Retro Respawn – Super Empire Strikes Back

I don’t know if you’ve heard about this or not, but there’s a new Star Wars film coming out in just over weeks’ time. I’ve never considered myself to be a massive Star Wars fan or anything like that. I enjoy episodes IV and V very much and I’d happily watch Episodes I and VI if they happened to be on TV and I had nothing else better to do, but that’s about it for me.

I have enjoyed playing some Star Wars games over the years though, with Lego Star Wars in particular being a game I played the absolute fudge out of on my PS2 back in the day. It had been a while since I covered a Nintendo game, so I decided I’d pick one up for this week’s feature. Seeing as Episode VII is looming in the distance, I felt it would be appropriate to play one of the Super Nintendo’s most notorious titles.

Empire Strikes Back has always been my favourite Star Wars movie. I know it’s cliché to pick that as ones favourite, but I’ll have to err on the side of the masses when it comes to this particular subject. Empire is an absolute arse burger of a movie that ranks as one of the most engrossing films I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. The constant sense of foreboding is as fascinating as it is disconcerting. It really is a film that feels like it has a cloud of darkness hanging over it and the constant fear that anything can go wrong for our heroes at a moment’s notice is almost suffocating.

And yes, I need to give Lucas Arts credit for not only trying a much heavier tone with the sequel to A New Hope, but for also following it through to its natural conclusion and putting the heels over in the climax. It must have been tempting  to just stick with what brought them so much success in the first film, especially as the fan base would have probably still enjoyed another couple of hours of upbeat jauntiness and still made the film a success. But no, they went in the other direction, giving the fan base the equivalent of a sucker punch to the gut and leaving them thirsting for more in Episode VI.

With Empire being my favourite of the Star Wars films, I felt it only appropriate that I’d play that one this week. Super Empire Strikes Back was first released in North America on the 1st of June 1993, with it later hitting Japan in December 1993 and Europe in February 1994. The game received high praise upon its release and is still beloved by people to this day.

I hate it

Excuse me one second please

*Retreats to specially designed bunker and arms the self defence systems*

I might as well stock up on dehydrated food while I’m in here as it’s unlikely that it’ll be safe for me on the surface world for some time. But yes, I’m sorry guys but I couldn’t bloody stand this game. It drove me near to madness with its ridiculous level of difficulty, incessantly respawning enemies and wretched jumping mechanics. I am at a loss as to why people actually like this game. If you like standing in one place and mashing the Y Button while enemies descend upon you like a pack of wild dogs onto a man wearing a suit of steak, I guess this is the game you’ve been waiting for. For everyone else though, I really fail to see the appeal here.

The game certainly has its plus points. The graphics are bright and colourful, the music is well composed and the sound effects are excellent. The game is certainly true to the source material and does an excellent job recreating scenes from the movie with nicely designed cut scenes. Super Empire Strikes Back captures the overall mood of the film right on the money and I can see why fans would enjoy it for that aspect. There are also some exciting Boss battles, provided you can survive long enough to actually get to them. But I’m sorry, this thing is nigh on impossible to play.

Hey! Stop that! I see you there, preparing a retort of “You just hate this because you suck at it! Boo to you, you terrible noob! Booooooooo!!!!”

First off, there’s lot of games that I’m not very good at that I still enjoyed. Half Life 2 for instance. I’m positively shite at that game but I still really enjoyed it because I knew that it was my fault that I was playing poorly. The game was difficult but it was also very fair and well designed. After a while, I was able to adapt and get a little better at it. Super Empire is cheaper than Tesco branded Cola and even less refreshing on the palate.

First off, on more than one occasion you have to take a leap of faith just hoping that you land in a safe place. The shoulder buttons scroll the screen up and down slightly, but hardly enough to really be of any use. Jumping is an absolute pain due partly to floaty physics as well as poor jump detection. If you are perched on a platform preparing to jump you can’t be anywhere near the ledge because so much as touching it will mean your character won’t jump but rather simply plunge downward to possible doom. Considering that jumping is possibly the most important skill you have in your locker for platforming, this game does an excellent job of making it tedious and needlessly precarious.

The opening couple of levels are set on Hoth and you take control of Luke Skywalker. You’re given a blaster and a Light Sabre that you can switch between during the level. The game then throws every enemy it can at you without a shred of mercy. It is genuinely one of the hardest opening sections to any game I’ve played. The game is pretty much broken, with enemies respawning endlessly and pinning you down. Every section will not only have enemies charging at you head on but there will also be flying enemies, be they probes or bats, which fly down and attack you from the other side. And this was on bloody EASY mode!!! God knows how horrendous the game is if you play it on “Jedi” setting. It would be like that soldier on Call Of Duty II who gets killed with his first step onto the Normandy beach.

It’s always a shame for me when I don’t like a game that everyone else does. I can never help shake the feeling that there’s something nice that I’m missing out on. There’s also the worry that people will claim I didn’t like it for the sole wish of being controversial. I can say with 100% sincerity that if I had actually liked and enjoyed this game I would be honest about it and tell you. Unfortunately, this is an occasion where we’ll have to agree to disagree. Feel free to send over your hate mail if you are so inclined. I’d prefer reasoned arguments as to why you disagree with my opinion, but if all you can muster is an angry bit of mudslinging then have at it if it’ll make you feel better. And if you enjoy this game and think it’s a classic, that’s great! Seriously, go on enjoying it and don’t let me put you off. If you’re reading this and have never played it before but are a massive Star Wars fan, then I’d recommend watching some of the YouTube Footage that I post below and see if you’d like to play it. A quick trip to Amazon and eBay reveals that you will be expected to pay around £20 to get this game, so if you’re on the fence you might want to investigate things a bit more before blowing close to 4 Bison Dollars on the game.

As always, I’ll post some footage of the game below.

Thanks for reading

Peace Out

You can view YouTube Footage of the game courtesy of World of Longplay by clicking HERE

Looking for other great content here on the site? Why wouldn’t you? This site is boss lar!

Jorge takes a look at Splatoon, which you can read HERE. Getting this for Christmas actually and looking forward to it!

Daniel’s ongoing series “Life Before Gaming Respawn” is a fine regular feature and you can have a goosey gander at part 8 by clicking HERE

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