outrider

Shadows of the Empire

Shadows of the Empire

Developer: Lucasarts

Publisher: Lucastars

1996

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (shorter form: SotE) is a 1996 third-person shooter video game, developed by LucasArts. So this TPS is not a modern piece, still it is very exciting, a real fun with a gripping story. It was one of the first games made available for the Nintendo 64. A version for Windows 95 was released a year later. Shadows of the Empire was the third top-selling Nintendo 64 game for 1997.

In the game, the player controls the mercenary In the game the tasks are often heroic, sublime, and we often feel like we can influence somehow the events which are known from the films, and we are part of the Galactic Civil War. Some parts of the game are fictive, but many episodes are connected with the movies, so SotE is a well accepted Expanded Universe supplementary of the Star Wars Saga. The work on Shadows of the Empire project started in late 1994 with the idea of making a side story to the movies. After dismissing the use of the main characters from the movies as the star of the new game (which gave the developers more freedom with the game and story) they built on a minor character from the book, Dash Rendar. Rendar is a character with many similarities to Han Solo, and who also owns a ship that closely resembles the Millennium Falcon named the Outrider. According to the opinions of the gamers and the developers, the story created its own saga, not only in the game, but later in books, comics, and other stuff. The Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire multimedia project now takes place as a backstory between Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi as an almost real background story.

 

Story

The story begins shortly before the battle of Hoth, as hotshot smuggler and mercenary Dash Rendar with his droid co-pilot Leebo arrive at Hoth to deliver the usual food supplies to the secret Rebel base there; along with some assault blasters for Princess Leia Organa. When he docks in the hangar, he is surprised to run into Han Solo, who had become involved with the Rebellion since their last meeting. And Han seems to be more involved with the rebellion than they previously planned. They were willing to sell them things, help them for money, but never planned to join them. And Solo is now kind of a leader. But Han plans to leave them now, visiting Jabba, paying out his debts, but the Imperial fleet surrounds the planet, and attacks the Echo base, so both smugglers are forced to stay they. On Solo's recommendation, Commander Luke Skywalker agrees to give the great probe_droid_sotepilot Rendar an unused T-47 snowspeeder into combat for the defense of the base, and Rendar himself. In the ensuing battle, Dash first flies against the approaching scout units, the so called Viper probe droids. These are not so strong units, their main task is to localize the enemy, taking photos, but in emergency, they have a small laser gun, which can injure foot soldiers, but a T-47 snowspeeder, too. But with clever maneuvering, and rapid burst of fires these droids can be easily dealt with. The second wave comes from the same probes, and some scout walkers, so called AT-ST walkers. They are much harder to destroy, and also, their fire power is more deadly, since they are anti armor walkers. With a single burst of fire, they can destroy, or maybe just damage our snowspeeder, but the damage will be serious. The rebel snowspeeder pilots had to work together, in formations, cooperating with each other. They mention attack pattern beta, which is a flight strategy. One pilot flies in front of the walker, offering himself as a target, while the others attack the walker from behind or from the side, damaging its armor, and its mechanical and motor functions, finally making the walker inoperative, or burning out. It was a large battle, the two sides were almost the same strong, so Dash and the fellow rebel pilots did a great job while bringing down so many AT-STs. But that was not enough, because when the four legged walkers arrived, the rebels were helpless. First, because hoththe AT-AT walkers (All Terrain Armored Transport) has a very strong armor, and not only the snowspeeders, but also the rebel anti-vehicle laser turrets were weak to damage them. The rebels realized that they can struggle, but they have no chance, the Imperial walkers will surely destroy the entire Echo Base including its deflector shield generator and the Rebels will be finally forced to withdraw. The walker chingun can destroy a snowspeeder with a single shot, and the turrets are also detonated one by one. The rebels have huge losses. Finally Luke Skywalker had an idea. He used the towcable to string the legs flying around a walker 3 times, making it fall. But only one walker was finished this way, because airspeeder_towcabel_atat_hoth_soteLuke was shot down, and his snowspeeder crash landed into the icy surface. Luke climbs out from the wreckage, and harpoons an other walker, pulling himself up to its torso, cutting a hole in its armor, and throwing a grenade inside, making an other walker going down. Basically these two walkers was lost from the imperial assault team, the remaining marched into the base, shooting down everything. Then reaching the Echo Base, they deploy the snowtroopers, who all swarm the base. Dash is alive; however his snowspeeder also got a hit, smoking, but still able to fly. He returns to Echo Base when the shield generator is destroyed (just as the hardly able to fly millennium_elhagyja az echo bazistMillennium Falcon coughing away, leaving the smuggler alone) as the base is overrun by snowtroopers who have destroyed the main generators. Leebo warns Rendar that the hangar doors of Bay 3 could not be opened to allow the Outrider to leave until power was restored. So poor Dash Rendar cannot escape, instead, he goes back deep into the case, while others are saving their lives, running out. Similar than in the Daylight movie, when everybody runs out from the tunnel, only Sylvester Stallone hurries in. Fighting his way through the Imperial forces, and encountering several wampas on the way Rendar proceeds to the base's lower level and activates the emergency generators, restoring power to the hangar door. As he makes his way back to Bay 3, he meets many automatic E-web turrets, which fire every moving target in the area. Destroying them he continues his way to the hangar, but the ice tunnels are melting because of the detonated generator, and a large gap is between Dash and the hangar bay. With a atst_shadows_oftheempirerush, he manages to proceed faster than the melting ice tunnel, and leaps in the hangar bay, just he ends up before an AT-ST, which he manages to destroy with a rocket launcher. It is a hard battle, because Dash has nothing strong weapons. Out, above the field of Hoth he destroyed many AT-STs with the laser gun of his snowspeeder, but now he only has his good old blaster. So dancing around the walker, or shooting it from cover, finally finding that rocket launcher helped him to become victorious. Dash eventually makes it back to Leebo and The Outrider, and they escape through an asteroid field. Leebo takes control of the Outrider, leading it through the Hoth asteroid belt while Rendar uses the ship's gun turret to fend off the TIE Fighter and TIE Bomber attackers. After clearing the asteroids, the Outrider jumps to hyperspace, (since the Outrider has operating hyperdrive), escapes to safety and finally Rendar rejoins the Rebels. Well, that was an average day of Dash Rendar, folks.

