Star Wars Arcade – Use the 32X, Luke!

by Pat B on November 8, 2012


Hello Everyone!
Over the past three decades many, many, Star Wars video games have been released. Consoles from the Amstrad CPC all the way up to the PS3 have featured their own Star Wars titles. Over the years, gamers have taken to their favorite game like they’ve taken to their favorite Star Wars movie. Games like the original Star Wars arcade game still have a loyal following while others are strong supporters of the newer releases.
 
As times gone by, gamers have been very vocal about which Star Wars game reigns supreme. There’s one version in particular though that I’ve never heard anyone speak up about, Star Wars Arcade for the Sega 32X
 

Star Wars Arcade – Sega 32X, Arcade

 

 
History
Star Wars Arcade was released for the Sega 32X back in 1994. It was developed by Sega Interactive and published by Lucas Arts. It was part of the launch line up for the 32X and was even a pack-in in some 32X bundles. If you don’t remember the Sega 32X, it was one of the many add-ons for the Sega Genesis that was meant to squeeze any remaining life and profits out of the console. It upgraded the meager 16-bit Genesis to a beastly 32-bit console. It required its own special game cartridges so that meant Genesis owners had to go out and buy all new games so they could enjoy their upgraded Genesis experience.
 

After decent sales at launch in 1994, the 32X began to fade away as Sega put it’s marketing efforts behind the Saturn, a system Sega called a “true 32-bit console.” In the mid 90’s, Sega was a dick to its consoles as they would develop and launch a new system only to quickly turn their backs on it so they could promote their latest creation. The Sega CD, Sega 32X, Sega CDX, and the monster Sega CD/32X combo system all suffered the same quick death as Sega scrambled through most of the 90’s to keep up with the Sony Playstation.
 
The Sega Mega CD – Look at this behemoth!
The 32X was available on store shelves for only 1 year as it met its demise in October of 1995. In that year though, the system did manage to produce some quality titles. Mortal Kombat 2 for the 32X is the definitive home console cartridge version of the game. Other games like Doom and NBA Jam also looked close to PC and arcade quality. As with any game console though, the system did have its share of bombs and the video game media was quick to say things like “The 32X doesn’t look like a 32-bit system.” and “Why bother with the 32X when you could just buy a Sega Saturn, which was available at the same time as the 32X, and play a real 32-bit sytem?” ouch.
 
Game Play
Star Wars Arcade is a space shooter simulator that can be played either from a cockpit view or from a third person perspective. There’s two game modes to choose from at the beginning of the game, 32X Mode and Arcade. 32X mode includes longer missions which give the feel of a single player campaign mode in a game that’s based on a pure arcade shooter. In these missions you dogfight against Tie Fighters, try to survive flying through an asteroid field, and yes, fly the most famous X-wing mission of them all, the trench run on the surface of the Death Star.
 

Star Wars Arcade Game Play

 
Arcade mode is the traditional Star Wars arcade game with shorter versions of the same missions in 32X mode. The cool thing about Arcade mode though is that two players can play co-op. When two players play together, they fly in a Y-Wing instead of an X-wing. One player is the pilot of the Y-wing and the other player is a gunner. Both players can shoot though so it’s not just one person steering the ship while the other gets to do all the shootin’.
 

As for the controls in the game, they’re decent. Both the X-wing and Y-wing handle a little sluggishly though. The controls are responsive but both fighters lack maneuverability. In this game, fancy flying won’t get you away from a Tie-Fighter on your 6 as easily as you would think. Since fighters almost feel like they’re on rails, speeding up and slowing down is the name of the game. Letting enemies over shoot you or turn in front of you is the best way to rack up kills in this game.
 
Getting on and off the throttle is the key to successfully maneuvering in this game
Overall, the game play is fun. I can easily say this game DOMINATES Rebel Assault for the Sega CD and I would even say that this is one of the better cartridge based Star Wars games out there. It’s very playable and delivers a very classic Star Wars video game experience.
 
Graphics
This is the StarFox of Star Wars games. Everything in the game is very geometrically shaped as it tries to pull off a 3-D look. This could’ve easily been a horrible looking game but it manages keep everything looking sharp and clean. There are some bits of animations, like the one of General Akbar at the beginning of the game, that are embarrassingly bad but they don’t suck you out of the game. Rebel Assault tried to do too much with its fancy full motion video and bits of actual Star Wars movie clips in the game and it all looked so bad that the game turns into a pixelated mess. Star Wars Arcade on the other hand, sticks to the simple stuff graphically and does it really well.
 
Reminds me of StarFox but better, ya’ know?
Even with the games very basic but clean appearance graphically, I do have one complaint. Tie Fighters can be extremely hard to spot when they’re in the distance. Actually, they’re near invisible. Tie Fighters are dark blue in this game and at times they can completely blend in with the vast expanse of outer space behind them when they’re flying around. There were times where the only way I knew there was an enemy in front of me was because my Proton missiles locked on to them producing a lock box on my screen. The hard to spot Tie Fighters really make you keep your eyes glued to your radar to track their movements.
 
If you look hard enough you can see that there’s two Tie Fighters in this picture. Those two brown things are asteroids.
Sound
This game features some classic Star Wars sounds and does a nice job of reproducing them in the game. Everything from the famous laser cannon sounds to General Akbars voice are here. The one bad thing about the sound is the music. Of course, the game does a nice job of the main Star Wars theme but everything after that is very generic midi recreations of Star Wars tunes. At times, it reminded of the music from Wolfenstein, it gets that bad.
 
Collectibility – Common
Since this game came with the 32X, pretty much anyone that bought the system owned a copy of this game. Whenever I see 32X games at game stores, on Craigslist, or at thrift shops, copies of Star Wars Arcade are plentiful. Since the game is actually pretty good, if you own a 32X and don’t already have it, pick it up if you spot it in the wild.
 
Stats
Average Value – $4 loose, $18 Complete in Box
Rarity – Common with a 28% rating on RarityGuide.com
 
Happy Gaming and Happy Collecting!
 
Follow Pat’s Retro Video Game Reviews on Twitter @PatsGameReviews or you can hear me on the Play On! Podcast right here on Planet Arbitrary or on iTunes!


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