AR­CADE WATCH

EDGE - - KNOWLEDGE TALK/ARCADE -

Keep­ing an eye on the coin-op gaming scene

While Episode VII is set for re­lease next year, Namco is fo­cus­ing on the orig­i­nal tril­ogy for its lat­est dome-screened ma­chine. Star Wars: Bat­tle Pod is based on the same POD (Panoramic Op­ti­cal Dis­play) cab­i­net and tech used for the company’s Ace Com­bat­in­spired Mach Storm. Like that game, Bat­tle Pod is an on-rails shooter that al­lows some small move­ment within the bound­aries of its set path. You’ll still be able to di­rect fire, dodge ob­sta­cles and choose be­tween routes, but your sweep­ing pas­sage through each of the five stages is pre­de­ter­mined.

Those stages in­clude En­dor, which sits you in a speeder bike as you dodge through trees and knock par­tic­u­larly reck­less stormtroop­ers from the nose of your craft, and also the iconic Hoth bat­tle in which you’ll run rings around AT-ATs in your Snowspeeder. You’ll also get to pi­lot an X-Wing above Yavin, take on the Death Star II in the Mil­len­nium Fal­con, and in a bonus stage called Vader’s Re­venge you’re even handed con­trol of the Sith Lord’s iconic TIE Ad­vanced x1 craft in a sec­tion that fol­lows on from the con­clu­sion of Episode IV.

The pod it­self fea­tures a bucket seat that vi­brates to the ac­tion on­screen, while fans blast play­ers with air to ac­cen­tu­ate move­ment. The huge wrap­around mon­i­tor fills your field of vi­sion, stretch­ing 180 de­grees around the seat, and Mach Storm play­ers will feel at home with the con­trols, which are ex­actly the same combo of flight stick and throt­tle lever. The game will hit US ar­cades in Jan­uary, with Europe and other ter­ri­to­ries to follow.

Game StarWars:Bat­tlePod Man­u­fac­turer Namco

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