A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … the nineties happened. And with it, the final decade of the last millennium brought a plethora of Star Wars video games. One man, known simply as that English fool, took it upon himself (largely because he promised to do it a few months ago, in a previous listicle and couldn’t think of a way out of it), to document them all.
This is that list.
23. Star Wars (Beam, 1991)
Let’s be honest from the get go. Many of the 1980’s Star Wars games were shittier than your grandmother’s underpants. Then, in 1991, Beam released the first tie-in of the 1990’s, and it seemed business was about to pick up.
1991’s Star Wars was your typical run and gun style game, which was increasing in popularity around that time, but it looked really nice, handled well and was as good, if not better, than similar 8-bit offerings that were taking up shelf space in your local games shop.
22. Star Wars: Attack on the Death Star (MNM , 1991)
Vector games are just plain ugly. They’re uglier than that girl/guy you kissed while you were drunk 6 months ago, and were too embarrassed to tell your friends. That being said they were still pretty popular back in 1991, and Attack on the Death Star by MNM is considered to be a real find if you can get hold of a copy.
21. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Lucasfilm Games, 1992)
Notable only for its over use of slippy, ice covered floors, which were fun in games like James Pond, but not so much in a game like this. I mean, does anyone recall a figure skating sequence in The Empire Strikes Back? Oh, you do? Well fuck you then.
20. Super Star Wars (Sculpted Software/LucasArts, 1992)
We loved Super Star Wars. We loved it so much that we even wrote an article about it here.
19. Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Sculptured Software, 1993)
With only 12 months between the this and its predecessor, there weren’t all that many tweaks in this second installment of the series.
Much like the awesome Super Star Wars, the even more awesome Super Empire Strikes Back takes huge liberties with the plot of the movie. Not that that’s a bad thing. I mean, we always wanted a one on one fight between Chewbacca and Boba Fett, right? Too right we did!
18. Star Wars Arcade (Sega, 1993)
Back in 1993, Sega were still a powerhouse in the world on video gaming, so having them adapt Star Wars for the arcade (again), was a sure-fire way to score a hit. And it was … for about 5 minutes, before it became apparent that the game was just the same screens and sequences over and over again.
Remember how cool Sega’s Aliens arcade game was? This didn’t even come close.
17. Star Wars: X Wing (LucasArts, 1993)
If you ask any Star Wars fan, what their ultimate fantasy would be, you’d likely get lots of bizarre sex scenarios involving Princess Leia. Once they’d gotten that out of the way though, most would say it’s to fly an actual X-Wing into battle against the Imperial TIE Fighters.
Well dream no more, dear friends. Live the fantasy with the 1993 flight-sim behemoth Star Wars: X-Wing. For all other fantasies, there’s the internet.
16. Star Wars: Rebel Assault (LucasArts, 1993)
Horrible graphics, terrible sound quality. LucasArts first attempt at porting anything Star Wars to the CD-ROM was a mighty failure.
15. Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Sculptured Software, 1994)
One day I hope someone makes a movie based on the Super Star Wars series. Even an animated movie would do. Because, as awesome as the Holy Trilogy is, the versions dreamed up by Sculptured Software are pretty God damned amazing.
Super Return of the Jedi, is considered the weakest of the Super trilogy, which for some is in direct correlation with the actual movies. However, if you think Return of the Jedi was the weak link in the Star Wars Trilogy, then I must come over to your place and Force choke you. Return of the Jedi was the tits, man!
14. Star Wars TIE Fighter (Disney Interactive, 1994)
If you thought The Force Awakens was Disney’s first jaunt into the wacky world of Star Wars, then you would be sadly mistaken. Five million years ago, in 1994, they collaborated with LucasArts to create one of the greatest video games of the original PC gaming era; TIE Fighter.
TIE Fighter is gaming royalty. Not only is it still a top-notch adventure, it’s also the first game to show life in the Star Wars Universe from the perspective of the Empire. That’s right, you get to play as the bad guys, who, quite rightly, see themselves as the good guys. It’s a fantastic spin on the story, and would be a great adaptation for the cinema.
13. Star Wars: Dark Forces (LucasArts, 1995)
What if I told you Dark Forces was the Doom of the Star Wars video gaming world? What if I then told you it’s as good, if not better than Doom, would you run over to my house and deposit a large shit on my porch?
OK, so maybe it’s not actually as good as Doom, but it’s pretty damn good in its own right, and has some pretty great improvements on the control system which wins it brownie points in my book.
