SUPER STAR WARS / LucasArts + JVC / Super NES

Lucasarts makes a rare venture into the console/side-scrolling world ... actually JVC's name is on this one too so maybe they just farmed the development out to them. Either way, the game turns out surprisingly good, though apparent inexperience with level design for these types of games really hurts the final product and keeps it from being a top SNES title.

The game starts out with Luke in epic battles worse than anything he ever faced in any of the movies. In the first level, just to meet the crashed C-3P0 and R-2, Luke has to run through a gauntlet of fiendish attack birds, rape rats and scorpions that can somehow lob plasma grenades from their tails. Fortunately Luke starts the game already jumping and twirling like a Jedi, and he also gets a blaster that powers up through a pretty good range of weaponry - it first starts shooting powerful fireballs that annihalate enemies in one hit, then it becomes a heat-seeking missile launcher. Luke can also slide, which gets limited use except in certain levels designed to make you slide under falling doors.

The levels are mostly side-scrolling in the style of the first one, though now and then you get a Mode 7 3D skimmer scene. For example, in the second level, you have to skim over the desert to reach the Jawa sandcrawler, and along the way totally massacre 12 Jawas while you are at it. The Jawas seem really excited about being rendered in cheap 3D and keep yelling about it even when you are asploding them ("Threedee!"). The doods are also a bunch of little Quick Draw McGraws as you'll find out in the next level, when you take them on in side-scrolling mode.

The third level is, I imagine, going to be the dealbreaker for a lot of players. You have 400 seconds to make your way to the top of the Sandcrawler, which involves a very long series of timed jumps on moving platforms. The jumping physics are decent here, but certainly no Mario, and can be a little finicky when you're trying to hit a moving platform that you can only partially see at the edge of the screen. If you miss any one of the 30 or 40 jumps in the sequence, well ... back to the beginning, or at least very close to the beginning. And if you run out of time here, or die in any level, you get kicked aaaall the way back to the beginning - checkpoints? A Jedi craves not these things!

Later on in the game you get the ability to switch out to Han Solo or Chewie, and Luke gets a lightsaber and various force powers, but it's tough plowing through the perfectionist levels and getting kicked back to the beginning of each all the time to get to the point where you see these things. There's also a couple of TIE Fighter levels which are somewhat similar to the trench runs in the classic Star Wars arcade game, including the final level which puts you up against Vader's leet custom TIE (which has been lowered and had the muffler off as well as adding a giant rear spoiler.)

There's certainly some nice stuff here, but on the whole the game is too frustrating, due to inconsiderate, amateurish enemy placement and level design. People who like abusive gaming seem to love this one though.

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