In my opinion, ATTACK OF THE CLONES is the best STAR WARS movie to come along since THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was released in 1980. It had the correct blend of action and drama to make a great movie, something that THE PHANTOM MENACE just seemed to lack. And while THE PHANTOM MENACE had a few games based on it, ATTACK OF THE CLONES has just one at the moment, and it is on the Game Boy Advance.
Developed by David Palmer Productions and published by THQ, ATTACK OF THE CLONES is the only game that is based on the recently released hit movie of the same name. For the six people who haven't seen the new movie, here's a brief rundown of the story: Senator Amidala, the former queen of Naboo, has had an assassination attempt on her life, and Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are on a quest to find her attacker. In the meantime, the Galactic Senate fears an uprising of sovereign planets to the Republic, and feels there are not enough Jedi Knights to maintain peace. Up comes the idea for a Clone Army, which basically explains where stormtroopers come from, and... I won't divulge any further.
Graphically, ATTACK OF THE CLONES is an achievement on the Game Boy Advance. While we should all be getting used to good looking games on the system, the Game Boy Advance manages to surprise me with each new game released. The side-scrolling part of the game looks pretty good, and manages to capture the STAR WARS feel. Something that I wasn't expecting was the 3D levels. While they don't look particularly sharp in some places (during the race through Coruscant, you can barely see what is happening), they aren't half bad considering they're on a portable game system. My one gripe with them is the question of what you're doing. When talking about the Coruscant level, your main goal is to avoid objects that Zam Wessel is shooting out of her ships and other cars. But, there is no catching her. It's just if you can survive for about 100 seconds, her ship blows up. It doesn't make much sense to me. The Jango Fett level is even harder to figure out.
The gameplay is a little frustrating to begin with, but after playing for a little while, you begin to get used to it. To attack, you have to hold down the directional button and then the attack button. Most of the time, I find myself pressing the attack button only and just standing there, getting hit. There are three Force attacks you can use in the side-scrolling mode: Force jump, Force push, and Super Force push (the latter two you have to build up to). While in the 3D action modes, you can use Force slow-down, Force auto-lock and Invulnerability.
While the game is pretty fun, it can become very frustrating. At times, it seems your character doesn't want to swing his light saber in a certain direction, or misses a jump you know that you hit, or just hits something in the 3D level that didn't look like a mine. It gets frustrating, and you start over at the beginning of the level when you die (except the 3D levels).
On another side note, the cut-scenes, while only pictures from the movie with text added at the bottom, look great. Also, I was impressed with a digitized orchestra version of the STAR WARS theme added into the opening. Very nice.
While ATTACK OF THE CLONES isn't the best STAR WARS game ever released, it is actually an enjoyable game if you're on the go. If you're looking for a STAR WARS game based on the new movie, this one is for you.