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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - The Atari Times

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Attack of the Walkers!
by Bart Harrison

May 29, 2002
Well, since we are all elbow deep in the new Star Wars episodes right now, I found it very fitting to talk about the best of the Star Wars games adopted for the Stella, and that is The Empire Strikes Back, which came to us under the license of Parker Brothers and Lucasfilm in 1982.

This game basically concentrates on the Battle of Hoth and the use of the snow speeders to defeat the evil Empire's Imperial Walkers using nothing but your endless supply of laser blasts. One of the first things you will notice about the game is that you cannot use the tow cables to defeat the Walkers, which was the main weapon in the movie. This leaves you to blast the walkers about One Hundred Bazillion times (Actually about 40-50, but it feels like much more) with your snow speeder's laser cannons. Every now and then while you are attacking the Walkers, parts of them will start to flash. This is their "weak spot", and if you hit it, it spells the end of an one of a million more Imperial Walkers to come. The point of this game is to simply hold back the walkers to keep them from reaching the Rebel's base, which is the far right side of the screen. One cool feature of the game is use of a simple radar at the bottom of the screen which tells you where the walkers are at. As the game progresses, the Walkers get faster and stronger and fire more shots. Your snow speeder can take about 3 shots, and you are allowed to land two times to repair your ship, then back up you go. Seeing as this is created in classic Atari 2600 style, there is no real way to beat it, as the Walkers simply get faster and stronger until you are dead or they reach the base.

The game itself is very cool, and plays a cool version of Star Wars main fanfare at the beginning of the game and every time you get the "force" while playing the game (This happens randomly throughout the game, and your ship will become invincible for a short amount of time). While there really is no other music in the game, you do get a somewhat feel of the Doppler affect, as you can hear the huge Imperial Walkers as they get closer and closer to you. The side scrolling is actually very fast compared to most Atari games of the time and has a Defender like feel to it. While the control is very impressive and very accurate, the parts that lack on this game are other weapons besides the laser cannon, like I said before, with the tow cable guns.

The best strategy that worked for me throughout the game is to actually move in front of and behind the Imperial Walkers continuously to keep from getting blasted by them. The Walkers are somehow able to shoot out of their rear ends, so watch out! The "weak spots" are actually only three different spots, and appear randomly throughout the game, so make sure and watch for the spots, as that may come in handy, especially in latter parts of the game, when the walker's become ridiculously fast.

Overall a good game from an arcade point of view, but not much of the plot or storyline involved that made the Star Wars movies so wonderful. This is probably one of the better games that came out for Atari during the 1982 year. I give it a hearty Thumbs Up!

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

(c) Parker Brothers

What a memorable game!
Shoot the walkers! (Too bad there's no tow cable.)
Aim for the weak spot.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
System: 2600
Publisher: Parker Brothers
Genre: Shooter
Graphics Score: 85%
Sound & Music Score: 70%
Gameplay Score: 90%
Control Score: 95%

Final Score: 85%

Reader Comments for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Strategy by Rory on 2007-03-27 23:06:07
You will notice that at the walkers take damage (you can get the hang of how much but watching the change in color), they slow down. I believe the color changes every 8 shots for 8 colors (64 shots total to kill one.) Get the first walker to the edge of death and he will move very slow. Then do the last one. The walkers cannot pass, each other so now it's time to work on the middle 3 (bomb hatch / weak spot if you can). When the front walker gets close, you should be almost done with the middle 3. Kill the first and mop up the middle 3. Every new walker will have to follow the last one you weakened, giving you even more time.

The force happens after 2 minutes of your ship not getting hit.
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