Capitalizing on the hype surrounding the video release of Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace, both Lucas Learning and LucasArts are making the force of their presence felt more deeply in game shelf circles with a slate of interactive Star Wars titles coinciding with the video’s early April street date.
LucasArts is bowing Episode 1 Jedi Power Battles, an arcade-style game for Sony PlayStation that uses backdrops based on Phantom Menace environments. On 10 different levels, players choose from five Jedi characters (each Jedi exhibits a unique skill-adept with the light saber, etc.) to wage battle against opponents from the Sith and Trade Federations. Two players can also team up to play in a cooperative mode, at which time more characters are unleashed along with increasingly complex battle scenarios.
Star Wars 1 Racer, first introduced on PC in spring ’99 and on the Mac platform in winter ’99, is being released on Sega Dreamcast in April. The Dreamcast console has allowed for very high-res graphics, and players in the U.S. will also be able to post high scores on the Internet as part of the Sega Dreamcast Network.
Anakin’s Speedway is Lucas Learning’s pod racing game aimed at kids ages four and up. The title is designed to teach skills such as critical thinking, planning, decision-making and creative design. The object of the game is to create thousands of pod race test tracks filled with obstacles, learning about cause-and-effect relationships as you pilot your pod. Lucas Learning will be running a National Mom Campaign in support of this title, mainly encompassing print advertising, because they feel that mothers are the main decision-makers behind such purchases. To further spur sales, a US$5 rebate coupon for any Lucas Learning or LucasArts title is included in The Phantom Menace video. Price points have also dropped across all titles from the regular US$29.99 and US$34.99 to US$19.99.
Lucas Learning has two other Star Wars-based titles set for release in August, tentatively titled Star Wars Math Galaxy (ages six to nine) and Star Wars Early Learning Activity Center (ages four to six).