Saturday, 13 February 2016

Star Wars Arcade (32X review)

Developer: Sega AM3 R&D
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1994

Star Wars Arcade was a launch game for the system and a port of the coin-operated title from 1993.

Piloting a Starfighter your mission is to destroy the Galactic Empire and restore freedom to the Galaxy. There's two modes and both have an option for co-op play so one player steers and fires while the other can only shoot. 32X Mode is an enhanced version of the Arcade original with four extra levels (eight in total). Each is timed and while your main weapon is a Laser Cannon you can also use Proton Torpedoes that lock-on to enemies. In the first three levels you take down waves of TIE Fighters in space; the controls are great and it's fun testing out different attack methods (such as sharply speeding up and slowing down so enemies pass by, making for an easy kill). However, each wave takes a while to beat and before long you're praying for some variety in either the gameplay or scenery. Eventually you'll battle on the Death Star, the Super Star Destroyer and finally the Reactor. The polygons look nice here but the frame-rate is appalling with choppy graphics that result in some serious over-steer. Attempting to be accurate in these confined spaces is nigh-on impossible and the entire sections are rage-inducing as you battle against both enemies and technical issues. The game is short but difficult and beating it requires a ton of luck rather than skill. The original Arcade Mode only has four levels but there's less emphasis on facing multiple waves of TIE Fighters in one go; it's more enjoyable as the story progresses faster but it still faces the same problems as 32X Mode. The game's music is excellent with a great rendition of the main theme and the SFX and speech samples are all well done.
Star Wars Arcade gets off to a promising start but it's actually a very shallow, repetitious game with little in the way of variety. It also has some game-breaking technical issues that ruin the polygon-heavy levels and in my opinion this is one launch title that could have done with more development time.
Random trivia: In 1995, the game was included as a pack-in title for the 32X add-on.

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