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Review: Star Wars Return of the Jedi Death Star Battle (2600)

Posted by Rob Maerz on January 31, 2014 at 1:35 PM

This is a game that I had sitting in a storage tub for quite some time before it ever met the cartridge slot. A few times I would give it a go, didn’t “get it” and put it right back in the tub.

One day I decided to read the manual.

You pilot a Millennium Falcon and the objective is to destroy the energy core of the Death Star. To meet that objective, you must first destroy a number of Tie Interceptors on the first screen to create openings in the Death Star’s energy shield. At that point, you need to wait for the shield’s grey energy band to deactivate before you can slip through one of the openings where you’ll hyperspace to the Death Star screen.

When you advance to the Death Star screen, at the top you will see the Death Star which is rebuilding piece-by-piece with the energy core in the middle. You pilot your Millennium Falcon at the bottom of the screen firing away at the Death Star to create a pathway in order to blast the energy core. In the midst of all this, your movements are tracked by the Death Star’s Death Ray which will destroy you if the Tie Interceptors, who are circling and firing at you, don’t do it first.

Every so often, you’ll see the green Imperial Shuttle enter the playfield. He moves horizontally in a straight line and if you collide with him you are destroyed. However, if you manage to fire with precision, you can pick up a hefty 3,000 points. You must fire at the Imperial Shuttle’s upper body which can be challenging.

Once you successfully hit the Death Star’s energy core, numerous fireballs spray out in all directions. The longer you survive without getting hit the higher the bonus.

Rinse and repeat.

Gamers that are fans of Sinistar and Star Castle (like me) will enjoy this game as it combines elements of both. The building of the Death Star parallels the building of Sinistar. Chipping away at the Death Star to destroy the energy core is akin to chipping away the rings to destroy the cannon in Star Castle.

Since the playfield wraps around, the strategy for destroying the energy core is to bounce side-to-side. This will allow you to chip away at the Death Star while avoiding getting hit by the Death Ray.

I like the graphics on the first level. The energy shield changes colors and has a sense of depth. The Death Star can be seen being built in the distance while you battle the Tie Interceptors.

The only problem with this game is the abrasive sound effects used for the bad guys zipping by. However, other effects like those used for the Death Ray are a nice touch.

For me, learning how to play by doing something basic (reading the manual) allowed me to discover a fantastic and addicting game.

Grade: A



Categories: Reviews

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