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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (NES)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.4
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  ETJB (447)
Written on  :  May 30, 2012
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars
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Summary

Luke! Use the Joystick

The Good

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes offers impressive graphics, animation, music and sound effects, which are even better then the previous Star Wars game. Frankly, this is about as good as it got on the Old school Nintendo.

The game's story closely follows that of the film and it is generally easier to use the Force powers, ride familiar animals or vehicles and battle minor enemies and bosses.

The Bad

In Star Wars, it seemed like not enough emphasis had been placed on fine tuning some of the problems with the game play mechanics and finding a better balance between the arcade action and adventure gaming format.

For the most part, this sequel does a better job on both counts, but it is not with its faults.

Each of the different Force Powers that you use in the has its own, limited energy bar, not unlike the special weapons that can be collected in the Mega Man series.

However, mastery of the Force Powers, which beyond a light saber and laser gun is a major part of the game, is sometimes hampered by poor control design or simply the limitations of the controller.

The levitation power is one of the most important in the game and can be difficult to gently move Luke around, when the energy bar for that power is quickly draining.

The game has a steep learning curve and if you run out of a particular Force energy or, in the level against the robot Walkers, fail to be wise about your limited harpoon ammo, you may find yourself totally SOL.

Yes, in comparison to the first Star Wars NES game, the difficulty level is less frustrating, but fans of the series who are not seasoned gamers, may get still annoyed in certain points of The Empire Strikes Back game.

The character slipping and sliding, seen in the Star Wars game, is not as bad here (other then the ice world where it sort of makes sense).

While you do not control Han or Leia, Luke is easier to control in this game and, along with his Force Powers, also have more moves at his disposal, although of which are generally easy to do and look pretty darn cool.

Yet, their are still points in game where you need to make difficult jumps from one, often thin, platform to another. Sometimes these life or death jumps can be difficult to properly measure when Luke is a fairly small, thin sprite.

It would have been nice if refills for your Force Powers were more common place and I would have preferred a password feature. Although, Easter Eggs for the game did, basically, address these two complaints.

The Bottom Line

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is, largely, an improvement over the previous Star Wars game.

The game's 8-bit graphics, music and sound effects are amazing, the level of difficulty from the first game has been tweaked a bit and while Luke goes on this mission's solo, he has several cool new moves and the ability to use the Force.