For: PC, N64
Version Reviewed: Nintendo 64
Published By: Lucas Arts
Developed By: Lucas Arts
Learning Curve: Couple of days
ESRB Rating: T for Violence
Reviewed by Drew Regensburger
I\'ve read most of the Star Wars books. I know, it\'s a little geeky, but, hey, when I was a kid, I watched a Star Wars movie every day when I got home from school, if at all possible. So, when I read Shadows of the Empire, I knew that, in my hands, I held the greatest Star Wars book ever written. In fact, I have to admit that I thought that Lucasfilm would make it into a movie, it was so good. Every year for my birthday, I would rent an N64 and several games, mainly because all I had was a Game Boy Pocket and a Super Nintendo, with, like, two games on it. So, my annual renting of the 64 was a big deal. The first time I did this, I found a game called Shadows of the Empire. I ran up to my dad and told him I read it in a book. Thus opened a long tradition of my renting Shadows of the Empire and playing it. Until last year. I hadn\'t rented the game for a while, and, to tell you the truth, I wasn\'t even thinking about buying any game when I entered Gamestop. All I wanted to do was sell. Sell, sell, sell. I sold off my games, and took an in-store credit, thinking that I would save my money, and come back later to buy another, new game. But I decided to look at the used games. Hey! Shadows of the Empire! I remember that! So, what the hey, buy this and another football game (where rushing was the only strategy), and BAM!, back at home. I booted the game up. And my adventure began.
This game was one of the first for the Nintendo 64, coming out in 1997 along with the PC version, which featured amazing graphics, especially for 97-era PCs. However, the N64 version suffered from frequent splotches of blurriness, and also had animated cut scenes. Like, not 3D. Storybook style. But, anyway, the graphics couldn\'t have been better for it\'s time period on the Nintendo 64, with fully animated characters, exciting explosions, and huge environments. The truth is, the game was almost better than Ocarina of Time-- and that\'s saying a lot. Not in actual game play, but the people looked more like people, there were extravagant places, and the entire style of game play, with action-packed bosses, and enemies galore, was souped up by the graphics, as crisp as crisp could be&. On the N64. And&oh man! What\'s that?! A fully animated AT-AT!!! JOY!
You play as the dashing Dash Rendar (pun intended), who is a mercenary along the lines of Han Solo&except with a mean streak. You see, Rendar is out to save Luke Skywalker, with or without the Rebellion. This time, the Rebellion chooses to get involved, and saves Luke. But not before Leia is captured. And Han Solo is put in carbonite. Yet, when things don\'t seem they can get any worse, they do. A new evil ursuper, trying to overthrow the Galactic Empire, also known as the Imperials, is rising, led by the cunning and ruthless Prince Xizor, formerly an advisor to Emperor Palpatine. This game takes place between the last two movies of the original Star Wars trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Remember at the end of The Empire Strikes Back that Vader, the Dark Lord of Sith, hires all of these different bounty hunters. Well, you meet two of them. IG-88, an assassin droid who now operates under its own will, and Boba Fett, the bad dude that falls into the Scarlacc Pit at the beginning of The Return of the Jedi. Both appear as boss characters, but they are later in the game&which is a good thing. There are several different types of levels in Shadows of the Empire. The first is standard third-person shooter fare, complete with running and jumping, shooting and puzzle solving. The second is flying, which is actually kind of weird, and has some strange controls. Then comes the third type, racing. This occurs only once in the game, but it is very fun and challenging. The varying levels in Shadows of the Empire make it one of the best action/adventure games available for the Nintendo 64.
Kind of confusing, but, once you get used to it, very intuitive. Like most Lucasarts games, it has the A button for actions, like firing your gun, and the B button for jumping, and other fun stuff&hard to get used to, but, in the end, very well done.
Good for Nintendo 64. The \'64 was infamous for having an almost tape-like quality to the sound, which meant that it was very unfriendly, soundwise, for developers. However, this game had a very good musical score, and it also had some cool sounding blaster shots and explosions. Little things like robots chirping and guards yelling at you were also excellent for the N64. Even the fact that your footsteps echoed on the ground was commendable, and it reminded me of the classic shooter Perfect Dark. Plus, if you shot a guy off a cliff, he screamed, which was really horrible, but also showed how much time went into the development of this game.
Although this game mostly focuses on killing, there are also different ways to finish the game, although the most effective way was blasting through each level. There is no blood, but plenty of Stormtroopers flying backwards, and some very mean animals that attack you also die. They are aliens, though, and that does ease the pain a bit&.just kidding. Really, though, the violence in this game is for a good cause: you are trying to rescue the Princess, save the most famous Jedi-in-training in the galaxy, and save a y pilot from certain annihilation from Jabba the Hutt. There is no cussing, just a lot of fantasy-themed action. Also, no magic is used, no spell casting&so no fear of that. This is a game that deserves the rating it got, so listen to it. Just don\'t hesitate if you see this at the store.