Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
Windows - 2001
Also released on: Mac
Description of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds
There was a time when every Star Wars PC game was eagerly anticipated, from X-Wing vs Tie Fighter to Dark Forces and Jedi Knight. But then came a string of mediocre and disappointing offspring like Force Commander and Phantom Menace and the suspicion arose that maybe LucasArts had lost its way. Fortunately, Galactic Battlegrounds sees them straying back towards the correct space-time continuum, albeit borrowing from others' trappings.
Ensemble Studios' Age of Empires 2 engine provides the guts of the game, with the lovingly detailed Star Wars universe providing the mod. If you're already familiar with AoE (and shame on you if you aren't!), you'll feel instantly at home - once the initial movie is out the way (a compilation sequence from all four Star Wars films) you're then straight into the menu that lets you decide which nation you're going to fight as.
So you can either elect to be one of the good guys -- the Rebel Alliance, the Wookiees, the Gungans or Royal Naboo -- or the more menacing Galactic Empire and Trade Federation. If you need a quick crash course then head directly to the extensive tutorial where you play as a Wookiee (complete with Chewbacca as your commander) trying to oust Federation influence from a planet.
The varied game modes include skirmish, single player campaigns, historical missions and multiplayer via LAN or Internet. The scale of each combat is huge with over 300 different units and structures and up to 200 being deployed by each side. As with Age of Empires, there are 4 resources to gather (food, carbon, ore and nova crystals) which are common to each side but the style of each civilisation is completely unique which is especially helpful when you're in the thick of battle and wondering who's friend or foe.
Naturally each fighting force has its complementary strengths and weaknesses. The Wookiees can create Self Regeneration, Forest Vision and Wookiee Ingenuity together with the fearsome Berserker. The Rebel Alliance are superior in the air (including the mighty Airspeeder) and gain especially tough armour, whereas the Empire have pricier and slower building aircraft but can utilise the formidable AT-AT's and the powerful Dark Trooper. The Gungans flourish underwater with a handy Shield Generator while the Naboo boast the Royal Crusader and the Federation have hordes of Destroyer Droids.
Is it all balanced? On the whole, yes, because the tech trees clearly reveal each of the six nations have one expertise that the others can't match but there is always a counter that can be researched and developed to neutralise the threat. Jedis, for example, appear to be nigh indestructible, except when faced by a determined bunch of murderous bounty hunters. The Rebels and the Empire may seem to have the air war sewn up, but some well-placed heavy anti-air units can quickly scythe through your squadrons.
It's the air power in particular that is a radical departure from the AoE model, as churning out zillions of pummels, hover tanks and ships is only worthwhile if you're not having the hell bombed out of them by the opponent's fighters. Another innovation is the introduction of power cores: your buildings will function without them but their efficiency will be vastly increased with them, and when your survival may depend on speeding up nova crystal production, these are invaluable. Animal nurseries are also new on the scene and provide a lengthy and consistent supply of food - in some missions, it pays to gather immediately all the banthas on the map to starve out your foes.
Shield generators, too, are a unique product of the sci-fi environment that wasn't available to the AoEworld and they can double the hit points of your units. The Jedis are an advancement of the medieval monks in that they also have a stealth facility, which enables them to remain invisible until they strike, unless you have a bounty hunter with a 'decloaking' capability. They do have the ability to convert other units and if they don't want to be converted, then there's always the good old light-sword-through-the-body trick.
The other fun part of the game is that you can involve most of your favourite Star Wars heroes and villains in the action. Watching Darth Vader go berserk with his lightsabre as he lays into a control centre is almost worth the £35 alone and his voice is a fair imitation of James Earl Jones' infamous heavy breathing. There is far more speech included than in any of the AoE strategies and they have been carefully crafted to suit the relative unit - from Wookiee grunts when acknowledging a command to metallic Borg-like utterances when droids order you to surrender.
We're so used to hearing the Star Wars soundtrack in the background of both the movies and the games that you tend to forget how well that score manages to capture the right mood for every occasion - and so it proves again. The same care has gone in to the sound effects for both weaponry and unit movements; the droids clank threateningly and the Beetle Troopers sound like they're rubbing their heels together.
Visually, the eye candy looks impressive (though hardly awe-inspiring) in both the recognisable maps like Hoth and Tatooine (14 locations in total) and the fine detail of the stylised units and buildings. There's also the inevitable random map generator thrown in to allow you to design your own terrains either by using an existing map as a template or by starting from scratch. You also have the option to include whatever vehicles and buildings you fancy in a maximum 8 participants multiplayer match.
The six campaigns, which are built around leading Star Wars 'celebrities', should tax seasoned RTS fans as well as be a good introduction to newcomers, as there are three skill levels to choose from. The true challenge comes from making crucial decisions about when to upgrade your technology levels, when to sacrifice resources for the sake of faster productivity, and what forces to take into battle while leaving sufficient defences back at the control centre.
