I think that I’ve made it pretty clear that I have enjoyed every moment of The Force Unleashed, so I figured that I would experience every single piece of it that I could. Having played the PC/360/PS3 versions of both games (AKA the 8th Generation version), I wanted to finally take a look at the “lesser” versions. This isn’t something I’ve done before, every series I’ve covered in a diary has always been an entirely separate entry, even when they shared titles. But these were so good!
I’ll only be taking a look at the DS, PS2, PSP, and Wii versions, because I simply don’t have access to the iOS, Java, or N-Gage versions, and even as an internet literate person I have no idea how I’d even find them. Is there an N-Gage emulator? In any case, I’ve played and completed all of the versions of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed that I talk about here.
Going in alphabetical order, we start with the Nintendo DS version of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. The story follows the same as the 8th Gen games, and I was happy to see that it was a pseudo third-person style, rather than a side-scroller like most DS versions of console titles turned out to be. Combat is all done via the touch-screen which is frustrating, not for how fiddly it is, but if you tap a combo and your first hit misses then all of them do because you can’t turn mid-combo.
There are two mini-games built into levels with the first being Feel The Force Events, which require you to gather Force orbs into a vortex in order to move something big, though red orbs make it smaller and it’s constantly shrinking, so it’s not easy… The second one is saved for boss battles and called Saberlock, which has you rotate your lightsaber to right angles of where the enemy one is, until a bar is filled.
This game has the distinction of being the only version in which someone refers to “Starkiller” as a call-sign, rather than just somehow knowing it’s their name without being introduced! Additionally, there are environmental hazards, such as pulling mushrooms down on a group of enemies (or yourself…), rather than just random exploding barrels placed everywhere.
Oh, one thing this version does better than the 8th Gen one is when you find Kota in the bar, Starkiller says “I’ve tracked you across the galaxy, from Nar Shaddaa to Ziost… and here you are, on Bespin.” The 8th Gen version stops at the word “Ziost”, even though you set course for Nar Shaddaa, then walk straight into a bar to find Kota. Absolutely no explanation for why you’re on Bespin…
Between missions you can go around the Rogue Shadow and speak to PROXY, Juno, or Kota depending on the upcoming mission. In the 8th Gen versions, you finished a mission, got a cutscene, and went into the next mission, so it’s nice to see the inside of the ship, if only a little.
In the multiplayer mode, you choose a Starkiller (in various outfits) in a Free For All or Balance the Force match, but I had no second copy of the game to play with someone, so I can’t comment on it.
The PlayStation 2 version also follows the plot of the 8th Gen version, except you go to the Jedi Temple to train (AKA fight a named Sith that I’ve never heard of) three times. Again, I’ve watched five out of the nine movies, none of the TV stuff, and a couple of games... They might even be exclusive to The Force Unleashed!
There’s an extra mission, too, set after taking out the Star Destroyer factory over Raxus Prime (pulling the Star Destroyer down is just a cutscene), and the Empirical level is skipped by making it all a cutscene. Galen leaves the operating table, grabs Juno, and they leave before the Empirical falls into a star for no reason; presumably Vader wanted Galen to hurry up and leave? Anyway, Kota sends you to Cloud City to meet Senator Garm Bel Iblis, while in the 8th Gen version you go straight to Corellia to get the Rebellion started. It’s an interesting level seeing you fight Mandalorians and all sorts of aliens!
You start the game with all of the powers; Lightning, Repulse, etc, etc… So Galen actually feels stronger than in the 8th Gen game, for instance throwing TIE Fighter wings into walls to create platforms, rather than carefully lifting them into place one-by-one.
As each level is designed differently to its 8th Gen counterpart, there is occasionally different and extra dialogue. It was a pleasant surprise to get new content, honestly. Though Kazdan Paratus fighting you in a mech suit before then fighting hand-to-hand was more annoying than pleasant… Also, there are 200 holocrons to collect, as well as Force and Health upgrades hidden all over the place.
So, remember how I mentioned that Starkiller found Kota on Bespin in the DS version? Well, in this version you find him on Nar Shaddaa. And then in a cutscene a couple of missions later, he mentions how he had been smuggled to Bespin… Continuity? What’s that?! I will admit, though, the bar was better than the 8th Gen version: it had holographic pole dancers!
