Monday, December 18, 2017

Super Return of the Jedi (Super NES, 1994)

Luke Skywalker is back, and his lightsaber seems to have doubled in size and changed colors, possibly due to his close proximity to Leia.


I like how Jabba the Hutt is a "vile gangster".

The Empire is building a new Death Star, and this one is going to be even bigger and badder than the first. It isn't finished yet, though.

...who am I kidding, everyone on the planet knows the story already. Let's get on with the game.

Stormtroopers (and commanders, apparently) have the worst job security imaginable.

Of course, before we get into all the rad Rebels Vs. Empire stuff, the first major conflict of this episode is Jabba the Hutt.

This game begins with a fairly crappy landspeeder level. It's crappy because it's FULL of pits, and gets frustrating quickly. It has nothing on the early speeder levels in the other two games that had you in free-roam arenas shooting at enemies. It isn't too difficult for me now, but when I first played this in the 90's I think I gave up during this one. It's a terrible first stage. As a result, this game doesn't have anywhere near the nostalgia for me that the other two have. I played most of Super Empire Strikes Back in the mid-90's and a large amount of Super Star Wars after that. Not this game, though, because I couldn't get past this damn first level.

After that ordeal, the fun begins. For the first time, you can play as Leia. Also, Luke is badder-ass than ever. Chewie. I liked the way the other two games gradually introduced the playable characters so you'd get mileage out of all of them, but I guess having a choice from the get-go is cool.

Luke starts the game with all of his force powers right away, which is pretty sweet. He also has a green lightsaber in this one rather than a blue one. I've always wondered if lightsaber color has anything to do with how powerful it is. Green seems much rarer than blue, while only villains use red. Mace Windu is the only person in the entire saga to use a purple lightsaber, and he was the strongest Jedi according to some sources. Does that mean purple is the most powerful?

Well, by all accounts, the color doesn't have any effect on the strength in the movies. However, some of the later games have a different take on it, with some colors being stronger than others.

I actually like the green lightsaber more than the blue lightsabers of the other games, and it clashes nicely against a lot of the backgrounds.

Here's Luke doing a force-assisted super jump across a huge gap.

The super-speed power is a hell of a lot of fun. The graphics, overall, are much better in this game than the previous two. 1994 was an amazing year for the Super NES.

As is tradition, they really mined the saga for bosses. The first boss is that little door-eye outside Jabba's Palace, now super-sized and taser-emitting.

I play as Bounty Hunter Leia momentarily, but she's super-generic as a character. Longer life meter than Luke, and attacks with a spear, but that's about it. Luke just dominates, so I switch back to him. I'll give Leia another shot once she changes forms.

Luke battles Jabba's orc-guards. Always thought these guys looked cool in the movie, though we didn't see too much of them in action.

Jabba's assistant (aka the guy with the tentacle on his head) attacks at the end of the audience room. You can see frozen Solo in the background there.

"Ooooh! Yeah yeah yeah! I'm feelin' like a star! You can't stop my shine!"

"I'm lovin' Cloud City my head's in the sky!"

Seriously? One of those little toads Jabba ate is the next boss? A super-sized version, of course. The difficulty of the early bosses in this game is a bit lower than the previous two games. On the other hand, the stage layouts are still difficult.

 "I'm Solo! I'm Han Solo!"

More cutscenes. Jabba's Palace just goes on and on for like 40% of this game. It isn't my favorite part of the movies.

Now HERE'S a boss from the movie. The Rancor is a total beast. Luke's life meter is reaching fairly epic levels now.

...and I lose. This fight is no joke. It's great to be fighting the Rancor one-on-one in a Super NES game. It's a little pixelly, but they did what they could.

Time to bring in the newest character: Han Solo. Freshly unfrozen and ready for action! ...ya know, he was still fairly blind at this point in the movie and couldn't have fought his way out of a wet paper bag. It's all good though, because...

