The StarSoldier



Artist touch: Star Wars art is always good and this is no exception! Very detailed and colourful but a little too busy as well. Cover art rating: 9/10

Month it won: May 2005

(JVC/Lucas Arts, 1993)

Special note: This game was released twice during the Super Nintendo's life cycle.

Introduction and Story:
Since May is the big month when the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith arrives in theaters I thought it would be a good idea to look at why I (like many millions of others) am still a huge Star Wars fan after all these years. The original three movies were all great films (and yeah, I even liked Episode I and II as well) but my favourite would have to be The Empire Strikes Back. Although the original Star Wars was a solid flick, it was the sequel opened up more of the story and it definitely opened up one huge surprise that shocked the world. Normally licensed video games based on hit movies are crap but it's a miracle because I found one that doesn't totally suck!

If you never seen the movie here's the deal: the story takes place in a sci-fi universe and the ruthless galactic empire wants revenge on the young Luke Skywalker and the rest of the rebellion for the destruction of the planet destroying Death Star (in Star Wars Episode IV: The New Hope) and they are patrolling the entire galaxy to hunt them down. While the rebellion hides from the empire Luke is seeking out guidance from legendary master Yoda to become a Jedi warrior. One of the biggest draws to the Empire Strikes Back story line here is that Luke can finally go one on one with the man who killed both his father and Obi-Wan Kenobi (his teacher of the ways of the Jedi); the evil Darth Vader. Darth Vader on the other hand has his own reasons for finding the young Jedi in training.
Controls and Game Play:  
You start out the game as Luke on the ice planet of Hoth and it doesn't take long for him to be spotted by local monsters and the empire. Luke must now survive the dangerous 2D terrain with his trusty light saber and upgradable blaster. As the game progresses Luke will travel to new worlds and learn more about the powers of the force from the mysterious master Yoda. Earning these new Jedi techniques will let you do cool things like heal and throw your light saber which definitely help you getting your revenge on powerful Darth Vader. It isn't all about Luke either because you even get to play on missions as Han Solo and Chewbacca each with different abilities and stats. One of Han's bosses is actually the Chronological Freezing Chamber thingy that turns him into a popsicle in movie which just looks really dumb here. I guess they were really running out ideas at this point of the game, eh?

Some gamers who complained the first Super Star Wars game was a bit too easy will find a much more difficult experience here this time around. The reason the game can be so tough now is because the screen can easily get filled with enemies from every angle plus it can be hard to tell when you taken a hit since the characters just take a small step back. Fortunately, it isn't too frustrating and the game also has a password system now so don't have to worry finishing this huge game in one sitting.
Graphics and Sounds:
If you are a fan of the visually impressive movie you'll be happy to know that Super Empire Strike Back has many of those same cool locations here as well. The windy ice storms of Hoth are always changing, the wet lands of Yoga's world are green and lush, and the Imperial City are all quite detailed. The game also has a few 3D levels with the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 effects. The 3D stages are a great departure from all the typical 2D action but they still look very choppy and grainy especially when it has been done better on so many other consoles.

Another advantage of having Empire Strikes Back on the SNES here is that it is possible to have the award winning movie music be done faithfully in the game. You get all the trademark tracks with all the sound effects that SW fans will instantly recognize. The game even throws in a few voices here and there. What's not to like? Well I would like a real sound track on Yoda's planet but you can't win them all.
The Bottomline:
Although Star Wars fans have a lot of great games to pick from (like the Knights of the Old Republic series, Star Wars the Arcade game, and those Rogue Squadron titles), if they are like me and they think Episode V was the best movie of the series then they be sure check out this awesome game here. In Super Empire Strike Back you get the chance to play though most of the big scenes seen in the movie and the game really tries hard to recreate each level with stunning graphics and well composed music. I was a little disappointed that the ending didn't really cover the heavy tension between Luke and Vader, weather you are a fan of the movie or not if you are looking for a tough but action packed platformer then be sure to check this impressive game for a good time (it's way better then buying all those special edition DVD's on the same old movie).
Super Star Wars
overall rating 77/100
Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 7/10
sound: 8/10
gameplay: 8/10
replay: 7/10

(Ryan Genno) 2005

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