Old 90s games – The Star Wars film series has had video game spin-offs nearly since its inception. The first crude adaptation was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the Atari 2600 back in 1982.
But the best classic Star Wars video games didn’t arrive until the 1990s, when LucasArts would pioneer platform, simulation, and arcade-style titles for the franchise. As technology improved, these types of gameplay would merge in the Star Wars video games of the 2000s.
Star Wars Video Games for Classic Consoles
The early 1990s, the old 90s games, saw a boom in the development of Star Wars video games, coinciding with the beginning of the Star Wars expanded universe. New Star Wars platform games, based on the original trilogy, were licensed for the major systems of the era, including the NES, Sega Master System, and Game Boy.
Arguably the best Star Wars platformer was Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1993). Super Empire was one of the first old 90s games to get a making-of preview in Nintendo Power magazine, and struck the right balance between gameplay and graphics in the acclaimed Super Star Wars series for SNES.
Classic Star Wars Computer Games
Meanwhile, the development of simulation-style Star Wars games began on the PC and Mac. The most successful of these early titles was X-Wing (1993), which allowed gamers to engage in 3D space dogfights inside craft from the Star Wars movies.
X-Wing spawned many sequels and expansions, such as B-Wing (1993), TIE Fighter (1994), and, perhaps inevitably, Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (1997).
Star Wars games on home computers also pioneered the use of Jedi powers. Dark Forces (1995), a successful but derivative first-person shooter, starred the force-sensitive mercenary Kyle Katarn. Playing as Katarn in the sequels Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight (1997), Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (2002), and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (2003) all allowed gamers to wield lightsabers and use the Force.
Vintage arcade games – Star Wars
As consoles improved in the late 1990s, Star Wars games also explored arcade-style gameplay. Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (1996) for the Nintendo 64 featured both first-person shooting levels and starfighter combat missions in a new story set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (1998), also for the N64, shifted from the simulation of the X-Wing series to a more arcade-based style of vehicular combat. Rogue Squadron’s sequels, Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader (2001) and Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike (2003), continued the successful format on the next-generation Nintendo GameCube.
The Influence of Classic Star Wars Video Games
As more and more sophisticated gameplay became possible in the 2000s, these vintage arcade games paved the way for others.
The Star Wars: Battlefront series combined first-person combat from Dark Forces and arcade-style gameplay from the Rogue Squadron series. In fact, Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike had experimented with a cruder mix of those two play styles.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed returned to the more linear gameplay of the Star Wars platform games, while using the power of newer consoles, such as the XBox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii, to add the spectacular Force powers featured in the Jedi Knight computer games.
Since The Force Unleashed now has its own sequel in the works, the influence of classic Star Wars video games will continue into the next decade.
Lego Star Wars II
Whether your childhood dream was to be Han Solo, Princess Leia, or even the whiny Luke Skywalker, all your light saber fantasies will come true in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. Lego Star Wars II, the second part to Lego Star Wars I, is rated E for Everyone and is a one to two player game for Xbox, Gamecube, PS2, and other video game platforms.
Mos Eisley Cantina
You begin your journey in the Mos Eisley Cantina, Han Solo’s seedy hangout. Player one is the hip tossing Princess Leia and player two is Captain Antilles. From the cantina you will be able to play the 6 chapters in each of the Star Wars episodes: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.
As you play through each chapter in story mode you will be given new characters. These characters range from C-3PO to R2-D2 and Lando to Darth Vader. As you collect more studs you will be able to buy more characters at the cantina bar. You can purchase bounty hunters, Stormtroopers, the ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Skywalker’s father, and other characters.
You can also customize the characters that float in the bacta tanks in Mos Eisley. You can go with the already created Princess Dave or you can put Darth Vader’s head on the sexy Princess Leia body from Return of the Jedi.
The humor in Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy borderlines on the blasphemous (for those who take the Star Wars mythology seriously). You will get to blast the arms and one leg off of C-3PO and leave him with only the use of his head to bang open the consoles at the doors. You will also come across Stormtroopers wearing only their helmet and undies. Sometimes the Stormtroopers are taking a bath and other times they are just jogging in their undies for the heck of it. There is also the over confident Princess Leia. Whenever a Stormtrooper, or anyone else for that matter, gets too close to her during battle she puts away her blaster and starts slapping her opponent to Lego bits. Chewbacca, on the other hand, will rip the arms off Stormtroopers if he gets too close to them.
Nonstop Fun and Addiction
Once you start playing Lego Star Wars II you will find it is nearly impossible to stop. The game is addictive. There’s so much to do, from playing story mode to free play with your favorite characters, to finding all the mini kits and power bricks that unlock extra features (such as invincibility). You simply won’t be able to get enough of this popular video game.
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