"Yeah I'm feeling good tonight! Finally doin' me and it feels so right, oh!"

Han makes the fight MUCH easier, as I blast the Rancor into oblivion from a safer distance.

Back to Luke, as the next stage has us on Jabba's Sail Barge. Here's the first truly difficult boss, some sort of Cthulhu mindflayer-gorilla. It is extremely aggressive and completely whoops me for a while, so it's a good thing Luke can heal.

I switch back to Leia, who now has her slave outfit on. This trilogy is absolutely devoid of sex-appeal 98% of the time, but that 2% where we get Leia cavorting about in this outfit...

"Oh Yeahhhhh."

She has a cool jumping spin-attack that can only be described as Ballerina-esque. Must have inherited that from her mom Natalie Portman, who was once a psychotic ballerina.

The final boss of the first half of the game is Jabba himself. He smacks you constantly with his nearly-unavoidable tail. I gotta say though, wailing on him with Leia's chain is a rad time.



After Leia whips Jabba into submission, the story continues onward to Endor. Time for the "disable the Death Star shield" scenario.

A speeder level follows, but it isn't very good. You spend most of it dodging trees that pretty much come out of nowhere. The Mode 7 levels in this game are pretty awful compared to the other two, for some reason. In this game the Mode 7 levels rely on pits/obstacles to be the player's main concern rather than enemies, which is significantly less enjoyable.

Time for Ewoks. This is something people despise about the game (and the movie, for that matter). I've never minded the Ewoks. They're just the Moogles of this universe. Though their war with the Imperial forces does border on silly at times.

My only option for the next couple stages is to play as Wicket. The good news is that he's interesting to play as.

He's small, slow-moving, ponderous, and attacks with a bow. It's an odd experience. His arrows can be used as platforms to scale walls, which is cool.

Is it weird that the tree city theme from Donkey Kong Country is playing in my head right now? ...yeah, I just like to reference my DKC post every chance I get.

The boss is a droid on a speeder. Wicket ends up in the same "generic character" boat as most of the non-Luke or Slave Leia characters in ths game. No special powers, just a lot of jumping and shooting. His arrows do WAY too much damage, at least. Dude is OP as f****.

Another boss follows soon after. It's... ya know, I have no idea what the hell this thing is.

Back to Luking it up, as Luke heads for the Shield Generator Base. This game is at its best when it lets you play as Luke. He has a variety of abilities that really set him apart.

One of the Terminator-ish regular enemies from the previous game actually gets boss status in this one.

Finally, a decent Mode 7 level, as you fly the Falcon around and shoot TIE Fighters. This stage isn't as good as the Falcon stage in the previous game, but I'm getting redundant. In a way, it's fitting that this game is a bit of a step down, considering so was the movie.

The shield generator interior is a huge stage full of powerful AA cannons. I play as Leia again, now in a rebel outfit. She changes getups a lot. Unfortunately, she's also back to "generic character mode" in that she can't do anything except jump and shoot.

The Shield Generator itself is a boss. I'm noticing more and more that this game is nowhere near as colorful as the previous game, with a dark metallic theme to everything visually. It's hard to really tell the difference between the various "arcs" of this game, wheras the previous game was divided into very clear and memorable areas.

Another Millennium Falcon level! This one is better than the previous one. You fly around the Death Star surface and take out TIE Fighters. It's a lot like the last stages of the first game in the trilogy.

Now Luke is inside the Death Star. As per usual with this trilogy, the final levels are full of tiny platforms and tricky jumps. Since the jump controls aren't that great, it's a bit of a tedious slog.

Luke is on his own for this one. The stage name is ominous, and lets us know what to expect.

The Emperor's personal guards were always super-intriguing to me in Return of the Jedi. You never see them fight (unless you count the similar elite guards in The Last Jedi), and I always wondered what they were capable of. Surely they have some Force powers and whatnot? Well, in this game you find out, as you battle them leading up to the finale. And yeah, they've got powers. They're quite badass (as they should be).

