Sunday, January 11, 2015

Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back for NES (1992)

Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back for NES advertisement
Original ad published in the May 1922 edition of GamePro

Historical Background & Graphical Analysis 

A beautiful piece of artwork for a very mediocre platformer. Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back for NES (1992) was released at very end of the lifetime of Nintendo's 8-bit system and produced little to no effect upon the millions of gamers who had already migrated to Sega's Genesis or the Super NES. The game was hard, the music terrible, as well as the gameplay. 

But the worst part of this video game what that it trashed the stellar reputation of the best Star Wars film to date (and yes, I'm including the prequels). A whole generation of gamers never had a decent Empire experience on any console. You had to go back, way back to the Atari 2600 to play a fun Empire game. Or, if you were fortunate enough, wait one more year and buy the fantastic Star Wars X-Wing (1993) for the PC/DOS. For the NES there was nothing and, indeed, never would the console see a good Star Wars release (the Super NES corrected this).

At least Lucasfilm Games were compassionate--or savvy--enough to display magnificent artwork in their print ads. It's clear they borrowed the style of Ralph McQuarrie, original Star War's concept illustrator, for this particular artwork.  McQuarrie's style is iconic. A good choice for an otherwise weak game.

Original print ad copy:

Your Job: Leave The Imperial Walkers
As Twisted As The Empire That Created Them

Venture into the Empire and in blinding succession you'll battle these masterworks of treachery: Imperial Probe Droids, Stormtroopers and the nightmarish monuments to cruelty, Imperial Walkers. At your disposal will be a wild tauntaun on the ice fields of Hoth. Then, escape in an X-Wing fighter to Dagobah , home of the Jedi Master Yoda. Only he can show you the ways of the Force. Finally, you will be prepared for combat with Darth Vader in the Cloud City. Expect the most brutal  test of your skills. Take the controls. Now.

  • Dodge the attack of the Imperial Walker
  • Learn the ways of the Force with Yoda
  • Battle your way to Cloud City for the showdown
  • Defeat the wampas in the ice caves

1 comment:

  1. I have an original poster of just the background art -


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