lauantai 5. lokakuuta 2013

REVIEW - Star Wars Arcade | 32X | 1994

GENRE(S): Arcade / Shooter
RELEASED: 1993 (Arcade)

Next on the list is the ill-fated 32X - but just because of the 32X's ill fate, there's only a total of 40 games in its library, and I can't seem to find the one and only 32X-exclusive game that fits the Monster Mash bill (Night Trap). So let's replace it with another game, which serves as a slight return to another one of VGMania's most prolific and comprehensive marathons - Star Wars Arcade. Back to 32X for a moment; the Sega Saturn was launched in Japan in November 1994, and the scheduled launch in North America and Europe was still seven months away. To tide non-Japanese followers over, Sega developed the 32-bit 32X add-on for the Sega Genesis. One of its launch titles - as well as one of its only console-exclusives, and more successful games, somewhat naturally - was Star Wars Arcade.

Remember to wipe!

See? Looks much better than a lot of newer
games that have this very same battle in them...
for now...
The game is set in the decisive battle of Episode IV: The New Hope (although it's a bit weird that it starts from a re-imagining of the opening sequence...). You, and possibly a friend, take Luke Skywalker's place as the rebel pilot who gets the honour of the famous one shot at Death Star.

This slight return to Star Wars was truly more than a bit unexpected, and I'm not necessarily in the right zone right now. Well, this game is so simple that you won't need to be in any sort of zone. You just need to make sure that your right thumb - the shooting thumb - works. May luck be with you.

It's a 32-bit game, so of course they wanted to show off a little with digitized graphics and sound back in a time they weren't that common to experience at home. The music actually sounds quite good, and the song even changes a few times during this three-level game (yep). The theme song's there, as well as the "Imperial March" and the cantina song, which plays on the leaderboard. The "voiceovers" are legendary; I think this game is most famous for Admiral Ackbar's repeated, monotonic "Wipe out enemy fighters" line, which he says in the beginning of each level (well, that IS what the game is all about). I truly cracked up in the start of the last level when he says something like "Attack Death Star.................................... and wipe out enemy fighters!" Wiping, that's the one and only important thing to remember here.

Don't I always.
The in-game graphics are really good, no sarcasm there. Of course it's a very limited game; one can't really criticize level design when there's hardly any design at all, it's 90% space. Although the polygons are rough, animation is smooth... until you get to the Death Star surface which naturally serves as the third and final level of the game. It's really hard to keep track of what's going on there, especially since TIE lasers seem to vanish into cyberspace - still hitting you, of course - and it might take you a while to realize there are some cannons shooting at you as well, they're camouflaged by technical issues so damn well.

On paper, there are a few options of how to go at the game available to you - in reality, there are only two. Either alone, or with a friend, in the weirdest and most useless mixed setting of a vs. and co-op game in memory. Which you can also play alone, by the way (wtf...?). Regardless whether you take on the arcade version or the Super 32X version, it's the very same game - I think you need to wipe out a few more enemy fighters (bang-bang!) in the "Super 32X" version, though.

Yeah, I have a bad feeling about this. This is
about the last flattering screenshot you can
In the first level, you're thrown into one giant vacuum of a pit, it's your X-Wing versus a set amount of TIEs. You're already introduced to the game's stupidities, such as it telling you to slow down when you can't actually control the speed of your vessel in that way; even "speeding it up" just seems to speed up the level around you, not your X-Wing or your approach to an enemy vessel. Weird. Anyway, once you've shot down a certain amount of these, R2 sets up autopilot to the next level, where you're pitted against double the TIEs, and indestructible Star Destroyers. Those Destroyers are so far away that their lasers are quite easy to dodge - once again, your actual mission is to wipe out enemy fighters (bang-bang!). Once you've done that - not as easy because of the damn time limit - you progress to the final level. And then you will probably lose the game, 'cause like I said, there are all manners of technical issues taking place on the surface of the Death Star. If you somehow do survive this mess, congratulations - you've beaten the game. In exactly ten minutes, or less if you were quick about it.

Having a (desperate) friend along might speed up the process to a total of five minutes. So this is how it works: one of you controls the vessel - in this case, Y-Wing - and you both shoot shit up to benefit each other. However, at the same time you compete for a high score, AND as I said, you can just ignore the other crosshair and go at this mode alone. I'm missing a whole handful of points here, the Y-Wing isn't even any different from the X-Wing when it comes to controls and they're indistinguishable from each other when you're using first-person view. Oh, I get it - this game is just fucking boring and useless. Clever!

Yeah, that's exactly what it is - short, boring and useless, but just like the subject of the previous review, a somewhat endearing novelty item I'm sure a sad lot of Star Wars fanatics have risked life and limb for... and quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out the 32X's better games.

+ Ackbar's hilarious
+ The digitized music and graphics are of surprisingly good quality for such an early 32-bit game

- Just three levels and practically just one game mode
- Lasts for a strict maximum of ten minutes (the total time limit of the game)
- The final level's a graphical and technical mess, which is the only thing that makes it more difficult than the first two

< 5.0 >

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