It’s quite the sad day as we pour out a little blue milk for the studio that has been delivering video games from far,far,away for the past 30-plus years. For a studio/publisher that spent the majority of their lifetime tied to a single franchise, LucasArts has produced some great games. In this list, we will take a look at some of the successes from the company, games that I am sure you have played.
#10 Star Wars: The Old Republic
I don’t mean to start the list with controversy and there are as many haters of The Old Republic as there were lovers. Some might cry for the inclusion of Star Wars Galaxies, but Galaxies never had the limelight like The Old Republic did, even if it wasn’t always positive. Lover or hater, one has to admire the ambition behind The Old Republic. The heavy hand of Bioware is clear throughout the game as it offers choices, companions, and constant cutscenes. Probably the biggest problem with The Old Republic is that it never feels quite like an MMO. While the game is a mixed bag of success and failure, the love for Star Wars is clear throughout.
#9 LEGO Star Wars
Star Wars has been interpreted through many lenses and many mediums, but when someone said the words, “LEGO Star Wars video game”, fanboys everywhere collectively rolled their eyes. Hadn’t Lucas already done enough bastardization of his own creation? However, to anyone who picked up this quirky adventure game, the product was a true surprise. Joining forces with Eidos Interactive for publishing and developer Traveller Tale’s, LEGO Star Wars was a kids game that didn’t make adult want to pull out their hair. A wise decision not to take itself too seriously made the game an endearing addition to the Star Wars world that was humorous to adults while still being fun for kids. LEGO Star Wars spawned its own LEGO franchise that has continued to make products for all ages to this today.
#8 Star Wars Episode I: Racer
The only good thing to come out of the release of The Phantom Menace was this podracing video game for the Nintendo 64. Picking from a variety of different characters, players could play the game’s arcade modes or compete in a long season of racing, spanning multiple tracks and planets. After placing, players would have to determine how to spend their winnings, spreading them over a litany of options from pit droids to racer upgrades. This racing game is probably etched into the minds of numerous Star Wars fans and N64 gamers alike.
#7 Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Almost synonymous with the N64 days of Star Wars is the image of snowspeeder wrapping its tow cable around the giant, mechanical legs of an AT-AT walker. Rogue Squadron told the story of the finest pilots in the rebellion fleet during the First Galactic Civil War. Setting a impressive standard for visuals at the time, Rogue Squadron found heaps of critical praise for its detailed design and authentic sound.
#6 Star Wars: Battlefront
Fans of the Star Wars series had long seen the random soldiers perish during the First Galactic Civil War in the original Star Wars trilogy, they had thought nothing of it until they were placed in the combat boots of the common grunt. Playing as soldiers in the Separatist, Imperial, Republic, or Rebel Alliance, players are forced through a tactical campaign through many of the famous Star Wars settings. Aided or hindered by bonuses, players take out enemies one-by-one until their reinforcements are depleted. Battlefront has drawn a large cult following and was later given a sequel, in which players could control Jedi in crucial battles. However, the closure of Lucas Studios has left the series without a long-awaited, although always-unlikely third chapter.
#5 TIE Fighter
The sequel to the Star Wars flight simulator, Star Wars: X-Wing, TIE Fighter tells the story of rookie pilot Maarek Stele who is rises to prominence through several tours of duty in which he repels a coup by Admiral Zaarin and is promoted to General. TIE Fighter was applauded for its striking visuals, smart feedback, and inventive AI. The game went on to win numerous awards upon release and is considered one of the PC classics. Not only a great Star Wars game, but a PC game to be remembered.
#4 The Secret of Monkey Island
From industry icon Ron Gilbert, The Secret of Monkey Island is a point-and-click adventure game from the days when LucasArts was still known as LucasFilms Games. The game tells the story of Guybrush Threepwood who journeys to the mysterious Monkey Island in an attempt to rescue the governor’s daughter, Elaine, with whom he is smitten. Setting a new bar for video game writing with witty humor and compelling characters, the game spawned a four-game franchise and is one of the greatest adventure games of all-time.
#3 Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
A sequel to the first-person shooter Star Wars: Dark Forces, this game follows Kyle Katarn, a mercenary who discovers that his father was killed by a man named Jarec. Retrieving a lightsaber and unlocking the secrets to his father’s death, Kartarn journeys to the Valley of the Jedi to face his father’s killer. Using John Williams’ emotional score, the game tells a deep and interesting story, with well crafted gameplay that balances first-person shooter mechanics with creative new lightsaber combat. Followed by its impressive sequel Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II is one of the best Star Wars narratives one will find and a fan favorite.
#2 Grimm Fandango
Breaking into the world of three-dimensional gaming, Grimm Fandango is dark comedy puzzle game. The product of Double-Fine founder, Tim Schafer, Grim Fandango is set in the land of dead, populated with recently deceased souls awaiting transport to the great beyond. In the story, Manny Calavera, travel agent to the dead, attempts to escort his client, Meche, to the afterlife. The game revolves around its story, supported with well written characters, gorgeous art direction, and an almost invisible interface designed to immerse players. Grimm Fandango is a video game classic and part of the Smithsonian “The Art of Video Games” exhibit.
#1 Knights of the Old Republic
Based on the Star Wars d20 role playing game, Knights of the Old Republic is the Star Wars game that only Bioware could make. Dropping players in a time of turmoil as former Jedi Darth Malak is unleashing a the Sith armada on the Republic, leaving the Jedi Order weak and vulnerable players are forced to make game changing decisions about their connection to Dark and Light side. Players must gather companions, learn force skills, and fill in their star map as they journey toward a dark past. Winning numerous Game of the Year Awards, Knights of the Old Republic was released to almost universal praise and is still considered one the best role playing games to date.
Let us know about your top games from LucasArts. Were you Mercenaries fan? Or did you love Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe? Sound off in the comments below.