The only slight niggles are that the perennial pathfinder problem rears its ugly head once more, but this is a common fault with RTS games in general - it just becomes inflated when you have so many units to control. You might also think that after all the franchises that have been issued under the Star Wars banner, it would have been possible to move on from the decidedly dated 2D Age of Empires engine and try something a bit more ambitious. Of course, when this type of effort becomes Force Commander, suddenly a tried-and-tested engine doesn't seem such a bad option.
But minor carping aside, this is a welcome return to form from LucasArts after a disappointing patch.Galactic Battlegrounds offers exactly what the dedicated Star Wars follower and gamer wants: a way to re-enact the drama and excitement of Lucas' vivacious universe and even deviate from course and create your own scenarios. Putting a trustworthy license behind an even more solid game mechanic sounds like a winning formula - and thankfully, there have been no surprises.
Review By GamesDomain
Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds has an addon available: Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds - Clone Campaigns, don't miss it!
Comments and reviews
PakYu 2018-08-09 -1 point Windows version
Cannot download.I try 2 times to download too failed...
Malky9141091 2018-07-27 1 point Windows version
I remember when this came out. Its legit. It is the star wars version of the original AoE Age of Empires. The Clone Wars DLC added in two new factions, and the ability to make your troops march and move in many different formations. We had an old clan called the Artemis Republic. Over 40 of us there was, still speak to most of them LOL. Made my childhood that much happier. I recommend this if your looking for retro, Also, you can still download software that allows you to join public matchmaking
JamesTDG 2018-05-07 0 point Windows version
This game gives me (the game series) Civilisation vibes
DeadRider 2017-09-11 0 point Windows version
My download was ok but the game wont install on my PC. It asks me to download the game from the original CD-ROM
DARTH_VADER 2017-04-02 0 point Windows version
My download was ok but the game wont istall on my PC. It asks me to download the game from the original CD-ROM
sumguy 2017-02-22 -5 points
The game is infected with a malware generator. Do not download from this game from this site. The file infected is lightmaps.dat
joseph 2017-02-14 0 point
this game is soooooooo gooooood! i hope i can play multi player soooooo hyped that i found it been looking for a long time.
rahanzie 2016-11-28 -1 point
the trick for running this is a bit different. using a virtual cd drive mount first disc to install then unmount then mount second disc and run to play. second disc image is for disc based copyright protection verification.
Cyber 2016-08-05 0 point Windows version
Does not work it's a really odd Disk Image file that cant even be used
noname 2016-07-25 1 point
tactical adventure game with an nice story line, plenty of options and methodes of playing
ace 2016-06-11 0 point Windows version
good game realy like i want to play again i lost my acount
SuperHappyFunTime 2016-01-31 0 point
this game was made using the ageOFempires2 engine, game was ok
but I much prefer AOE2 over this game anytime.....I usually love starwars games
but this game didn't win me over.
abe 2016-01-08 0 point Windows version
successfully installed but cannot play... the computer says need game CD, What's wrong? I use daemon tools to run it
abe 2016-01-07 -2 points Windows version
cannot play it ask me to put in a game cd.....i guess it means cd2 but it's already downloaded!
catseatingpeople 2015-12-13 2 points Mac version
Mac folks: if you have an OS past Snow Leopard, you don't have Rosetta anymore and these old games usually won't work. I partitioned my hard drive so part is still on Snow Leopard so I can play all these games. If you're an old-school mac gamer it's worth the effort to do!
Josh 2015-08-30 2 points Mac version
It says that "Galactic Battlegrounds game CD-ROM was not found. Make sure the original game CD is in your Mac's CD-ROM drive and try again." Not really sure what I need to do :/
nathan67003 2015-06-27 1 point Mac version
If you want to make this thing actually run, you need an emulator for PowerPC apps. I have an old iMac G3 with OS X 10.3, does the same thing :P
smkeyser 2015-05-25 -2 points Mac version
it says that the file is damaged or incomplete and I am trying to run it on yosemite 10.10 is there anyway to get passed this and still be able to play the game
starcat 2015-05-15 0 point Mac version
mine wont down load not thare fault but probbly my computer :P
connorthecat 2015-05-15 -2 points Mac version
great virus free i love this game thank you for putting it on the internet keep up the good work!
jegelie 2015-04-26 2 points Mac version
@JRoberts, most older games for Mac don't run on modern hardware/OS. There were two major changes in Mac platform: the CPU and the OS. In CPU there are three flavours: the old Motorola 68k, PowerPC and now Intel. In OS you have the Classic OS (up to "System 9.1") and MacOS X (the X actually means 10 here).
So, you DEFINITELY need an emulator to run these old games. It basically boils down to emulating another CPU, and having system ROMs and OS ready for installing. Big chance this makes the system too slow to run the games...
Andy 2014-12-04 0 point Mac version
I love how Starwards thinks there are dosfiles when this came out in 2002. The game's engine that this was made on, Age of Empire II, was on windows in 1999
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