Part 2 begins after the end of The Empire Strikes Back, as Dash searches for Boba Fett and his ship the Slave I carrying Han Solo in carbonite block, who hopes to deliver it to Jabba for the large bounty. But for that money almost all bounty hunters longed, included the IG brothers. dash_ig88IG-88D finds Fett earlier, and flies after him. The IG-2000 arrives and Boba Fett has a dangerous encounter with IG-88D, who intends to claim the bounty of Solo. Slave I sustains some damage but Fett outwits the droid. Thinking that it is destroyed, Fett retreats to planet Gall for repairs; but the droid also managed to survive and limps off to Ord Mantell to search for spare parts for the ship in the planet's junkyard. Dash Rendar tracked IG-88 on Ord Mantell, and he is sent there to learn Fett's whereabouts. IG-88D hid in a salvage plant which, as Leebo scans show, is connected with a hover train. Rendar rides one whose tracks run parallel to those of the train that lead to his destination. As the two trains move alongside each other, Rendar leaps across the gap and makes his way to the front. Leebo then manages remotely to jam the hovertrain's auto-brakes, causing it to crash and break the door of the salvage plant. Inside, Rendar finds IG-88D who reveals that he had indeed tracked Fett to the Zhar system, but he does not risk anything by telling it to Rendar, since now he will be killed. Unwilling to let Rendar stop him from taking Solo from Fett, the droid opens fire. Rendar fights back and defeats the droid, leaving his droid parts all around among the other junk piles. Rendar has headed to the Imperial moon base on Gall in the Zhar system to confirm Fett's presence. Having landed in Smuggler's Gorge he makes his way through Imperial patrols along the cliffside (which is becoming a very usual process for him now), before reaching the entrance to the base through which he fights his way to the observation tower. Once there, he accesses the computer and learns that Fett was docked in the second tower, on the other side of the nearby canyon. Stealing a jetpack, Rendar crosses the canyon and arrives to a large hangar containing an AT-ST. Well, life is hard. A virtuosic jet pack rider however is able to hover around the walker shooting it with every weapon, or flying above it, and bombing it from above. After disabling it, he opens and follows the facility's ventilation system near a waiting hoversled with which he reaches the bobafettSlave I. But Fett is also there, and as a real gentleman, he greets Rendar with a rocket from his jetpack as a hello. Using the jetpack is essential to avoid this deadly rocket! Then the two mercenaries open fire until Fett flees into his ship. Slave I takes off and Fett tries to aim its weapons against Rendar, who is able to damage the ship with his rocket launchers. The Slave 1 is damaged, but still able to fly, so Boba Fett manages to escape in a hurry.

