Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1985 video game)

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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Empire arcade flyer.png
North American arcade flyer
Developer(s) Atari Games[1]
Publisher(s) Atari Games[1]
Designer(s) Mike Hally
Series Star Wars Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s) Arcade
Genre(s) Rail shooter
Mode(s) Single player
Cabinet Upright, cocktail
Arcade system CPU: 1.5 MHz M6809 and 4 Pokey (sound)
Display Amplifone Vector monitor, horizontal

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is the sequel to the vector graphics Star Wars arcade game. It was released by Atari Games in 1985 as a conversion kit for the original game. As in Star Wars, the player takes the role of Luke Skywalker in a set of familiar battle sequences in a first-person perspective. Specifically, the arcade features the Battle of Hoth and the subsequent escape of the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field. The game was also released for various home computers in the late 80's by Software company Domark. Ports of the game included the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Atari St & Commodore 64 and Amiga.


The game takes the original gameplay, graphics, sounds, from the first arcade game and updates them to fit the new movie. Vector objects are now much more noticeably detailed, and the asterisk-particle enemy shots resembling snowflakes from Star Wars are replaced with simpler and clearer vector star-shapes instead. The game was the third Star Wars arcade game; Return of the Jedi came out the previous year.

Game screenshot of the Imperial walkers stage.


The main deviation from the first arcade game is the introduction of the "JEDI" bonus. If the player collects the letters of the word, all enemy shots will be instantly eliminated for a short time period and the player will receive military-style stripes next to their name if they make it to the high score list.

During the Battle of Hoth sequences, the player is flying a Rebel snowspeeder. The first section has the player patrolling Hoth in a search and destroy mission for Probots (Imperial Probe Droids). Imperial transmissions emanating from the Probots can be shot to prolong the stage. Once the transmission does end up fully transmitted, the player advances. To earn a Jedi letter, the player must eradicate the specified number of probots.

The second snowspeeder sequence involves the assault of AT-AT and AT-ST walkers against the Rebel shield generator. The walkers have to be either destroyed or avoided, as collisions will damage the aircraft. The player has four tow-cables which can be used to take down the AT-AT walkers instantly if fired at the walker's legs. Otherwise, the player has to aim for the red cockpits in order to destroy the walkers. To earn a Jedi letter, the player must eradicate the specified number of walkers.

The second half of the game has the player take the role of Han Solo piloting at the head of a convoy trying to escape the Imperial onslaught. First, the player encounters a swath of TIE fighters. To earn a Jedi letter, the player must eradicate the specified number of TIE fighters. When enough time expires, the player moves on to an asteroid field, where the goal is simply to survive. To earn a Jedi letter, the player must make it through the field and not lose the game. Once finishing the fourth stage, the game starts back at the beginning of the Battle of Hoth on a higher difficulty level.

Game impact[edit]

According to the creators, the game did not get as high an impact because it was not as fresh as the previous Star Wars arcade game. Additionally, the game was sold as an upgrade kit for the original Star Wars arcade game. Arcade operators that had Star Wars running and getting steady incomes from it did not go for the upgrade.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back at GameFAQs
  2. ^ Retro Gamer issue 70, pages 82-83. "The making of The Empire Strikes Back"

External links[edit]