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A Look at My Classics: Star Wars NES Titles

I’ve been playing a lot of retro games lately. It’s fun and produces some nostalgia for me. I’m going to just write a light game review of 2 NES titles I’ve played lately that I also played while growing up in the 90’s. They’re all Star Wars games.

Star Wars (JVC NES) (Spoiler Alert???)

I’ll start with this little gem. I tried this a couple of weekends ago while my kids were napping. I reminisced about the hours I spent playing this as a kid, as well as a little bit in college. 

When I turned it on it played that fantastic 8-bit introduction music. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much parallel between much of the game and episode IV, but it’s still fun and challenging. It’s a platformer with guns and a lightsaber. Of course, Han Solo is still a badass.  It takes a lot of repetition to beat. There are a few one-hit-kill areas, but therein lies the challenge. 

The hardest part for me is the Death Star escape section. It’s challenging, but ridiculous trying to lineup hit boxes on the TIEs and their green laser balls. I died a lot there. I also couldn’t figure out if I had to make it through so many waves or kill a specific number. 

The controls were fairly simple with jump and shoot controls. The shoot button  can be held down to have the character run. Han’s blaster is awesome, and I enjoyed Luke’s lightsaber is fun too. It’s all feels fairly well done for an NES title. It’s a lot of fun. 

Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back (NES)

So... this one... I only rented this game once when I was a kid. I sucker at it then, and I still suck now. I used a guide to get a ways through it. 

This game follows Luke through his journey, but I never made it past Degobah. To me, it feels like JVC took it in a terrible direction. The levels are incredibly long and complex. It was way too easy to get lost. 

They added in force powers, but selecting them interrupts the flow of the game. Jumping is hard to get where you want consistently. The moving platforms feel nearly impossible. The first 2 levels are so repetitive. Make your way through an unending ice cave maze in the first level with enemies that are nearly impossible to hit. Take down like 13 AT-ATs in level 2 by using the same tactics for each one. 

I think if they had made the levels a little more linear and shorter, the game would be better. Maybe if I only had to beat 3-4 AT-ATs instead of a bunch I would find the experience more enjoyable. The atrocious control scheme and jump mechanic would have to be completely reworked to be predictable and obvious. 

Overall, this game isn’t worth playing. I wish I could understand why the designers decided what they did. The game just isn’t fun. Where’s the fun factor? I spent so much time fighting with the controls and environment that I never really got to have fun.