Star Wars Shadows of the Empire Was Almost a Nintendo 64 Launch Title – December 3rd, 1996 – Today in Video Game History

Star Wars Shadows of the Empire Nintendo 64 LucasArts

Star Wars Shadows of the Empire was one of the first third party games to launch for the Nintendo 64. LucasArts postponed the release to give the developers a bit more time to clean things up. That does not happen all that often. Anyhow, not being able to use the main characters from the movies worked in the favor of the developers. They chose to use a character from the books named Dash Rendar – remember the “extended Star Wars universe”? Yeah, from that. Technically, Dash is no more but we still have his game adventures, right?

Shadows of the Empire is a new adventure

Broken into four parts, this Star Wars adventure also makes use of different game engines. Part 1 is titled Escape from Echo Base and sees Dash Rendar interact with Han Solo. This part of Shadows of the Empire starts just prior to the battle of Hoth. You are put in control of a snowspeeder tasked with stopping the evil empire’s forces. If you ever wanted to wrap up the legs of an AT AT Walker and take it down, this is your mission.

The other parts all correspond to different movie scenes – rarely with major characters involved. You are controlling that background character that gives support or makes opportunities available for the main cast.

Overall, the story of Star Wars Shadows of the Empire is set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

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Bringing home a new Star Wars adventure

LucasArts were in a tight spot with the development of Star Wars Shadows of the Empire. First, they were working with brand new hardware in the Nintendo 64. Second, the fanbase for Star Wars is very dedicated and vocal. Couple those two things with the fact that this must be a unique story. As you can see, the task they faced was no small one. The fact that the N64 hardware was not even finalized when development began just stirs this pot of challenge soup.

Unfortunately, being on cartridge meant there were a lot of sacrifices to be made. One being no Full Motion Video (FMV) cut scenes – something the PC release would have a year later. Second, sound and music were often overused throughout due to memory constraints. Same for graphic textures and the like. This led to some levels being bland and “familiar” looking.

What is here is still a fun romp for fans wanting a fuller understanding of the Star Wars universe. If you are not a Star Wars fan, Shadows of the Empire is not likely to turn you into one.

Either way, check out eBay for a deal on Shadows of the Empire. Amazon has the movies and more if you need to get caught up. If you want to read my original article on Star Wars Shadows of the Empire for N64 then check here.

This article is backed up in the Hive Gaming section of the blockchain. Check it out for more great entertainment.

Carl Williams

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