The Washington Times - September 15, 2008, 05:31PM

By Joseph Szadkowski

I just posted a review in my weekly Zadzooks column on the latest chapter of the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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However, those only in possession of Nintendo’s motion-sensing entertainment console, the Wii, have not been forgotten. In fact, the Wii version not only is worth playing but surprisingly rivals the more powerful entertainment console versions in the area of pure fun.

Of course, the graphics are way less impressive, but the Wii experience is much more engaging and intense using the Nunchuk and Wiimote controllers.

The Nunchuk is primarily for navigation, but, ah, the Wiimote. Not only does its tiny speaker offer sounds of the lightsaber in action, but also how the player wields the Wiimote directly affects the apprentice’s saber attack.

Darth Vader's apprentice gives an enemy a jolt in the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Wii.

Move it left, right, up and down and the onscreen character mimics the actions. Thrust the Wiimote forward, and the apprentice drives the saber at the enemy.

What’s really cool is pressing the Nunchuk’s “Z” button and extending both fists holding the controllers forward to deliver a devastating Force push.

I watched players immediately get up and start to interact intensely with the game as it went on rather than remain slumped over on a couch and lazily mash buttons in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.

The coolest Wii-centric trick is levitating a gun turret and having it act as a blasting assistant clearing a path for the apprentice as he walks.

I also like the ability to customize the lightsaber hilt and use the quarters of the apprentice’s ship, the Rogue Shadow, to view upgrades and find new missions.

Mace Windu and Mara Jade fight in the Dual Mode of the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Wii.

The other big Wii extra for Force Unleashed is a Duel Mode. A pair of players select from 27 characters in the Star Wars universe and fight in third-person combat matches.

Using locations such as Coruscant, Hoth, Geonosis, Bespin and Tatooine, such legends as Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Aayla Secura, Assaj Ventress, Darth Vader, Mara Jade (Luke’s eventual wife) and even Darth Phobos duke it out with a full complement of Force powers.

The occasional powerup icon, scattered across the battlefield, helps an opponent, but for my money, being able to deflect Force lightening by holding the Wiimote sideways is just too cool for a Jedi fool.

My only other minor beef with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed for the Wii is the apprentice grips the lightsaber differently than he is shown in the other games (even Soulcalibur IV) and the graphic novel.