Star Wars: Demolition
UK Release: November 2000
Format: Sony Playstation / Sega Dreamcast
Up to the point of its release we had seen Star Wars characters contained within various forms of video game entries, from fighting titles such as the average ‘Masters of the Teras Kasi’, racers such as the can’t-put-down ‘Episode 1 Racer’, various shooters such as the ‘X-Wing’ / ‘Dark Forces’ titles and CGI rendered action titles including the god awful ‘Rebel Assault’ series.
Cue the arrival of Star Wars Demolition in the winter of 2000; a vehicular combat game we never knew we wanted.
Developed by Luxoflux / LucasArts and originally released in the twilight years of the Sony PlayStation’s lifespan and making its way to the Sega Dreamcast less than a week later, Star Wars: Demolition flew somewhat quietly under the radar as a fairly low key release which is rarely mentioned today. Does Demolition deserve to be spoken about it the same breath as Episode 1 Racer, Dark Forces, KotOR and the suchlike? We take a look.
Star Wars: Demolition features characters from both the classic Star Wars trilogy and Episode One in a vehicular combat game using the same game play engine as the praised Vigilante 8 series. Players can look forward to taking the likes of Boba Fett’s Slave 1, a Landspeeder and the spectacular Rancor beast into battle; among many, many others.
Game play sees the player control various themed vehicles which are equipped with basic blasters, plus their own trademark weapon; don’t count on relying only on those weapons however, pick-ups including combat droids, and well distributed power-ups are scattered throughout the impressive looking arenas.
Demolition is couched in the time period between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and following an initial ban by the Galactic Empire the game is based on a series of contests organized by Jabba the Hutt (thus forming Demolitions loose plot thread.)
As the story plays out pod racing was outlawed, hence Jabba needed some other form of sport in order to keep his wealth in tact. Thus, he came up with this – all out free-for-all vehicular warfare on various different planets, with most participants being forced to compete by Jabba himself; with others joining of their own free will.
Upon loading Star Wars: Demolition, there are four differing game modes to choose from:
Battle Mode: In this mode you can choose up to four enemies to go against and which arena you would like to battle in. This is your by-the-numbers quick draw type game mode. I rarely touched it as the Tournament mode – detailed below, is simply much better and far more rewarding.
Tournament Mode: In this mode you start off with one character of your choosing. You start off by facing one enemy, gradually increasing in number to two, three and then four in the final matchup. The maps are spread across several impressive locales such as Yavin IV, Tatooine, Dagobah and Cloud City amongst others; these arenas are chosen at random and you must win each round in order to proceed to the next.
To unlock a new vehicle/character for play, you must end the tournament mode with at least 10,000 credits. If your vehicle is destroyed during the match, a cost of 500 credits will see you back on your feet and will restart the match.
As mentioned previously healing, energy, weapons and numerous other power ups are littered across every map, but it must be noted that health and energy power ups will also cost you credits for every second you use them; adding a great strategic dynamic to every game played. You also cannot pause during the tournament, so ensure you have enough free time on your hands!
The Tournament mode is by far the most engrossing and entertaining mode for the single player, as mentioned, the dynamic of spending credits to recuperate is a nice added twist on the genre and adds an engaging strategic approach as you push on to unlock your favourite characters and vehicles.
Hunt A Droid: In this mode you can choose your desired map and vehicle. Once in the game you will have a certain time limit to kill as many droids as possible. Your score will be based on kills. A fun mode to waste time with and a great way to compete in high score competitions with friends with only one controller.
It must be said that the two player mode is pretty similar to the Tournament Mode outlined above with a few somewhat minor changes. You and your partner use your own vehicle, this makes for great teamwork co-op opportunities or straight up deathmatch grudge moments! Within the last match of two player mode, instead of four enemies, players will face three. This is because every map can onlyhold up to five people.
For a game fifteen years old, Star Wars: Demolition does hold up fairly well graphically. Vehicles look clean and crisp with a good amount of detail; especially the Dreamcast version. The maps are bright, colourful and have lots of detail to them. The frame rate is impressive and there are rarely any “laggy” moments. Luxoflux did a fantastic job overall as it runs very smooth on both consoles.
Controlling the carnage can be both a curse and a blessing, what I mean by this is that targeting enemy vehicles and overall movement is fairly straightforward throughout. Typical analogs move back and forth and side to side. Both triggers shoot. Right shoots the blaster and the left shoots whatever special weapon found in the arena. The negative aspect of the control scheme however is the distinct lack of a reverse option, this makes tailing an enemy making tight turns an arduous snaking exercise in a vain hope of getting a proton torpedo on target.
However small the lack of a reversing option may seem, this hampers an incredibly enjoyable title.
Overall though, with a vast amount of unlockables, a great graphical display, addictive game play and that genuine ‘Star Wars feel’ (not found in too many titles of that era) I’d recommend you take a look at Star Wars: Demolition and enjoy some awesome vehicular carnage in a galaxy far, far away..