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LucasArts
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 07, 2004   |   Episode 14 (Show Archive)  

   
When you think LucasArts chances are Star Wars is the first thing that pops into your mind. But there's more to this company than just lightsabers or Wookiees; there's a whole history of point and click adventures and games filled with adult humor. But that's not to say there isn't a lot of Star Wars, because that's LucasArts' bread and butter, and it shows in the 2004/2005 line-up.

Now don't get me wrong, in no way am I trying to complain about titles like Knights of the Old Republic II: the Sith Lord or Star Wars: Battlefront, but there comes a point where you should evaluate whether too much time is being spend in a galaxy far, far away. Are we na?ve to believe that the LucasArts website won't be one large advertisement for Star Wars? Yes. Were we disappointed? Absolutely.


"I don't like the sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating--not like you. You're soft and smooth."
Look and Design: From the moment you enter LucasArts' website there is no question that you've come to the home of Star Wars. Just on the front page I counted thirteen different times they used the words "Star Wars", and there are even more if you count screenshots of Star Wars games without captions. Of course, none of this is going to matter if you're a die hard fan of Star Wars. If you're into the theme, then chances are you're going to like the site from the first second you lay your eyes on it. It features large pictures of Star Wars-related games, plenty of references, and a whole section devoted to the Star Wars fanatics.

But no matter how well the site has been laid out, no matter how well organized everything is; it's pretty hard to get past the whole purple on black color scheme. This is not a big deal on the front page, but other pages, especially the Games page, are extremely difficult on the eyes, and the white text can be murder for anybody actually trying to pay attention. It's certainly not the worst design we've seen, but I'd be curious to hear LucasArts' reasoning for the atrocious color scheme.

Accessibility: A lot of pages have helpful links to guide you around their website, but LucasArts has company themed icons . which might be a funny way of starting the accessibility review, but hey, I wanted to say something nice before ripping them apart. If you're in the market for Star Wars games, chances are you won't have a problem finding what you're looking for. It's when you start digging around for non-Star Wars games and titles that were released on older systems. While you can read all about Grim Fandango and Full Throttle, there is no Sam & Max, Maniac Mansion, or Zombies Ate My Neighbors. And forget about learning about any games that were released on the Sega CD. But who cares when you have a fancy pants icon navigation system?

Insider Information: The good news is that the news archive on LucasArts' website is, for better or worse, not broken. It's fairly well put together and features a lot of little items that will surely interest Star Wars junkies. Where the Star Wars website . or, rather, the LucasArts website falls apart is the fact that you there are only five news items per page. So if you're looking up something that happened quite awhile ago, then you're going to have to wade through a bunch of useless news about release dates, promotions, and Star Wars.


Sam and Max, you better not get too excited ... your sequel was cancelled!
Parting Thoughts: For years all of my friends have been excited about every Star Wars game that has come out. Be it Rebel Assault on the Sega CD or that awful fighting game, Masters of Teras Kasi, just as long as it had the Star Wars name my friends would flock to the game. To date the number of great Star Wars games can be counted on one hand (and include Knights of the Old Republic, Super Star Wars, and only a few others), which isn't a good statistic for a company spending so much time focused on Star Wars games.

But I fear that this is even more deep rooted than just loving bad games, it seems to include the movies, too. Without a doubt, the two most recent Star Wars films have been poor; with terrible dialogue, a corny story, character that act like they have nails in their feet, and some truly awful character exchanges. The love story between future Darth Vader and the Queen is enough to turn some people bulimic. Yet people will line up months ahead of time to see the next film, hoping it will be better than the last two. But this is yet another example of a film maker doing as little as needed to please the fans. When expectations are low, chances are you're going to get mediocre. Look at the Game Boy Advance, look at the Phantom Menace, look at the world around us. Expect more people, we deserve it.

FINAL GRADE: B-

(Important Note: This review was written in 2004. As is the case with websites things tend to change and get moved around. We've decided to cover major companies who should have a presence on the web for many years to come, but the actual reviews of the layout may not be relevant for more than a month to a year. Having said that, we're hoping this article was still interesting, and if not, at least you go this extra little paragraph of explanation that you wouldn't normally get on the other websites.)
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