Retro Reviews-Star Wars:Shadows of The Empire(N64)

Welcome everyone.

Today we're going to be looking at an oldie of the N64 era and the first game to enter my game library.

Star Wars:Shadows of the Empire.

One of the first few games to enter the Nintendo 64's library, Star Wars Shadows of The Empire was the 3rd top selling game of 1997 for the Nintendo 64 and again the first game I've ever owned.

Has it aged well and was it good for the standards games were held up to at the time?

The story takes place during the time of Episode V in the Star Wars original trilogy and before Star Wars Episode VI.

You play as Dash Rendar, a rogue mercenary hired by Princess Leia to help her and Luke Skywalker defend against The Empire and a criminal syndicate known as "Black Sun" led by a man only known as Prince Xizor.

Xizor has planned to kill Luke Skywalker and make Darth Vader look like a failure in The Emperor's eye. If it's revealed that Skywalker is dead and the Emperor cannot have the apprentice needed to take complete control of  the galaxy. Then Vader would be replaced and if the person who has shown the most support for The Emperor and has proven his reliability time and time again. Xizor would take Vader's place and have a stronger grasp over the galaxy.

An interesting story but if you actually want more of the story, the thing to do would be to read the comic book series or the novel "Shadows of The Empire" the actual story itself I've heard is actually very interesting.


Even for Nintendo 64 standards the graphics for Shadows of The Empire are bland, repetitive and down right ugly, I'm not holding it to the standards of today as when you look at other games of the N64 this game suffers greatly in terms of graphics.

Legend of Zelda, Bomberman 64, Resident Evil 2 and Duke Nukem 64 looked better than this.

The play-style is almost like that of Doom, wondering through corridors and open areas taking on several enemies with your weapon(s) while collecting ammunition for your other weapons and special items. However the levels are empty, dull and have you walking through hallway and hallway or open space levels with nothing exciting or interesting going on in the environments.

Nothing is going in the environment around you except for maybe a generator spinning or the same water texture design moving beneath you, only in one level this happens where something in the environment is moving.

Aesthetically the environments without the bland textures scream 'Star Wars' this is a Star Wars game after all and some of these designs do make you feel like you're going through the environment seen in a Star Wars movie.

The worst level that suffers from poor texture design and overall blurry environment design is The Sewers of The Imperial City level, you can barely see anything and it's worse when you're exploring the sewer waters to proceed to the next area you can easily get lost in the environment and struggle to make out whether there is a door for you to proceed through or a special item in the environment. The only levels that don't suffer from this design is the Battle of Hoth level and Skyhook

Even the special item, the Challenge Point. Blends into the environment and you won't know whether or not you're looking at another aspect of the environment or the Challenge Point itself.


Shadows of The Empire plays like DOOM however where as DOOM was an engaging FPS shooter with new environments and various weapons to take on various opponents, Shadows of The Empire does not have this aspect.

You will be going through the same environment design after environment design, nothing new or exciting except for the air/ space battles and the Imperial Junk Yard which only account for 4 levels of the game. Aside from those space battles you will be going through bland environment after bland environment.

As far as weapons go, there are different ammo types but you're using the same blaster weapon that Han Solo uses and apparently this blaster can fire enemy seeking missiles, pulse beams, flames, stun beams and the Star Wars equivalent of a mini-nuke.

However blaster default weapon Laser ammo type has infinite ammo and is the most accurate ammo type/weapon in your array of weapons. All you need to do is tap the B button over and over and over again and even bosses will be defeated without you using other ammo types. So every other ammo type in the game is pointless seeing as how you can barrage enemies with an endless wave of blaster fire.

Amongst the level design each level except for the 4 mentioned levels is rinse and repeat, make it through the level taking on a few troopers and droids, flip a switch or two, find the occasional Challenge Point and face the boss at the end of the game.

Although it is the same level design I wasn't bored to the point I wanted to quit, I still found myself trucking along and beating the game, in a short amount of time actually.

It's the kind of game where you still want to see what the next level has in store for you as the aesthetics of the levels do scream 'Star Wars' in fact the most extraordinary level I saw was Xizor's palace and texture design of course was repetitive and bland.

The Verdict

Star Wars:Shadows of The Empire is for the most part a game that really is meant for the Star Wars fan instead of the casual gamer looking for a nice action experience.

The story is decent, the presentation is blandly made with repetitive design and the gameplay suffers from a repetitive bland play-style trying to play exactly like DOOM, except without the engaging combat scenarios of DOOM.

Although I still hold it dear as the first very first game I ever owned and is still special to me I must be completely honest.

I give Star Wars:Shadows of The Empire a 6 out of 10

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