Among the best Star Wars games we’ve been discussing in articles such as this one, or maybe this one, something has wriggled its way into our consciousness: there are several bizarre games that have trickled out over time. The truth of the matter is that when you release as many games tied to a franchise as Star Wars has seen over time, you’re bound to end up with some oddities. To that end, allow me to introduce (or perhaps remind) you about some of the downright weirdest Star Wars games ever made.
Star Wars (Famicom, 1987)
It’s 1987, you’re a kid growing up in Japan, and you’re obsessed with Star Wars. You decide to boot up your Famicom, pop in Star Wars, and journey through adventures in a galaxy far, far away. Only instead of familiar encounters, you’re fighting weird apprentices of Darth Vader, all of whom seem to turn into bizarre animal constructs before you fight them. Of course you remember that part of the films, right? Right?! Yeah, we don’t either. This strange take on Star Wars vaguely touches upon the subject matter of the films, but really just feels like the weird adventures of a black-haired Luke Skywalker as he adventures around the galaxy. It’s like what you’d expect to happen if someone developed a Star Wars game based on the description someone sent to a friend, ran through a translator a few times into various languages, and then used that as the basis for the design. So. Weird.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Ewok Adventure (Atari 2600)
This cancelled game makes the list because someone during the ’80s sure thought it would be a swell idea to develop and release an entire game based around the idea of playing as beloved little Ewoks as they assault Imperial targets. I suppose that alone isn’t weird, but what struck me as particularly odd is that they decided to focus on glider combat, something that only appears in the films for a few seconds. My guess is the team behind it was really trying to push the Ewok TV series and film, though it seems saner heads prevailed when this game was shelved.
Star Wars: Demolition (Dreamcast, PlayStation, 2000)
While the beloved Twisted Metal franchise had been out for awhile already, someone got it in their heads that what Star Wars fans needed was their own take on the series. Enter Star Wars: Demolition, a vehicular combat game where you take on a curious array of iconic and not-so-iconic Star Wars vehicles under a fairly flimsy premise. You see, the feds have really cracked down on the whole podracing scene at this point, so Jabba the Hutt has been forced to find new ways of getting those credits, thus turning to vehicular combat. While Demolition was received fairly well, it never really took off, having largely missed the boat on the car combat scene and being grossly overshadowed by similar games that came before it. Still, it exists, and I can’t say I’m not thankful for that.
Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi (PlayStation, 1997)
With new Star Wars films still off in the distance, what was a fighting game fan who also happened to love Star Wars to do? Oh, I know, battle it out in martial combat in a system that few if no people have ever heard of! Masters of Teras Kasi sits proudly on my shelf because I like to look on this weird fighting game as a reminder that just about anything can happen. If you’ve ever wanted to see what happens when Luke Skywalker has to face off against the likes of Chewbacca, then this is really (thankfully) your only option.
Star Wars: Grievous Getaway (Mobile, 2005)
The early days of mobile games were nothing like they are today. Today there’s a host of deep and entertaining Star Wars games to play while you’re out and about, but in 2005 people had to settle for the likes of Star Wars: Grievous Getaway. Here you play as Obi-Wan Kenobi as he chases General Grievous on his wheel vehicle. Your goal is to catch him over and over, then eventually battle him after a few missions. I refuse to let it be lost to the annals of history.
Which Star Wars games do you think were particularly strange? This list is by no means all of them, but rather the ones that struck me as I recalled the titles I’ve seen and experienced. Let me know in the comments, and remember: Just because something looks like a perfectly normal or sane game, certainly doesn’t mean it is.
Anthony Gallegos is a freelance writer who loves Star Wars and video games. He’s written for publications like IGN, GameSpy, 1UP, EGM, and Games for Windows: The Official Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @chufmoney.