Virtual Console Wrap-up – 8/24

A couple weeks ago, Super Star Wars surprised us all as the week’s new release for the Virtual Console. This week, its sequel, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, graces the Wii’s download service. Is it as good a sequel as the movie is? Let’s find out!

Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Publisher: JVC
Developer: LucasArts
Original Release Date: 1993
Cost: 800 Wii Points.

Ashe Collins: Wait…We’re getting the sequel a week later? Where’s the wait time? The anticipation? Oh screw it. Just as much fun as Super Star Wars. Collect the whole set!

Guy Desmarais: Highly recommended for Star Wars fans and masochists. It’s the most fun I have had while being frustrated. This applies to the whole series by the way. Except for a few minor introductions to the series, the formula stays the same as in the first installment. It is still well worth your money.

Mark B.: Well, second verse, same as the first; Super Empire Strikes Back, though a better game than Super Star Wars, still isn’t especially good, and time has not been kind to it.

The good news is that the game more or less faithfully re-creates the concepts from the movie to a better extent than the previous game, IE, you’ll fight a giant Wampa, you’ll ride a Taun-Taun, the story more or less follows along with the story of the movie (but no “cave in an asteroid” battle? What’s that all about?), and you’ll recognize events and characters easily enough. The game also offers a little more variety between characters this time around; Luke now has force powers he can use in addition to his lightsaber, Han can throw grenades, and Cherbacca gets a Zangief-esque spinning clothesline he can use to take out enemies. The game also still looks and sounds pretty good for a 16-bit game, just like the last one.

The bad news is that Super Empire Strikes Back is STILL a Nintendo Hard platformer with some awkward driving sequences thrown in. You’ve STILL got your blind jumps, your flying enemies that try to kill you while you’re making precision jumps, your constantly respawning enemies, your bosses that are defeated less by pattern recognition and more by just shooting and hoping for the best, and your character still gets completely nerfed every time you die. The controls are still spotty and the jumping still feels weird. Your character still doesn’t get an invincible moment between hits, so you can still get jacked-up in a corner and cheap-killed. Enemies can still push you around, so landing on a ledge an enemy is on is nearly impossible and enemies will frequently push you off of ledges to your death, just because.

The thing is that if it WEREN’T for the broken mechanics, Super Empire Strikes Back might be a fun game for people who aren’t fans of the franchise and/or nostalgic; the bosses can be challenging and there’s a good variety of enemies, and there’s plenty of different weapons and powers to use and fool around with. But the game is mechanically broken at a base level, and there are about a hundred other, better “hard” platformers on the VC that are hard because the developers knew what they were doing, not because the developers were lazy. Pass.

And the only Wii Ware game released this week is Mr. Driller World, a puzzle game for 800 points. On the DS Download service, we get Pop+ Solo, a puzzle/shooter that sounds like Bust-A-Move. Until next week, let’s hope it’s something good.



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