At least until Attack of the Clones, Boba Fett was looked upon by Star Wars fans much the same way astronomers regard the planet Pluto: Not exactly a star, but too important to be dismissed. Part of the fascination had to be that battle-scarred body armor, jet pack, and cat-eyed helmet. But more than that, it was the faceless, voiceless mystery of the Fett — what’s he really like anyway?
Fans looking for a Fett family reunion (a Fett fete?) won’t find one in Star Wars Bounty Hunter. This action-adventure game is all about Boba’s father and Episode II bad guy Jango, a busy mercenary plying his dangerous trade on six different worlds while simultaneously hunting down members of the evil Bando Gora cult. Along with the half-dozen primary targets keeping Jango flush with cash are some 150 lesser scumbags to collect on. Fett’s not-too-silent business partner is Rozatta, a lipstick-wearing Watto who assists via telecomputer.
The dialogue between Jango and Roz might have come from a canceled sitcom script. And that’s just one of the ways Fett is recast in the game as a man who’s just an average Joe (or Jango) trying to get by on the dark side. At one point, he seems genuinely troubled to discover a shipment of carcinogenic ”deathsticks” — as if concerned for the health of his soon-to-be-cloned offspring, Boba, whose college-tuition savings account grows with every successful bounty. A decent father, but not much of a role model.
Helping you get around the debris-filled story line is Jango’s handy jet pack. The controls are intuitive, elegant, and well thought out: You can’t fly for more than a few seconds at a time, but you never have to refuel. More problematic is actually navigating these worlds. The extra-large level maps offer vertiginous expanses to traverse, and since half the game forces you to zip from ledge to ledge, this leads to nagging depth-perception problems. The result, far too often, is a steaming pile of Fett on the street below.
The LucasArts designers have the unenviable task of concocting innovative games that also satisfy Star Wars obsessives of all ages. (For a complete Jedi experience, check out The Clone Wars; see review, next page.) And Jango’s adventure is rich with architectural details and Skywalker Sound effects. At the end of the day, this game’s resulting Bounty is less than rewarding.