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Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire

Rated T for Teen

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

Nintendo

Developer:

LucasArts

Released:

December 1996

ROM Size:

96 megabits

Players:

One

Genre:

Various 3D Action

Save:

Cartridge (4 slots)

Optional:

None

 

 

> Final Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

Introduction

One of the questions I asked myself several times when playing this game was, "Am I reviewing the same game as everyone else?" Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire is one of the most thoroughly enjoyable video game experiences I've had in years. Many action games often just get left on the shelf after playing them only part way through, but that was not the case with Shadows of the Empire. I needed to play this one to the end.

Gameplay & Control

You may have heard elsewhere that multiple gameplay modes hurt the game. I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. As a matter of fact, it's the multiple gameplay modes that keep this game fresh going from level-to-level. Obviously, everyone will have their favorite type of level, but each mode is done well enough that most gamers won't complain. Additionally, some of the levels have some killer boss battles, with a clearly visible boss damage meter.

 

Although much has been said about Shadows of the Empire, there are two things that I haven't seen mentioned before. First off, this game has an interface that puts other games to shame! The game easily saves your progress via Game Pak memory. No need for a Controller Pak here. It saves all your weapons, lives, best times for a level, challenge points on each level, etc., and you have the option if you want to overwrite the existing data. Another nice thing is how you can easily go back and pick any level you want to play again from the main menu (assuming you have completed it).

 

Also, and I think this is very important, you are never more than 5 or 10 seconds away from the spot you perished when you lose a life. Remember those frustrating days when you had to start from the beginning of a level if you died? This is not the case in Shadows of the Empire, and the designers should be commended for that.

Graphics & Sound

Graphically, when I played Shadows of the Empire for the first time, it distinguished itself as being a 64-bit game. In particular, the Hoth level is downright amazing. The other levels themselves capture the feel of the Star Wars universe, with little clipping or fogging. However, I should mention that you'll notice repeating textures on some of the levels.

 

There is one gripe I do have to get off my chest, though. Although the music in the game is composed amazingly well and sounds exact to the original tunes, it is in MONO. Ack! Although I'm sure the music is in monaural for valid reasons, it's just painful to hear that infamous Star Wars tune not coming out in full stereo sound. Fortunately, when you actually start playing the game, the sound effects, which are in full stereo, make you forget about the music. Other than that, there's nothing really to complain about (no, not even the looping music).

Conclusion

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire is an enjoyable experience that can truly be ranked in the upper-echelon of Nintendo 64 games for 1996, along with Super Mario 64 and Wave Race 64. The graphics are very solid with no clipping or pop-up. The sound is exceptional, although the music is in mono. And the control is pretty good once you get the hang of it. Add some lastability elements like challenge points, which can be fun to find if you liked finding stars in Super Mario 64, and four levels of difficulty, and you've got a true winner—and a game that will sell systems to boot.

 

Graphics:

4.4

Sound:

4.4

Control:

4.0

Gameplay:

4.4

Lastability

4.1

OVERALL:

4.4

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Although some critics lambasted the game, I found Shadows of the Empire to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Notice the tense of the word "found." I really enjoyed the game as I played through it, but once I beat the game, I never played it again. Still, the game got slightly high ratings because of my experience while I was playing it. Just don't expect Shadows of the Empire to have much replay value.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: December 29, 1996

Appendix Added: December 12, 1997

 

 

 

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