Yoda Stories by Al Giovetti


Yoda Stories
Preview by Al Giovetti, 02/13/97
Release: February 7, 1997
Genre: animated graphic adventure
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Product Marketing Manager: Tom Byron Programmer:
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Publisher: Lucas Arts
Phone: 415-472-3400
Web site: www.lucasarts.com
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History: Twenty years ago a little known film maker named George Lucas created a film called Star Wars which launched the careers of three unknown actors. At least one of those actors, Harrison Ford, has been able to capitalize on the success to become one of the largest box office draws in the world. The films were recently re-mastered and re-released to again top the sales charts as the number one box office draw in the United States.

One of the most loveable characters from the film trilogy, Master Yoda will be starring in a new game built on the Indiana Jones and his Desktop Adventures game engine. Yoda was a muppet creation which trained the young Luke Skywalker in the ways of the force, SW304 from the course catalog of the Degobah Jedi Academy.

Company line: "Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." -- Jedi Master Yoda.

The heroic struggle of good and evil collide with the Force in Yoda Stories, the next challenging installment in a series of easy-to-play Desktop Adventures scheduled to release on Windows 95 CD-ROM this spring from LucasArts Entertainment Company. Set in the time spanning the classic Star Wars films The Empire Strikes BackČ and Return of the JediČ , Yoda Stories chronicles Luke Skywalker's intriguing adventures as he trains to become a Jedi Knight under Yoda and battle the evil Galactic Empire.

Yoda Stories, like its predecessor Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures, features unique world generator technology capable of creating countless varied, short game scenarios, each designed to be completed in about one hour. Though Yoda Stories continues the gameplay philosophy of Indy Desktop, its world builder engine has been significantly upgraded to offer more puzzles, characters, locations, weapons and sounds.

"LucasArts specifically designed the Desktop Adventures series to provide gameplayers with a quicker sense of gratification," says Tom Byron, product marketing manager for Yoda Stories. "Novices will enjoy Yoda Stories because it's easy to load and play, while seasoned gamers will appreciate its many challenges, which are as vast as the Star Wars universe."

Yoda Stories is a collection of short quests in which players encounter a variety of well-known Star Wars characters in several familiar environments. In order to successfully complete a game, players must thoroughly explore each world, interact with other characters, collect artifacts, tools and weapons, trade goods, and combat Imperial stormtroopers, bounty hunters, unfriendly locals and a variety of alien creatures.

Plot: The plot of each story starts as Luke and R2D2 land on the swamp ridden planet Degobah. Luke must find Yoda, complete all quests Yoda sets him on, and travel to Imperial outposts and strongholds where he must rescue a colleague, defeat an enemy, or obtain an important rebel artifact.

Game play: The game play is expected to be similar to the earlier Desktop Adventures, which was not a hit with the reviewers but sold well enough to garner this sequel. The sequel is a blatant commercialization of the newly re-released hit movies. The games are short, usually taking an hour to complete.

Any good adventure game must have a plethora of artifacts, which include weapons, tools, and trade goods, and Yoda stories is no different. Weapons Luke wields in the game include the Force, a lightsaber, and others like the blaster.

Other essential aspects of this genre are the conversations with friend and foe, combat with the bad guys, and the ubiquitous quest. The cast of bad guys promises to be a good one repleat with storm troopers, bounty hunters, and a variety of unfriendly and friendly alien creatures right out of the bar on Mos Eisley.

Use of the force will be granted once 10 games are won or upon discovery and exploration of a special "Force Zones," where Obi-Wan Kenobi appears and awards Luke with special powers of the Force. These powers allow Luke to move heavy objects from a distance, livestock enrichment and immobilize weak willed opponents. Lucas Arts intends for this Desktop adventure to have more depth than the earlier foray with Indiana Jones.

Important aspects of the game include the force and the light saber. A world construction module generates random scenerios. The randomly rolled scenerios become boring rather quickly and do not generate almost infinite game possibilities. Once you get the basics of the game down after a half to full dozen games, the games become repetitious, inspite of their differences. Younger players would not become bored by the repetition, but adults surely do.

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Sound effects: more sounds than in Indy

Utilities: Packaged with the game on the same CD-ROM is "Making Magic: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Making of the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition." The CD ROM features George Lucas' commentary and the new scenes at Mos Eisley and other interesting Star Wars historical footage.

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References:
http://www.lucasarts.com/pages/Announcement.632.html
Cindy Yans, Computer Games, issue 78, pg. 38.

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