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Have you played... Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace?

We're sorry if so

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I have never regretted a purchase more.

Confession: I liked the film. I was 13-years-old when it came out in 1999 and enough of a Star Wars fan to see it twice in its first day, once in a daytime showing with a friend and a second time in the evening with my family. I didn’t notice any plot issues or the dull dialogue, though I did find Jar Jar faintly annoying; my mind was instead entranced by the Darth Maul lightsaber fight, the pod race, the CGI spaceships.

So I bought the Phantom Menace game without reading any reviews from the local WH Smith. It was dreadful. A top-down, 3D action game which stuck close to the plot of the movie. You had lightsabers, which you used to swish through clunky droid combat, before heading down to the jungle surface of Naboo for some jumping puzzles in which you had to leap between tree stumps.

I assume it continued to follow the film’s plot from there, but I never found out as at that point I got stuck. I couldn’t get past the tree-stump jumping puzzles, and I was deeply regretting the £30 (£35? £40?) of hard-earned pocket money I’d spent on it. So much so that I took the game back. I knew it was a long-shot, given it was a PC game and WH Smith often refused to accept returns in case you’d simply copied it at home before returning the disc, but I’d had success at least once before. On this occasion however I was rebuffed by a member of staff, despite my protestations (and lies) that the game was broken and wouldn’t install.

If only I’d bought Episode I: Racer instead.

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Graham Smith

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Graham is to blame for all this.

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