The Empire Strikes Back logo

Domark, £19.99 disk

Back in the old days, if you wanted to be like Luke Skywalker, you had to grow your hair long, spend hours perfecting a wide-eyed goofy grin and use a broom handle for a light sabre. Imaginative? Maybe. Cool? Absolutely not.
Just when your reputation was really at an all-time low, the conversion of Star Wars appeared. Coping with that was a sinch. Question is, can you still cope when The Empire Strikes Back?

Your main objective sounds dead simple: reach the protective safety of a huge asteroid. Trouble is, you only have five shields and you've to survive four levels of danger first. Get hold of your nearest snowspeeder because first of all you play the part of Luke. Probots are trying to transmit pictures of the Rebels' power generator to Darth Vader and you've got to try to shoot them first.

Immediately, you're face to face with small AT-ST and huge AT-AT walkers: you've got a limited number of tow cables to fire before you make it to the rebel base. Next, look cool, because Han Solo is in the hot-seat next. The Millennium Falcon is under attack from Imperial TIE fighters - if he manages to blast them out of the way all Han has to cope with is the asteroid field. Easier said than done: every collision involves the loss of one whole shield.

Hit a certain number of targets on each level and you're awarded a JEDI letter. Collect all four, and you attain true Jedi Force, a power which makes you invincible against all Dark Side enemies for a limited amount of time.
So, put that in your pipe and smoke it, Darth.

Gordon Houghton Cor! Another superb conversion in the Star Wars trilogy - not only is it the best film of the three, it's also the best arcade game. The variety is what makes it so enjoyable - one minute you're pouncing around gaining a 20,000 point bonus flying through the legs of the AT-ATs, the next you're swaying left and right in your seat trying to avoid the nerve-wracking asteroid field! There's so many extras that monotony doesn't apply as much as it did in the original Star Wars - the gaining of Jedi status, shooting probots for points and attempting to stop each wave reaching a goal, just blasting the hell out of everything - it's great! Maybe it's simply because it's got that huge name behind it, but The Empire Strikes Back is brilliant.
Kati Hamza Hurrah! One of my favorite arcade machines (not that you see them much nowadays) converted to the Amiga. It's not quite as good as the original - the vector graphics are just a tad too slow for that - but who cares when you can zoom through the sky shouting out 'Death to the Empire' and 'Kill Darth Vader' at the top of your voice... er... preferably, when there's no-one else in the room. Being able to use the mouse is a definite improvement over messing about with a sluggish joystick, and really recreates the atmosphere of the arcades. The only real disappointment is the sound - surely the Amiga could have provided us with a bit more than a Chewbacca roar and one or two sampled squirts! Still, I'd rather play this than any other Empire conversion I've seen. In fact, I think I'll have another go...
Maff Evans Domark did a pretty good job with the Amiga conversion of Star Wars and they've done it again with The Empire Strikes Back. The careful presentation manages to recapture a lot of the frenetic atmosphere of the arcades, and as you've got the option of using the mouse (which I'd definitely recommend), you don't have to worry about controls and can just get on with doing what comes naturally - i.e. shooting mindlessly at everything in sight - great! It's a pity that following the unexceptional quality of the sound in Star Wars, Domark haven't thought to improve it a bit the second time around. OK, so it's true to the original but the arcade version was released some time ago. A more up-to-date soundtrack and the Amiga conversion really would have been something to shout about.
The Empire Strikes Back: Drawing of Millennium Falcon