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Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Strikes on the Nintendo 64: Today in History- December 3rd, 1996

There was a fair amount of buzz for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire around the time it was announced, and leading up to release for, the Nintendo 64.  For one, this was one of the first third party titles to hit and gamers were eager to see what 3rd parties could do on the new Nintendo wonder system and it was Star Wars (there was also this thing called Episode One coming a few years later).Based on a story that is a background piece between Episode V and Episode VI, Shadows was very careful to not interfere with the cannon that George Lucas and company had going for the franchise.  This meant that main characters were pretty much out or only alluded to in this game and gamers were relegated to playing some guy named Dash Rendar rather than the more popularly known characters from the movies.

These caveats didn’t dampen sales of Shadows as it holds the title of 3rd place in sales for Nintendo 64 titles for the year 1997, not that it had a lot of competition.  Highlights of Shadows include a full on orchestral soundtrack.

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire is also available on Windows 95 (released a year after the console version).

Carl Williams

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7 Responses to “Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Strikes on the Nintendo 64: Today in History- December 3rd, 1996”

  1. This plays acceptably well on an Android touchscreen with N64oid … it was fun to get the double nostalgia of the Star Wars game and the retro SGI-style graphics in this way.

    The game is … not consistently great … but it has some fun moments and I hope it shows up on GOG soon. I’d love to play it again. The Windows version has voices!

    • Carl Williams says:

      Thanks for the tip about N64oid. I am sure it will be handy for some of our readers.

      I did not know that the Windows version had voices. Were they “decent” by FMV standards?

      • I had to buy N64oid from the SlideMe store, and it hasn’t been updated in 2 years, but it runs SOTE better than any other emulator on Android.

        It has been a while since I tried the Windows version (it’s not simple to get it running in modern hardware) but I remember the voices being of typical LucasArts high quality.

        It would be great to see that as well as the Windows version of Rogue Squadron get a digital debut on GOG.

        • Carl Williams says:

          Rogue Squadron was AWESOME. I loved that game.

          • Winter 1998 was my favorite season for games, ever. F-Zero X, Star Wars Rogue Squadron, and Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. So great.

            Been playing TIE Fighter again since the GOG release, wondering if Rogue Squadron really holds up as well as I want it to. I haven’t booted the N64 in a long time and the Factor 5 games don’t run jn emulation. I think I should probably leave it as a fond memory.

      • I misremembered, it’s more than just voices! The Windows version has full motion video intermissions, using painted-style semi-animated characters and pre-rendered CGI scenes of spaceship flybys. There wasn’t space on an N64 cartridge for this much stuff.

        It’s cheesy, kind of like Rebel Assault 2, but it’s a product of its time, when we were happy to see a little more new Star Wars. It was nice to see IG-88 in action, and glimpses of Boba Fett and snow speeders. I doubt that Xizor, Guri, and Dash Rendar are on anyone’s list of favorite characters though.

        • Carl Williams says:

          Yeah, the N64 was limited by the memory early on but by the time games like Resident Evil 2 came out, they were on cartridges just as big as a CD. Too bad the early titles couldn’t take advantage of larger cartridge memory to give gamers a more complete game (or less repetition in graphics- Automobili Lamborghini anyone?).

          Thanks for the info on the Windows version of Shadows. I was not aware that it had so much more stuff.

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