Meanwhile, Prince xizorXizor orders Jabba the Hutt to kill Luke Skywalker (believing that the Emperor will let him take Vader's place if Skywalker is killed, so he does everything in order to assassinate Luke.). He even meets with the Hand of the Emperor, maybe with Mara Jade personally. Xizor tries to convince her, placing himself in front of everybody else, suggesting he would be the best choice for the Empire. The hired Jabba sends a swoop_sotegroup of swoop bikers to Obi-Wan Kenobi's home (Luke Back on Tatooine, is in Ben's hut finishing his lightsaber and was practicing his Jedi skills, as it can be seen in a fantastic deleted scene.) After a discussion in Chalmun's cantina that Dash overhears, Jix and the gang race over to kill Luke. Dash gets a swoop and runs after them. Dash races them, and ends up eliminating all members of the gang, pressing, pushing them to the wall of the Beggar canyon, or pushing some into the Sarlacc pit, with that saving Luke's life. Arriving to Kenobi's house, lukeskywalker_dash_rendarLuke is shocked hearing what happened, but he is very grateful for Dash what he did for Luke. After shaking his hand, Luke informs Dash of a secret and a new unknown Imperial military project. A secured supercomputer containing the plans is being transported from Coruscant to Bothawui aboard the Suprosa, a Mobquet Medium Transport masquerading as a fertilizer freighter, but for that, it is far too much heavily guarded. Following Leebo's directions, Rendar works his way towards the main cargo hangar, encountering heavy resistance from the crew and Stormtroopers. After he finished the stormtroopers, he was confronted by many droids, stopped by robot cannons, and shield barriers. Upon reaching the hangar, Rendar destroys a loader droid which attacked him with spring-loaded arms. (This is a tough enemy, the droid can pull back his arms, and can shoot it out again, so Dash is not safe even if he is close to, or far away from the robot.) After Rendar located the supercomputer and disabled the hangar force field, Leebo brings the Outrider into the hangar to collect the smuggler and the supercomputer, finally leaving the Suprosa.

The final chapter begins with Luke, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and Dash infiltrating Xizor's palace on Coruscant to save Princess Leia, whom Xizor has taken captive. Dash enters the palace through the sewers, and battles an enormous dianoga in the sewer. It is a large creature, with large squid like things, which can damage a large amount. Also, it lives in the water, while a human cannot stay down too much. How this dianoga get there? Please, don't ask me about this. Anyway, Dash defeats it somehow, and finally enters the palace itself, where he battles droids, Xizor guards, robot cannons, while finally he arrives that room, where he has to face with Xizor's Gladiator Droid. This droid is extremely tough. You have to kill it three times! The less it becomes, the more it be lethal! When it enters the roomms, you will think that is a slow monstrous, hardly able to move. Easy to destroy. But its remains wake up, and attack Rendar with much pressure. Defeating it, only the head remains which is deadly. Small, quick, and fires like hell! Dash Rendar finally gets victorious. After defeating the droid, Xizor escapes to his Skyhook space station. outriderXizor then sends four of his own starfighters at the Rebels, with Dash defending them with flak from the laser turrets of the Outrider. The X-wing starfighters of Rogue Squadron soon join in, along with many TIE fighters, and a Star Destroyer arrives, too. Xizor realizes, that he was mistaken, when tried politics, and made an enemy from the Rebel Alliance, and the Galactic Empire at the same time. Only a few battles are known, where the Galactic Civil War two opposite sides fight together, but this time the imperial and the rebel fleet attacks together. A big space battle commences. Dash then proceeds to fly into the leia_luke_soteSkyhook, and destroys it from the inside. There is a great explosion wherein the Outrider is thought to be destroyed. Dash is presumably killed in the ensuing blast, along with Xizor. But it comes out that Dash actually managed to make a jump to hyperspace at the last moment. A short scene before the credits shows the Skywalker twins Luke and Leia on Tatooine, titkos jelenet_dash_tuleli a skyhook csatatmourning Dash's death. If the game is beaten on the Medium, Hard, or Jedi difficulty levels, this is followed by one more scene of Dash and Leebo, who had managed to escape the blast, discussing how they plan on hiding from their enemies, with Dash saying, "It's better to be remembered as a martyr and still be alive."

