STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACEReviewed By: John Gocke
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
The game mimics the storyline of the popular movie Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. As the fierce and virtuous Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you get to wield a lightsaber as you deflect laser blasts and slice battle droids to shreds after a diplomatic mission goes sour. The mission is to protect the good guys, destroy the bad guys, and escape alive.
Your character swings a laser sword that cuts through enemy droids and equipment with explosive and colorful 3-D graphics. With a little practice you can actually sling laser blasts back at your opponents and destroy them just like you saw in the movie. In fact you feel like you are participating in the movie by playing the game. When you hit your opponents, they blow up in a dazzling light and sound display. The effects make you want to destroy every robot and machine you see to experience the thrill again and again.
It is easy to accidentally kill or destroy unarmed characters you are questioning if you have an “itchy” light saber finger and inadvertently click your mouse.
Your player chats with, and questions, both hostile and friendly characters to find clues to finish the game. Unlike a great number of games currently out, these characters do not use any profanity.
One of the weapons you can use as a Jedi Knight is throwing “the force” at your opponent thus knocking them down. This movement of objects with thought is known as telekinesis and is forbidden in the Bible (Gal. 5:20).
"The Phantom Menace" is a combat game that is aimed at younger players and thus the violence is bloodless and mostly against robots. What some parents might be concerned about is the constant violence that is used for problem solving in the Star Wars universe and the occult connotations of using the Force against bad guys.
Star Wars promotes a religion that is clearly not Christian and many kids can get fully immersed in the fantasy world. Especially a fantasy world crafted as well as the Phantom Menace video game backed by a movie adored by kids. Parents who let their children spend more time in the Star Wars world than the real one can expect them to become bored with reality.
"Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" earns a 70% (C-) for its occult overtones and violence based play.
Actually, Galatians 5:20 refers to "idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit…" it does not specifically mention “telekineses.” It should be understood that in the Star Wars films, “The Force” (the spiritual power that the Jedi Knights use for good, and the Sith abuse for evil) represents religion. It is a metaphor for what the people in this fantasy universe believe in, and would be equivalent to our religions in the real world. If you want to pick a specific type of magic that is closer to “The Force” as used in this game it would be Witchcraft (however, it should be pointed out that the Jedi do not worship evil or practice satanic rituals, they use the Force for knowledge in defense). In the films, the “Force” is closer to Buddhist and Hindu ideas of meditation and spiritual peace/enlightenment (and passing on to a higher state of being). Then the ethical systems of traditional Judeo-Christianity are part of the warrior code of the Jedi. But, all this is probably too deep into fan territory for the average gamer. The game itself only presents one single power, the ability to throw back enemies with a burst of wind, guided by the hand. It is understood that the Jedi are the “good guys” and their powers come from a benevolent source. The bad guys are the ones who distort their spiritual gifts for evil (such as Darth Maul at the end of the game). My Ratings: [5/3]
—Kurgan, age 22
I had to get the PSX version and play it on my Mac since there is no Mac version. Despite the fact that it was the PSX version, it was still really good. I loved the third person view, though I wish you had the option to move the camera a bit like in TR. The game was a lot like the movie, except that some of the lines were a bit mixed up. Using the Force saved my neck many times. For anyone who has ever wanted to be a Jedi, this is a close as you're gonna get. You do get to use the Jedi Mind
Trick on conversations a few times, however it is not always helpful to do so. The annoying parts of the game were when you had to be Queen Amidala or Catpain Panaka. Neither of them can jump, obviously the game shows how the Jedi use the Force for levitation. When you have to escort the queen around, she gets rather annoying. "You're stepping on my dress Obi-Wan". "I never knew a Jedi could be so rude!", "We must hurry!". Yeah, yeah, yeah queenie. I know. By the middle of the level "Coruscant' I had taken to calling her queenie. My favorite part of the game was when you got to be Qui-Gon. Mos Espa was really cool. You have to watch your lightsaber though, I killed Anakin once, and other helpful characters. The talk and jump buttons are right next to the attack button on the keyboard, so a few of them got killed. Oops! Game Over! The only thing left, is that this is an excellent game, nothing wrong with it. I loved it! My Ratings: [5/5]
If you are a BIG fan of Star Wars then this game will be perfect for you. But if you are looking for a good adventure game, look another direction. The gameplay is horrible, at times you feel like you being showered on by laser blasts. All you can do is swing your lightsaber, and hope you deflect one of the hundreds of blasts coming at you. The graphics are very choppy and rigid. If you do not have a fast computer you get a lot of stop and go movement. The story follows the movie very well. This game was produced too fast to be able to make the movie deadline to satisfy Star Wars video game fans. If you are looking for a great adventure game you should go with "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time". My Ratings: [4/2]
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.