Star Wars: Shadows
of the Empire
System: Nintendo 64
Developer: Lucas Arts
Capabilities: Battery Backed Memory
Nintendo needed a great game for its first holiday season, and it publishes Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, developed by Lucas Arts. Nintendo promised it to be a smash hit, and to be a great 3-D action plat former. Did Nintendo live up to its promise, or disappoint? Lets get onto the review and find out.
Heck, these graphics were ahead of its time for an early N64 game, even if a game was released now with this games graphics, I wouldnt even consider the game dated. The character models look superb, and are loaded with detail, just take a look at how realistic those storm troopers are! All the character models look great overall, and the star fighters, and AT-STs look even better, like they just came out of the movie! Now back in this time, no developers used FMVs for N64 games because they ate up so much memory, for CD-Based consoles, they used FMVs to help make the games stories and sequences look realistic and add to the pizzaz. So Lucas Arts had to improvise. What they did was they drawn up artwork of the Star Wars main characters in the game, and just gave them little animations, like their eyes moving, or mouths moving to indicate them talking, with text at the bottom of the screen for the games story. Simple, but effective.
The visuals of the terrain and the surroundings of the many levels look marvelous and are detailed down to every notch and fits the Star Wars theme perfectly. The best background is when you're flying in outer space, and have the target view, similar to first person shooters, the detail in the graphics are amazing, and it feels like you're watching the movie all over again! The only down points in the graphics department is that there tends to be a lot of flickering, especially in the Battle of the Hoth stage, this really makes the game hard to play, but you'll get use to it after a while, and get past this forgivable flaw.
YES!, the Star Wars theme is really great and matches the movie perfectly! And most of the background music fits perfectly for this game, and seems that it would fit the movie perfectly. Dont believe me? Well, just pause the game, and take a moment to listen to this kicking soundtrack! All the sound effects are pulled off nicely and aren't just average, the stomping of the AT-ST's up close sound really defying, especially when you're trying to beat it on your own two feet, and the laser blasts from the storm troopers and other soldiers of the empire, sound just like the real thing. Sound would've been perfect if there would've been some use of digitized voice, such as found in Star Fox 64, but there isn't much use of it in the game, and if there was, this would've been surefire Star Wars bliss!
This is what made the game so great! The game controls so easy, and makes perfect use of the N64's control stick, for free, 3-D movement. You use the control stick to cycle through your various weapons, and the Z trigger to fire it. This scheme is also surprisingly found in many first person shooter games. The game has so many different types of way to play, it'll make you wanna play the game over and over. My favorite way to play was the in the World, Battle of the Hoth, I loved flying around in my X-Wing and blowing up all the enemy spacecraft, in fact the mode was so great they made another Star Wars game about it called, Rogue Squadron. Another unique way to play is the one where you're flying around in your big spaceship, blowing up other ships, and then there's the overhead action mode for all modes that you play on foot, which is a big vast levels, with lots of technique involved to beat the level such as finding hidden passageways, and using special items such as jet packs. A stats screen at the end of every level lets you know how good you do, and how many of the hidden challenge points you find in the stage.
Their really isnt anything to nitpick at all of the game play. If there is one thing I do have a problem with it is that there are a lot of awkward camera angles that make it difficult to play the game, like the tricky aiming involved while blasting your laser, and even though you might get frustrated happening every so often, it is an easily forgivable flaw.
This game is loads of fun to play, and you can keep on coming back for more to find all the hidden tokens throughout all the levels, but the game is especially fun to play with the really big cheat, where you can teleport, have all weapons, be invincible, and have lots of more stuff at your supply, heck you can even play as the enemy too, much like in the counter-op mode found in Perfect Dark for Nintendo 64. But once you beat the game on all the difficulty levels, and try out the cheats their really isnt much left to do, but it does take a while to beat, and I suggest youll probably be monkeying around with this game for about 20-30 hours before getting board of it. A multi player mode wouldve been great, but I wasnt expecting one for such an early N64 game rushed to make it by the holiday season.
+: Realistic character models, stunning worlds to explore, 20-30 hours of fun
-: Flickering happens on occasions, aiming can cause tricky camera angles, a multi player mode wouldve been nice
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 9.2
Replay Value: 7.3
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 9
A great first Star Wars game for the N64. The game has so much depth for a first generation N64 game. Any Star Wars fan should pick this title up, you can probably find it in a bargain bin for around $10-20, or brand new as a Players Choice game for about $30. This game is really great, and a definite hit, great job Lucas Arts!