‘Revenge Of The Sith’ On DS Is Still Top-Tier Star Wars Gaming

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Image: Jim Norman / Nintendo Life

Soapbox features enable our individual writers and contributors to voice their opinions on hot topics and random stuff they’ve been chewing over. Today, Jim celebrates Revenge of the Fifth with a DS throwback…

You felt it, didn’t you? A disturbance in the Force. Over on Coruscant, Darth Sidious has called for the execution of Order 66, but perhaps more pressingly, I have finally found the opportunity to wax lyrical about the Star Wars prequels. It’s happening, folks. Strap in.

If yesterday (May 4th) was Star Wars Day, then that makes today (Revenge of the Fifth) the perfect — and, let’s admit it, only — opportunity to talk about Episode III, the best Star Wars movie. Yes, I said it.

Now, I’m all for standing for the Republic, for democracy, so I won’t hold it against you if you don’t feel the same way (heck, you wouldn’t be alone), but where I must hold the high ground is on all things concerning the Revenge of the Sith DS game, a tie-in so sweet that almost 20 years on, I am still of the totally unbiased opinion that it might just be the peak of all Star Wars gaming.

Game Overview

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, movie tie-in games were as numerous as Anakin’s midi-chlorian count. It seemed that back in the age of the GBA and DS, no big film could hit cinemas without being accompanied by a rushed 2D platformer. They were a dime a dozen and have long been lost to the sands (coarse and rough and irritating) of time. But not Revenge of the Sith. Now here is an example of a tie-in done right.

Released on both Game Boy Advance and DS, this Ubisoft Montpellier-led project is a 2D belt-scroller that generally follows the same narrative threads as the 2005 movie. There was also a 3D action version released elsewhere, but those aren’t the consoles you’re looking for. For the systems relevant to us at Nintendo Life, you choose to play as either Obi-Wan or Anakin and make your way through 13 levels of lightsaber-swinging, beat-’em-up action. There is a handful of minibosses sprinkled in there and the dual-screen version even comes with some 3D space battle sequences.

Gameplay Experience

Thinking about it in the run-up to this Star Wars weekend, I had begun to worry that perhaps this was just as standard as all of the other tie-ins of the time. Is it possible that my rose-tinted nostalgia for the game was born out of my unabashed love for the film? It was a very real possibility and one that could only be put to the test by a period of intense scientific research (buying a copy online and staying up all night playing it to the end).

The results are in and this Padawan was right on the money. The game still slaps.

This might look from the outside like your standard Poodoo affair, but there is a surprising amount of depth under the hood. The controls are clean and responsive, the combat is surprisingly deep with numerous special attacks learned along the way, and there is a neat ability-upgrade menu at the end of each level — one that would inevitably inspire a ‘But is it an RPG?’-induced headache if it were released today.

My surprise at how the game plays was one thing, but how it looks brought me even more joy. By Qui-Gon’s beard, I hadn’t anticipated just how well the cartoon aesthetic would hold up! The sprites look stunning — something that cannot be said for the game’s 3D PS2/Xbox 360 counterpart — and each lightsaber swing is packed with such personality that it puts some modern animations to shame. For real, when can I play this on my OLED?

Memorable Moments

As I sped through the Anakin storyline, memories of my first playthrough came flooding back. The tank that can only be defeated by deflecting Troopers’ blasters at it, the bonus goodies hidden in destructible parts of the stage, my inability to fly any ship with the Y-axis controls inverted (yep, I definitely didn’t still struggle with that one…).

Final Thoughts

The Obi-Wan side of things is… well, much the same, with some obvious story tweaks to fit with the plot of the film. But that’s still two stories! The changes might only amount to, ‘Do I fight General Grevious or Mace Windu?’ but that’s okay. It’s more Star Wars. And good Star Wars at that!

Look, the prequels have their problems, even I can accept that, but this tie-in is not one of them. If you are a fan of their character arcs and top-notch lightsaber fights, then a DS throwback like this will welcome you with open arms. If, alternatively, the cheesy dialogue and wooden acting left you longing for a Jar-Jar-free world, then a well-made retelling like this might just be enough to make you see the film’s merits.

I’m not saying that blockbuster tie-ins should make a comeback (though I’d buy a Dune: Part Two beat ’em up in a heartbeat), but if you are only ever going to play one, it should be this. To this day, Revenge of the Sith on DS is a Must(afar)-play.

Did you ever play this one? Might you try picking it up now? Let us know in the comments.