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Star Wars: Battlegrounds', coming soon for the PC, PS2, and X-Box, is LucasArts attempt to combine the gameplay of 'Battlefield 1942' (you're in a war. You can get in vehicles. You can fight other people. It is fun) with Star Wars. In the bits I played, I was an Imperial Storm Trooper on Yavin 4, shooting at rebels, wondering where the Ewoks were, and jumping in the cockpit of unwieldy, AT-ST walkers. After getting lost in the forest I switched to the sandy world of Tatooine, where I used a sandspeeder to kill Sand People in the attempts to win Sandy back from Danny.

Er... wrong movie. But the Sand People are notable in being a neutral side; as far as i can tell, they fight you off until you capture their command point; then they help you. Its something not found in Battlefield 1942 and it does add another strategic layer.

The controls took some getting used to, with the view over-the-shoulder view and an annoying camera causing some problems. The game was only 80% done, though, and the gameplay did seem clean, bug-free, and full of the best parts of Battlefield 1942. It benefited from the Star Wars Effect, which goes as follows: 'If something is a little bit fun, adding Star Wars to it will make it much more fun.' Hitting your brother with a cardboard tube? Fun. Hitting your brother with a cardboard tube painted blue as you make lightsaber noises? Much more fun. Playing with a bunch of your friends to fight off the Germans using tanks and Spitfires? Pretty damn fun. Playing with a bunch of friends to fight off the Rebels in AT-AT Walkers and TIE Fighters? A childhood dream come true.

Note: I didn't get a chance to test the space combat portion of the game. However, every report I've seen attests that it is as fun as the rest of the game.

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