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.