Thursday, 27 August 2015

SNES game review 88: Super Return of the Jedi

It is an interesting time to be a Star Wars fan. There is a brand new movie starring pretty much all of the actors from the original trilogy plus some new faces coming out this Christmas but there is also a new big Star Wars game Star Wars battlefront to look forward to on PS4, Xbox One and PC. I was reading about a special limited edition PlayStation 4 that is being released featuring a fully customized PlayStation4 and DualShock4 wireless controller inspired by Darth Vader, a copy of Star Wars Battlefront and a voucher containing download codes for four classic Star Wars games Super Star Wars, Star Wars Racer Revenge Star Wars Jedi Starfighter and Star Wars Bounty Hunter. So what has this got to do with reviewing SNES games? Well Super Star Wars is a SNES game, yes I have already reviewed it but it’s still exciting to see it get re-released on a modern format but its more than that it’s the possibilities its release opens up. There were 3 games in the Super Star Wars trilogy as well as a game based on the first three Indiana jones films released so if the one is coming out surly this opens the door for the others. If a SNES game can be released on the PS4 what is to stop SONY approaching other third party developers who had titles out on the SNES and offering them the chance to put them up for sale in SONY’s PlayStation store?

Obviously this excited me but more than that it convinced me it was the perfect time to review another game in the Super Star Wars trilogy, now I know what you’re thinking, Ok he is going to review Super Empire Strikes Back (or at least you would be if I didn’t throw the title of my review up above my review) but there is a certain bitter sweet thing I have to admit here and that is despite the fact that I really love the game and I am a diehard Star Wars fan I don’t actually own a copy of it and as I said I would only be reviewing games I owned and could play on actual physical hardware well yep you’ve guessed it I jumped to the next one Super Return of the Jedi.

Originally I played Super Return of the Jedi very close to its release because an older friend of mine was a diehard star Wars fan, he collected the old figures (as I also did) he had the posters in his room and he waited patiently for more Star Wars be it film or book or game. We had spent so many hours together watching the films, playing the old Atari 2600 games and talking about it that I guess he felt he needed me to be a part of his experience so on the very day he got the game he rushed over and we jumped in to it.

The main thing to take note of about the third and final SNES adaptation of the original Star Wars trilogy is that it is very much more of the same if you have played either Super Star Wars or Super Empire Strikes back then really what you are getting is more of the same. I think there are a lot of tweaks and a lot of layers of polish added to this game in this way it reminds me of another game, I have talked about another third part to a Trilogy and that is Donkey Kong Country 3. You can see clearly in places that the game is more refined than its predecessors but in being a sequel based on what you could call an upgraded engine it wasn’t as original and as hard hitting as the first in the series. People were generally surprised that Super Star Wars was as great as it was but they walked in to Empire and Jedi expecting nothing less. Just like in the case of Donkey Kong country 3 I feel this game was a little bit shadowed by the PlayStation, sure this game came out about five months or so before the PlayStation but it was to some degree shadowed by the new machines hype, I knew people who were busy selling their Super Nintendo stuff in an attempt to be ready to make the jump to the next generation of machines and these people didn’t stop to look at what was coming out in the here and the now.

Much like in Super Star Wars this game has excellent presentation. The game succeeds in recreating the atmosphere of the film just as well as its prequels did, it has all of the same little touches the opening text crawl the wonderful 16bit rendition of John Williams’ classic music there are also areas in where this game excels above and beyond its predecessors. A much larger cartridge was in fact Super Return of the Jedi came on a 16-Megabit cart which is twice the size of the cart used on the original Super Star Wars. The game needed it as well with far more playable characters, more levels and even more effects.

Something a lot of people talk about with this trilogy is the difficulty, they are often referred to as hard games. In fact when it came to the original I think there was a definite issue with its difficulty curve, with the game seeming to have some rather hard levels early on before you had properly gotten to grips with it there was also some climbing in the game where one bad move could see you screaming as the last fifteen minutes of gameplay was torn out from under you and these issues seem a lot less present in Jedi, strangely to me at least it feels like a much easier game.

In conclusion, do I think this is a better game than Super Star Wars and what kind of score do I think it deserves?  This is a tough question to answer as a sequel it is very much a case of bigger better more and that should make me instantly go yes its better so I guess from that point it is yet I don’t think I can give it a higher score or recommend it over Super Star wars so I find myself stuck giving it the same score 8 out of 10. These games are ideal when treated as parts of a bigger whole. If you want to sample this game it is available on the Wii’s virtual console however if you would like a physical copy unless you’re lucky and find it out somewhere in the wilderness you will be looking at paying about £15 to £20 for a loose pal cart or around £40 for a boxed version. There are certainly far worse games you could spend your cash on.

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