Version tested: Retro
The transition from child to adulthood brings important changes. Take the Star Wars arcade machine (shush, it counts as important); almost twenty five years on it remains a brilliant experience, but the sit-down version now seems so small. In order to get comfortably seated, grown-up legs have to dangle outside the cockpit, creating a somewhat unorthodox flying style. Don't worry about that though, just pretend you're some kind of maverick super-ace.
Strange as it may appear, the control yoke at the front feels like the only possible way to pilot your X-wing and take down the Imperial fleet. A normal joystick or mouse just can’t compare with this familiar grip--it has to be the original.
Colourful, resource-sparing vector graphics have aged quite well, propelling spiralling TIE Fighters around the screen and spewing vast quantities of laser fire in your direction. Accompanying such destruction are faithful renditions of the original film score and some choice vocal samples, completing an immersive atmosphere. You really do feel as though you're taking on the Empire as a lone soldier.
After space combat and surface flying segments, the player must face the trench run; one of the most compelling sections of any game. On later levels, you almost need the Force itself to make it through in one piece. Letting loose the final proton torpedoes is cause for celebration--even though you're about to go back and do it all over again...
Star Wars has transcended almost all boundaries to become an icon of not just film, but culture in general. So many cinematic licenses have turned out to be absolutely abysmal; yet the programmers at Atari managed to capture the essence of George Lucas' film--its appeal and imagination--and meld the components into a memorable Empire-bashing escapade.
9 / 10