So this is one of the reasons of playing through the game several times. Many gamers are curious about the opening videos and extra story lines. A fan is interested about every small part of the favorite game, especially if these extras have very important effect of the story line, and the end of the whole thing. But there is an other reason too, there are so called challenge point hidden all around the levels, which are pretty much looks like a rebel sign. (But in grey.) Some of them easy to spot, others are well hidden. Sometimes they are difficult to notice, hidden in a secret area, or if you can see it, that is not easy to get there. So getting them is a real challenge maybe that is why they called challenge points. The system is pretty like Jedi Knight's secret areas but do not think SotE stole from JK, since SotE was much earlier. And SotE gives bonuses for them for the next difficulty level, if all were found and collected. The game informs us, congratulates, and tells the way how the bonus can be activated. All CPs are always at the same spot, but we have less opportunity, time, and life to waste for grabbing them. Also, the enemies are much stronger. It is evident, that if we only one life remaining, we won't hazard a risky move to get a challenge point, instead we will try to fight our hero through the level somehow. If you try, and your character dies, you'll be mad, but anyway, you'll try it again later for sure. Here are the extras: the easy level bonus is Leebo's scanner, which shows you the enemy on your minimap with red dots. Also, its shows the hidden compartments, and the bonuses, which is funny, because you have already found all, if you have earned this bonus. The enemy movement is useful, since they change position, stronger, so we benefit from this, knowing where they hiding. Holding down the camera button for 5 seconds will activate Leebo scanner. The medium players are supposed to be better, so they won't earn a gameplay aiding bonus, but a specialty, an enjoyable surprise.

Whoever manages to collect all the challenge points in medium level, gains access to the Skyhook battle. Holding down the camera button for 5 seconds Dash's ship, the Outrider changes into an X-wing, and we can fly it as Luke did during the Death Star battle. Well, we can siege the Skyhook, "going in", like Luke did. And not only once, but four times! We have to fire four torpedoes are needed to destroy the reactor. With one attack, we can only fire once, so we need to fly in 4 times. Hardcore fans can even try it in a Tie fighter, which is an extra feature, holding down the camera button for 5 seconds we can fly the infamous imperial fighter. The idea is not bad, knowing that imperial forces also joined the space battle against the Skyhook, so Tie fighter also fought in that battle. The hard level is very difficult. If you can beat it, and can collect all challenge points, you'll gain valuable bonuses, holding down the camera button for 15 seconds Dash can be invisible for a period of time, and he has all weapons. This is a large bonus indeed, but those who can beat the hard level collecting all bonuses; I think they are very probably not in the need of these with that game knowledge. The wampa_friend_bonusJedi level is extremely hard, almost unplayable, cannot be beaten, and if you can beat it, that won't be a game, that's rather suffering, a sweaty work, a task which can not be done, and frustrating. And if you are able to win it, you are really a Jedi. For these geniuses, the developers gave a nice bonus, collecting all challenge points they have friendly wampas on the Hoth levels. This means the show creatures attack the imperials, while the player can stand and laugh on them from a safe distance. The bonus is a not a big deal, since it is only available on the Hoth levels, where wampas live. This is indeed for professionals, since the rest of the game will be a suffering, but for a small rest, they can watch the fight between the snowtroopers and the large wampas.

