Super Star Wars Review

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Title: Super Star Wars
Developer: Disney Interactive, Lucasfilm
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download:  41 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital

EU Availability: Unavailable
PSTV Support: Yes

This week was official Star Wars week in the gaming world.  That’s what everyone would like you to believe, anyways.  It’s Star Wars Week because the Star Wars Battlefront reboot came out this past Tuesday.  Some people are excited and some are not.  I have no question that I’ll play it when I get a PS4, but I can’t help but feel a little let down at EA removing space battles from the reboot, not to mention not including any sort of story campaign.

But we’re not here to talk about the Battlefront series.  I’ve already reviewed all of the handheld games of that series!  I recently did a 3DS retro review on LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga.  So, let’s talk about more Star Wars on the PS Vita.  A new Star Wars game released this week, playable on both the PS4, PS Vita, and the Vita TV.  Here is my review of the Super Nintendo classic reborn, Super Star Wars!

Story

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Super Star Wars loosely follows the events of the first Star Wars movie.  By first, I mean the first that released in theaters.  Episode IV: A New Hope.  It follows the same events as the movie, but it changes things up a bit to coincide with how its levels are played out.  For example, in the beginning, Luke doesn’t buy C-3PO and R2-D2 from the Jawas.  He finds 3PO out in the forest and then travels with him to rescue R2 from the Jawa Sandcrawler.  Most of the events are the same, but some of them have been altered a bit.

Needless to say, the story isn’t too bad.  It’s clear that fans of the movie will appreciate it the most, since this isn’t a game for long and detailed scenes.  You basically get a couple short scenes at the end of each level and then you’re sent to the next level.

One thing I’ll note is that this is only Super Star Wars.  Super Empire Strikes Back and Super Return of the Jedi are not included in this.  I figured it was worth mentioning as I’ve seen a lot of people talking about it and asking about it.  This is only the first game based around A New Hope.

Gameplay

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Super Star Wars’ base gameplay has not been altered in its refresh, all of 23 years after its initial release.  It is a 2D side-scrolling platformer with combat elements thrown into the mix.  There are also some other elements, such as 3D flying and driving in certain stages.  But, overall, it’s a 2D combat platformer.

The game plays out in stages, which are played in order from start to finish.  There are 2 different types of stages.  The first type of stage is the side-scrolling stage.  This has you controlling Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, or Chewbacca as they travel across an environment, gunning and slashing their way through enemies on the way to a boss fight to end the stage.

With how fast-paced the combat it, is almost feels like a 2D shooting game.  Your main weapon is a blaster, with Luke gaining a Lightsaber later on in the game.  You shoot at enemies that are on the ground, in the air, on platforms, and any other place they can be placed.  Defeating enemies will net you a health item to restore your health as well as a possible item drop.  Item drops can be blaster upgrades (flame rounds, homing missiles, ion cannon, etc), thermal detonators to wipe out all enemies on screen, or Health Swords that increase your maximum health.

The other type of stage is the driving and flying stages.  These have you traveling across a 3D environment in the vein of the original Star Fox, shooting down a number of enemies that are coming towards you and moving towards the next area.  There are certain factors in these areas, too, such as picking up fuel to keep going or switching to a more first-person-shooter screen in one of the final missions to shoot down starships that are attacking you.  These are definitely among the most fun levels in the game.

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Boss fights are typical boss fights from platformers of this era.  You get to a boss at the end of a stage and must learn intricate attack patterns in order to wipe them out.  Some bosses are easy, while others are very hard to maneuver around.  I had a hard time on the very first boss of the game, and still have a lot of trouble with some of the later bosses when I replay the game again, even though I’ve already learned their basic attack patterns.

This brings about the game’s difficulty.  The Super Star Wars games were known for being tough as nails, and they still are.  With how the levels are set up, tied with how fast-paced the game is at times, it is not an easy game to play.  Even if you tone the game down to the Easy difficulty, it still tests and challenges you from start to finish.  I won’t go as far as to say it’s the hardest platformer out there, but it’s among the top choices.

To make this more manageable, Disney Interactive incorporated a new Save and Load feature in the game.  This lets you save your game whenever you’re at the pause menu, essentially like a save state system.  This feature also uploads your save data to PSN automatically, and only saves it locally to your memory card if you aren’t on Wi-Fi.

The save system is nice, but it’s still got a bit of a fault in it.  Most of the time when you save, it’s pretty quick.  Other times, it is not.  For saving that started at around 3 seconds per save, some levels take up to 7-10 seconds to save.  Another thing to note is that when you’re offline, it will constantly bring up that “Connecting to PSN” window, even if it knows you’re offline and you’re just trying to load a local save.  It does it every time you save and every time you load.  So, if you plan on playing this on the go, you’re in for an annoyance with that.

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One last thing I want to say that nostalgic gamers will want to know.  I can confirm that pretty much all of the cheat codes from the Super Nintendo version of the game are in this game.  So, if you still have those codes, you can easily go into Sound Test, Debug Mode, Start with the Lightsaber, among other cheats.  You just translate the SNES buttons into Vita buttons.  A to Circle.  B to X.  X to Triangle.  Y to Square.  However, activating cheats will disable PSN Trophies from unlocking.

As far as length is concerned, you’re not in for a long trek.  Super Star Wars is only 1-2 hours in length.  You can give it a little more time for learning the difficulty curve, but length is one of the things that I’ve seen make people question the pricing.  I had a lot of fun with the game, but not everyone would want to chuck out ten bucks for a 2 hour Super Nintendo game.

Controls

The controls work quite well and they’ve optimized controls for use on the PlayStation TV.  To give a better explanation, they’ve redirected the L1 and R1 controls to L2 and R2.  If you recall, Disney also did this with the PS Vita version of Disney Infinity.

Controls transition quite well, a clear benefit of the Vita/PS4 having a similar basic control outline as the SNES.  The D-Pad and Analog Stick are used for moving.  The L and R triggers are used to moving the camera up and down to look where you’re moving to.  X is used to jump and Square to fire your equipped weapon.  Triangle is used to activate a special weapon, like Thermal Detonators.  Finally, Circle is used to change your weapon, if you’re using Luke.

They work quite well and you can even go into the options menu and customize the control scheme however you want.

Presentation

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The visual presentation was a little sketchy when I first started the game.  On the initial booting of the game, you see the game in its original resolution with a bunch of borders around the game.  No one likes borders.  So, they included different zoom options, and there’s an option to go full-screen with the game.  There are also Filter options.  I suggest moving it to Crisp as that makes the game look crystal clear and show a very nice transition from the Super Nintendo to the Vita.

Performance is nicely done, overall.  It plays just as well as the original game did, other than the saving annoyances I mentioned in the Gameplay section.  Everything is restored and is just as it was when the game initially released.

Summary

Super Star Wars is a successful port of the Super Nintendo game to the Vita and PSTV.  The game is mostly without issues, but in the end, you must ask your inner Star Wars fan whether or not you wish to spend $10 for a 2-hour SNES game.   If you do, you’re in for a fun and challenging ride.  A short one, but fun, nonetheless. 

8/10

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