15: Clone Campaigns
Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds was a video game produced for the PC and Mac in November 2001. It was developed by Ensemble Studios and published by LucasArts. The game is a Real-Time Strategy, meaning you're looking at the map of a battlefield from above, and can control many different units at once. On 14 May 2002, Ensemble and LucasArts released the game's expansion back, Clone Campaigns, which included a CIS campaign and a Republic campaign following the release of Episode II. While I own Galactic Battlegrounds, I never bought the expansion back. My analysis of the game is based on Wookieepedia and a series of videos that chronicle the game's missions, put on YouTube by user gia257.
-The game begins at Geonosis. General Sev'Rance Tann, a Chiss Dark Jedi, is the Supreme Commander of the Separatist military. She fights off several Republic units to ensure that Count Dooku can get to his speeder bike and escape the carnage of the Battle of Geonosis.
-General Tann leads a force to the Kaer Orbital Platform to use its facilities to build up a sizeable CIS Army. Their army is built up and evacuated before the Republic liberate the platform.
-Dooku leads Tann to Tatooine, where it is learned that Boorka the Hutt, the local crimelord of Mos Osnoe, has intelligence on a new Republic weapon, which he will share if Tann can destroy the Republic spaceport nearby. Once it's destroyed, Boorka shares that he learned the Republic was building a secret weapon, the Decimator, the planet Eredenn Prime. Tann leads another droid force to Eredenn, and steals several Decimators and a droid containing their operational codes. However, the Wookiees who engineered the Decimators included a failsafe that made the weapons useless in enemy hands. Tann leads a force to attack the Wookiee colony on Alaris Prime, to steal the Decimators' activation codes. They cripple the Republic base there and acquire the means to activate their new weapons.
-In possession of the Decimators, Dooku plans an attack against the energy-producing world of Sarapin. Tann first leads a space fleet to destroy the Republic defensive structures orbiting Sarapin, before leading the army to the surface. Using Decimators and a massive droid army, Tann destroys the Republic facilities, including the citadel at Mount Corvast, and fully conquers Sarapin. Thus ends the CIS Campaign.
-The Republic campaign chronicles the fall of Echuu Shen-Jon, Jedi Master and former Padawan of Mace Windu. At Geonosis, Shen-Jon's Padawan, Stam Reath, was murdered by Sev'Rance Tann, which would slowly drive Shen-Jon to darkness. The Jedi Council assigned Naat Reath, Stam's sister, as Shen-Jon's new Padawan, and ordered them to re-take Sarapin. They did so, but only after Sev'Rance Tann has retreated. Even so, a captured CIS officer led Shen-Jon and Reath to Boorka the Hutt on Tatooine. With Jabba the Hutt's blessing, and with the assistance of the local populace, the Jedi destroy Boorka's operation and learn of the CIS Decimator factories on Krant.
-Shen-Jon and Reath lead an attack first on Aereen, Krant's moon, and destroyed the mining facilities there. From Aereen, the Jedi were able to lead an army against Krant. Allying themselves with Wookiees stranded on Krant, they attacked the Decimator factories and destroyed them. Despite their success, Naat Reath was captured by Tann. Shen-Jon led a surgical strike to free his Padawan and killed Sev'Rance Tann in a duel. With the threat of the Decimators gone and Tann dead, Reath returned to Coruscant to report to the Jedi Council. But Echuu Shen-Jon, having been corrupted by the Dark Side, would live out the war in exile on Krant.
-A lot of diversity in the Units. Like the original Galactic Battlegrounds, both the Republic and the CIS have access to a set list of units, which are almost all upgradeable. Many of the units are derived from vehicles or droids seen in Episode II, though their functions may have changed. A number of these units are never seen again, but I like to think that maybe some of them were fast refits of existing technology to fill the immediate needs of the Republic and CIS armies (for example, the fighter and bomber units are clearly derived from the LAAT/i Gunship, perhaps the Republic Corps of Engineers retrofitted some LAATs to serve as both light fighters and bombers, because Republic shipwrights were not yet capable of mass-producing enough V-19 Torrents and Y-Wings to fill the needs of the Republic.
-The CIS can train "predators" (Reek, Nexu, or Acklay), which have similar function as the normal predators of the game (like Gundarks), but follow CIS orders.
-The game added the Air Cruiser unit to all factions in Galactic Battlegrounds, which made air power significantly more important. These ships (Republic Starship or Confederacy Cruiser), had heavy artillery which could decimate an enemy force.
-Cool unit balance element. Any unit shooting red is good against infantry, units shooting blue are good against vehicles, and units shooting green are good against buildings.
-Soundtrack taken directly from Attack of the Clones and the other films. Never get tired of the John Williams score.
-Combat is a bit weird. While there are advantages to using certain units in certain situations, often it comes down to numbers. Like Starcraft's Zergling Rush, it's certainly possible for a massive army of cheap units to overwhelm a highly advanced enemy. And this game doesn't have the "TIE Bomber is good against Mon Cal Cruiser, but bad against A-Wing" set up of later games like Empire at War.
-The graphics are dated. This game was based on, and used the graphics engine of, Age of Empires and its sequel, Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, which came out in 1997 and 1999, respectively. So the graphics were already 2-4 years old when Galactic Battlegrounds was released (3-5 by the time Clone Campaigns came out).
-Unit scale is a problem with many real-time strategies, and Clone Campaigns is no exception. As you can see in the figure above, the scale implies that the AT-TE is roughly the same size as both the SPHA-T and a Reek, and that very few could fit inside the Acclamator. But again, this is a problem with many, if not most, RTS games.
-A major part of the game is collecting resources and base building. This can take away from the action, as it can be tedious work.
-Both Galactic Battlegrounds and Clone Campaigns got fairly good reviews. Gamespot gave the first game 8.2/10, citing great controls and game mechanics. They gave Clone Campaigns 6.4/10, but only because it didn't add as much to the original game as other expansion packs might have (apparently many of the smaller tweaks to the game were almost insignificant).
-Recall that this game uses the Age of Empires engine? That game had no air units. So how did they model the starfighters? As clusters of flies. Cool, huh?
-The events of this game take place in the first few weeks of the Clone War, probably concurrently with the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (the game I looked at not too long ago).
-Sev'Rance Tann is a Dark Side Adept and Dooku's apprentice, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Separatist Forces. Essentially, she serves the roles filled by both Asajj Ventress and General Grievous in later materials.
-Echuu Shen-Jon would later be recovered from Krant when Princess Leia's ship crashes there. He would go on to assist the Rebel Alliance in securing a Jedi artifact and ensuring it would stay out of Imperial hands. He was killed in a duel with Darth Vader to ensure that Princess Leia escaped. This was chronicled in the Rebel campaign of Galactic Battlegrounds.
-The final mission of the game is the Liberation of Coruscant, playing as the New Republic.
I enjoyed the game Galactic Battlegrounds, and enjoyed watching the clips of Clone Campaigns. If you're able to find this, I recommend picking it up. I've been looking for it lately (I remember seeing the Galactic Battlegrounds Saga, which included both the game and the expansion pack, at Wal-Mart for less than $10).
Next up: Three of the four Hasbro Toys R Us comics that tied into Attack of the Clones: Most Precious Weapon, Practice Makes Perfect, and Machines of War.
Last edited by Taral-DLOS on Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:51 pm; edited 1 time in total