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Good Tie-In, Good All-Rounder
on 29 November 2012
This is an early example of the N64 testing its muscles and it's not half bad. Shadows of the Empire ties in with the book of the same name (which is excellent). It may have been because the book gave a point of reference but there was a strong sense of narrative, which is a good place to start from.
One of the game's strengths is its good use of variety: as well as the standard shooter levels (which include quasi-platformer bits) there's the opening snow speeder battle, a battle from your ship's gun turrets, a swoop race and a space battle. None are 100% perfect but are pretty well executed.
The second of the game's strengths is the adaptability of its control system. You can change perspective from first person to third person, which is handy when going from combat to precision-jumping (this is applicable in the vehicle-bound sections too). Also, you can change the button make-up to suit yourself. None of these control systems work as well as Goldeneye which came later but you can tweak it to suit yourself.
There's a good range of weapons, a variety of enemies and some very good boss-battles. There's also a good range of locations, including Hoth, Ord Mantel and Coruscant. There are five difficulty options, allowing you to tune the level of challenge to suit yourself and to keep you coming back, there a re a number of "challenge" icons to collect on each level.
It doesn't look bad for its age, even if the character models are a bit angular. Dash has the ability to jump his own height and about twenty yards which feels a bit wrong both in a sense of realism and for a getting a feel of the controls. This kangaroo-ability is, however, necessary for some of the feats Dash is called on to perform.
Shadows is never perfect but it's never bad either with a strong Star Wars feel. It's a decent game on its own, made better for Star Wars fans better yet for fans of the books.