30 Games Of April – Day 22

Super Star Wars
Developed by:LucasArts
Published by:JVC Musical Industries
Format played:SNES

As an Amiga owner, I was fairly well served in the gaming stakes, not many titles causing envious glances at my console owning chums. Sonic perhaps, before I realised it was crap), Super Mario Kart for sure, Street Fighter II (try playing that on a single fire button joystick) and to a lesser extent FIFA.

And add to that list Super Star Wars. For all its variety of games and extensive back catalogue, the Amiga lacked a quality Star Wars game and this looked the real deal. Chunky sprites, the chance to play as the series protagonists, levels where you pilot a landspeeder or X-Wing. What’s not to love? Well…

We start with an awful rendition of the classic John Williams theme. Seriously, it’s terrible, sound being one area where the Amiga could hold its head high in comparison to its console peers. The usual crawler gives way to the sight of an Imperial Destroyer hunting down Princess Leia and suddenly we take control of Luke on the surface of Tatooine. Who runs along shooting birds and scorpions. Er, don’t remember that in Episoode IV. Seriously, that’s the whole first level. You run left to right, blasting bugs and birds for health pick ups, jumping across quick sand pits, using rocks for added height and running up sand dunes. It’s really annoying. Enemies spawn constantly whilst also firing deadly globules at you. Because of the layout of the level, ground based irritants will often be at just the wrong angle to easily take out, forcing you to contort your body position to get them, often meaning that you come under fire in your attempt to destroy them. It seems to go on forever, the end finally coming with a random encounter with the Sarlacc from Return of the Jedi. Not a good start.

Sarlacc dispatched, we stumble across C-3PO, who needs our help in rescuing R2D2 from the Jawas. Not sure why we can’t just buy him, and I don’t remember the Jawas having individual flying machines but hey, it’s a chance to jump in the landspeeder. Control takes a few minutes to get used to, your thrusters firing based on the direction you press, allowing you to turn and accelerate. The aim of the level is to murder as many Jawas as possible before heading for their Sandcrawler. Shooting one down gives you a health bonus whilst fuel pick ups are also available to top up your thrusters. It’s fast paced and a nice break from the relentless run and gun gameplay that otherwise makes up most of the game.

Jumping out of the landspeeder we approach the Sandcralwer and its a chance to murder more Jawas. I don’t remember them being this ornery in the films. For added fun we get some annoying platform sections, including moving ledges that require you leaps of faith to destination unknown, often sending you back to the bottom of the level, not to mention respawning enemies and gun placements.

For the purposes of a daily review, that’s all I could manage and I found the experience disappointing. I intend to come back to it, not least because I have barely made progress but it’s not quite the experience I had hoped for. Graphically it is decent, capturing the look and feel of Star Wars, although there is a smudginess to some of it. During the landspeeder section for instance I couldn’t really tell who I was fighting, any random enemy blobs drifting across my path getting a dose of what for. Apart from the horrendous tinny music, sound is excellent, the Star Wars blaster sound an iconic one. I understand that a game is going to take liberties with the licence – indeed Lego Star Wars routinely does this to good effect – but the action seems to stray completely from the story at times. I don’t recall Luke being such a murderous psychopath.

I found good moments to be sure. The atmosphere captures the Star Wars vibe, weapon upgrades, another stray from the formula, offer progression and the mix of level types provides variety. I don’t dread the thought of coming back to it and indeed I hope to find long term enjoyment when I do. I just didn’t expect to have to work so hard for it, the game forcing me to go against all my natural instincts by playing on easy to overcome some of my frustration.

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