|Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns|
December 2, 2002 | Michael Phillips
Aside from Jar Jar Binks and his kin, Star Wars is one of the greatest sci-fi tales ever told. Episode II: Attack of the Clones certainly stands out as the most visually compelling Star Wars film to date. The showdown between the Army of the Republic and the Confederacy on the planet Geonosis literally left me speechless. All of those light sabers whizzing about, droids armed to the teeth, blaster bolts flying everywhere and massive starships made me long to visit that Galaxy Far Far Away and jump right into the action. Of course, such a thing would be impossible, right?
Until recently, the previous was indeed quite impossible. However, thanks to the Jedi Knights at Aspyr Media, the exciting RTS expansion pack, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns (SWGBCC) is available on a Mac near you. Adding new units from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, two full Episode II related Campaigns, new combat locations, a wider array of unit upgrades, and enhanced graphical effects to the original Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds, Clone Campaigns may be the Death Star of this year’s game add-ons. Of course, it could be awful too. The only way to know for sure is to read on…
Gameplay: Like Chess, but with ExplosionsStar Wars Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns boasts an impressive amount of enhancements to the already solid Galactic Battlegrounds. Aside from the 2 new Episode II Campaigns, SWGBCC sports dozens of new units, locals from Episode II, upgradeable unit shields & power cores, an increased unit cap for those who prefer to outnumber rather than outwit, improved graphical effects for units, environments & explosions and area effect damage.
First, let’s discuss the Campaigns. Each Campaign includes 7 missions told from the perspective of either the Confederacy or the Republic. It is best to play the Campaigns in the suggested order, as their stories overlap. For example, the Republic Campaign centers around undoing the evil deeds done in the Confederacy Campaign. Campaign stories are narrated by Darth Tyranis and Mace Windu and begin during the last minutes of the battle at Geonosis. Campaign missions outline the struggles faced by certain heroes on each side of the galactic conflict.
For instance, the Confederacy Campaign tells the tale of Dark Jedi, Sev’Rance Tann and her victories against the Republic. Having heroes on the battlefield tends to make things challenging. Often, it is required that a hero be escorted to a certain part of the map, but if they perish en route, the day is lost. Campaign missions also feature multiple objectives, keeping players busy for hours on end. My favorite mission involves landing a group of Confederate troops on a large asteroid field in order to knock out a Republic power generator. This is easier said than done due to the fact that the asteroid field is littered with a grid of anti-air defenses. All in all, the Campaigns are challenging, interesting and fun.
Clone Campaigns’ new units also add a great deal of gameplay to Galactic Battlegrounds. Aside from including every single droid and attack ship seen in Episode II, SWGBCC also introduces mobile power droids. Power droids are perfect for establishing base expansions. I like to build an extra troop center away from my main base; however building extra power cores in the area is always slow and costly. With power droids, the previous is no longer an issue.