Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (C64)

The Empire Strikes Back (Megastyle) Free

Game title: The Empire Strikes Back

Game description: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a side scrolling arcade shooter that sees you take control of a snowspeeder to battle against Imperial walkers on the planet Hoth. The rebel shield generator is situated to the far right and waves of Imperial forces approach from the left with the goal to reach and destroy the generator so that their main forces can descend and destroy the rebel base. Your task is to fly your snowspeeder and defeat each wave of enemies to buy the rebels time to escape. The C64 version of the game is broken up into 8 stages which alternate between attacks from AT-ST Scout Transports and the big daddy AT-ATs and features different day time settings. AT-STs are easier to kill as they only require 20 hits but they walk faster, meaning that you have less time to destroy them before they reach the rebel shield generator. AT-ATs are much tougher and take anywhere from 30 shots on early stages to 50 shots on later stages. The head is the most vulnerable area and every shot here will damage it. The body of the AT-AT is more heavily armoured however and only 1 in 3 shots will cause damage. Occasionally a droid hatch will open up on the AT-AT and remain open for a few seconds allowing you the opportunity to instigate a one hit kill. Pulling these shots off provides a very gratifying feeling of accomplishment as otherwise a lot of patiences and discipline is required to eliminate an AT-AT. If you don’t take advantage of the open hatches then it is likely that you will need to then deal with a spawning homing Viper droid coming in your direction. The game starts off relatively easy and ramps up in difficulty with each progressive stage. Probe droids are randomly generated from stage 3 onwards and need to be either dealt with or evaded for a certain period of time. If you manage to avoid any damage for 60 seconds then 'The Force' mode is activated. Your snowspeeder will pulse for 15 seconds making you invulnerable to enemy fire and droid attacks. An extra life is also awarded for every 20,000 points you obtain. Where the imperial enemies reach the Rebel shield generator, they will switch their weapon over to a big laser and start to bombard the generator. The stage of damage to the generators is shown at the top right and the game is over if it is totally destroyed. Whenever you complete a stage, a fanfare jingle is played and another rebel ship is able to escape. If you complete all 8 stages then the main mission has been won and you will be greeted by a storyboard showing your rebel allies escaping to fight another day. The game will then loop back to stage 1 but with increased difficulty and there will be no more ships escaping at the end of each stage.

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  • Production - 95%
    95%
  • Fun - 80%
    80%
  • Depth - 62%
    62%

Summary

The Megastyle team has excelled with its C64 adaptation of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

When looking at the original Atari 2600 game then it is hard to fault this conversion. The graphics are stunning – a true work of art. Controls of the snow speeder are highly responsive allowing you to pull off some great missile evading moves and the music soundtrack is spot on to my ears.

But if you come into this game looking for something with greater depth to the original game then you may be disappointed.  While Megastyle has added a few nice tweaks to the game – such as the ‘Force’ invincibility, the addition of homing droids, between level cut scenes and different daylight settings, at its core the game play requires a high degree of discipline and concentration in order to constantly evade missiles while setting up your shots. This grinding style of game play is not for everyone.

Despite not being able to satisfy my urge to shoot off a grapple hook at the legs of the Imperial walkers, I personally found the game somewhat addictive due to its great execution. The pull to have me playing time after time until I completed all of the 8 levels was strong and I cannot fully explain why but I can say the thrill of pulling of a one shot kill on the AT-ATs is exhilarating.

Overall
79%
79%
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User Review
3.25 (4 votes)

Pros

  • Those gorgeous graphics
  • Super responsive controls
  • Different daylight settings
  • The joy of one hit kills

Cons

  • Some may find game play to be grinding or dull
  • Limited game play variation from one level to another

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