Star Wars – Arcade

SW0001A long time ago in an arcade far .. far away ..

“Star Wars has become legend in the movie industry. From the original back in 1977 to the present day and on going, the franchise has been a global phenomenon with merchandise, conventions and even a new religion under the title of ‘Jedi’. It is the videogame released to arcades back in the early 80’s under the microscope here, and Atari certainly did the original movie justice with an absolute classic which had everything the film had to offer, scaled down into a seated cockpit arcade cabinet.
SW0002True to the story line, Your role as Luke Skywalker, is to destroy the deadly Deathstar. A vast spherical space station built by the evil galactic empire, capable of destroying planets, the scene is set for an epic battle between the rebellion and imperial forces. For those of you “aged” enough to remember, the physics or graphics of the game was delivered in a ‘Vector Graphics’ type style, whereby the action was displayed using wire frame technology, or hollow if you will.SW0003Now while this may sound extremely dated and bland, it actually worked perfectly, allowing the sheer speed of inter stellar dogfighting and weeving through industrial trenches within the pilot seat of your X-Wing to be used to full effect. The beginning of the mission pits you against the imperial Tie fighters, patrolling the Death Star. Controlling your ship with a dual gripped pilots joystick, the vessel could be flown up, down, left and right, by raising, lowering and moving the stick in the desired direction. Four mounted laser cannons protrude from each corner of the screen, fired from four separate triggers mounted on the control device, using thumbs and fore fingers to fire the guns.
SW004Moving cross-hairs over targets as they unleash hell on you, the onus is on taking out the energy bolts being fired at you and any tie fighter straying into your path. A good thing your x wing comes with shields because the screen soon becomes filled with a myriad of skilled imperial pilots, each intent on blasting you out the stars, so skill and deadly force are indeed required if you are to progress to the next stage.
SW005“This is red 5 I’m goin’ in!”

The time has come to attack the Death Star. Weaving between huge pillars with mounted turrets and surface weaponry, the outer defences must be destroyed. Again using the cross-hairs to align targets and destroy enemy structures, your skills come into play as the empire throws everything its got in your direction. With the full backing of the soundtrack and ever present panic of R2D2 trying to fix circuits damaged by enemy fire, the atmosphere becomes increasingly tense as the primary target, a small, narrow exhaust port, soon becomes within your reach, that is of course if you are able to successfully navigate the outer rim.

“Use the force Luke”

The final stage of you’re mission begins as the surgical strike requires nothing but concentration, using the force indeed as a trench is entered to begin the final attack run on the exhaust port. With no margin for error you must fly at maximum speed to avoid the imperial fighters honing in on your position, if that were the only threat, as sprawling metallic catwalks and pipelines must be avoided to save shields and laser turrets hurling projectiles at you requiring your full attention if you are to reach you’re goal and fulfil You’re destiny. Soon enough, if indeed you survive, the narrow port comes into view. It’s here you must be fully alert as one fatal error can leave the mission a complete disaster so “Use the force”!

Firing two torpedo’s into the vent with precision timing is essential to the destruction of the Death Star and thwarting the incideous plans of the empire.

“Great shot kid, that was one in a million!”

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As far as any movie licence, videogame crossover goes, Star Wars was indeed one in a million and a classic which is still talked about to this day and deserves full credit for being one of the greatest arcade games ever made.

Review by Rob Joy.