Who remembers the Super Star Wars trilogy of video games, little Super Nintendo classics released from 1992 and inspired by the original Star Wars trilogy?
Not content with being one of the most important film franchises of the past 40 years, the saga Star Wars is also the starting point for a whole new way of looking at marketing and derivative products. It is therefore logical that she tackled video games.
So no, we are not going to venture into the perilous quest for the exhaustive list of adaptations of Star Wars in video games since the creation of the license, because we care about our neurons and our sleep time. Especially since the saga of George Lucas is perhaps the most represented franchise when it comes to video game adaptations. Since the release ofA new hopethis universe has gone through the ages, generations of consoles and computers to always give us our regular dose of Jedi and Sith on any machine, in any format.
Countless adaptations of Star Wars in video games, whether action games, platforms, FPS, TPS, strategy games, MMORPGs, or even browser games. The saga has eaten at all the racks to keep us in tense flow, and the machine continues, with the sequel to Fallen Order titled Star Wars Jedi: Survivoror even a Star Wars: Eclipse developed at Quantic Dreams.
But it’s time to talk about a slightly crazy and ultra-faithful trilogy, which made more than one sweat at the time: the trilogy of Great Star Wars.
A long time ago
At the very beginning of the 90s, the Super Nintendo finally came out and it’s a revolution for all players. Of course, the Mega Drive has been available for a while, thus opening the era of 16 Bits, but it is indeed with his machine that Mario’s dad plunges us into a new dimension.
On the program: deluge of colors (256 colors displayable simultaneously where the Mega Drive only supports 32), two-channel stereo and surround sound for a truly cinematic effect (but which reveals a rather hideous reverberation when it is poorly controlled), impressive technical skills (the famous Mode 7, imposed by F-Zeromosaic effects and revolutionary zooms), 6 action button joypad (in addition to the cross and the “Select” and “Start” buttons)…
In short, the Super Nintendo smashes everything in its path, and it is obvious that all the developers are going to rush to its development kits.
It was therefore in 1992 in the United States (in 1993 here) that Super Star Wars, and it is quite surprising at the time. Admittedly, the license is still as popular and continues to grow in the world of comics and novels, but it has, so to speak, no longer any real news since the release of the Return of the Jedi in 1983.
At the time, George Lucas did not not yet announced his prelogy and we are not even talking about the famous special editions of the first films. In short, it happens like a hair in the soup and it is perhaps what makes its interest. Especially since he is not really like the others.
F-Zerothis game of love
If the game is published by Lucas Arts (formerly LucasFilms Games, the box of George Lucas), it is however developed by a third party, Sculptured Software. Founded in 1984, acquired by Acclaim in 1995, renamed Iguana West and then Acclaim Studios Salt Lake City until its closure in 2002, this box does not seem the best placed to honor the star saga.
To his credit, little anecdotal games on Atari computers, a lot of licensing (Monopoly, Pac-Man, a lot of sports games), weird stuff like Captain Novolin (financed by the fight against diabetes, si, si) and, later, not very famous adaptations of simpsons (Bart’s Nightmareit’s them) and Ren & Stimpy. In short, not cadors.
However, with Star Warsthey will clearly stick their fingers out and prove that they are above all big fans of this universe.
Bart’s Nightmare, here it is….
SUPER STAR WARS
Super Star Wars offers to relive the adventures of the first film taking turns playing Luke, Chewie and Hanin levels interspersed with rudimentary, but effective, story-telling cutscenes.
From the start, Super Star Wars proves that this is not a game for penguins. It’s a pure “Run & Gun”a genre popularized by titles like Rush’n Attack (Konami, 1985), but which found its letters of nobility with the series Contra (Where Probotector with us), Gryzor for lovers of the CPC 6128 (Konami always, 1987), or the Turrican (Rainbow Arts/Factor 5, 1990).
What is a Run & Gun? It is a tense action game where the player has to go from point A to point B by killing everything that moves, and that arrives at him by whole legions. Obviously, items frequently appear to restore life or upgrade his weapon (up to 5 levels for the basic blaster). Sure, who says Star Wars also known as lightsaberand Luke can only use it when Obi-Wan gives it to him.
To vary the pleasures a little, Mode 7 levels intersperse the action phases, aboard the Sandspeeder and an X-Wing during the Battle of the Death Star; and it will be necessary to deal with a somewhat hazardous maneuverability, tenuous objectives and a gigantic difficulty to get out of it.