Some words about the diff levels. Every higher level increases the enemy damage rate, and our vulnerability. That means it is much harder to eliminate the same opponent in a higher diff level, while his shots are much lethal for us. And the medipacks are much less available, where a full medpack was earlier there only a 50 percent health pack will be on the next level, and two levels higher maybe only a small, 10 percent medipack, and the most difficult Jedi level often does not have medipack, where earlier used to be. An other example. On the first Hoth stage we can easily destroy the walkers and the probe droids with our snowspeeder. The allied fellow pilots are clumsy, but at least the mostly survive the first battle. This is good, because they disturb the walker drivers and gunners, and they have to share their attention between our fellow pilots and us. The next diff level is much harder, since almost all fellow pilots will be shot down, so we will remain alone. I flew big circles around the walkers, suddenly stroke down, and after a fast attack immediately retreated. Somehow I managed to do the first level, but for a thousand times. It is easy to get in crossfire, or when we fly away, they send deadly laser fire after us, and not only the walkers, but a simple probe droid can also severely damage our snowspeeder. Not to mention an AT-AT. So after all, even the first Hoth level can a large triumph, a huge success to absolve, shouting loudly, yeahh, I have done it! That is so hard! And the Hoth battle does not ends here, we must advance through a bunch of snowtroopers, and wampas after the field battle and a large AT-ST will be waiting for us in the hangar bay! Defeating it is very difficult. The rockets do very little damage in the walker, and we soon run out of them. Destroying the crates nearby will give us some more rockets and ammo, but going further from the walker is not a good idea, since the only safe place is behind it, or under it. As we try to get some ammo it can kill us with a shot. So try to stay behind it, and shoot, shoot, and shoot. The walker is moving, spinning, trying to step on our head, or to walk a better position, but I accidentally found a place where it could not see me, stopped moving, and I could shoot him. Approximately 5 million blaster shots finally destroyed the hard_atstAT-ST. But in a higher level you have to shoot him for minutes for a single percent of damage loss. Its head and the torso it more vulnerable than its legs, but who dares to go further to inflict a 2 percent damage for it, in exchange he can kill us with a single shot? It is crazy. After it, in the asteroid field the Tie bombers will shoot! The easy level bombers just fly around, only the fighters attack occasionally. Now, harder levels will surprise you, as the bombers also shoot! And the Tie fighters attack in groups of four, in attack pattern from everywhere, firing long and deadly bursts of fire, almost all the time killing us in a minute!

On that level, where you are riding a hover train, enemy fighters will attack you from the beginning, and the droids will shoot you, too. And when you finally reach the junkyard, IG-88 will be very a formidable opponent, he won't just walk up and down, and won't retreat if we heat him, rather starts answering with long plasma bolts, strikes back, chasing us like a madman!

Let us see the swoop level on Tatooine. Novice enemies are very slow, their only strategy to leave the last of them behind, to slower us, and to gain them a little time. In higher level they run like Loris Capirossi, in fact that is almost impossible to reach them, not to mention killing them all. (In addition, in higher difficulty levels they also push our swoop, and we can also detonate, and on hard we suffer bigger damages then they suffer, and on Jedi level these happens all in evening, in DARK!) That is very annoying, when almost all bandits were killed, only the last survived, reached Obi-wan's house, and killed Luke Skywalker, which results the mission fail. I usually rush after them like crazy, push them against the wall, and when finally all finished, I return to the start, and travel through the whole level again, but slowly, collecting every extra lives, challenge points, which were not been collectible during the fast chase. That is sometimes quite risky, because there are some CPs, that are on a building, so you have to jump up there to collect it, but you will very often find yourself crashing into its wall, rather than landing on the rooftop, and for that, you’ll die. It is possible to kill the whole swoop gang, but while trying to get a stupid CP we die, and for this, we can try the whole level from the very beginning! Summing these facts, with every higher difficulty level the game becomes exponentially tougher, so much more difficult, that after a point the game becomes so tough, that cannot be defeated, loses its experience, and gets rather a suffering. I suggest playing the game on easy, and after you localized all of the secret areas, and if you know the suspected resistance, and if you are able to survive all of this, then, and after then you can change up to medium, but the higher difficulty levels then medium are for only hardcore gamers, or for masochists.

