Serious Star Wars aficionados should enjoy the game's story, but they'll be forced to slog through a lot of tedious action to see how it pans out.
The level design can be bewildering, as well. You'll be given vague mission objectives and will set off in expansive environments that are simple enough to where one part tends to look pretty much like any other part. Even from the get-go, you'll invariably end up wandering around, inadvertently backtracking, just searching for where you're supposed to go next. You'll eventually find the rust-colored door you're supposed to open, the small pit you're supposed to jump into, the little control panel you're supposed to use, or what have you. The exploration and puzzle-solving elements do serve to pad the length of the game, but they're not exactly glamorous or entertaining. Don't expect the life of a bounty hunter to be filled with nonstop danger and excitement.
Other problems like rather bad loading times and poor enemy artificial intelligence make the experience of playing Bounty Hunter less than satisfying. An awkward save system means that your progress is saved between each big level, and you get five "continues" in each one in case you die, but if you use them all up, you're forced to start that level over. Death in Bounty Hunter usually comes from falling or from some other environmental hazard, since most enemies are easy pickings. Body counts in most levels are extremely high, and civilian casualties are pretty irrelevant, making Jango seem more like a mass murderer than a trained assassin.
The game has numerous extras that can be unlocked if you score well enough in the 18 different levels, and while earning high scores by collecting on bounties seems like a cool idea, in practice not even the bounty-hunting aspect of Bounty Hunter works well. You first need to use the directional pad to switch to a first-person targeting view, during which you can't attack. Here you can scan any character in the vicinity, and some of them will have bounties posted. Then you need to mark your target, kill or incapacitate it, and then walk up and "collect" it. The victim then magically vanishes, and that's how Jango earns his keep. Problem is, switching to the first-person view while in the middle of a firefight isn't exactly a desirable tactical maneuver. There is of course meant to be a challenge associated with this aspect of the game, but there's no obvious reason for why the targeting view wasn't just mapped to one of the controller buttons, rather than treated as one of Jango's different "weapons." You'll feel silly standing perfectly still, getting shot, all while just trying to find viable bounties. Sometimes it's possible to mark your bounty without the victim's knowing you're there, but not often.
The game's color palette looks washed out, the level architecture is pretty boring, and the clipping and frame rate issues do much to make the game look ugly rather than good. There's even a strange fish-eye effect on the camera, causing everything to look warped around the edges. The audio in Bounty Hunter is largely what you'd expect--there's that predominant Star Wars blaster sound, along with some John Williams music--but even this aspect of the game isn't impressive. The way some of the sounds are oversampled or undersampled serves to get in the way of the presentation. You'll hear a lot of the same ambient noises and dialogue repeated much too often, and overall, Bounty Hunter doesn't end up sounding much better than it looks, despite the good voice acting during the cutscenes.
Maybe it's always been this way, but now more than ever, Star Wars games can't get by just on the strength of their license--they need to be good games in their own right. Star Wars Bounty Hunter may have all the basic ingredients needed for a solid third-person action game, but it falls flat in the execution and is far too often cumbersome, confusing, or in some other way un-fun to be recommendable on its own merits. Serious Star Wars aficionados should enjoy the game's story, but they'll be forced to slog through a lot of tedious action to see how it pans out.
- Player Reviews: 51
- Game Universe:
- Star Wars Episode I: Racer (GBC, N64, DC, MAC),
- Star Wars: Yoda Stories (PC, GBC),
- Star Wars: Demolition (DC, PS),
- Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC, GC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Starfighter (PC, PS2),
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC, XBOX, MAC, IP),
- Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (PS2, GC),
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (GC, PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars Galaxies (PS2, XBOX)
- Number of Players: