When Super Star Wars was released on the SNES back in 1992, the game was instantly heralded as an action/adventure landmark. Four years after that, two more SNES sequels, Super Empires Strikes Back and Super Return of the Jedi were also reprised for the home consoles. For modern gamers who haven’t played these masterpieces, here’s a modern take at one of the greatest series in video game history.
Taken as a whole, the three games parallel the story in George Lucas’s movie trilogy. To squeeze most -if not all- of the iconic moments in, the developers compressed some of the more memorable scenes to achieve an eye-popping cinematic experience that rivaled the movies.
Created by Lucas Arts Games, the trilogy maintained consistently high scores in gameplay, controls, graphics, and sound. Throughout the ’90s the three games garnered high praise with many of the well-established gaming publications as well as the gaming community. Gamepro even voted Super Empire Strikes Back as one of the greatest games of all time.
Despite their similar stories, character design, and setting, the three games had several key differences. The first game, Super Star Wars had the shortest gameplay and, at only 8 megs, was the one that suffered from horrendous slowdown and graphical glitches. Despite these shortcomings, the gameplay itself was considered state-of-the-art back in 1992.
Super Empire Strikes Back took a quantum leap over its predecessor in terms of unique features. Han Solo, for example, received a new 360-degree roll move, while Luke received an array of powers that enabled him to throw his lightsaber, use mind control, levitate and heal himself among other traits. This sequel, while being more diverse, was also more limiting than the first one in that you couldn’t choose a different hero for each stage.
Super Return of the Jedi kept the series from becoming too redundant by adding two additional heroes to play as (Leia and Wicket the Ewok) while adding the ability to have showdowns with the galaxy’s three biggest villains, Jabba the Hut, Darth Vader and the Emperor himself. Even with these new additions, much of the gameplay felt too identical to that of its prequels.
Return of the Jedi sported the best and most detailed graphics of the three, but it was released just a few months prior to the arrival of Donkey Kong Country which would set a new standard for graphical excellence.
If you’ve played all three games on SNES growing up, then consider yourself lucky for having experienced perhaps, some of the best games from a bygone era. Anyone that enjoys great gameplay encapsulated in a Star Wars environment should really give these games another go around if you have the chance. You wont be disappointed.