On May 25, 1977 the words "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" were first seen by movie goers in the theaters. No one could have predicted that the start of this movie would serve to launch the biggest movie franchise of all time. Star Wars began the love affair Hollywood and movie fans had with big budgeted science fiction blockbusters and it and its five sequels (technically two sequels and three prequels) have brought in a combined total of over $2 billion in ticket sales alone. That's not counting all of the various revenues brought in by toys, animated shows and spin-offs, novels, comic books and the like. It's by far the biggest movie franchise in history.
Star Wars creator George Lucas has always been a maverick when it came to movies and he also helped the game industry as well by launching LucasArts in 1982. With classic games like Ballblazer and the terrific selection of adventure games created by the company in the late 1980s and 1990s, LucasArts would be well remembered just for those efforts alone. However, LucasArts only began making and publishing Star Wars themed games in 1993 with the release of the PC space combat sim X-Wing. Since then the company has published nearly all Star Wars themed games and developed many of them at their in-house studios. While sometimes the results were mixed a number of the Star Wars themed games published by LucasArts became not just great Star Wars games but some of the best games ever made, period.
With the 30th anniversary of Star Wars' release to theaters this week, we decided take a look at the 10 best LucasArts' published games based on the franchise. While a lot of these games are not in print anymore, many are still sold either in stores or can be found on eBay or other locations.
10. Star Wars: Republic Commando
Created in-house by LucasArts and released in 2005, this PC-Xbox first person action game brought the tactical shooter genre to the Star Wars game franchise. As with other Star Wars games on this list you get to play as the "bad guys" of the Republic Army in between the events of the movies Episode II and II (before they come under full control of the Emperor). The use of the Unreal Engine combined with the tactical game design has you controlling a group of special clones as they fight the enemies in the Clone Wars conflict.
9. Star Wars: Dark Forces
When id Software's Doom became a huge hit in the mid 1990's LucasArts decided they wanted in on this growing first person shooter genre. Many companies after Doom's tried and failed to match the gameplay id created, but LucasArts' use of the Star Wars license combined with excellent level design, sharp 2D graphics and storyline involving Darth Vader's attempts to create an advanced Storm Trooper (the Dark Troopers) made the original Dark Forces game (released in 1995) an entertaining title. Of course there was not any multiplayer in Dark Forces but that's what sequels are for, after all.
8. Star Wars: Empire At War
Making a strategy game based on the Star Wars universe seemed to be an impossible task. Failures like Rebellion, Force Commander and Galactic Battlegrounds littered the field. Developer Petroglyph (made up largely of former Westwood Studio team members who helped develop the Command and Conquer series) final got the call to make the definitive Star Wars RTS game and they delivered in early 2006 with Star Wars: Empire at War. Finally we got both the land and space battles we wanted all this time along with an expansive campaign to take over the Star Wars universe. You can bet good money that LucasArts will be making a full fledged sequel to this title one of these days.