We mentioned game experience. Let's see what SotE gives. Variety, amusement, entertainment, enjoyable game play. We can fly a T-47 Incom speeder, fire with it, and of course, we can towcable the legs of the walkers, as in almost every Star Wars games. Also, we can fly our own aircraft, the Outrider, but usually Leebo will pilot it, while we have to man the turrets. There is a hover craft later, which was set to robotpilot to return the base by imperial troopers, so we only have to jump on it, start the engine, but anyway, we will fly with it. And finally, we have a jetpack if we have to fly, or hover somewhere, but we can use it for strafe, lower, or just race somewhere. We can use it like Boba Fett, so that is one of the unique things of the game. Without flying, we can also travel. For example on Ord Mantell we can travel with a running train on the roof, jumping from car to car, which is pretty much a Jedi Knight feeling. However, you are mistaken, if you think SotE stole the idea from the Jedi Knight series, oh no! SotE was much earlier developed! There is an interesting swoop bike part, when you can chase a swoop gang in the Beggar Canyon, racing within the narrow canyon areas, sharp curves, dodging while racing like crazy, jumping over a Sarlacc pit makes a wonderful level. Also, you can race around in the Mos Eisley streets in Tatooine. Finally, you can meet Luke Skywalker in person, as a bonus gift. Without any vehicles, you have to often walk by foot. Most of the game. During this, you control Dash, with several camera view points. First person, third person view, and an interesting view from the front, which shows Rendar in total. This view is not very useful, only for making some cool screenshots. Dash can jump, run, activate things, and shoot. So if you don't like the vehicles, but fond of killing, you will be satisfied, there are plenty of opportunities to shoot’em up. Many enemies are waiting to be eliminated: the usual imperial strormtroopers, snowtroopers, and officers. Many turrets. E-webs, which are automatic in this game, and don't need a gunner. Hidden laser turrets in wall cabinets. Several types of droids, many even cannot be named. Astro droid types, senate camera droid types, interrogation droid type, and what so ever. There will be walkers, aircrafts, bombers. Swoopmen. Creatures. And many many bosses, usually before the level ends.

For an unknown reason, the developers insist that joy to program annoying jumping parts, and difficult puzzles which piss the gamers off. Unfortunately, SotE is the almost same in this, but there are not so much jumping areas, and the puzzles are not so tricky. I can mention two spinning platforms, some kind of a conveyor belts, which moves in the opposite directions. It is especially difficult, because there is a mechanism is in the middle, which has arms sometimes up, sometimes a bit lower. So we have to jump on the first platform and jump or duck as nessesary to get past the arms. Then jump on the next platform and do the same thing to get to the platform which moves backwards, so you will be very probably dizzy at this point, but you can not leave yet, because there are two challenge points here! To get them, sometime you have to leave the conveyor belts, get the CP, and return to jump back to the belt. It is guaranteed, that you'll fall back occassionally. Because of this, Dash will get some damage. But you have to start the jumping over again! And of course some stormtroopers will start firing you, when you have nausea while spinning, and in that state, it is hard to return the fire. I suggest you to get rid of the enemies well before you go to the spinning platforms, in this region you will have just plenty of problems without their presence.

I mentioned some tricky parts. There is a hangar, which is sealed, and we are seemed to be trapped inside, without a way out. For me, this area was first so annoying, that I decided to quit the game, I was fed up wondering around, without a chance to find a way out. But later I returned, and noticed that after destroying the crates there will be some switches revealed on the wall. But there is an other switching table on the opposite wall. Damn it's pretty difficult now! If you try pressing the buttons, even in random combinations you will see a door sliding wide open on our floor, or somewhere above. Since almost all rooms have something, that worth collecting, it is a good idea to open all doors with all combinations. Beside collecting the ammo and health packs, your aim is to find finally the right combination of switches, and open the passage to leave the area through the rooms above. Of course there will be some, where you'll not find ammo or health, where hostile soldiers will be waiting, or droids. The unaware gamer can spend an hour, or worse scenario hours with wondering around, if has not got a walkthrough. You can even fail to notice those switches after shooting the boxes, because they are the same color as the wall, and since the graphics is not really well detailed the worse in the whole process that you can miss them easily.

