Developer: Sculptured Software, LucasArts, and Code Mystics
Publisher: JVC/Nintendo (SNES), Disney Interactive (PS4/Vita)
Genre: Action, SHUMP
Release Date: November 1st, 1992 (SNES), November 17th, 2015 (PS4)
I stated in the “Legacy of Star Wars“ piece a few days ago that I owned just about every Star Wars game; Super Star Wars happens to be one of the few that eluded me. I hadn’t owned a Super Nintendo until later in the 90’s and never got around to backtracking on my purchases, so the most I remember of these games is when a friend showed me Super Empire Strikes Back after school back in the day. More recently, I happened to be browsing Facebook one day and came across an article which said that Super Star Wars was going to be released on the Playstation 4 and Vita on the same day that Battlefront was scheduled to drop. I was genuinely excited to indulge in a piece of Star Wars history that I had not yet had the chance to play.
Super Star Wars generally follows the same plot as A New Hope. Let me make the assumption that most people have most likely seen the original Star Wars movies or at least knows the general plot of the movies. If not, the basic plot is located, again, in my previous work. However, there are some liberties taken with the story which are worth noting. For instance, Luke does not actually purchase the droids; he goes on a Jawa killing spree and infiltrates the sandcrawler to rescue R2-D2. It does feel odd that an innocent farm boy would go and blast a bunch of Jawas for a droid like that. Another change in this game compared to A New Hope is that Luke clearly has not quite learned how to use a lightsaber, let alone fight hundreds of bad guys and stormtroopers. He doesn’t fully master the lightsaber until The Empire Strikes Back.
This game really has nothing to worry about when it comes to bad content. The ESRB has given Super Star Wars an E rating with a mention of violence which happens to come pretty light in that area. Throughout each level, you are shooting at bad guys or attacking them with your lightsaber, but there is no blood or gore.
I started off Super Star Wars as Luke Skywalker shooting at animals and creatures in the desert sands of Tatooine. Through the process of grabbing some power-ups I was reminded of games like Metal Slug and Contra, because with every one I picked up my weapon grew more powerful from firing like a basic blaster pistol to shooting heat seeking missiles. When meeting Obi Wan Kenobi, the lightsaber is unlocked. It is fun to get up close and personal with these enemies and do a crowd clearing attack in which Luke does a few flips while holding out his lightsaber. The only drawback I noticed to the lightsaber is fighting bosses. It doesn’t seem to be very effective compared to using your blaster from a distance. Chewbacca and Han Solo become available to select a bit further into the game if you desire to switch things up and play as one of them.
Some of the new features found in the PS4 release are leaderboards, trophies, and an option to save your game. I was never one to be concerned about how I was ranked among others within the scoreboards, but that’s there for those who are. For the avid trophy collector, there is unfortunately no platinum, but there is a gold or two. My favorite feature has to be the ability to save my game, if you know anything about these games you know what I mean when I say that it is difficult. The option is available in the pause menu to save at any time. I abused this feature and saved just about every time I finished each segment in a level.
Considering the time it was released, Super Star Wars is a good looking game, and in some ways it feels ahead of its time. One example is the few levels in which you ride a landspeeder to move from one location to another in Tatooine, behaving like a sort of fast travel. later you get the chance to pilot the X-Wing in one of the most pivotal scenes from the movie. These sections change the pace of the game to keep players from getting bored of the core shooting mechanics. Another thing the developers did very well is the level design. In one level, the player must climb atop a sandcrawler to rescue R2-D2. I thought this was pretty creative considering that the sandcrawler is moving while you are trying to get on the first platform, and inside the death star there is a hanger area where you will find Tie-Fighters flying past you. Kudos to the developer for making things a little more dynamic rather than leaving things stagnant.
As I previously stated, the game looks good for its age. It was made before the era of flat screen televisions and has translated very well. There are a few different display options that are available such as full screen, but if you don’t like the stretched look there is a neat border that you will find when playing with the original aspect ratio. When some developers use emulation tools to translate games like this one to high resolution, the graphics can sometimes take a hit, but things seem to look pretty clean.
During my time with Super Star Wars, it was fun to experience a Star Wars game that I happened to miss. For the past month or so, I have been on a quest to entertain my fandom until the release of The Force Awakens. If you are out to do the same, your decision on this purchase may depend on if you are a fan of retro titles. If not, you may want to check out something like Republic Commando or Knights of the Old Republic. If you are indeed a fan of retro titles, the ten dollar price tag is worth it, especially if this game happened to be a part of your childhood.
The Bottom Line
If you are a gamer to who likes to challenge themselves, then this is for you. Super Star Wars remains a solid title either way.