Forums - Gaming Discussion - Retro talk: SW: Shadows of the Empire

SW: Shadows of the Empire (N64): Overrated? Underrated?

Overrated 0 0.00%
 
Underrated 4 50.00%
 
Justly Rated 3 37.50%
 
Never played it 1 12.50%
 
Total:8

Even on its hey day Star Wars Shadows of The Empire (based on the excellent novel by the same name) was a mediocre game. It was a 5-6/10 game, a 7 if you were generous, but to the 12 year old me it was a fantastic ride. It was (after Mario 64) the game that validated my decision to sell my PS1 at a bargain price in order to have my mom buy me an N64 as a Christmas gift ( as she helped me pay the remaining sum for it). I would later get another PS1 at the beginning of 1998 for FFVII, but that’s another story for another day.

Shadows was my second N64 game, and considering that my experience with the PS1 until that point consisted of Tekken, Ace Combat, Crash Bandicoot and Descent; I was mind blown by the game. Needless to say I was impressed by the smooth, and realistic graphics crunched by the early N64 title. The Hoth battle was an eye opening experience, and the subsequent escape from Echo base mission provided a satisfying shooting scenario which quenched my thirst for 3D exploration at the time. 

Tagging along with my then 9 year old year old cousin we spent more hours than we should have making Wompas fight each other and betting on a winner. We Marveled at the illusion that our enemies had some sort of mind (AI) of their own and would fight each other instead of just attacking Dash Rendar (our protagonist). 

It was a great time to be a gamer during the early days of 3-D and in my experience at least SotE was one of the reasons for it. However after the epic Gall Space port level, and its jet packing fun; the levels turned into a repetitive mess. As I got older I would come to easily see its flaws, aside from its repetitive level design, the shooting was pretty clunky as were the overall 3rd person controls.

Star Wars Shadows of the Empire tried to mix different gameplay styles into one package, and that might have been its biggest shortcoming. All in all my 12 year old self loved the game,  and it provided the N64 with the type of game that wasn’t possible on competing hardware (save for PC), which is what launch, or near launch titles were about in that era. The game helped convert me into a SW fan and I still own the cartridge copy of it. 

 

What was you experience with the game? Is Shadows of the Empire Overrated? Underrated? In your opinion. Did it get fair scores at the time of its release?

IMO the game has gotten its just due, remembered fondly by most kids of the time. In the end it got the right review scores. Mario 64 was such a revelation that a flawed, clunky yet spectacular at times game like Shadows of the Empire was bound to disappoint the critics of the era.



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I really need to replay it. It's been so long.

I really enjoyed it in 1996, though. Played it on multiple difficulty levels, trying to find all the challenge points (including the fun Easter egg one). As a fan of the book, and Star Wars in general, it really clicked for me, despite some clunky controls.



Veknoid_Outcast said:
I really need to replay it. It's been so long.

I really enjoyed it in 1996, though. Played it on multiple difficulty levels, trying to find all the challenge points (including the fun Easter egg one). As a fan of the book, and Star Wars in general, it really clicked for me, despite some clunky controls.

Agreed. I actually read the book afterwards. The game had that Castlevania 64 feel to a degree that people say today that it has aged badly but at the time of their release they were solid experiences especially Castlevania.



I only remember Shadows of The Empire because my dad rented and played the N64 version. He couldn't make it past the train level. -_-



CaptainExplosion said:
I only remember Shadows of The Empire because my dad rented and played the N64 version. He couldn't make it past the train level. -_-

That was old Martell I believe. That level was hellish the controls didn't help, but I was 12 had all the time in the world lol. The boss fight after the train was kind of tough also. I think I had a pulse gun that dealed a lot of damage to the Android.



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Aside from the, at the time, brilliant Battle Of Hoth level that kicked the game off, it was a pretty big letdown for me. Like most of the early N64 software not named Waverace or Super Mario 64. Not terrible or anything, just average. As for the comparison of SW:SOTE to early PS games like Tekken, Ace Combat, Crash Bandicoot, and Descent, with SOTE being seen as something mind blowing in contrast, I'll just say I disagree with you on all of those save for Descent, and I don't think it was much better than even that game. I was older than you at the time of SOTE's release though, so that age difference is likely playing a factor here. Rated juuuust right for the most part. Overhyped though.



Chinese food for breakfast

 

COKTOE said:
Aside from the, at the time, brilliant Battle Of Hoth level that kicked the game off, it was a pretty big letdown for me. Like most of the early N64 software not named Waverace or Super Mario 64. Not terrible or anything, just average. As for the comparison of SW:SOTE to early PS games like Tekken, Ace Combat, Crash Bandicoot, and Descent, with SOTE being seen as something mind blowing in contrast, I'll just say I disagree with you on all of those save for Descent, and I don't think it was much better than even that game. I was older than you at the time of SOTE's release though, so that age difference is likely playing a factor here. Rated juuuust right for the most part. Overhyped though.

I agree, in the end Tekken, and Crash Bandicoot aged better and were better games. I just didn't think those 4 games amounted to the 3-D experience I was looking for at that time which Mario 64 and SotE provided. But being 12 at the time I did Overrate SotE because I was taken aback by the large 3-D areas. I was mind blown by the moody visuals. I didn't appreciate Crash's tunnel like levels at the time. I will admit that I was biased against Crash because my cousin had an N64 with Mario running in it at launch and I felt cheated by Crash lol So I used to play it with regret that I went for Sony's machine instead of Waiting for an N64. It was the tipping point that forced me to sell my system. I agree it got the magazine scores it deserved. 



I have good memories playing and beating the game.. even then the game felt unresponsive and slow but i played worse so it didnt really bother me.



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kljesta64 said:
I have good memories playing and beating the game.. even then the game felt unresponsive and slow but i played worse so it didnt really bother me.

It was as big a fight with the controls as it was with Boba Fett lol. The bike racing and the train hoping was an excercise in patience.



Shadows of the Empire kicked *ss. That’s all I have to say really, it was one of my favorite N64 games.