Video Game Retrospect: Republic Commando
By Tyler Campobasso
Clone Commandos. Some of the fiercest warriors the galaxy knew by the time of the Clone Wars. Skilled, resourceful, determined. Warriors that could perhaps face the Mandalorian Neo-crusaders of old and barely bat an eye. Armed with their memorable interchangeable DC-17m blaster, they challenge the Seperatist’s most threatening foes and undertake the Republic’s most dangerous assignments. Step into the Katarn armor and boots of these commandos and fight for the Republic across the galaxy.
With the most sincere apologies to Matt, Karen Traviss will be mentioned much here, so caution is advised…
Star Wars: Republic Commando is a first-person shooter by Lucasarts released in 2005, in the months leading up to Revenge of the Sith. Developed for the original Xbox and Windows, it has since been ported to the newer consoles, such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. The game developers wanted a new experience for Star Wars fans. Rather than play as a powerful Jedi, play as a foot soldier and see the galaxy from their point of view. It follows Delta Squad, an elite four-person team of Clone Commandos The game features the voices of Temuera Morrison as the main character and squad leader, RC-1138. Also featured is Andrew Chaikin as RC-1140 (Hobbie in Rebel Strike), Raphael Sbarge as RC-1262 (Carth in Knights of the Old Republic) and Jonathan Cook as RC-1207 to round out the squad.
RC-1138, known as “Boss” to the other characters, is the hard-nosed commander of Delta Squad. RC-1140, known as “Fixer”, is the tech wiz and slicer of the group. RC-1262, “Scorch”, is the jokester and demolitions expert. He provides most of the comedic relief throughout the game. Lastly, RC-1207, or “Sev”, serves as the squad’s sniper. He is a quiet and reserved character, a stone-cold killer if you will. Those who have read Karen Traviss’s Republic Commando series will recognize all four of these characters as they appear in every novel of hers (save Sev in Order 66, for reasons in this game). More on this connection will be dealt with later, however.
The game's prologue takes the player character quickly through their birth, adolescence and brief training. Then you’re introduced to the three other squad members, before being deployed during the Battle of Geonosis. You are tasked with eliminating Geonosian leader Sun Fac, who appears in Episode II. After that task is complete, you make your way up to a Lucrehulk battleship in hopes of destroying it. Facing hundreds of battle droids you fight your way to the bridge and destroy all the power consoles, crippling the ship and dealing a blow to the Separatists. The second mission takes you to the RAS Prosecutor, an Acclmamator-class assault ship. Fans of the Republic Commando novels will recognize this ship as Delta Squad’s former home. The Republic has lost command with the ship and sends your squad to investigate. On board you find the ship’s crew has been killed by a large group of Trandoshans. These Trandoshans are currently in cahoots with the Separatists to enslave Wookiees on Kashyyyk. Your mission is to take back the ship and drive the Trandoshans off. Things get a bit more complicated when the Trandos call for backup from their CIS allies. Delta Squad must hold the droid forces off long enough for reinforcements to arrive. When successful, you are sent to Kashyyyk to stop the Trandoshans from endangering the Wookiees in any way. On Kashyyyk you find General Grievous, rendezvous with Wookiee Chieftain Tarfful and free other Wookiees. While routing a CIS Providence-class cruiser, commando Sev is lost in the action. The rest of the squad wants to go back for him, but Master Yoda informs them they were an advance force for a Republic Invasion, the one seen in Revenge of the Sith. The squad pleads to go back and find Sev, but they have their orders.
Now for the best part, the connections. And yes, there are plenty. Keep in mind it’s hard to talk about this game without mentioning the Republic Commando series by Traviss, which makes it even harder to ignore the further (albeit meh) connections in her Legacy of the Force novels. For the time being, an attempt to stay within the general confinement of the game will be made. Here are just a few connections:
- Boss has the designation “RC-1138”, keeping the 1138 references alive.
- During the first mission, RC-1136, or Darman (future Skirata) is mentioned. It is said that his squad was destroyed. In the aftermath of Geonosis, he was reassigned to Omega Squad, the focus of the Traviss series.
- Walon Vau is shown in loading screen footage. Vau is the Mandalorian that trained Delta Squad and also appears in the Traviss novels.
- This game is the first appearance of the iconic commando armor, the Katarn-class commando armor. It is featured in media such as the Traviss novels, Clone Wars Adventures graphic novels/comics, The Force Unleashed as a dlc skin, and more.
- Also with its first appearance is the DC-17m interchangeable rifle, the main weapon of the commandos.
- My personal favorite, and a sentiment shared by others, is the language of Mando’a. Small bits and pieces of the Mandalorian language can be seen in Knights of the Old Republic, Attack and the Clones and The Cestus Deception, but the language was developed more by Karen Traviss (dare I say her best contribution to Star Wars). The game's main theme, Vode An (Brother’s All), is entirely sung in Mando’a. Other Mandalorian war songs such as Gra’tua Cuun (Our Vengeance), Rage of the Shadow Warriors and Ka’rta Tor (The Heart of Justice) also appear. The soundtrack really makes the game. And coupled with the iconic themes of John Williams, an epic experience ensues.
I will admit for my personal thoughts the game is a bit dated, but it is still enjoyable in 2022. It runs well and looks fine on the PS5, I can say it’s a good experience. I personally like the first two Republic Commando novels Hard Contact and Triple Zero, before the series really starts going off the rails. This game ties in very well, but also stands on its own perfectly. You need zero prior knowledge going into playing and that’s always a welcome thing in video games. I still go play every now and again when I’m in a commando mood and want to step into the boots of an elite clone trooper. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that’s interested in not only the commandos, but the Clone Wars Multimedia Project in general.
Thanks for reading and MTFBWY!