Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon (Game Boy Advance) Playthrough - NintendoComplete - gamenightuiuc.com

Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon (Game Boy Advance) Playthrough – NintendoComplete

NintendoComplete
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A playthrough of THQ’s 2003 license-based 3D action game for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon.

The Rise of Skywalker releases today in theaters, so it seemed like a good time to address one of the least known Star Wars games out there. Flight of the Falcon is a fully 3D shooter that puts you in the pilot’s seat of some of the most iconic craft from the Star Wars franchise, flying missions loosely based on events from the original trilogy.

If you’d like to skip to a specific section, here are the time codes:
1:00 Episode IV: A New Hope
28:10 Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
39:15 Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon is nothing if not ambitious. The sheer scope of some of these action sequences rivals that seen in many console-based games of the time, and though they all boil down to the same basic objectives (“Kill X enemy fighters” and “Get from point A to B before time runs out”), there is a lot of variety in how they are presented.

Over the course of the game’s 14 missions, you’ll get to fly the Millennium Falcon, the X-Wing, and the speeder bike, and these missions all take place in fully 3D environments. At first glance, the game seems to have pulled much of its inspiration from Wing Commander, but everything is completely on rails. You can move across the playfield, but you have control over little else but your aiming reticule and your ship’s speed.

So far this all sounds great, right?

But then we come back to one of the game’s main selling points – it is a fully 3D action game on the Game Boy Advance. The handheld proved it was fairly capable of doing 3D in the right hands – Asterix and Obelix, Monkey Ball, Driver, Star X, Stuntman – none of them were runaway hits, but they proved that the machine had the chops to pull off a decent 3D experience. Given Star Wars’ unusually good track record with games, I remember seeing this game advertised and really hoping that it would be yet another good (or at least decent) tie-in. Oops.

I bought the game not long after it was released, and it didn’t take long before I regretted the decision. While the concept was a good idea, the 3D graphics end up being the game’s undoing. They looked good (relatively speaking, for the hardware) in screenshots, and the write-up made it sound somewhat similar to Sega’s Star Wars Trilogy arcade game, but it seems as though the developers’ ambition far exceeded both the capabilities of the GBA hardware and the skill of the programmers that worked on it. To be blunt, Flight of the Falcon is a complete mess.

It doesn’t take long at all to realize that the game’s challenge directly correlates with the 3D engine’s performance. Everything is so low-resolution that seeing what you’re supposed to be shooting at becomes nigh impossible, and to say that the framerate chugs would be the ultimate understatement. As nice as some of the backdrops look, the flow of any mission that doesn’t use the basic star field as the background layer is utterly broken by a framerate that gracelessly swandives into the pavement at the slightest jump in scene complexity. The problem is at its worst when you have to race to an end goal within a time limit – the tight time limits require that you spend most of those missions at your ship’s top speed, but at that speed the graphics update so slowly that you’ll inevitably find yourself crashing straight into objects that you couldn’t see in time. The poor performance also directly impacts the controls. The worse the game runs, the more choppy and imprecise your movement and aiming becomes, making it virtually impossible to finish many of the missions without playing them again and again until you’ve all but memorized the stages, which by the way, all go on for far, far longer than they need to.

The sound is pretty good, at least. Some of the songs sound a bit flat, but for the most part, the sound effects and the music are close enough to give it the Star Wars feel.

In the end, I can’t say I’m surprised in the least bit that the critics ripped this one apart. I did enjoy it a bit back in the day, but it quickly became too hard and awkward for its own good. Nearly twenty years later, I can’t say my opinion of it has changed too much.

If you really want an on-rails Star Wars experience, there are many better options, including the Sega CD port of Rebel Assault. Yeah. Ouch.

*Recorded using a Retroarch shader to mimic the look of the original hardware.*
_____________
No cheats were used during the recording of this video.

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29 Comments

  1. 32 bit the snes was 16 bit was way better

  2. i have been trying to play this game for a few yeas off and on. yesterday i said eff it and broke out the cheat codes, even input the cheat codes in a pain in the rear. i used "gogo" for rapid main gun and i swear it dropped the frame down even more making it even harder to play. i still give it another go at some point

  3. I thought I'd do something for the premier of the latest Star Wars movie, so here is a playthrough of one of the lesser known titles in the series. Just don't get motion sick from that framerate 😉

  4. So, a marathon of Star Wars games or just this one?

  5. This game looks cool! Great emulation as always.

  6. FYI if you enter a password then you can play a bonus mini game that plays like a 2D shoot em up.

  7. Oh man reading that text scroll at the begging was rough! Haha that framerate too, wow, I'm impressed you got through this one!

  8. I found this game really hard. I never managed to finish it as a kid

  9. This game is one of the hardest game I've ever played.

  10. i wish this game was just the death star attack, that was the best one

  11. 90% of the skills necessary to finish this game was actually understanding what was going on with this framerate and these graphics

  12. For some reason this seems smoother than my real hardware in some instances, such as the last mission. This game has flaws, but there are some really great moments. I wish they focused more on what worked well (shooting in open areas) and removed what didnt (obstacle course). The presentation and sound was really good too. It could have been a great title, but I still think its good enough to play through every once in a while. If only it was better, they could make a much better followup on DS, like how Rogue Squadron on N64 had 2 superior sequels on Gamecube. Now that would have been awesome.

  13. Got this for Christmas as a kid along with Lego star wars 2

  14. Cool game they should have made a psp port

  15. I remember playing that first level over and over again on the playground at school lol. I'd always sneak my gameboy to school and play it. Could never get past the first level 😛

  16. Temuera Morrison as the voice of boba Fett

  17. Terrible game but the graphics were so good for GBA.

  18. I never got passed the second level as a kid

  19. I remember as a kid that title screen with the second Death Star coloured in blue always made me want a Pepsi XD or some fruity soft drink that was out at the time I dunno. and this was when the likes of Pepsi cola and McDonald’s actually tasted real good and sweet before the UK started reducing the amount of fats and chemicals in the snack food here 🙁 people tell me that it’s the same recipe the’ve been using for years but I don’t buy it. when I was on holiday in America Pepsi max tasted soooooooo sweet

  20. Watching the second chase scene on Tattoine hurts my eyes and head

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