Shadows of the Empire is a good game. It is old, indeed. Has not got a nice graphics, it is rather poor. But while playing with it, you'll surely spend great times with it. It is recommended to play it on lower difficulty levels, because on higher difficulty levels it is extremely hard, but the first two levels have just enough challenges. You can fly in the game with airplanes, you can shoot everybody, can jump, float with jetpack, and can race on a swoop bike. You can wander well known areas, and never else seen plots. You can meat known characters, friendly and hostile, too. But you will surely meet never before seen robots, or soldiers, too! I felt some arcade style while playing the Hoth levels, which reminded me a good old Star Wars slot machine in a plaza. Oh boy, how long we had to queue before we could try it! But now, you do not have to wait to play, you can try it right now! It does not require much disc space, or a strong system! If you have the mood, you can try commanding Dash Rendar, and start playing SotE today!

On that level, where you are riding a hover train, enemy fighters will attack you from the beginning, and the droids will shoot you, too. And when you finally reach the junkyard, IG-88 will be very a formidable opponent, he won't just walk up and down, and won't retreat if we heat him, rather starts answering with long plasma bolts, strikes back, chasing us like a madman!

Let us see the swoop level on Tatooine. Novice enemies are very slow, their only strategy to leave the last of them behind, to slower us, and to gain them a little time. In higher level they run like Loris Capirossi, in fact that is almost impossible to reach them, not to mention killing them all. (In addition, in higher difficulty levels they also push our swoop, and we can also detonate, and on hard we suffer bigger damages then they suffer, and on Jedi level these happens all in evening, in DARK!) That is very annoying, when almost all bandits were killed, only the last survived, reached Obi-wan's house, and killed Luke Skywalker, which results the mission fail. I usually rush after them like crazy, push them against the wall, and when finally all finished, I return to the start, and travel through the whole level again, but slowly, collecting every extra lives, challenge points, which were not been collectible during the fast chase. That is sometimes quite risky, because there are some CPs, that are on a building, so you have to jump up there to collect it, but you will very often find yourself crashing into its wall, rather than landing on the rooftop, and for that, you'll die. It is possible to kill the whole swoop gang, but while trying to get a stupid CP we die, and for this, we can try the whole level from the very beginning! Summing these facts, with every higher difficulty level the game becomes exponentially tougher, so much more difficult, that after a point the game becomes so tough, that cannot be defeated, loses its experience, and gets rather a suffering. I suggest playing the game on easy, and after you localized all of the secret areas, and if you know the suspected resistance, and if you are able to survive all of this, then, and after then you can change up to medium, but the higher difficulty levels then medium are for only hardcore gamers, or for masochists.

