Super Empire Strikes Back!

Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

May the Fourth be with you! For my first Retro Redux, landing on this day of all days, I decided to hit up one of the first Star Wars games of yore that comes to mind – Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, otherwise known as Super Empire Strikes Back. Super Empire Strikes Back was released in North America in June of 1993 for the SNES, developed by LucasArts. If I had to describe this game in a single word, it would be hard. Really fucking hard. How hard you ask? Harder than watching Mr. Nanny, harder than Dick Cheney’s arteries, and even hard than my flesh flute while watching Mr. Nanny.

Mr Nanny

Hogan is sooo damn hot in that tutu.

I’ve played this game on and off since I was a child, and despite all that I tried, I lost my virginity before I managed to beat this game; which is quite a feat considering that I am fat, ugly and socially awkward. In fact, to date I have only beat this game with cheat codes, and even with cheat codes, the game is more challenging than washing herpes off with Ajax. So, let’s put away the crude sexual references, and let’s get down. To the game that is. You pervert.

The game opens up with what looks to be a movie poster in pixel art form, and a great rendition of “The Imperial March” as only the SNES could deliver. In fact, the entire game is full of authentic Star Wars music remade wonderfully for the console. The whole game loosely follows that of the movie, and you can tell that, even with the technological limitations of its time, the developers really tried to give the game a movie feel. To demonstrate just that, when you start the game you get the iconic text crawl of Star Wars, but due to the system’s lack of anti-aliasing abilities, you get what looks like distant paragraphs written in webdings font.

Super Empire Strikes Back Text

Reading this is nearly as difficult as the game.

You immediately start in the same manner as the movie, where the empire has sent probes to the surface of Hoth in search of the rebellion. Our hero, Luke, spies their crash landings and proceeds to check it out. Now begins your run-and-gun adventure through the nine layers of Hell, as you frantically make your way across Hoth’s icy surface while enemies literally attack you from every direction. Progress from left to right can be slow going, as enemies will spawn nearly as fast as you can swing your lightsaber at them. As you hack and slash your way through enemies, you’ll find various power-ups that don’t do a whole lot to help you in your hopeless battle, but you better fucking grab them anyways if you want the slightest chance of success. It’s not long into this first level that you grab a tauntaun, the big horned kangaroo like thing that you probably remember Han Solo disemboweling to save Luke from frost bite.

Super Empire Strikes Back Tauntaun

The main benefit of the Tauntaun is a large health pool; it’s really a hinderance otherwise as many enemies are so short.

Luckily, the game does give you some difficulty options, and I recommend playing this game on easy unless you are fucking insane. On top of that, you got a few more options than the game’s predecessor, Super Star Wars, as Luke now can use the blaster, the light saber (which can deflect projectiles this time!) and eventually, force powers. Later in the game you even get to play as Han Solo and Chewbacca – I promise there are levels after the hellish fuck hole that is Hoth. Hell, there are even some good Mode 7 pseudo-3D vehicle levels, such as driving a snow speeder, the Millennium Falcon or an X-Wing. Holy fuck do you have to work for it though.

Super Empire Strikes Back X-Wing

For the SNES, this was… most impressive.

Playing as Chewie and Han aren’t too terribly different from playing as Luke; it’s still the same run-and-gun side scroller with some platform elements. However, the weapons that they have available, such as Han’s grenades, do change up the pace a bit. If you can make headway in the game, you’ll adventure to locations like Dagobah (the swamp planet that Luke finds Yoda on), and the Cloud City where everyone’s favorite Lando Calrissian resides. And yes, the boss of the game is Darth Vader, and you fight him in the Cloud City reactor just the same as in the movie. Vader’s difficulty lives up to his reputation, where you dance between phases of lightsaber battle and dodging force-thrown debris.

Super Empire Strikes Back Vader

This is a damn fun boss fight, regardless of difficulty.

Overall, if you could hang with the extreme difficulty that the game threw at you, it was a great game that provided a variety of levels, play styles, great music and franchise-faithful art. If you haven’t played Super Empire Strikes Back yet, you should definitely buy the cartridge for your collection, or get the VMware version on your Wii. Of course, grabbing a ROM is an easy option too, but *cough cough* we don’t condone that here at Good Ole Gamers because it’s not quite legal. Eh, you know what? Fuck that, we do condone it, we just won’t provide you the fucking means for it. Fuck you laws.

Good Ole Score: 7 out of 10.

Good Ole Score: 7 out of 10.


  • Ball busting difficulty.
  • Great music and art.
  • Variety of playstyles.
  • Good use of “Mode 7” semi-3D.


  • Power-ups aren’t explained well in the game – not that it matters.
  • The game is prone to experiencing some slowdowns, but many games on the system had this problem.


  • Ball busting difficulty.
  • Some things, such as the iconic text crawl, were poorly executed.