'Super Star Wars' Is Brutal, Baffling And Absolutely Worth Playing
Super Star Wars is on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita today with added trophy support, a new save system and more.
That's great news for Star Wars fans and gamers alike, because Super Star Wars and its sequels are games that must be played to get the full experience. Loosely based (very loosely) on A New Hope, Super Star Wars released back in 1992 for the SNES. It was, and still is, one of a kind.
While you can watch videos on YouTube to get an understanding of what the game is like, playing it is another matter entirely.
In the early 1990s, licensed games based on films and shows almost all followed a simple formula. They were almost all sidescrollers, and were either a sidescrolling shooter, platformer or beat 'em up. The Adventures of Batman and Robin, based on the animated Batman series? It's a shooter in which you spend most of the game throwing batarangs at enemies rather than firing a gun. The Lion King and Aladdin SNES games, based on the beloved Disney animated classics? They are brilliant platformers that share little with their film counterparts aside from the same characters.
So when it came to adapting Star Wars for the SNES, perhaps it isn't surprising that we got a sidescrolling platformer/shooter. That makes perfect sense, given the time period. What still doesn't make sense is the liberties the game takes with A New Hope's plot or the game's brutal difficulty.
Remember that part of A New Hope when Luke goes to buy a droid and ends up murdering every Jawa in the Sandcrawler and then fighting the lava beast named (this is real) Jawenko? You don't? Well, that's what happens in Super Star Wars. Or that time Luke fought the Sarlacc in A New Hope just before he met Obi-Wan? Or that time ... you get the idea. The outlandish scenarios go on and on.
In the world of Super Star Wars, a trip down to Tosche station to pick up some power converters becomes a personal war against Tatooine itself. Very literally, everything in Super Star Wars is trying to kill you. Whether it's falling rocks, spike pits or the hostile wildlife, everything in this game wants you dead.
It's hard in a way few games manage to be today. Every level is a struggle, as players dodge lasers and deadly traps, all while hammering on the "fire blaster" button at all times. Boss battles are massive and unforgiving, and the vehicle levels, well, they've aged more poorly than the rest of the game.
And if you thought Super Star Wars was hard, wait until you play Super Empire Strikes Back or Super Return of the Jedi. The snow-covered caves of Hoth make the deserts of Tatooine look like a cake walk, and even mentioning the attack on the second Death Star is enough to make any gamer who's attempted to complete the level cringe in fear.
These games have a reputation. They are difficult for difficulty's sake. It seems like the developers made it their goal to ensure that more than a few players would never make it to the end, almost as if having a bone-crushing difficulty would make sure players got more bang for their buck by having to replay the same level over and over again until every frame was memorized.
In 2015, Super Star Wars serves a reminder of how games, especially licensed games, used to be: filled with bullets and hard as hell. The rerelease of this classic will likely be a little easier thanks to the game's new save system, but don't expect a stroll down memory lane upon booting up the game. Every second of Super Star Wars is a fight for survival and doesn't have time for things like characters or story, despite those two things being key parts of why millions love Star Wars to begin with.
In Super Star Wars, as is often the case with many video games in general, all you need is kill. PlayStation gamers who have yet to experience this classic are in for a treat.