We mentioned game experience. Let's see what SotE gives. Variety, amusement, entertainment, enjoyable game play. We can fly a T-47 Incom speeder, fire with it, and of course, we can towcable the legs of the walkers, as in almost every Star Wars games. Also, we can fly our own aircraft, the Outrider, but usually Leebo will pilot it, while we have to man the turrets. There is a hover craft later, which was set to robotpilot to return the base by imperial troopers, so we only have to jump on it, start the engine, but anyway, we will fly with it. And finally, we have a jetpack if we have to fly, or hover somewhere, but we can use it for strafe, lower, or just race somewhere. We can use it like Boba Fett, so that is one of the unique things of the game. Without flying, we can also travel. For example on Ord Mantell we can travel with a running train on the roof, jumping from car to car, which is pretty much a Jedi Knight feeling. However, you are mistaken, if you think SotE stole the idea from the Jedi Knight series, oh no! SotE was much earlier developed! There is an interesting swoop bike part, when you can chase a swoop gang in the Beggar Canyon, racing within the narrow canyon areas, sharp curves, dodging while racing like crazy, jumping over a sarlacc pit makes a wonderful level. Also, you can race around in the Mos Eisley streets in Tatooine. Finally, you can meet Luke Skywalker in person, as a bonus gift. Without any vehicles, you have to often walk by foot. Most of the game. During this, you control Dash, with several camera view points. First person, third person view, and an interesting view from the front, which shows Rendar in total. This view is not very useful, only for making some cool screenshots. Dash can jump, run, activate things, and shoot. So if you don't like the vehicles, but fond of killing, you will be satisfied, there are plenty of opportunities to shoot'em up. Many enemies are waiting to be eliminated: the usual imperial strormtroopers, snowtroopers, and officers. Many turrets. E-webs, which are automatic in this game, and don't need a gunner. Hidden laser turrets in wall cabinets. Several types of droids, many even cannot be named. Astro droid types, senate camera droid types, interrogation droid type, and what so ever. There will be walkers, aircrafts, bombers. Swoopmen. Creatures. And many many bosses, usually before the level ends.

For an unknown reason, the developers insist that joy to program annoying jumping parts, and difficult puzzles which piss the gamers off. Unfortunately, SotE is the almost same in this, but there are not so much jumping areas, and the puzzles are not so tricky. I can mention two spinning platforms, some kind of a conveyor belts, which moves in the opposite directions. It is especially difficult, because there is a mechanism is in the middle, which has arms sometimes up, sometimes a bit lower. So we have to jump on the first platform and jump or duck as nessesary to get past the arms. Then jump on the next platform and do the same thing to get to the platform which moves backwards, so you will be very probably dizzy at this point, but you can not leave yet, because there are two challenge points here! To get them, sometime you have to leave the conveyor belts, get the CP, and return to jump back to the belt. It is guaranteed, that you'll fall back occassionally. Because of this, Dash will get some damage. But you have to start the jumping over again! And of course some stormtroopers will start firing you, when you have nausea while spinning, and in that state, it is hard to return the fire. I suggest you to get rid of the enemies well before you go to the spinning platforms, in this region you will have just plenty of problems without their presence.

I mentioned some tricky parts. There is a hangar, which is sealed, and we are seemed to be trapped inside, without a way out. For me, this area was first so annoying, that I decided to quit the game, I was fed up wondering around, without a chance to find a way out. But later I returned, and noticed that after destroying the crates there will be some switches revealed on the wall. But there is an other switching table on the opposite wall. Damn it's pretty difficult now! If you try pressing the buttons, even in random combinations you will see a door sliding wide open on our floor, or somewhere above. Since almost all rooms have something, that worth collecting, it is a good idea to open all doors with all combinations. Beside collecting the ammo and health packs, your aim is to find finally the right combination of switches, and open the passage to leave the area through the rooms above. Of course there will be some, where you'll not find ammo or health, where hostile soldiers will be waiting, or droids. The unaware gamer can spend an hour, or worse scenario hours with wondering around, if has not got a walkthrough. You can even fail to notice those switches after shooting the boxes, because they are the same color as the wall, and since the graphics is not really well detailed the worse in the whole process that you can miss them easily.

Shadows of the Empire is a good game. It is old, indeed. Has not got a nice graphics, it is rather poor. But while playing with it, you'll surely spend great times with it. It is recommended to play it on lower difficulty levels, because on higher difficulty levels it is extremely hard, but the first two levels have just enough challenges. You can fly in the game with airplanes, you can shoot everybody, can jump, float with jetpack, and can race on a swoop bike. You can wander well known areas, and never else seen plots. You can meat known characters, friendly and hostile, too. But you will surely meet never before seen robots, or soldiers, too! I felt some arcade style while playing the Hoth levels, which reminded me a good old Star Wars slot machine in a plaza. Oh boy, how long we had to queue before we could try it! But now, you do not have to wait to play, you can try it right now! It does not require much disc space, or a strong system! If you have the mood, you can try commanding Dash Rendar, and start playing SotE today!

 

 

 

written and translated by: Norbert Rostas

 

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