AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Parker Brothers

Parker Brothers, the company that made "Pass Go -- Collect $200" a household phrase, seemed to have a sure fire hit with the first ever, film-as-video-game creation, The Empire Strikes Back. Despite lackluster sales, it's one of those games that has held up nicely over time.

The scene in the move in which the rebels fight a battle against the Imperial Walkers on the ice planet Hoth is the inspiration of this game. You must command a snow speeder in an attempt to stop the line of ponderous, but deadly, AT-AT's from crossing the multi-screen playfield and destroying your power station.

A single hit from the player's weapon generally does no more than tickle an imperial Walker. To obliterate one of these lumbering behemoths, you have to shoot it 48 (yes, FORTY-RIGHT!) times while avoiding the missiles they periodically lob at you. The speeder, too, can survive more than one hit, though a second will cause it to crash. You can repair damage by making a brief landing, thus keeping each component on your three-ship squadrun in the game as long as possible.

If a speeder remains undamaged for a period of time, the Force is with the player while the theme from the movie plays, making the speeder immune to attack. While ESB clearly takes a page from the Defender school of gaming, there are enough neat tricks here to make it stand on its own as an entertaining blast-fest.

Title The Empire Strikes Back
Publisher Parker Brothers
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 7
Sound 7
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

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