkways are in the games. No wonder there was a rebellion; who can work in an environment that kills you for every mis-step?
Oh, it’s *exactly* what the creators of the Sims intended. Trust me.
John@45. Please amplify. I *need* this.
Scalzi – break’s over dude. Get back to the keyboard and give us more books!
For those of you jonesing for a great SF flight sim, try Freespace 2: http://scp.indiegames.us/
With added tasty Open Source, for cash and guilt free gaming.
There was a game I used to play from the Star Wars series (Jedi Knight 2 or something) in which you could turn up the “violence” so that limbs would fall off and what not. I would throw my lightsaber and hold it, spinning, on storm troopers or whatever I could find and listen to them scream as they were dismembered, piece by piece.
So, I’m with you on this… :P