riostarwind's Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (Nintendo 64) review

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A great game in its day that now looks dated

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The N64 version has 2D artwork for cut scenes.
The N64 version has 2D artwork for cut scenes.

The N64 era was a slow time for the Star Wars brand unlike now. Which most likely let Lucasarts set this game in between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. You will play as Dash Rendar who also happens to be a smuggler like Han Solo. The game starts with the battle of Hoth and continues through to other locations in order to take down a new crime scindicate named Black Sun. Xixor is the head of the Black Sun and he will do anything to be The Emperors right hand man. It is up to Dash to stop him throughout 10 different levels.

The main meat of this game are the on foot sections. Which have the player control Dash as he blasts his way through a level. This game relies on a lock on system instead of manual aim for firefights. Although it can be a issue in certain boss fights for normal encounters it works well. Different collectibles throughout each level can give Dash new weapons like a seeker rocket or the many Rebel challenge icons can give him a extra life.

This Speeder bike does not control well...
This Speeder bike does not control well...

3D platforming is also a mechanic that comes up too. Dash has a solid predictable jump that doesn't feel floaty so it never feels like you will miss a jump unless it is your fault. Vehicle sections like the first Snowspeeder level show up a few times too. They control well enough most of the time except for the speeder bike level that fortunately doesn't require the player to be skillful to succeed.

I can't say I noticed it when this first came out but playing this now made me consider that it is kinda short. Going by the timer at the end of each level I was able to beat Shadows Of The Empire in about 2 hours. Along with it's short length the visuals don't quite hold up as well in the on foot sections. Characters are blockly with every element in the background looking blurry to make up for the horrible draw distance. The overall lack of weapon variety was noticeable as well. 90% of the time I was using the default blaster thanks to the 3 different weapon power ups being so scarce that I ended up saving them for boss encounters.

Most of the screenshots on GB appear to be the PC version. Which gets rid of the blur and the short draw distance issues.
Most of the screenshots on GB appear to be the PC version. Which gets rid of the blur and the short draw distance issues.

None of these problems effected my enjoyment of this game though. Yet I can see how they could effect the value to someone that might want to check this game out today. Which makes it a hard game to recommend. If you willing to look beyond the flaws you will see a fun game that can still be enjoyed by anyone that likes Star Wars. But if you can't see past them it looks like a very dated game with a simplistic gameplay loop that could get boring quick. So my recomend is only valid if you've played this before. If your thinking about playing this game for the first time I don't think you'll enjoy it.

Other reviews for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (Nintendo 64)

    STAR WARS GOLD 0

    Star Wars: Shadows of The Empire despite any backlash from reviewers should be played. This game is one of the most fun of any console game I have yet played and for a STAR WARS title is the best game LucasArts has ever released. The game pits players in a "shadow storyline" which plays behinds the scenes of The Empire Strikes Back and leads upto the events right before the beginning of Return of The Jedi. Players take the role of a smuggler/mercenary Dash Rendar who is similar to (and friends w...

    0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

    Favorite STAR WARS game to date! 0

    Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire opens with an intense Snow Speeder battle on Hoth near Echo Base and I could immediately tell that this game was going to be different.You begin shooting at the ridiculously easy probe droids floating around. Then the AT-ST's enter the battle and you think you've seen it all. Nope! Here come the AT-AT's and your blasters just aren't cutting it. Oh... But what's this? If you come in close you notice that you can fire a grappling line onto the legs of the Imperial ...

    0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

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