Unfortunately, Episode III kinda ruined these guys by having Yoda walk in, wave his hand, and knock them all out. Uh, okay.

Finally, Vader. This is essentially the same exact fight as the two times you battled him in the previous game. Since Luke is pretty much the same character here, it's nothing new. Block a lot and strike when you can, and the fight is over before long. Invincibility Force ends it a lot quicker.

The Emperor has a tendency of throwing his frontmen under the bus once someone more appealing comes along. He's like the GOP!

This is it, the final battle of the series. And it's a complete doozy. The Emperor hurls lightning bolts all over the place, and they break the floors.

As the fight goes on you end up with very little footing left, so you're constantly watching where you land as well as trying to dodge all the lightning flying around.

Blocking works, at least. It pushes you, though, so woe to you if you're precariously perched.

After killing the Emperor, Luke finds Vader. The feels are strong with this scene.

With that, Vader passes on, and Luke's story is over.

The final "level" is Han Solo escaping from the Death Star after taking out the core. A lot of stuff happened while Luke was busy fighting the Imperial leadership. Even if Luke had failed to defeat the bad guys, the Empire was going down either way. Vice-versa is true too, I think...if the Rebel attack had failed, the Empire would have still been leaderless. Of course, Episode VII and VIII kinda render all of this moot since the Empire just came back way stronger anyway...

This last stage suuuucks, like most of the Mode 7 in this game. It runs a serious risk of ruining the game. It's even worse than the first stage.

You're flying out of the Death Star, dodging pipes and girders that are hard to see, while unavoidable fire creeps up on you. The designers of this game should have realized the last level was a boring pain in the ass and ended things with the Emperor fight.

This is a great scene. Anakin appears as he should, aged, rather than as Hayden Christensen. I actually don't hate that change in the re-releases as much as some people. In a way, it makes sense, since that's how he looked the last time he was pure in any way. However, making such a big change in a re-release of a beloved movie is playing with fire.

We get an ultra-creepy ending screen. Surprised it didn't tell me to Try Brave Mode.

All in all, this game isn't as good as Super Empire Strikes Back, but it might be better than Super Star Wars. There's definitely more to it in gameplay, but it doesn't seem to have as much... I don't know, appeal. Depends on which movie you liked more, I suppose.

This one didn't get a Nintendo Power cover like the other two, surprisingly. It came out in late 1994 which was a zenith of sorts for the Super NES, and likely got buried under a lot of huge game releases at the time.

 I like how it notes that Wicket's arrows do "an amazing amount of damage". No kidding. He's OP as f****!

Hope everyone enjoyed Episode VIII.

"I'm Solo! I'm Han Solo! I'm Han Solo!"


  1. The first stage was really bad, you're right, but I liked this game the most. Having Force powers from the start was great, and the variety in playable characters kept things fresh.

    Shadows of the Empire is indeed fun. A lot of people didn't like it at the time for whatever reason but some of my best memories of the N64 are of that game.

  2. This is the only game in the series I ever got to play on a rental, and I could never get past the first stage.

    Ha, the Emperor fight shares floor destroying with the final boss of Ys.

  3. Jabba's planet really did have a ton of material, so it's good they did so much with it. Looking back I agree that replacing the muppet monsters with CG made the world less alive.

    Sorry to hear they didn't come up with as much character uniqueness. I wonder if there's a Game Genie hack where you can be Luke for every stage.

    The different saber colors have different fighting qualities; I think blue is more defensive and red is more offensive.

    The image-trailing running animation is suh-weeeeet.

    I like the crowd in the foreground of the Bounty Hunter Leia fight.

    The popularity of the Slave Leia costume is kinda weird isn't it?

    Anyway I was just thinking Leia's personality is so much different than the typical "princess" that it really makes her character.

    This night forest scene is spectacular.

    Another "fly out as the base explodes" game: Star Fox 64.

    Glad this final boss is as badass as his reputation too.

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