Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – NES
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Developer: Lucas Arts
Release Date: March, 1992
Nerd Bacon Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Reviewed by: bbpower
Strap on your lightsaber, it’s going to get dicey! The Force is stronger with Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Darth Vader feels it, and so do the players commanding this game. There are some significant changes in this sequel from the first installment, but it’s still a very worthy play! Also, it’s a long game, so if purchased it will definitely be worth the dough!
For starters, the graphics in this game are different than the first Star Wars NES game. The movements are different and the characters seem less kid-like. Luke Skywalker no longer looks like Linus from the Peanut cartoons. However, he is very small on screen and looks very much like he is a figurine and not a person. I did not mind this change in graphics, but it’s definitely worth noting. Now, lets quickly dive in to the levels to get a feel on the length of this game.
Like the first game, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back follows the movie plot … somewhat, which I applaud. Players start off in the frigid world of Hoth where Luke must battle his way through wampas, find his lightsaber, and defeat a few imperial drones to advance back to the rebel base! This level is fun and thankfully Luke is not hurt if he falls from high cliffs. The battles are hard if the lightsaber is not found and there is an abundance of health hearts to keep Luke’s life bar full. It’s almost too easy …
The second level, Luke must fight alongside his comrades and defend the rebel base from the Imperial Walkers. This level is very long, tedious and irritating. Like the movie, Luke’s ship is equipped with tow cables to tie up the walker’s legs. This level can either be long, or very, very long. By far, this is my least favorite level, but is still halfway entertaining.
The third level is evacuation of the actual rebel base. You run through the base, killing enemies along the way. Finally, you will run across a walker that is very powerful and will mess you up, unless you find a power up to increase your blaster and lightsaber. Knock out this powerful enemy and you advance to Dagobah!
The swamps of Dagobah is strange, just like the movie, but the enemies are bizarre. You will fight blobs, grasshopper-like bosses, and an ant boss, too. This level is as entertaining as the rest of them, but there is better to come.
At the end of the last level Luke finally finds Yoda and he agrees to train you. This leads you into the next level where you cross the swamp. Cross the swamp successfully and you will face the phantom Darth Vader, which is his first appearance in the series. Defeat the phantom Vader and you pretty much beat the level.
On Luke’s way out he must defeat Tie Fighters and clouds to get to Vader’s ship to rescue Han Solo, Princess Leia, kill Boba Fett, and finally facing Darth Vader in a lightsaber battle. This is a bunch of levels into one, but it’s a quick summary.
One main plot hole with this game I disliked is the complete absence of the famous Cloud City. It would have been very easy to work this into the plot to follow the game. However, the game did give Lando Calrissian a cameo, but once again there is no Chewy! Another flaw in this game; the movements of the controls are weird and the jumping is very robotic. It is not as seamless as the first installment. However, I do like this game better overall.
A neat factor in this game; the players have to hunt for force abilities throughout the game. I thought this aspect was fun because it called for level exploration and the gamers could not just run through, dicing enemies with the lightsaber, and finish. Also, there is a little bonus (or call it a cheat) for players who do the extra work when it comes time to reach Yoda and train. That little secret, is for players to discover on their own.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a long game and will upset you in many spots, but it has earned a Nerd Bacon rating of 8.5 out of 10, which is fairly high in my standards. This game is a classic in my eyes and is definitely a worthy collector piece for any NES enthusiast or Star Wars fanatic. The lengthy game play adds to its higher score along with the attempt to follow the movie plot. This game is also a good NES collection piece fetching around $30 for a decent copy! The only sad part is the last Star Wars game, Return of the Jedi was never released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but it was released on the Super Nintendo in the form of Super Star Wars Return of the Jedi! I have a copy on my shelf and I play it often. So, if you are cruising a game shop, or garage sale, and you see this awesome game, BUY IT! You will not regret this purchase. Score the SNES Return of the Jedi to finish the series afterwards! Game on!
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