RELEASED: June 1992
AVAILABLE ON: SNES, Wii Virtual Console
DEVELOPER(S): Sculptured Software, LucasArts
PUBLISHER(S): JVC (SNES), Nintendo (Wii)
The Star Wars series was off to such a bad curve on the NES, that LucasArts decided to ditch their concept of a quick Return of the Jedi game and instead, reboot the Star Wars franchise on the SNES. Although the development of the first game in the Super Star Wars series was rather fast, LucasArts and Sculptured Software managed to make a game that took full advantage of the platform's capabilities and was bound to please true Star Wars fans with its authenticity, and critics with its fluid gameplay. In turn, the game was both criticized and praised for its enormous level of difficulty, on par with some of the most difficult action-oriented platformers in history, including the much feared Ghosts 'n Goblins. How does Super Star Wars fare today? Well, it's not the best and most consistent game in the trilogy - and since it's primarily a remake of the NES game Star Wars, it isn't as faithful to the movie as its followers, but at the time of its release, it was a bombshell, a new standard for a good Star Wars video game - not to mention a good movie license in general.
We'll be destroyed for sure. This is madness.
As you can see, liberties were taken with the game's plot and some important threads such as Obi-Wan's connection to Luke's father are left out, shamelessly, but with a true agenda this time: to place less emphasis on drama, and make the game as diversely action-packed as possible. It's made quite clear early on that the purpose of the game is to serve a stripped, alternative plotline to Episode IV, with only the most important key points intact. They could've made a game that followed the movie's plot for a while, then took a whole new turn to something completely awkward, and then abruptly returned to the movie again, making the game look like an incoherent mess; this "alternative plotline" might be daring, it might turn some fans off as an idea, including me, but believe me, the atmosphere is still just right - this is Star Wars, baby. From the graphical design to music, to sound effects, to every audiovisual seam, it's Star Wars in its purest imaginable 16-bit form... and HARDEST.
|The game's being a bitch from the very start.|
|The journey begins... finally.|
Insane, should I say, diabolically precise jumps, slides and platform sequences. Rare power-ups. One hit kills. Corrupting platforms above nothingness. Flying bastards. Enemies coming from all sides. Ultra-fast tempo. My favourite: spikes. Oh yes, and a time limit, but that's only for keeping score, thank heavens. Environmental hazards looming everywhere, and multiple ones at the same time. Debris from destroyed robots damages you. These are all very notable parts of the Super Star Wars experience. There's more, though: ultra-hard Mode 7 sequences in the wheel of Luke's landspeeder and the X-Wing. Downright unfair traps feasting on the art of trial and error. One checkpoint per long stage. No save feature. Like I said, you deserve a round of applause if you make it past Tatooine. Super Star Wars is an extremely difficult, frustrating game. But it is also fun. Why? Because there's virtually nothing wrong with the gameplay. It's a game you want to beat, or die trying.
|I don't remember seeing a lightsaber do that to |
folk, but... FORE!
|A wookiee's good to have on your side in a |
|That's one tough pick...|
|...But of course I'll go with Han.|
It's diabolical, but it's good - so good that it blew every preceding video game in the media franchise right off the map, and paved the way for a bunch of different, better ones. It remains to be seen if I ever beat this one, it's a project I would not provoke my worst enemy to take on - a save feature would've been a very nice way to increase the product's lifespan in casual use! However, I can easily implore Star Wars fans to try the game out, even if just to see how the Star Wars game was truly born. I personally think the next two games fared better in terms of presentation and some fashion of slack.
GRAPHICS : 7.9
SOUND : 9.3
PLAYABILITY : 8.0
LIFESPAN : 7.5
CONCLUSION : 7.9
The game was received so well that a PC port was made by Brain Bug, but never released due to LucasArts' desire to draw a clear line between the PC and console games based on Star Wars.
A stage based on the trash compactor scene on the Death Star was made, but deleted due to to memory constraints.