Thursday, December 5, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 158 - Star Wars Arcade 32x

Star Wars Arcade, not to be confused with Atar's vector graphics Star Wars The Arcade Game from the early 80's, is a SEGA project released in arcades in 1993 and ported to 32x in 1994. It's a polygonal 3D space shooter that is kind of ridiculously impressive given the time it came out, but also a clear sign that the 32x was a bad idea considering the games that came out just a couple years later on real next-gen hardware looked and performed exponentially better. Still, it's pretty mind blowing that a game like this was available in freaking 1994. Keep reading for more and to watch gameplay.

I never owned a SEGA Genesis or 32x or SEGA CD or Saturn or any of that fun stuff. I've never even seen a 32x or SEGA CD or Saturn in real life. I was a Nintendo kid through and through and SEGA always seemed dumb and bad and inferior. I did own a SEGA Dreamcast as an adult. It was OK. I would like to play a Saturn, but it seems they're too expensive to bother with these days.

Thanks to the wonders of emulation, however, I'm able to re-visit the old SEGA days (everything except the Saturn ...) and experience some of the games for the first time. My first 32x game? Star Wars Arcade, of course.

Honestly, it's stunning that something like this existed in 1994. I know I shouldn't be impressed since Star Fox was available on SNES at the same time, but this is crazy ambitious Star Wars and is cool as heck. It does look better than the giant polygons of Star Fox, too. The thing about it, though, is that just a couple years later the PS1 and Saturn and N64 were all pumping out games that looked a million times better than this, which just highlights what a bad idea the 32x really was. Why spend $160 to "upgrade" your Genesis just to play mostly ports of games you already have when real next generation systems were already announced and less than a year away. I can appreciate the ambition, but SEGA really screwed themselves in the mid 90's.

As for Star Wars Arcade itself, once the wow factor of the visuals wears off it is a pretty terrible game. You can barely see the TIE fighters you're supposed to be shooting down and the arcade nature of the experience - always having a timer counting down - means it is incredibly difficult to actually make progress. The game also only has three levels - destroying TIE Fighters, attacking a Super Star Destroyer, and attacking the Death Star. It's hard and short. Bazinga!

I'm glad I got to play it anyway. The voice acting for Admiral Ackbar is amazing.