We hope you like big bosses
SUPER STAR HARD
Because yes, Super Star Wars is hard, very hard. If it ends in 2-3 hours in easy mode, anyone who has tested the “Jedi” mode still has some after-effects. It is moreover the biggest downside of the game: its sometimes grotesque and unfair difficulty. We are overwhelmed by enemies and, as the maneuverability is not at the top (especially in its delicate platform phases), we get copiously banged the face.
However, we always come back to it, because it is perhaps a question of one of the first home console games to make us feel like we’re truly part of history.
Already, the software offers beautiful graphicswith many gradients, shimmering colors, and ingenious scrollings. The sound side is not left out since we end up with all the music adapted to the Super Nintendo chipset (without too much reverb’, thank you very much), and all the sound effects taken directly from the film. Immersion guaranteed.
Finally, the universe of Star Wars is faithfully transcribed there. The famous places are recognizable, just like the characters, and we find there the magic of the first films. In short, Super Star Warsit’s class, but it also proves that it is worth it.
An epic moment, but not easy
SUPER empire strikes back
Of course, with such a license, the game can only be a success. No one will therefore be surprised that Sculptured Software, under the impetus of Lucas Arts and JVC (the distributor), is embarking on the sequel. She will arrive a year later, in 1993 (1994, with us) and, very logically, she will be interested in The Empire strikes back.
Super Star Wars: The Empire Strike Back has no desire to change anything to the formula, and proves to be even more devious than its predecessor – logic for the darkest part of the original trilogy.
Change of atmosphere
Always at the controls of Luke, Chewie and Han, it will be necessary to relive the highlights of the film, starting directly with the planet Hoth. But there are a few new things.
Already, a “Password” function has been implemented, which is not a luxury when you know the legendary difficulty of the title. Next, you can now have mounts during key moments in the action-platform phases. Thus, Luke rides a Tauntaun from the first level to advance faster. Tauntaun who obviously can get pounded in two seconds if we are not careful, condemning us to do the rest of the level on foot.
See Dagobah and die like shit
In addition to enemies, the elements are unleashed against us, with for example snowfall on Hoth or ice, and you will have to be extra vigilant not to fall into a deep crevasse. But the quest is worth the effort since, again, the game is beautiful and makes great use of the console’s capabilities.
Whether it’s the beautiful Cloud City, the assault on Hoth against AT&T, the swamps of Dagobah or the terrible fight against Darth Vader, the Super Nintendo coughs up its lungs and doesn’t seem to falter along the way. Not to mention the gorgeous music and immersive cutscenes.
In short, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strike Back has nothing to envy to its elder.
This game does not like you. Know it.
SUPER return of the JEDI
Inevitably, it’s a hit again and, as if by magic, a third opus arrives the following year (1994 for the USA, 1995 for us): Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
If public knowledge, the game is easier than the previous onesthe evidence is not there since everything begins by a sequence in Mode 7 on board a Speeder, to reach the lair of Jabba the Hut. And immediately the trouble begins. Between ravines over which you have to jump at high speed, obstacles that eat into the health bar by deflecting your trajectory, and collectibles to pick up along the way, the game does not give any gift.
It’s time for reckoning
For their latest title in the galaxy far, far away, Sculptured Software rolls up their sleeves and decides to give it their all. Thereby, not three but five characters are playable (welcome Leïa and Wicket), and four vehicles are drivable (So the Speeder, but also the Millennium Falcon, the Speederbike and the X-Wing).
More than ever, the bosses are devious and present (Jabba, the Rancor, Darth Vader, Palpatine…), when they are not invented for the occasion as in the previous titles of the trilogy.
As the developer has nothing more to prove, he refines his formula and demonstrates an attention to detail close to maniacal. Luke can, in addition to his sabrolaser, use different Force powers, in a more natural way than in previous games. Leïa changes her weapon and outfit in each level where she appears. And the technical packaging is once again top notch.
Even if the formula is beginning to be tested, that the lack of diversity and the repetitiveness of actions are heavily felt, that the maneuverability is still perfectibleit is indeed a success.
In the end, the saga Super Star Wars will have offered three otherwise memorable, but high quality games. Devious and demanding, they are a real challenge for hardcore gamers, and can unfortunately put off the most cautious users. But they deserve to be (re)discovered, especially since they were notably brought back to life on Wii in 2009, or even on PlayStation Store in 2015 for the first opus.