This sequel to Super Star Wars was once again developed by Sculptured Software and published by JVC, this time in 1993. Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is another hectic run-and-gun platform game, with added variety in the form of Mode 7 stages and a cockpit shooter.
The game begins on the icy planet of Hoth, like in the film. First with Luke Skywalker on his tauntaun, and later as Han Solo and Chewbacca as they are introduced into the story.
Just like in Super Star Wars, the platforming sections are interspersed with third-person ‘flying’ stages that utilise Mode 7 graphics. In this game the Imperial Walker attack on the shield generators on Hoth is adapted in this way. There’s also a first-person cockpit stage too, with the Millennium Falcon fleeing from TIE Fighters through the asteroid field.
As the game progresses you’ll play through various stages on Yoda‘s home planet, and also on Cloud City, where Lando Calrissian is busy double-crossing his friends. The game culminates with a light sabre boss battle with Darth Vader himself, although the chances of anyone reaching that part of the game without cheats is very slim. The game does at least have a password system for accessing later stages (which the first Super Star Wars didn’t have).
Overall, Super Empire Strikes Back is a playable but frustrating experience. The presentation and variety are good, but the style of gameplay (throw everything at you at all times) is pretty boring to me. With a bit more restraint on the part of the developers this could have been a great series, but it’s far too frustrating to be considered a classic.