The Empire Strikes Back was another wireframe 3D arcade game released by Lucasfilm for the Commodore Amiga.
The developers of the game were the famous name in 3D gaming, Vector Grafix, who had also developed the previous game in the series (the Star Wars arcade game for the Commodore Amiga).
For people who were familiar with the original Star Wars arcade game (nearly everyone!), Empire was created in a similar style, using the settings of the movie within the game.
As nearly everyone in the world (and in Galaxies far far away) are familiar with the movie, there is no real need to dig deep into the plot details. Especially considering 'Empire' was the best of ALL of the Star Wars movies eh? ;-)
The Empire Strikes Back on the Amiga took place over four levels which roughly spanned the movie.
On the first level, you took control of a landspeeder and flew over the surface of the ice planet Hoth. Imperial probe droids were scouting around (making that funny ernanasenda noise) and you had to destroy them and any transmissions they relayed (viewed as wireframe 'signals' rising upwards).
The probots would shoot back at you, and any fireballs hitting you would deplete your shields. Blasting enough droids would move you onto level two.
The second stage had you flying a snowspeeder once again. This time you had to take down Imperial walkers (both the AT-AT and AT-ST types) using the same methods used in the movie by the rebel pilots. It took a fair bit of practice to fly through the legs of the walkers and deploy your tow cables to entagle their legs and bring them down.
Success in stage two moved you onto stage three.
Stage three now had you flying the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, the Millenium Falcon. Manning the laser cannon you had to blast away at the swarms of tie fighters that were intent on destroying you. To get past this stage you had to shoot away at the enemy tie's and their fireballs and ensure that the Falcon was not destroyed. Keeping the Falcon intact (and not getting cocky!) led you into....
The asteroid field. Lazer bolts and blasters were ineffective agianst asteroids, so you had to use your flying skills to weave in and around the floating space rocks. Any collision would deplete your shields, so fancy flying and sharp moves were the only way to survive this. The aim was to make it to the largest rock (as in the movie) and to safety. Once this had been achieved the four levels were completed and the game would start at the beginning again with the difficulty level a little harder.
There were bonuses to be had during the game; extra points could be earned by destroying a specific number of enemy targets and letters were also awarded along with the bonus points. If you managed to spell out JEDI then you were given invincibity against all enemies for a period of time. Nice.
When The Empire Strikes Back was released on the Amiga it was nothing new in concept - there were plenty of good vector graphic arcade games already on the Commodore machine. However the graphics were pretty smooth (far better than the version that graced the 8-bit machines) and the large imperial walkers were nice to look at.
The game appealed to fans of 3D vector graphic games and fans of the Star Wars movies. Empire was fun and playable and was regarded as a decent (not brilliant) movie tie-in, which was not always the case with official licensed games. You always felt that the Amiga was capable of so much more though when this came out, and it was.
Here in the land of Amiga games we reckon that The Empire Strikes Back is definately a product of it's era. By the late 80's vector graphic arcade games were commonplace and this one did not really stand out from the crowd. The game is very simple to play, and can be quite fun for a little while.
It is pretty easy to work your way through the four levels, gathering the bonuses and a JEDI powerup is where the real challenge lies.
So, stick on the movie and give this one a go - but remember the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware but if not then download an Amiga emulator and download The Empire Strikes Back for the Commodore Amiga. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Please see our other Amiga retro game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys
Luke gives Chewie a Han in The Empire Strikes Back - Amiga Games:
Arcade Games, Classic Games and Amiga Games