Super Nintendo Empire: The Vader Challenge

By: D.C. Cutler, U.S.A.

Darth Vader is such a fascinating film character. He goes away for a while, and then he comes roaring back into our pop culture conscience, better than ever.

After the spectacularly imaginative ending to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Vader is once again as popular as ever. There is something gratifying about seeing people of all ages wearing Darth Vader t-shirts again.

Like the original film trilogy, Super Nintendo’s The Empire Strikes Back, released in 1993, was the best of the Super Star Wars game series.

If you were a talented enough gamer to ultimately advance to Darth Vader, he was very difficult to defeat. That’s what made the game so good. Vader was a challenge, and battling him as Luke Skywalker was really a treat when I played the game as a kid.

Empire has the best lightsaber duel of the entire Star Wars film franchise. And I don’t care what anyone says, the Empire duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Empire is more dramatic and thrilling than their final duel in Return of the Jedi. Just because it’s the coda of the original trilogy doesn’t make it the best lightsaber battle; satisfying, yes, but not on par with the duel that leads to Cloud City’s central air shaft.

image source: Pinterest

The lightsaber battle in the game is very similar to the one at the end of the 1980 film. However, Vader is a lot taller than Luke in the game; he’s almost giant-like compared to the young Jedi. As a child gamer, I found Vader’s height to be a little intimidating.

I spent many entertaining hours fighting Vader; to a point where I would keep track of how long it would take me to defeat him…if I defeated him. Vader’s not messing around at the end of the game. My friends and I called it “The Vader Challenge.” It was an ideal way to reenact the battle at the end of one of my favourite films.

The rest of the game action is enjoyable, but nothing is as testing and exceptional as the duel with Vader. Battling the AT-AT Walkers on the planet Hoth is really fun as well. The graphics are exceptional and the degree of difficulty adds a layer that makes this a game young Star Wars fans should try playing if they can find a Super NES copy.

It’ll stress you out a few times, but “The Vader Challenge” at the end is worth the anxiety.