Star Wars – one of my favourite nerdy obsessions! In preparation for the new movie Rogue One, I decided to the play the new VR Star Wars experience on PS4. It was so amazing -I got to fly an X-Wing, be overtaken by a Star Destroyer, and fly through astroids! I was so hyped after this game, I decided to review Super Star Wars – a game I haven’t played for years! And boy have we come a long way since this game…
The story is basically that of the original Star Wars. The plans of the Death Star have fallen into the Rebels’ hands, and the Empire is out to get them back! The story follows Luke, Han, and Chewbacca as they inexplicably end up in the grasps of the Empire. Long story short, Princess Leia is saved, Luke uses the Force, and the Death Star explodes! The game actually uses the scrolling text at the beginning and some pixelated movie stills throughout the game to help move the narrative forward – and with reasonable success.
The gameplay is primarily a 2D action game where the player takes control of Luke, Han, or Chewbacca and guide them through endless waves of enemies (with lightsabers, guns, and thermal detonators) all the while jumping over treacherous pits. While fun, the game is very quick and at times finicky when making precise jumps, which ended in my having to redo parts OVER AND OVER AGAIN which was really frustrating. Sometimes the screen would not show the platform that I needed to jump too, which introduced trial and error into the game and made it further frustrating.
In terms of weaponry, the player finds little guns scattered throughout the levels that will upgrade their weaponry temporarily until they die. These upgrades make your guns stronger, and at times add heat seeking capabilities, but don’t really make the guns feel all that different from one another. The thermal detonator is kind cool though! The funny thing with the weapons is how they react with the enemies! My favourite part of the weaponry though was when I used my lightsaber on a Bantha, and the entire Bantha exploded like it was a robot! In fact – all enemies react this way. I don’t really remember this happening in the movies, but it adds a layer of comedy that makes this otherwise frustrating 2D platformer more palpable.
The game also utilizes Mode 7 to create some unimpressive vehicle levels where you take control of Luke’s Land Speeder and X-Wing. In each of them you must destroy a number of enemies and some structures. The problem is that each of the vehicles feels very slippery so controlling them is very difficult. The levels are over quick though so they don’t bog down the game too much. In some ways, it’s actually a nice break from the regular 2D platforming levels because they are quite easy.
The worse level in the game however is the last level – the first-person Death Star trench run – and it really ruins it for me. Maybe it’s because I just played the awesome Star Wars VR experience before playing this game, but sitting in the cockpit of the X-Wing in Super Star Wars is just not fun. While it looks cool, I felt like I had no idea of what I was doing and could never get more than half-way through. This lead to endless frustration and the eventual victory for the Empire. Yes – in my timeline, the Rebellion was utterly crushed. Enduring this last level is just not the way I envisioned finishing this game.
The bosses are also pretty unimpressive as well. Most stages have them, and while the first boss can be defeated without much issue, many of the other bosses (even on easy difficulty) are extremely challenging. The main issue is that the bosses seem behave in a completely random fashion so that players can’t learn to adapt to their patterns. I tried many times to defeat the awful robot in the Death Star, but in the end I used the Debug Menu to bypass it so that I could experience the rest of the game.
In terms of graphics, this game is average-looking. Some of the level set pieces look cool at first, but players will soon learn that the assets are reused constantly. There is A LOT of dessert in this game. One of the Death Star levels is also just one long hallway that looks completely identical throughout – not good. The characters and enemies models fair much better with good detail and animation. Some of the bosses also look fantastic and take up large portions of the screen (see above)!
The music is probably the best part of the game. Many of classic Star Wars tracks are here with a unique 16-bit quality. The sound effect are also surprisingly good and help make the weaponry fun to fire!
In summary, this is an average 2D action game with frustrating bosses, decent music, and horrible vehicle levels. I can’t fully recommend this game. If you can find it for under $10, then pick it up and enjoy it for an afternoon – but this is not the quintessential Star Wars game retro gamers should be playing. Super Empire Strikes Back and Super Return of the Jedi are much more fun than this one. Overall, I give this game a score of 6/10.
Final Score: 6/10