Star Wars Demolition
Star Wars Demolition Is A Sweet Tooth Of A Different Ice Cream Truck
For this year's May The 4th, we'll look at Star Wars Demolition as one of the many byproducts of the newfound success of Star Wars at the time. The year 1999 marked the beginning of an incredible resurgence of Star Wars relevancy that equally brought its original fan base back as well as ushered an entirely new generation. Episode 1: The Phantom Menace not only catapulted Star Wars back into a position it hadn't felt since the 80s, but it was the catalyst for the future of the franchise. Video games were an avenue that LucasArts saw a potential venture in and it was not overlooked.
For every genre, there was a Star Wars game, from FPS to flight simulators and action games. One of my favorite titles, Star Wars Episode 1: Racer was, as the title stated, a racing game. It's easier to name a game that wasn't based on an existing genre than it is to name all of them. One avenue that doesn't get talked about a lot is vehicular combat. Released during the holiday season in 2000, Star Wars Demolition was developed by none other than Luxoflux, the creators behind the Vigilante 8 series. While the series never saw an "official" third game, there are many reasons to consider Demolition rounding out the V8 trilogy.
Vigilante 8: 3rd Conviction?
Demolition runs on the same engine as Vigilante 8 and its sequel, 2nd Offense, yet it uses an obvious Star Wars aesthetic. Players can select one of several characters, each with their unique vehicles and weapons, and destroy the competition in arenas. These arenas are familiar locations from the movies including the sandy Tatooine, the snowy mountains of Hoth, and aboard the Death Star II among others. Believe it or not, Demolition does have a story although there are several inconsistencies with it.
Taking place sometime around Return of the Jedi, the Empire outlaws the sport of podracing. To counteract this, Jabba the Hut begins an underground demolition derby deathmatch series where the winner takes all. The characters all have their reasoning for entering the tournament, some of their own volition while others are forced. While there's no set timeline, the reason why it's heavily assumed to be around RotJ is because of two specific characters.
The Roster Is A Mix Of "Historically Accurate" And "Obvious Fanservice"
Tamtel Skreej is a playable character who is the alias of Lando Calrissian. Boushh, an unlockable character, is the guise that Princess Leia goes under. Both aliases coincide with their attempt to save Han Solo from Jabba the Hut in the movie. Another fan favorite, Boba Fett, is also included in the main roster. The rest are either those who appeared in the original trilogy at some capacity or original characters referenced in other media. Things take a turn for the weird when Darth Maul is introduced as one of the secret characters.
Even those who aren't familiar with the Star Wars canon will know that Darth Maul was long since dead by the time Demolition's story kicks into gear. This was obviously a non-canon fanservice appearance from the red guy himself. The criteria to unlock him under normal circumstances generally required the player to unlock everyone else. Fortunately, Demolition was released during a time when cheat codes were accepted as the norm. I did what eight-year-old me would do at the time and that's input WATTO SHOP in the options menu.
So, About Star Wars: Vigilante 8...
Players who were used to Luxoflux's vehicular combat will immediately feel right at home in Demolition. For everyone else, the gameplay was a bit different than the leading series at the time, Twisted Metal. Each character has access to a primary and a secondary weapon.
The secondary weapon can be obtained by destroying drones, ranging from tractor beams to concussive missiles. Both weapons can be charged up to four levels and the maximum level is the character's signature attack. These also range from close-range force blasts to long-range sniper shots.
As with other vehicular combat titles, each stage has a designated hazard such as the Sarlacc in Tatooine, instantly killing those who fall in the pit. There are charging stations that replenish shields and weapon energy, though they can be destroyed to prevent others from taking advantage of its services.
One of the core mechanics taken from Vigilante 8 is delivering the "Final Blow," as destroying an enemy craft isn't enough. To net the highest possible bounty, players will need to charge both their primary and secondary weapons to the highest level and execute their hapless foe. Leaving them a smoldering crater isn't enough, Demolition requires you to obliterate your opposition to gain results.
While "Dated" By Today's Standards, The Visuals Are Still Amazing
Star Wars Demolition was released on both the PlayStation and the Dreamcast, with the Dreamcast being the "better" of the two. At the time, games simply looked better on the Sega Dreamcast when compared to its PlayStation and Nintendo 64 counterparts. Demolition is no different as details including particle effects and vehicle damage are impressive. As a craft gets damaged, parts are missing, bullet holes are formed, and these effects happen over time. It's not the first game to have vehicle damage but it's presented well here.
The controls depend on the craft used, as speedier crafts are difficult to control over the slower ones such as the AATs. The maps range in various sizes and shapes, with some being easier to navigate than others. Combat is a bit on the slow side especially when it comes to getting used to the game controls. I'd recommend bumping the damage values to the highest in the options settings just for this reason. The main mode is a Tournament mode, but a single game Battle mode and other bonus modes exist as well.
Now, This Is Demolition Derby
While Star Wars Demolition won't be something that comes to a Star Wars fan's mind when compared to the likes of Fallen Order, for example, it's a relic of the past. This was during the time when Lucasfilm Games wanted to capitalize on anything and everything hot. It was the best time for video games of this era. The "throw a dart towards the wall blindfold and see where it sticks" era. Unfortunately, Luxoflux would fold as a company but not before releasing the cult classic True Crime series. Maybe True Crime: Streets of LA is something I'll look into in the future...
Star Wars Demolition was released on the Sony PlayStation and Sega Dreamcast.