12. Star Wars: Rebel Assault II (Factor 5/LucasArts, 1995)
I’ve always been a huge advocate of setting the Star Wars games in the expanded universe, because there’s only so much you can do with the characters from the movie, without upsetting the cannon. The original Rebel Assault featured a pilot by the name of Rookie One, who returns here to lead a Rebel Assault against the dreaded Empire.
It’s a nice-looking game, and the cut scenes featuring Jamison Jones are particularly memorable, but none of this makes up for some horrible controls, that hinder your enjoyment overall.
11. Shadows of the Empire (LucasArts, 1996)
This N64 title looks horrible by today’s standards, but is a fun, expanded universe title that directly links to the original trilogy.
Set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Shadows of the Empire – which was also a novel – allows players to go toe-to-toe with Boba Fett, race a swoop bike, and take down armies of AT-AT Walkers.
You take on the role of Dash Render, a mercenary who has joined forces with Luke Skywalker in his efforts to rescue Princess Peach, who has been kidnapped and taken to the castle of the maniacal end-of-level boss, Bowser. Oh wait, that’s a different franchise entirely.
10. Star Wars: Yoda Stories (LucasArts, 1997)
Fan: “You know what would be cool? A game that focuses on the time Luke Skywalker spent training with Yoda on the planet Dagobah.”
Developer: “Hey, people would spend money on that idea, let’s make it.”
Fan: “Why is every challenge so hard and totally impossible to control? It also feels like Yoda just kinda wants to send Luke as far away as possible, to get him out of his hair!”
Yoda: “Gets on my tits, Luke does.”
9. Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi (LucasArts, 1997)
Worst. Star Wars game. Ever.
Who knew that mixing the worlds of Street Fighter and Star Wars would be so bad?
8. Star Wars: Jedi Knight Dark Forces II (LucasArts, 1997)
Doom with lightsabers.
7. Star Wars: X-Wing Vs TIE Fighter (Totally Games/LucasArts,1997)
The 3rd installment in the X-Wing series offers nothing new, and is perhaps the worst of the series. That doesn’t mean it was crap though, not by any stretch. It was just a tired concept by 1997, and suffered because LucasArts failed to do anything new with the title.
6. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (Factor 5, 1998)
Factor 5 returned to the scene with this superb franchise launcher, that had players controlling Luke Skywalker himself across 15 missions in the Star Wars Universe. Rogue Squadron was vastly superior to the previous N64 title, Shadows of the Empire, and spawned 2 sequels that we’ll touch upon in a future list.
5. Star Wars: Rebellion (LucasArts, 1998)
I’ll be honest. I’ve never personally played Rebellion, so I can neither agree nor disagree with the consensus that it’s a bit shit.
It seems to have had a lot of great ideas, such as granting players a God like ability to manipulate the timeline of the movies, but from what I’m told it failed to live up to its own hype. You’ll have to judge for yourself on this one.
4. Star Wars Trilogy: Arcade (Sega, 1998)
Sega’s re-imagining of the original trilogy is by far one of the best Star Wars games ever made. It is also one of the very best rail shooter’s period. It has everything you could ever want from the films, every action-packed scene, every battle, every character, and recreates them in staggering 32-bit, 3-D.
In other words, it pisses all over their earlier effort.
3. Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance (LucasArts, 1999)
Piloting the Millennium Falcon into the heart of the Death Star was the perfect way to remind us just why the X-Wing games were so vital to the Star Wars gaming universe in the 1990’s.
2. Star Wars Episode 1: Racer (LucasArts, 1999)
The only fun part of The Phantom Menace was the pod racing sequence. But instead of including it in the official Phantom Menace video game, LucasArts reserved it solely for its own game. Racer was released for the Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, PC and MAC in 1999, and later for the Dreamcast in 2000. It has been unanimously voted one of the best Star Wars games on the market, and considering its source material, was a great way to end the decade. It’s just a shame there was still more to come.
1. The Phantom Menace (LucasArts/Big Ape, 1999)
You can’t polish a turd. And when the only fun element of a turd is taken away (see previous entry), then all you are left with is an even shittier turd than before. When you consider that this shitty turd is in fact a game based on The Phantom Menace, well, it’s just too many turds for my tiny mind to handle.
And there you have it, the complete history of the Star Wars video game universe 1991-99. We’ll bring you the years 2000 and beyond, round about the time they get through building the next Death Star.