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Review by: Jim Brumbaugh
Published: December 12, 1997
The Monopoly board game and the Star Wars Trilogy: each one is a classic in its own right, with millions upon millions of fans devoted to them. It makes a lot of sense to marry one of the most popular entertainment series of all time with one of the most popular board games of all time. So what do you get when you merge films that deal with the conquest of the universe with a game that is based upon the acquisition of real estate? You get Monopoly Star Wars, in which the objective is to own the entire Star Wars universe.
The first thing the player of Monopoly Star Wars will notice is that there is a tremendous amount of Star Wars “authenticity” that is present in this title. The opening sequence is quite interesting, which begins with the Star Wars overture and the traditional “angled” title screen. The scene quickly changes to that of an Imperial Star Destroyer flying through space. Suddenly, out of the Cargo Bay, a small Shuttle emerges with a Tatooine property card attached to its hull. As the card is gently cradled into its proper spot on the board, the camera angle changes perspective and begins zooming about the playing field. The player is treated to animations of an AT-AT stomping about the playing field and Darth Vader wielding his Lightsaber, among other scenes.
Following the opening animations, game set-up begins. Each game is hosted by C-3PO, not only due to his “protocol and etiquette” skills, but also because he can be implicitly trusted as the game’s banker. The player will notice another touch of realism at this point, as the actor who played that role in the films, Anthony Daniels, provided his vocal talents for this product. There are a total of eight playing pieces from which the player can choose, and up to six of these “players” can be designated to participate in any one particular game. As the player scrolls through the choices, he can choose to have any playing piece controlled either by himself or by the computer. In addition, a level of difficulty (easy, medium, or hard) can be selected for each computer-controlled piece. In keeping with the Star Wars theme, the playing pieces are representations of various Star Wars characters. Heroic figures such as Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca and R2-D2 are available, and evil characters like Darth Vader, Boba Fett and a Stormtrooper round out the choices. Once playing piece selection is complete, all characters are transported to the playing field via a nearby shuttlecraft.
The Monopoly board is free-floating in a space-like environment. As it becomes time for each player to take his turn, a ship appears near the edge of the board. The type of ship that appears depends upon the playing piece that is next to move. For example, the Chewbacca piece causes the Millennium Falcon to appear, and the Stormtrooper is paired with an A-Wing fighter. When it is the player’s turn, he can either click on the ship or he can click on the pair of dice located at the center of the playing field. As the dice are rolled, the player is again treated to one of a number of different animations. Perhaps the ship at the edge of the board will fire a laser blast at the dice after the dice platform rises in space, high above the board. At other times he will witness a dogfight between an X-Wing and a TIE Fighter, with one of the two crashing into the dice in a fiery explosion. Occasionally, Emperor Palpatine will appear at the bottom of the screen and hurl bolts of blue energy at the dice. Regardless of the animation shown, the dice are rolled and it is time for the playing piece to move.
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