Everything's coming up Star Wars lately so why not reintroduce the public to a long-lost 16-bit Star Wars adventure? Get your blaster ready because Luke has quite the itchy trigger finger in this retro interpretation of A New Hope.
Before we begin, what's a SNES game doing on PlayStation 4? I never thought I'd see that happening. That's right, this is basically a port of the original Super Star Wars game with a couple of minor inclusions in the form of leaderboards and some options to alter how old-school you want it to look on your new-fashioned television. For the unfamiliar, Super Star Wars is mostly a side-scrolling run and gun game although the odd stage has you shooting in a vehicle either through a third or first person perspective. It's a very cool blend of gameplay styles that does a fantastic job of mixing things up throughout the campaign. Seeing as the stages and story sequences that play in-between follow the plot of Episode IV: A New Hope, it's awesome to look back at how they rendered everything in 1992. Of course, nothing is done with as much finesse as recent titles but it definitely shows how much effort they put in to being faithful to the film. Any Star Wars fan with a fondness for retro gaming will be delighted to work their way through this 16-bit journey.
Super Star Wars has a basic control setup that allows you to jump in and play without any instructions. You basically run, shoot, jump, and tap the shoulder buttons to look up and down when you need to get a grasp of your surroundings. Later, you acquire the lightsaber that you can switch to on the fly as well as explosive power-ups that can be detonated by the tap of a button. Although everything handles simply and intuitively, the fact that you can't run and shoot simultaneously is very annoying. Samus and Mega Man can do it, why can't Luke Skywalker? I ended up jumping forward while shooting like a madman through most of the stages. That's just silly. Anyway, not only are the side-scrolling portions filled with exciting action-packed gameplay, the vehicle segments can be just as if not more fun. For one thing, the controls are spot-on as they allow you to steer, jump, and shoot seamlessly. Moving your landspeeder backwards while taking out oncoming Jawas feels oh so satisfying. Later, you control the classic X-Wing which is more limited in its movements (especially when you're in first-person mode), but it still remains as enjoyable as you'd expect.
At one point in the campaign, you unlock the option to play as Luke, Han, or Chewbacca. They don't differ significantly from each other but just having the ability to swap to these iconic characters is a welcome addition that fans will embrace. On top of these optional characters, many scenes from the film including infiltrating the sandcrawler, fighting in Mos Eisley Cantina, rescuing Princess Leia, and finally taking out the Death Star are incredibly enjoyable to experience. That being said, many sections of stages are repeated to the point where it becomes monotonous. They probably designed the stages this way to make the overall game last longer, but it does more harm than good. This is especially true considering most of the campaign looks the same with only the last few stages distinguishing themselves substantially. In the end, it would have actually been a more fulfilling adventure if it were half the length.
Super Star Wars is renowned for its high degree of difficulty which is fine, but there's also a great deal of unfair moments that'll make you want to turn to the dark side. One such moment can be seen in the first screenshot above. Here, you fall down a shaft only to perish at the bottom without any sort of warning thus forcing you to replay it at least one more time since you're now aware of the danger. Although this is just one irritating part, there is an even more infuriating aspect that remains constant throughout the whole journey. Simply put, enemies spawn way too relentlessly. More often than not, you're forced to keep running to the right because fighting enemies is only good for racking up points and collecting power-ups. If there was no time limit then you can literally remain on the same screen forever just blasting away enemies. After saying that, I wonder if anyone did that back in the day thinking that's all there was to the game. But, I digress. Super Star Wars may be fun, but that fun comes with its fair share of frustrations.
There's no denying how classic of a game Super Star Wars is. However, its flaws really show while playing it nowadays. Because of that, it's worth a download for any Star Wars fan who digs retro gaming, but as Yoda says, "Patience you must have."
- + Great mix of mode 7 vehicle segments and side-scrolling run and gun stages
- + Gameplay is both hectic and satisfying
- + You can play as Luke, Han, and Chewbacca
- - Not being able to run and shoot at the same time is very irritating
- - Stages frequently repeat segments
- - Enemies regenerate way too often