Star Wars: Lethal Alliance Review

Did you ever wonder how Princess Leia actually got the plans for the Death Star at the beginning of Episode IV? Fortunately for you, Lethal Alliance allows you the opportunity to experience the adventures of a mercenary pair as they try to secure those plans. As the duo of a Twi

We are now several years into DS development, and I personally feel we’ve seen very few titles push the DS hardware graphically. SquareEnix seems to have found a magical vein and is tapping right into the soul of the hardware, but other developers still seem to be making crude 3d games. Lethal Alliance is no exception, but it is still fairly attractive when compared to other 3d DS titles.

If you ever played any of the Dark Forces games on the PC or Playstation you will feel more at home with what is going on in Lethal Alliances. While the game runs at a healthy clip, the character models lack any good detail, and the levels barely go beyond the simple 3d corridors of generations past. The game is split up between the two main characters; Rianna uses a third person point of view while Zeeo is played from a more standard first person view point. Personally I thought the game looked better and played better from Zeeo’s perspective, but that’s not all from a graphical standpoint.

After seeing what other companies are capable of pushing through the DS, I was a little more than saddened by how rough and old looking Lethal Alliances compares. Little things like looking up into the sky and just seeing black, or being able to tell that the “open” area you are in is really a large box is indicative of poor design choices. I don’t want to sound overly harsh, Lethal Alliances is a fair looking game on its own, but it doesn’t stand up against upcoming games and a couple of already released titles.

One of the few things you can always rely on in a Star Wars game is a solid soundtrack. You definitely get the movie-inspired tunes here and they sound as good as can be expected. I didn’t really hear anything that sounded new to me, but I was fairly satisfied with the music in game. I can’t be as positive about the lack of voice work. We know that you can stuff voices into these little carts and they can sound good. In a game like Lethal Alliances where there isn’t a lot of dialogue it hurts even more. No voice acting really detracts from an otherwise solid soundtrack and musical score.

When Nintendo introduced the DS they began by touting a new and different way to play video games. See how things can be different by changing the way you input information. Now, a lot of the DS titles released so far haven’t been the most inspired games, and even some of the best games don’t use the touch screen, but those are exceptions. Lethal Alliance is a interesting bird because you actually have two separate control schemes based on the character you are using.

When playing as Rianna you pretty much have little control. She can’t jump or climb, there are no real aiming controls beyond tapping the shoot button to lock on to a target, and there are no touch screen controls. It just sits there unused the entire time. Ubisoft had a great opportunity to implement interesting things to do and they completely dropped the ball. Fortunately, Zeeo’s fps style game play makes this pass but barely. You do get to use the touch screen with him and it works well, but makes you wish the whole game was controlled that way.

In a nutshell Lethal Alliance is a corridor shooter with light puzzle elements. You will run with Rianna through endless linear rooms and not having the ability to jump or climb makes for a fairly boring experience. This problem is ameliorated when you finally team up with Zeeo. You can actually use him to attach to spots and have Rianna grab onto him. While this helps break up the monotony, it isn’t necessary at all for the most part. On top of that the developers make no bones about when you need to use the cling ability. Little blue circles show you when you need it. Personally I don’t like having my hand held so much.

The basic fighting game play involves jamming on the “b” button to lock on and then pinpoint shoot your enemies. No skill is necessary at all to destroy wave after wave of enemy. You gain a couple of extra abilities again by teaming up with Zeeo. He can provide a shield or stun enemies, but they don’t really add anything to the game play because of the simple lock on and shoot mechanism provided from the start.

Lastly there are other situations where you take full control of Zeeo to move through passages and aird ucts so that you can open a path for Rianna. Once again the developers chose to gift wrap when these abilities are needed. Zeeo is also used for the multitude of puzzles that range from simple to somewhat challenging. These are actually the most redeeming part of the title, and they range from memorizing light sequences to rolling blocks to match symbols. Overall most of the game is fairly uninspired but not horrible on the gameplay side. As gamers we should expect better design decisions and more solid gameplay.

Due to its linearity of the game play there isn’t too much of a game here. You can quickly punch through the single player game in a couple of hours with not much trouble. Multiplayer is multi-cart with no online, and frankly it isn’t a compelling reason to play the game.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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