You'd be hard pressed to find a film license that has spawned more video games than Star Wars. If you took the time to count them all (and I don't advise doing so, it takes ages), you'd find well over 100, covering just about every console and genre you could imagine. Unfortunately, many of these titles aren't worth the time of day, but equally, there are some truly fantastic games hiding amongst the shovel-ware. The games below are of that second category; the ten best Star Wars games of all time.
Episode 1: Racer
There's simply no denying it; Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was a bad film. It did, however, have two redeeming features: one was the impossibly cool double-ended lightsaber, and the other was Pod racing. Episode 1: Racer was a Nintendo 64 game (and later Dreamcast) built around the second of these features; an arcade racer that allowed players to pilot vehicles made out of space scrap, with an overall experience fitting somewhere in between Wipeout and Mario Kart.
Empire At War
With a military theme underpinning the main narrative, a multitude of grand-scale battles and plenty of races, factions and vehicles, an RTS based on the Star Wars universe was inevitable. Petroglyph Games brought the idea to life in 2006 with the critically acclaimed Empire at War. Set just before the events of 'A New Hope', the game follows the Galactic Civil War and the construction of the infamous Deathstar.
What do you get if you take the best elements of Halo, Metroid Prime and Rainbow Six, and glue them together with a Star Wars narrative? Whatever the strange amalgamation, chances are it'll closely resemble Republic Commando, the FPS released on the original Xbox back in 2005. Set during the events of the Clone wars, players commanded a team of Clone troopers as they stormed through locations such as Kashyyyk and Geonosis.
Super Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
The Super Star Wars games were fantastic; ball-bustingly hard, but fantastic nonetheless. Arguably the best of the three episodes was The Empire Strikes Back, a 2D platform game that let players visit some of the most memorable locations from the film as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and everybody's favourite Wookie; Chewbacca. If you missed out on the game when it was first released in 1994, it can still be played today on the Wii's virtual console.
Jedi Knight 2
Essentially the third game in the Dark Forces series, Jedi Knight 2 puts players back in the shoes of Kyle Katarn; a former Jedi who came so close to joining the Dark side, that he decided to completely sever his link with the force. Jedi Knight 2 is therefore a weapon and melee driven game, allowing players to switch between first and third-person perspectives as Kyle does battle with the Dark Jedi Desann and his followers.
The Force Unleashed
As the title alludes to, Force Unleashed is a game that revolves around the metaphysical powers of the Jedi. The game attempts to bridge the gap between the two film trilogies, putting players in the shoes of Darth Vader's secret apprentice; Starkiller. As well as allowing players to string together fancy combos with a lightsaber, the game also furnishes you with a range of powerful force powers that take full advantage of the next-gen hardware.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Combining one of the biggest film licenses of all time with children's building blocks was a stroke of genius; the start of a fantastic, multi-million-selling franchise. With dialogue thrown out of the window, the Lego series took the fundamental Star Wars narrative and turned it into a series of comical set pieces. It also featured charming graphics, a host of unlockables and some of the most interesting co-operative gameplay in years. Even at forty years old, a Star Wars fan would be hard pressed not to enjoy what's on offer.
X-Wing VS TIE Fighter
Space battles play a prominent part in the Galactic war, and there are numerous games that have taken advantage of this fact. While the Rogue Squadron and Starfighter series' have both been received well by critics, it's the X-Wing series that lets players live out the lives of a Republic pilot with the most authenticity. While technically the most impressive game in the series, X-wing VS TIE Fighter was designed specifically with multiplayer in mind, and therefore lacks the narrative grounding of other games in the series.
It took the Doom-like structure of early first person shooters, placing a much heavier importance on story delivery. Through cinematic cutscenes, Dark Forces told the story of Kyle Katarn - the games industry's equivalent of Luke Skywalker. It's not surprising that his name cropped up twice on this list, a sentiment that his army of fans would be inclined to agree with.
Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars is a series driven by its universe and the characters that inhabit it. In this respect, the RPG genre is the perfect fit for such a franchise. Strange then, that it wasn't until 2003 that the first Star Wars RPG appeared, and who better to bring it to fruition than BioWare - the masters of the western role playing genre.