When Nintendo first revealed the Wii’s unique controller, one of the first images that popped into everybody’s head was pushing that big, inviting A button and seeing a glowing blade shoot out of the top of the Remote, complete with the familiar hum that signals that some dude’s gonna get his arm (or hands, or legs, or head, or torso) chopped off. It’s no wonder that so many people began clamoring for LucasArts to create a “lightsaber game” for the Wii. What kid hasn’t grabbed a stick, a cardboard tube, or the occasional microphone stand and waved it around while making “woosh” noises, pretending to be a noble Jedi or a dastardly Sith Lord?
It took a while, but we’ve finally got our “lightsaber game” in the form of the aptly named Star Wars: The Clone Wars — Lightsaber Duels, which is based on the new “Clone Wars” animated series on Cartoon Network. As the title suggests, this is purely a one-on-one fighter, where the Wii Remote becomes a virtual lightsaber allowing you to hack and slash your way through a gauntlet of opponents.
The controls are pretty intuitive. The Wii’s Nunchuk moves your character around the arena, and pressing the A button while moving allows you to quickly dodge attacks. Obviously, waving the Remote causes your onscreen avatar to swing his or her lightsaber. Although your character’s motions don’t mirror your moves exactly (we’ll have to wait for the release of the Wii’s MotionPlus for that), their swings do follow the direction you wave in. Holding down the Nunchuk’s Z button allows you to add limited Force effects to your attacks.
Each character has a variety of combos that are initiated by waving the Remote in a certain pattern. Simultaneous attacks will cause you and your opponent’s sabers to lock, forcing you to complete a reflex-based challenge to overpower them. This will take the form of rapidly waving your Remote back and forth, quickly flicking the Remote in a particular direction, or completing a series of precise movements before the enemy does. For the most part the controls work quite well. Only occasionally did we take a stray hit due to the Wii misinterpreting our movements.
An Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age
The main single player experience is Campaign mode, which follows the story of the Clone Wars movie and TV series. Although this mode utilizes a decent amount of footage from the show, it’s a bit haphazardly assembled. Unless you’re already familiar with the plot, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll understand how the elaborate conflicts set up during the intro cinematics are resolved with one or two duels. Another problem with this mode is that the series only has three main bad guys that wield lightsabers: Count Dooku, General Grievous, and Asajj Ventress. Repetition sets in pretty quick as you fight that trio over and over.