- Brian Borg
STar Wars Battlefront
By Tyler Campobasso
The predecessor to 2005’s Star Wars: Battlefront II, the original Star Wars: Battlefront was just as impactful and groundbreaking. While the 2005 installment introduced playable heroes, new classes and space combat, the original set the stage for the latter implementations. A large-scale PvP/PvE game had not been seen yet with the Star Wars IP. Games like Jedi Academy and X-Wing had multiplayer modes, but none with any boots on the ground-style like 2004’s Battlefront.
Released in September of 2004 for the original Xbox, Playstation 2, Mac and PC, Battlefront takes players to planets spanning both the Galactic Civil War and Clone Wars eras. Developed by Pandemic Studios, the creators wanted to release a game that would be akin to a Star Wars fan’s dream. The game, like the Dark Forces franchise, gave players the choice of playing in first or third-person. With the 2004 release date, Battlefront only includes prequel content from Episodes I and II, as Revenge of the Sith had not yet been released. A total of 17 maps were playable, across 10 planets. The maps included were:
- Bespin: Platforms
- Bespin: Cloud City
- Endor: Bunker
- Geonosis: Spire
- Hoth: Echo Base
- Kamino: Tipoca City
- Kashyyyk: Docks
- Kashyyyk: Islands
- Naboo: Plains
- Naboo: Theed
- Rhen Var: Harbor
- Rhen Var: Citadel
- Tatooine: Jabba’s Palace
- Tatooine: Mos Eisley
- Tatooine: Dune Sea
- Yavin 4: Arena
- Yavin 4: Temple
Battlefront also included class-based gameplay into the Star Wars universe. Each faction had four basic classes: infantry, sniper, pilot and the heavy trooper. The infantry were the most well-rounded, snipers were equipped with long-range rifles, pilots could repair vehicles and played a support role and finally the heavy troopers were equipped with rocket launchers. Each faction had its own special class as well. The Republic included the jet trooper, which had a jetpack and an EMP launcher. The CIS included the Droideka, with it’s sheild and all. The Empire utilized the Phase Zero Dark Trooper which had a jump pack and shotgun-type blaster. Finally, the Rebellion used the Wookiee Warriors, ferocious fighters armed with bowcasters. Vehicles were also playable and destroyable, ranging from the Republic’s LAAT gunships to the Empire’s AT-ATs.
Heroes are present in this game, albeit unplayable. Each faction had one and would be immortal for the duration of the game. The Republic used Mace Windu, Empire used Darth Vader, CIS used Count Dooku and the Rebellion was aided by Luke Skywalker. The hero aspect would greatly be improved upon in Battlefront II, as they would become playable and the rosters would be expanded upon. Also unplayable are a host of indiginous species that can be found throughout the galaxy. Tusken Raiders can be battled on Tatooine, Wookiees can be aided on Kashyyyk, and you can slaughter Gungans on Naboo if that’s your thing.
A campaign was included in this game, one that was declared S-canon by Leland Chee. Reason being certain aspects like the faction classes contradicted continuity aspects. For example, the Republic did not use Jet Troopers at the Battle of Geonosis, nor were Dark Troopers at the Battle of Hoth. The game itself, however, nestles into the C-canon. The campaign uses movie footage between missions to introduce every planet and objective. Some cutscenes were created to supplement the movie footage, which is appreciated. Another mode, Galactic Conquest, was included as well. This mode put the player in control of the galaxy and you could decide which planet to attack and when. This mode was also greatly expanded upon in the second game, adding specific obtainable bonuses and recruitable units for the player to use.
Now for the best part, the EU connections. Not as many as Battlefront II, but there are some juicy ones.
- Rhen Var is perhaps the most notable. For those who may not know, Rhen Var first appeared in Tales of the Jedi: Redemption as Ulic Qel-Droma’s exiled planet. It was also featured in The Clone Wars video game, also produced by Pandemic Studios in 2002.
- The game introduced us to the Phase Zero Dark Troopers, a predecessor to General Rohm Moc’s Dark Trooper Project from 1995’s Dark Forces.
- The Evacuation of Yavin is a playable mission where the player controls the Galactic Empire’s retaliating forces.
- Republic ARC Troopers appear as the Republic’s heavy class. The ARC Troopers first appear in Republic 50: The Defense of Kamino and are modeled after the 2003 Clone Wars microseries appearance.
- Clone Jet Troopers first appeared as well here and would go on to appear in Battlefront II, the 2008 The Clone Wars film, and other media.
- The Wookiee Trade Guild was created for a CIS campaign mission, but has not been mentioned anywhere else in the EU.
- The New Republic’s K-Wings were set to appear, but were cut due to unknown reasons.
For myself, I remember my father bought me this game for the PS2 and I have very fond memories growing up with this game. I would always play it after baseball practices with my friends and always play on Bespin: Platforms. It might be the best map of any game ever created, seriously. This is another classic that I can not possibly recommend enough. Although Battlefront II is the superior game, the original is still great in its own right.