A long time ago in a galaxy far far away there was a Star Wars game which was a high-quality title for one of my favourite handheld systems. It blows many GBC or GBA Star Wars games out of the water with its gameplay design and its authenticity. There were three Star Wars games based on the original trilogy released for the Game Boy but this one was definitely the pick of the litter.
Star Wars is based on the original film, also known as ‘A New Hope‘ and follows the plot fairly closely. You play the part of Luke Skywalker and follow his adventures through the treacherous caves of Tatooine as well as the villainous spaceport of Mos Eisley. After avoiding the asteroid shower in the Millennium Falcon, you have to make your way to the Death Star. This involves you blasting down hordes of screaming Tie Fighters with the Falcons gun turret. The end sequence sees Luke climbing into his trusty X-Wing to destroy the Death Star with your Proton Torpedoes.
The sheer range of gameplay styles that are available makes this title such a joy to play. You can drive around Tatooine in the landspeeder, get some platforming action in while traversing the caves at Tatooine. There’s some cool shooting action with the Millennium Falcon and the X-Wing. The final top-down shooter style while navigating the maze-like Death Star level is challenging and fun.
With most multi-style games, the platforming section is usually the weakest. I’m pleased to say that this section is actually one of the best sequences. There are some huge (for the handheld) sections to explore and who doesn’t enjoy running around with a lightsaber? The variety of enemies in this section include fan favourites such as Jawas, Stormtroopers and Bounty Hunters. One of the most novel aspects of the game is that you don’t have to play as just Luke, later in the game you can access Han and Leia. Each character is distinct with their own skills and health bars. The alternative characters don’t have as much health as Luke, so you must be sparing in their use!
The shooting sections are simple, they are a nice break from the fairly tough platforming sections. There is a high emphasis on exploration throughout the game, the flying sections require you to have collected a lot of shields if you have collected enough then its game over. Similarily the end level trench run is almost impossible without having collected R2D2.
The graphics are detailed for a Game Boy title, the platforming sections look the part in terms of the variety in the locations. There’s a great ‘Star Wars feel’ to the overall package and the sprites add to the authenticity of the whole experience. One of the most graphically impressive aspects of the game is the final Death Star run. The detailed ships and scenery are projected well through the monochrome screen.
The John Williams theme makes a Chip Tune appearance and all the laster blasts and sound effects you would expect from a Star Wars title are present. Again everything hammer homes the authentic nature of the game.
Overall I would have to say that this is a great title for the Game Boy. There are a nice variety of gaming styles to keep you entertained with a reasonable difficulty. Unlike its big brother on the SNES, the challenge doesn’t feel impossible, with practice you can persevere. If you are a Star Wars fan, you simply can’t afford to miss this!
A Look back at one of the most beloved movie franchise’s appearances on the Nintendo Game Boy. The Force seems to be strong with this one! Join Luke, Han and Leia as they take on the Empire and seek to destroy the Death Star!
Chris McAuley is a Northern Irish born author, comic book and gaming columnist who has now branched out from talking about comics to helping create them. An acclaimed colourist for 2000 AD and Marvel he has worked on flagship titles such as Judge Dredd, Roy of the Rovers and Hulkverines. Chris also has a commitment to the Indie scene being an inker and colourist for ‘The Lang Way Hame’ a Scottish comic which is tipped for an award later this year. With close ties to heroes of the industry such as the ‘Godfather of British comics’ Pat Mills and Spawn creator Todd McFarlene,