Mean Machines

Star Wars
Nintendo (US Version)

Published in Mean Machines #16

Star Wars

The galaxy is being ripped apart by civil war! Striking from a hidden base, a huge organisation of rebels are launching attacks against the Imperial Empire - a force of evil threatening to consume the entire cosmos!

To make their conquest of the stars complete, the Empire have created the dreaded Death Star - a space station of immeasurable proportions with the most powerful weapons systems ever devised. With this planet-destroying tool at their disposal, the Empire aspire to rid the stars of the Rebellion once and for all and have a lot of evil fun and diabolical laughter into the bargain.

But the Empire's plans are not foolproof. Using her position in the Imperial Senate for cover. Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan has stolen the blueprints for the mighty space station and secreted them in the memory circuits or a certain R2 unit.

Star Wars

The Empire caught up with Leia and now have her held hostage in the Death Star. However, the R2 unit along with its translator droid counterpart reached an escape pod and jettisoned off to the desert world of Tatooine, where they became the property of someone by the name of Mr. Luke Skywalker.

The Empire, however, want their blueprints back...

Following The Plot

Star Wars follows the plot of the massive movie pretty closely, with all the situations and scenes of the movie present. In this Mean Machines review, we've crammed the pages full of scenes from the game, and according to the i-game percentage meter, this is only 55% of the whole thing!

Star Wars

1. Landspeeder Laffs You start the game in Luke's T-16 Landspeeder, shooting around an eight-way scrolling landscape representing the desert land of Tatooine. Watch out Tusken Raiders and their Banthas, along with Imperial Spy Satellites and laser outposts. Contact with these is very painful.

2. Pot-Holing For Fun Entering one of Tatooine's many caves propels Luke into a side-on eight-way scrolling environment. The aim here is to reach the exit (helpfully marked by a flashing Exit sign) after collecting the useful items contained therein (like blasters, energy pods and shields for the Millennium Falcon). Tusken Raiders, mercenaries and Womp Rats inhabit the caves looking for the ingredients of a nice Skywalker-on-toast meal, so watch out!

3. Sandcrawler Ahoy! The Jawas have R2-D2 held captive in their sprawling sandcrawler. It's Luke's job to get him back and then deliver him to Obi-Wan Kenobi. However, the Jawas have other ideas, which generally involve blasting Luke with the blaster-like objects secreted on their persons.

Star Wars

4. Cantina Action The Cantina in Mos Eisley is a dangerous place. Bounty Hunters and other riff-raff infest the environs, just looking for someone like Luke to kill. Survive, and the friendship of Han Solo is yours - and you'll need him to complete your mission.

5. Docking Bay 94 Reaching Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon, is made all the more difficult owing to the fact that Mos Eisley is infested with Bounty Hunters and Storm Troopers. Overcome these hazards, and you're free to blast off in the fastest ship in the quadrant!

6. The Death Star! Alderaan has been destroyed by the Death Star, which captures the Millennium Falcon and its occupants. However, our heroes escape, determined to find a way to close down the tractor beam holding the Falcon. R2-D2 patches into the Imperial Network, allowing you to bring up a map of the Death Star at will. It also helps you locate the imprisoned Princess Leia.

Star Wars

7. The Tractor Beam This screen shows the tractor beam generator holding the Millennium Falcon. It's our heroes' job to hit the weak spot in the top centre of the generator several times. Those laser bolts streaking about make things rather more difficult.

8. The Trash Compactor Misery be! Not only are the heroes trapped inside a trash compactor, they've also got company in the form of a highly dangerous, er, thing.

9. Escape From The Death Star! Having escaped from the Death Star, the heroes are now beating a retreat in the Millennium Falcon. Tie Fighters have been dispatched to bring them back, and you've got to shoot them down.

Star Wars

10. The Battle Above The Death Star Having reached the safety of the rebel base on the fourth moon of Jarvin, Luke is drafted into the attack on the Death Star. This long and very tough sequence is a 3D shoot-'em-up viewed out of the window of the X-Wing.

