Today is more than your average Sunday. It’s May 4th, otherwise known around the world as Star Wars Day. On that note, may the 4th be with you, and make sure you celebrate by playing one of these memorable games.
Keep in mind these are staff picks. If your favorite Star Wars game (Dark Forces, for instance) did not make the cut, let us know!
Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (GameCube)
We have fond memories playing Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, an arcade only game featuring some of the most iconic scenes from the original films, including the attack on the first Death Star. Sadly, it never found a home release, but we scored the next best thing with Rogue Leader, which has one heck of a Death Star trench run. Between the screaming TIE Fighters and memorable quotes from Episode IV: A New Hope, we replayed this mission several times. Definitely one of the shining gems of Nintendo’s GameCube launch.
Super Star Wars, Super Empire Strikes Back and Super Return of the Jedi (SNES)
Nintendo fans with Super Nintendo consoles came across at least one of these side-scrolling adventures, all of which do an outstanding job capturing the best the films have to offer. Each is known for extreme difficulty, not several hours in, but the first few minutes of play. We lost track of how many times we died as Luke Skywalker in the opening Tatooine level in Super Star Wars, and forget about beating the giant Wampa in Super Empire Strikes Back. That thing takes up the entire screen. Despite the at times overwhelming frustration, the quality music, detailed graphics and 3D Mode-7 levels were enough to keep us button mashing.
Star Wars Episode I: Racer (N64, Dreamcast, PC)
One of the best things from The Phantom Menace (perhaps the only thing, depending on who you ask), is the epic pod racing scene and climatic battle between Anakin Skywalker and Sebulba. Episode I Racer does a fine job putting gamers into the cockpits of these high speed vehicles, giving them the chance to go in excess of 300 mph through twisting canyons and dangerous industrial tracks, complete with music from the film in the background. Considering the topsy turvy play, it’s a surprise we didn’t get motion sickness.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox, PC, iOS)
It’s great that BioWare’s beloved RPG is available on iPhone and iPad, since a new generation of players can experience the addictive combat, memorable heroes/villains, wealth of places to explore and of course, the big plot twist at the end. Considering the Star Wars films provide superb cinematic experiences, Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel do the franchise proud.
Star Wars: Republic Commando (Xbox, PC)
Here’s a game that does not receive the recognition it deserves. Sure, Republic Commando received high marks upon its release, but the fact that no sequel was made (or ports to future consoles) kicked it into obscurity. A shame, since this squad-based first-person shooter put an exciting spin on the Star Wars video game universe, putting you in control of clones with itchy trigger fingers.
Star Wars: TIE Fighter (PC)
It’s safe to say people bought personal computers specifically to play TIE Fighter, and for great reason. It’s a full-fledged TIE Fighter sim in a galaxy far, far away. On top of that, the game casts you as the bad guy, an Imperial star fighter pilot to be precise, blasting rebel scum. The graphics look outdated (it did release in 1994), but for the time, this was right up there with the best-looking titles on the market.
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (N64)
Much like Rogue Squadron (another N64 classic), Shadows did not necessarily age well; warning, replaying it now may damage childhood memories. That said, it goes down as one of the coolest Star Wars games for two reasons. First, it introduced us to characters like Dash Rendar and Prince Xizor in a brand-new plot. Second, that opening Hoth level was incredible for its time. You can say whatever you want about the rest of the game, but flying around Hoth in a Snow Speeder while attaching cables to AT-ATs practically sold an untold number of people on this title.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (multi-platforms)
You won’t find a more feature-packed Lego game than this. In it, you’ll run through all six movies while unlocking a plethora of Star Wars characters, from Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader to a Jabba the Hutt Gammorrean Guard. All of your favorite scenes made the cut, sprinkled with the sort of trademark humor we’ve come to expect from these highly polished and fun Lego titles. A must for every Star Wars fan.