The Empire Strikes Back (Arcade Remake)

Friday, 3 April 2009



Once a year, for the last few years there’s been a competition which sole purpose has been dedicated to the recreation of retro video games in a modern format. All participants set out to recreate a retro title and then enter it into Retro Remakes competition for judging. Each game can be based on a computer, console, arcade game or be an original retro styled computer game.  The eventual outcome is twenty or so games once a year that are reviewed and then made available to the public for everyone to enjoy, the winner being the person who ultimately produces the most kick ass retro title.

The majority of participants in the competition are indie developers who are looking to either make a name for themselves, possibly get some practice in coding or just have an obsession with retro games. Whatever the reason, we the public usually end up being the ultimate winners, as often the games produced are those much cherished childhood favourites that have been recreated and usually at a higher standard.

The winning game in 2008 was produced by a one man company called MinionSoft (aka Adam Nightingale) for the remake of the Atari arcade game ‘The Empire Strike Strikes Back’.

The Empire Strikes Back arcade was originally a 3D wire frame game which put you in the shoes of either Luke Skywalker or Han Solo depending on the stage you are at and lets you take control of the various spaceships with which you battle against the empire with. The game is very similar to the original Star Wars with the exception that missions are set in different locations and in this incarnation you have slightly more freedom of movement when controlling your ship.


Orig 3 EMP 8

                               1985 Arcade                                                                    2008 Remake


The remake incorporates full 3D graphics and textures and faithfully (more or less) follows the original play of the arcade. With this in mind the graphics included in this remake are good but aren’t the most modern I’ve seen for a Star Wars game. They rank on par with the Nintendo 64 classic Shadows of the Empire, perhaps not even quite that good, but still much better than the wire frame arcade.

The game play is about on par with the arcade and in saying that you will either love it or hate it. The game has three difficulty levels with four stages and each are difficult to get through even on the easy settings. It might not be for everyone but that’s just how the arcade machines where built back in 1985, with short levels with high difficulty setting to make sure punters where continually putting money through the machine and The Empire Strikes Back remake faithfully recreates that difficulty.




To compare this against other modern and more sophisticated Star Wars games that have been published in recent years, this title just doesn’t stack up, as it lacks the polish of a commercial title. But if you look at it from the perspective of being both not only free game but also a well put together update to an arcade classic….you may see this in a different light. The Empire Strikes Back arcade remake in my opinion is a good title for anyone in need of a bit of retro fun and fast paced arcade action, If you don’t expect the world from it…you will be pleasantly surprised.


Overall Rating 82%

Currently MinionSofts website is under going some refurbishment, but you can still download from this link:

and while your at it why not check the Retro Remake Competition 2008 @