The Force Is Strong In These Ones

Once recruited, each hero in Star Wars can be selected at will (by pressing the Select button). Each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. Only Luke, Han and Leia actually see action in the platform sections of the game. The rest are just selected for individual skills:

1. Luke Skywalker Luke has great strength and agility, and although he only wields a low-power blaster, his light sabre is very powerful indeed. Indeed, it kills all foes with one hit as well as shields him from blaster shots. He's the team leader, so keeping him alive is a top priority.

Star Wars

2. Han Solo Found in a seedy cantina in Mos Eisley, the incorrigible rogue and captain of the Millennium Falcon has speed and agility equal to Luke Skywalker. However, he's more suited for a pitched blaster battle, owing to his high-power sidearm.

3. Princess Leia Once rescued from the detention area of the Death Star, Leia is an instantly valuable member of the team. Her blaster is slightly more powerful than Luke's and her speed and agility are unrivalled, allowing the royal one to reach places Luke and Han have difficulty getting to.

4. C3-PO This translator droid has no active part in the game. Instead, C3-PO serves to translate R2-D2's unintelligible digital mutterings. His scanners come in handy for locating R2-D2 at the beginning of the game, otherwise he just begs not to be deactivated all the time.

Star Wars

5. R2-D2 R2-D2 starts the game as a captive of the Jawas on Tatooine. Once liberated, he's invaluable to the team since he can interface with any computer system - even the Death Star's! R2-D2 also carries the plans necessary to destroy the Death Star in the final part of the game.

6. Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi Found in the sandy wastes of Tatooine, Obi-Wan is a master of the Force and can even use its strange and mysterious powers to resurrect the dead! However, use this bizarre facility too much and Ben starts to "sense a disturbance in the Force", which negates his powers.


Star Wars is one of my all-time favourite films, so I was keenly anticipating this and I'm happy to say it doesn't disappoint in the slightest.

Star Wars

Before you ask, it's not a conversion of the coin-op but is instead an original game based on the film, and, boy, is it massive! The bulk of the action is platform-based, as Luke first assembles the team and then moves to the Death Star to rescue Leia.

There are also 3D sections, including negotiating an asteroid storm in the Millennium Falcon, shooting down the pursuing Tie Fighters as you escape from the Death Star, the final battle above the Death Star in the X-Wing and the spectacular trench run sequence!

The gameplay is just brilliant. It's tough, but amazingly addictive. You seem to progress a little further each time, so you keep on going back to see what's around the next corner. The graphics are also excellent, with small, but nicely detailed sprites, great 3D sequences and stunning still and intermission screens.

Star Wars

The sound consists of a whole bunch of instantly recognisable tunes. Star Wars is one of the best Nintendo games yet seen - I can't wait for The Empire Strikes Back!


Star Wars is the best Nintendo game since Mario III! The first thing to hit you about this game is its sheer size - even the first level, the desert world of Tatooine is vast, with huge caves to explore.

Later on the game's even bigger - you really believe that the Death Star is the size of a small moon! The graphics on every level are excellently defined, with instantly recognisable backdrops and sprites.

Star Wars

The sound is brill too, with tunes lifted straight from the movie (even each character has his or her own tune!).

The effects are superb as well - the throbbing hum of the light sabre has been captured perfectly! Special mention must go to the ground-breaking, drool-inducing 3D sections - you won't believe that a Nintendo game could look so good!

The game's a toughie too - after days of non-stop exhaustive play, the Mean Machines lot could only see just over half of the game! Make no bones about it, Star Wars is completely brilliant. Get the message?


Star Wars

Presentation 94%
Superb! Great presentation throughout, the highlight being the brilliant cameo pics of each major character.

Graphics 95%
Small but superlative sprites and backdrops that are very close to the original film! The 3D sections are just mind-blowing!

Sound 88%
Star Wars has tunes and effects very close to the blockbuster film's. Even the blaster noises are spot-on!

Star Wars

Playability 96%
Both the platform and 3D sections are very tough indeed, but watch out, Star Wars also has almost dangerously addictive qualities!

Lastability 94%
It takes ages to see all the treats Star Wars has in store, and because it's tough you'll be at the NES for many moons!

Overall 95%
The best console film tie-in yet seen, Star Wars is the best thing since Super Mario Bros III!