Wednesday 11 November 2015

Super Star Wars (SNES review)

Developer: Sculptured Software, LucasArts
Publisher: JVC
Released: 1992

Super Star Wars is an action-platformer that's based on the original 1977 movie.

You play as Luke Skywalker and your mission is to destroy the Death Star once and for all. There's 14 stages that mostly feature run 'n' gun gameplay and as you defeat enemies they drop hearts that top-up your life metre. The controls are responsive but weirdly you can't shoot while moving. Right from the start the difficulty is sky high with tons of respawning enemies that attack from the ground and sky. Afterwards there's an interesting Mode-7 driving stage where you have to destroy 12 Jawas and keep topping up your jet fuel. Once again the challenge is punishing as enemies throw projectiles non-stop which is infuriating. You then have to scale a Skycrawler by jumping up platforms; the controls are stiff and unforgiving with one slight misstep causing you to fall down to the very bottom! As you enter the Skycrawler get ready for some of the most horrific platforming you'll ever experience; not only is it tough to line up your jumps and be precise, if you fall down you'll be transported to a checkpoint three minutes back! Later on Chewbacca and Han Solo become playable characters and they add a bit of strategy with their unique abilities and weapons. The awesome last stage resembles Starfox (1993, SNES) and you need to destroy 20 TIE Fighters and 20 Laser Towers. For a while this takes place in third-person mode but eventually it shifts to first-person as you race down the Trench before finally destroying Darth Vader's TIE and firing your proton torpedo. The game has some huge bosses that are fun to fight and there's also some nicely animated cut-scenes between stages.

Super Star Wars has amazing presentation, excellent level design and tons of variety. While these sound like the ingredients for a classic game the difficulty is very uneven and the controls have a few quirks which unfortunately put a dampener on a game that had more potential than it realised.

Random trivia: A PC version of the game was in the works but it was ultimately cancelled. An unfinished ROM file has since been leaked onto the Internet.

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