Between missions you get to look around the Rogue Shadow to change costumes, upgrade abilities, and alter lightsaber stuff unlike the 8th Gen which was just menus. Oh, and you never fight PROXY. The unique feature of this version of the game is that there is no multiplayer mode, which I was surprised by.
The PlayStation Portable game seems like your normal pared down console version: the graphics are grainier, you can’t control the camera… And honestly, it is, because it’s the same as the PS2 version. However, much to my surprise the camera movement is handled fine! I’ve played enough PSP with bad controls to say that with certainty.
It has more to do than the console version, because it has two additional single player modes. Force Unleashed mode sees you go through scenarios called Force Duel, Order 66, and Historic Mission. In order, those are 1v1 fights, fight waves of Stormtroopers, and missions based on events from the movies such as Luke fighting Jabba The Hutt’s men over the Sarlacc pit.
It also has multiplayer, but I couldn't try it out as it requires two PSPs with two copies of the game. It has two modes: Force Frenzy and Rule The Galaxy. The first is just "kill each other", the second requires you to retain control of a central platform.
Wii / Switch
The Nintendo Wii version is just like the PS2 and PSP versions except it has motion controls, and it is the version released in 2022 on the Switch. You swing the Wii Remote (Wiimote) to use the lightsaber, while Force powers are on the nunchuck. Quite uniquely, quick time events require you to move one of the controllers in any direction, rather than press a button. Oh, and you get to hear the lightsaber sound effects through the speaker on the Wiimote.
However, there are some quite noticeable changes, not counting the controls. For one, it’s the only game on this list that has a dedicated tutorial mode. For another, during boss fights you might get a Force Lock or Sabre Lock, which requires you to quickly angle either the Wiimote or the nunchuck and shake it.
It’s also both more difficult and somehow easier than the other versions; your attacks do more damage, but you also take more damage. I first noticed it in the opening when I died while playing as Darth Vader, something that hadn’t happened on any other version of this title. Kento, the “Rogue Jedi”, has gotten his licks in for sure, but never actually killed me!
There is a two-player versus mode with a large cast of (unlockable) characters. It’s just 1v1, but the arenas are honestly really cool, based on some of the levels without being directly from them.
Okay, so I looked up the ones that I haven’t actually played. Turns out that people upload videos of videogames to streaming sites, and occasionally you can find exactly what you want!
The N-Gage version is a fixed-camera 3D auto scroller, and you don’t fight, you use various Force powers and deflect blasters with key combos (or “Force Weaving”). It starts with Galen and Darth Vader on the Death Star, where the apprentice is dispatched to Nar Shaddaa to kill Kota. He then immediately goes to Felucia and kills Shaak Ti, and speaks to Vader on the surface of the planet who says that the Emperor thinks the apprentice is dead. Instead of going to get Kota, Galen and Juno Eclipse head straight to Kashyyyk to find Leia, who sends you back to Felucia to locate her father. With him secured and Maris Brood defeated, you hit the shipyard (in space, not from the planet), then are told to go to the Death Star. There, you fend off Vader for a bit before he kills you and the game ends. Each level is very short (it’s a mobile game), and there’s no PROXY which is weird.
The iPhone game is the same as the N-Gage, but uses touch-screen combos instead of key presses. It’s also a wider screen, obviously.
The mobile phone version (AKA Java game) uses the same pattern-based key-press control method, but each level is a single screen. The story is the same as the N-Gage version, but has a little less Darth Vader.
It’s really amazing how all of these versions started from the same set of basic notes and scripts. The voice acting (in the games that have it) was all redone for these versions, not just the extra scenes and levels, so that’s even more new content there. What’s more, I finally got confirmation that Starkiller was a code-name!
Sure, I could have experienced three of these titles by playing the Switch version, but do you know which works out cheaper? That’s right, the three retro versions by, like, £4. I would highly recommend playing through the 7th Generation version, even if you do spring for it on Switch. It’s not the best version of the game, but it’s worth a look if you’ve already played the 8th Gen version!
Join me next time when I do this again for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II!