Star Wars: Starfighter is a 3D sci-fi fantasy third-person flight combat game developed by LucasArts and published for the PlayStation 2 by LucasArts (in North America on February 19, 2001), Activision (in Europe on March 23, 2001), and EA Victor (in Japan on October 4, 2001).
Set during the events of the 1999 film Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Starfighter follows three pilots prior to and during the Trade Federation invasion of Naboo:
- Rhys Dallows, a rookie pilot with the Naboo Royal Space Fighter Corps. Flying a N-1 Starfighter, Rhys must escort the Royal Starship housing Queen Amidala to a meeting with the Federation (where it is revealed to be a trap).
- Vana Sage, a mercenary formerly employed by the Trade Federation. Flying her modified prototype Nubian bomber (which she calls the Guardian Mantis), Vana was contracted to test combat against droid starfighters before intercepting a transmission about the invasion (leading to the Federation attempting to hunt her down).
- Nym, a Feeorin space pirate and captain of the Lok Revenants. Flying his modified Scurrg H-6 prototype bomber (which he calls the Havoc), Nym escaped Vana's capture before performing a raid on a Federation cargo superfreighter over the planet of Lok.
The game plays similarly to the aerial segments of Star Wars: Episode I - Battle for Naboo, as well as the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series. While the movie-based events are canon, the characters and events made for the game are instead part of the non-canonical expanded universe.
The game later received a sequel in 2002, titled Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, that ties in with the movie's sequel. It was also ported to the Xbox (by Secret Level) exclusively in North America on November 26, 2001. Titled Star Wars: Starfighter - Special Edition, it features updated graphics and enhanced multiplayer. It was also ported to the PC (also by Secret Level) in both North America (on January 20, 2002) and Europe (on February 8, 2002), which was later digitally re-released on July 8, 2009. The PS2 version was later digitally re-released on the PlayStation 3 in North America (on April 28, 2015) and Europe (on May 4, 2015). It was also ported (by Tsunami) to the TSUMO motion-based arcade system in 2003.
Each main character had their own ship that maneuvered and attacked differently. Rhy's Naboo Starfighter was the fastest craft which fired standard lasers and proton torpedos. Vana's ship was the most maneuverable, firing guided missiles and dispensing mines. Nym, being the pirate that he is, had the most powerful ship. What his craft lacked in speed was made up in firepower. Additional craft were unlocked upon the completion of the single player campaign.
The game has been noted for including a zoom mechanic, which allowed for easier combat.
The PS2 version contains 2 player competitive missions like races, dogfights, capture the flag missions.
The Xbox version included 5 modes total:
- CTF - standard capture the flag mode.
- Dogfight - one on one deathmatch
- Tag - one person is "it", and the other need to evade the player.
- Hunter/Hunted - a 2 player version of Tag.
- Steal the Beacon - a 1 flag CTF variant.