Monday, December 31, 2012

32 BBY: Battle for Naboo

These video game posts are severely slowing down my progress.  The Battle for Naboo is a video game I’m glad to have behind me.  This game was a pain in the butt to get a hold of.  Over the last two months, whatever time I did have to spend on the Star Wars Chronology Project was spent entirely on acquiring the game and then playing the game.
The story of my interaction with Battle for Naboo is a tedious one.  I’ll not get in to the boring minutia but I’ll hit the highlights.

Essentially my awesome gaming laptop (ASUS G74S) couldn’t run the game because of a conflict between Windows 7 and the game’s 16 bit installer.  I searched the internet for a solution and came across this website, which I thought provided a fairly in-depth analysis and solution to what I was experiencing, but its detailed steps didn’t help my predicament and nothing came of it.  I got the game going for a while on my old Dell, but that laptop crashed and I was left scratching my head.  I finally headed to and bought an old N64 system for 30 bucks along with the original game from eBay.  After about a month of piddling about I had an old N64 in my bedroom and for a few minutes a night I’d play my way through the game before bed.
Battle for Naboo was much more fun that Starfighter, but like that game, it gave me motion sickness something awful.  My motion sickness is so bad I still have yet to see the end of The Blair Witch Project.  I made it to the at 15 minutes of that film, right before they went to the cabin in the woods, when I ran out of the theatre about to puke my guts up.  The constant camera movement of that film was so bad I could only watch it looking up from the floor.  Anyway, I digress.

Like my comment about Starfighter, what I most enjoyed about this game was the feeling of depth it provided, giving us lovers of Star Wars lore another angle on the occupation of Naboo by the Trade Federation.  It seems the Naboo security force put up a heck of a fight out in the countryside; armed with speeders and Heavy STAPs they did well routing the light STAP armed battle droids at the beginning of the game.
The game itself was fairly easy to master – there wasn’t much too it, a simple first person shooter where you line up your target and fire.

Besides depth of lore, another aspect of the game I enjoyed were a few of the ship designs I’d never come across before.  The first one I thought cool was the N-X police cruiser.  It’s a simple variation of the N-1 but it was neat enough.  What I really enjoyed though was the Ostracoda-class gunboat.  The mission where I had to commandeer a boat and head up the Andrevea river to rescue the prisoners in the labour camps made me feel a little like Marlow from Heart of Darkness, travelling up the Congo river in search of Kurtz.  This mission meshed well with the larger narrative of the occupation of Naboo because saving the Naboo from the labour camps gelled well with the earlier video game source I looked at, Galactic Battlegrounds.  In that game you had to attack a labour camp and rescue the Naboo, and if I remember correctly, in that game you had to traverse up a river to get to the camps.
The other two ships I thought neat were Borvo the Hutt’s large cruiser (who knew a Hutt had a base on Naboo and helped the Naboo security Force with the resistance? – albeit he did eventually betray Gavyn Sykes) and the NB-1S Royal Bomber.  

This brings me to the last point I want to make about this game.  The idea that the entire premise of the game is based around Gavyn Sykes is pretty cool.  He’s on screen for a couple of seconds in The Phantom Menace, and is one of the pilots Kenobi frees in the beginning of the film.  The fact that The Battle for Naboo tracks his story and the story of the Naboo resistance is another nod to the depth of this universe, in that, as soon as Kenobi released Sykes, he was hours later flying a Heavy STAP and shooting down battle droids outside of Theed.  Most of his Wookieepedia page basically tells the story of The Battle for Naboo in its entirety.   
Although the video games are time consuming, and in this particular case difficult to get my hands on, I’m glad I went throughout the trouble because the more I play them the more I appreciate how important the video games are to the story of Star Wars.  Without a working knowledge of Star Wars video games I feel my PhD in Star Warsology would be lacking.  Again, like I said in my post on Starfighter, I have a greater sense of accomplishment when I finish a video game because they are so time consuming.

For my next post I’m going to look at the RPG source “Battle in the Streets”.  Until next time, Happy New Year and May the Force be with you.