What we have here is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or, to be more precise, Vigilante 8
in Star Wars clothing. Made by the same folks that gave us the two V8
games, Star Wars: Demolition
takes us to various locales in the Star Wars universe, and has us battling other inhabitants for fun and profit. Or, to be more precise, for the pleasure of Jabba and gamblers around the galaxy. Whatever. Plots in these types of games are usually nonexistent, and in the end, Demolition
is all about blowing up the other guy.
And while it’s entertaining, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. Yes, you get to play as Boba Fett, and you can even ride a Rancor as your “vehicle.” There’s the required large variety of weapons, such as torpedoes and missiles and even a tractor beam. Each vehicle also has its own “special attack,” which is often cool to see. But underneath all the Star Wars chrome, the maps set in places like the surface of the Death Star and the swamps of Dagobah, you’ve got Vigilante 8. And it’s a poor V8 at that.
There are quite a few game modes that you can play with in Demolition, and each mode has interesting things to offer. When you’re playing by yourself, you can compete in the Tournament, which is how you unlock new racers; you can do single Battles against other opponents, for the sheer enjoyment of blowing up enemies; and you can do a rather unique style of play where you place wagers based on how well the game thinks you can do, and the first person to 10,000 credits wins. There’s also a mode where you shoot lots of droids with lasers, but it feels like a throwaway.
There are also the requisite multiplayer modes, and up to four people can hop on and play at once. The multiplayer modes cause some frame-rate loss, of course, but not enough to really disrupt the flow of the game. And they’re probably where you’re going to get the most entertainment out of Demolition, if you get entertainment at all.
Why, you ask? Well, the game just doesn’t have any of the charm, the karma, the (dare I say it?) fun of the other Luxoflux titles. Destroying enemies in the game becomes more tiresome than entertaining, and you’ll find yourself wondering just how long a battle is -really- supposed to last. The mechanics of scale are off-whack. The levels aren’t all that much fun to ride around in. And the game itself just isn’t as much fun. What happened to ramming the bad guy into oblivion?
There are a few interesting mechanics. Using special weapons drains weapons energy, and you have both shields and health. Shields and weapons energy can be recharged at certain locations on the map, but it takes time and money that you may not have. These spots often become locuses of action -- or, at least, what Demolition offers in the way of action. And the vehicles still have that floaty style that you either love or hate. But it just doesn’t cohere the way that it did in V8.