Our Chris is back again! And before he tells you what he thinks of Super Star Wars on the SNES please enjoy this picture (in its entirety) he cooked up especially for you of a certain Mr Darth Vader.
I love Star Wars, particularly the original trilogy, when Super Star Wars was released in 1992 I went nuts for it. Regularly going to my local department store where they allowed the kids to have a play on it (to convince their parents to purchase it that day) and marvelling at the experience. This was old school platforming but set in the Star Wars universe and culminating in the Death Star run. The video game format fitted the franchise perfectly. It was a critical and commercial smash hit but the question I have is if it still stands up as well today.
In Super Star Wars your goal, like most platformers of the time, was to move from left to right to reach your next goal. However, one of the greatest elements of this game was how it also broke the cliche in two ways. Firstly, not every screen requires you to move from left to right and often you will have to figure out where to go. It’s not exactly as complex as Metroid or Castlevania as there is always a starting point and an end to each level. It does however seem a lot more open ended than most games of the same genre.
Secondly, not every level is platform based. In the second level, the game begins to present other styles of gameplay. In this case you can zoom around the desert in Luke’s landspeeder complete with beautiful mode 7 graphics. It was considered a revelation at the game’s release that a platformer could contain different game styles to keep the player interested. Unfortunately, the graphics of these stages don’t really stand the test of time but their concept still impresses and their inclusion really rounds out the gameplay mechanics.
Most of this game is still a platformer and whilst you do gain some weapons from time to time, you will still be doing a lot of platform jumping. One of the best sequences of the early stages of the game features Luke jumping from platform to platform on a moving sandcrawler while avoiding random projectiles that can knock you backwards slightly if they hit you. If you fall, then you must start the level right back at the beginning.
This leads us to talk about the insane difficulty of this game. This is proper old fashioned gaming at its best. Every inch of this game is a challenge, even when you play on the easiest difficulty setting. The game gives you multiple lives and continues and you will find that these are very quickly used up until you have played the game enough to have memorised the obstacles and enemies you will face. This is trial and error gaming so you will require a lot of patience in order to reach the end and face off against the Death Star’s defences.
Many Star Wars fans excitedly discussed the accuracy of the title when comparing it to the films. I was frankly baffled by this, some sequences of gameplay are nothing like the film. Luke proceeds to kill every Jawa on the sandcrawler to rescue R2D2 for example. They may however mean the cut sequences which looked spectacular on the game’s release. These followed the storyline of the film and helped craft the narrative for the gameplay sections incredibly well.
It’s still a fantastic game and it’s aged fairly well. The amazing John Williams soundtrack blasts out in full stereo and there’s plenty of action to be had and fun – if you can tolerate the difficulty. It’s a fond memory of mine and one of the best retro movie licensed games available.