Star Wars Arcade
Sega/Shin Force
Star Wars Arcade

Sega/Shin Force > Systems > Sega Genesis 32X > Games > Star Wars Arcade

Shin Force ~ 32X ~
Star Wars Arcade :: Review
Sega Interactive
20 Megabit
Import / Domestic
Dec. 3, 1994
 (JPN) ¥8,800
Nov. 21, 1994
 (USA) $59.99
Dec. 4, 1994
 (UK) £59.99
1st / 3rd Person
Arcade / Shooter
6 Button
     > Everyone knows I'm a fan of the Star Wars saga.  So when Sega announced Star Wars Arcade would be a launch title for their new 32X (32-bit add-on) for Genesis, I was ecstatic.  Sega AM3 and LucasArts originally collaborated to create this wonderful space flight shooter for the Sega Model 1 arcade board.

     > You most likely know that pushing many polygons smoothly takes a lot more processing power than your average 16-bit console had.  Therefore, Sega's fledgeling 32-bit Genesis 32X was the perfect platform for this Model 1 arcade to home conversion.  Of course in 1994, polygon graphics were not exactly popular in home videogames, even though they were the standard for PC games. This version isn't as pretty as the arcade original, but it blows away just about every other polygon-based home console game of the time.

     > The story is familiar.  You're part of the Rebel Alliance in a civil war against the evil Galactic Empire.  Your goal is to eliminate the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star. Of course, Darth Vader isn't going to just let you waltz into the Death Star's trench and launch a perfectly aimed photon torpedo.

     > Being a long time fan of polygon games, I was immediately drawn to Star Wars Arcade's excellent 3D models, smooth animation and real-time environments. Considering everything that's available on 16-bit consoles, nothing can compare to this game's polygon prowess.  The only game that looks arguably better is Silpheed's pre-rendered, texture mapped backgrounds.  About the only thing that doesn't quite look right is the engine exhaust pipes on the Star Destroyers.  Other than that, no complaints.
     > Since this is an arcade port, I'd give it a perfect translation score in the gameplay and control categories.  However, that's not to say Star Wars Arcade has perfect gameplay.  Your spacecraft is limited in flight -- you can only turn left/right, and pitch up/down about 20 degrees max.  That means you can't roll or do loops.  As a result, the enemy ships can run circles around you while you attempt to kill them all before the timer runs out.  Had you been able to fully control your ship, it would have made this game much less frustrating.  During flight, you'll have to dodge lasers, photon torpedoes, asteroids, Star Destroyers, turrets, and towers.  What makes this game hard is that it's too easy to run out of time before the stupid enemy flies in front of you (so you can finally kill them), because you can't really out-maneuver them in any way, shape or form.
     > Thanks to digitized effects, you'll hear some pretty good renditions of R2-D2, Tie Fighters, capital ships, explosions and weapons fire.  This game even has digitized versions of John Williams' classic soundtrack, straight from the Star Wars saga.  Throw in some digitized voice and you have a great example of what can be done with the 32X module.
     > Star Wars Arcade features the complete original version (4 levels), plus a 32X mode (8 levels), which is enhanced with extended and more challenging levels (yeah, you have to kill even more enemies in the same time limit).  You can elect to play solo or two player (in which player two becomes the gunner).  If you don't kill a prerequisite number of enemies before the timer runs out, you have to start from the beginning of the current level.  You have limited continues as well.  This is a great shooter with a high frustration level.  Given the lacking gameplay, Sega should have allowed you to continue a level from where the timer ran out, and rolled over your remaining time to the next level.
Bottom Line
     > Star Wars Arcade definitely showcases what can be done with the Genesis 32X module, and surely is a worthy addition to anyone's library.  With more realistic flight gameplay, this game could have been much more fun instead of frustrating.  Any chance Sega will port Star Wars Trilogy Arcade to a current console and put a truly enhanced version of this game in there?  We can only hope.
Overall: 8.3 | Graphics: 9.8 | Control: 7.0 | Sound: 9.0 | Fun: 7.5
~ Shinobi ~

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