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1. Bad Cutscenes
To help bring the Star Wars story to life, these games use cutscenes. Unfortunately, the cutscenes are almost always a big disappointment.
Most of the time, the cutscenes look like deep-fried and pixilated versions of your favorite characters and scenes. We don’t get much in the way of voice work (which is fine), but watching the story unfold means just staring at really ugly images and reading really boring text.
If you wanted Star Wars to upset you like these cutscenes, just go watch Rise of Skywalker again. It’s quicker and equally annoying.
2. Bad Hit Detection
Like many classic games, the Super Star Wars series suffers from bad hit detection. And while that may sound like a small problem, it really starts to add up the longer you play.
Again, these games already have confusing level design and punishing difficulty. Throw in bad hit detection that makes every boss harder and you can see why this series will make you angry enough to turn to the Dark Side.
3. Disappointing Weapons
Star Wars gives us a galaxy full of cool weapons. Not just the lightsaber, either--things like Han Solo’s DL-44 blaster and Chewbacca’s bowcaster became instantly iconic after the first movie came out.
In the Super Star Wars series, most of the weapons are, sadly, disappointing. The lightsaber is cool, with its ability to slice enemies and, later on, to deflect enemy shots. But other than that, the blasters all act the same way. Snagging upgrades allows you to make the blasters more powerful with some occasional special abilities (like blasts bouncing off walls or seeking out enemies).
But this is the same for Luke’s blaster, Han’s blaster, Chewie’s bowcaster, and so on. We finally got some unique weapons and attacks in Super Return of the Jedi, but by then, it was too little, too late.
4. Frustrating Platforming
It’s pretty easy to describe what type of games make up the Super Star Wars series. Simply put, these are action platformers from beginning to end, with some Mode 7 driving and flying levels for a bit of variety.
But this isn’t fun Mario-style platforming. Instead, these are grueling platforming stages with very high stakes. A missed jump can easily lead to death in a pit or in some lava. And a missed jump can also mean the difference in whether you obtain a strong Force power or not.
Basically, if you love a platforming challenge, these games are great. But if tough platforming makes you throw your controller, you should stay away.
5. Deviation From Source Material
This next point may seem pretty nitpicky. But the Super Star Wars series was billed as an adaptation of our favorite trilogy of movies. Playing these games was meant to be the next best thing to being in the movie.
And after a while, all of the little deviations from the source material begin to add up. For example, when did Luke Skywalker have to slaughter hundreds of Jawas to rescue his droids? Or prove his worth to Yoda by fighting a giant swamp monster?
To drive this point home, the boss of the first level of the first game is a Sarlacc Pit that looks nothing like it did in the movie. Obviously, Return of the Jedi would unfold very differently if Luke blew the pit up years ago!
6. Insane Level Design
On paper, there is nothing wrong with really stretching out the source material to make a good game. But a side effect of this is that the level design is completely insane!
Sometimes, the issue is with the actual level layout. Fighting your way on top of a Sandcrawler or to Docking Bay 94 is that much more difficult when you can barely make sense of the map.
Other times, the developers sacrifice logical design for something that looks cool. For example, the boss of the Sandcrawler level is a weird lava monster. It makes for a neat fight...so long as you don’t question why the Sandcrawler is the size of a planet and somehow transporting lava across the desert.
7. Bizarre Bosses
Part of what makes Star Wars so cool is the iconic characters. Even when the writing and dialogue are Bantha poodoo, we can sit back and marvel at the cool designs of Darth Vader, the Stormtroopers, and all the other cool characters.
To stretch the series out, these games include many levels and fights not in the Original Trilogy. But it also includes boss characters that make no sense. This ranges from holo-chess characters that have come to life to a Wampa that looks like a smaller kaiju. Hell, there is even a Dagobah boss that looks like a reject from that hentai series you stream when the boss isn’t looking!
8. Punishing Difficulty
Here is one thing that those who love this series and those who hate it can agree on: it's way, way too difficult!
We’ll focus on some of the issues in more detail, including bad hit detection and weird platforming challenges. But this combines with crazy level design, respawning enemies, and way too many “instant death” moments.
To top things off, the games only get more difficult as the series goes on. To this day, many gamers only have memories of renting Super Return of the Jedi and making it as far as the second level before they quit in frustration.
9. Boring Driving Levels
When the SNES was relatively new, Mode 7 graphics seemed like the coolest thing ever. And in the right hands, Mode 7 could convey a real sense of speed and excitement. That’s what made F-Zero so awesome, after all.
In the Super Star Wars series, Mode 7 is occasionally used for some good (not great, but good) flying sequences, including the famous trench run on the first Death Star and the attack on the second Death Star. Most of the time, though, Mode 7 levels were just crappy driving levels where you get from Point A to Point B.
And as fun, as it may sound, blowing up Imperial probes and mass-murdering Jawas in these levels gets boring really fast.
10. Not Much Character Variety
Do you like Luke Skywalker? I hope so because he is the only character you will be playing as for most of these games!
Early on in the series, you’d occasionally get to choose other characters like Han Solo or Chewbacca. But they play exactly like Luke minus the lightsaber. Instead of feeling like you’re playing a new character, it feels like playing Luke with a handicap.
It gets better by Return of the Jedi, where characters like Leia and even Wicket have a very unique style. But after getting used to rocking a lightsaber and the Force, playing as these other characters still feels like a letdown.
11. Annoying Force Powers
In Star Wars, the Force is always at the heart of the story. Too bad the Force in the Super Star Wars games ended up being so annoying!
There are no Force powers in the first game, which is fine: you simply zap stuff with your blaster or cut stuff with your lightsaber. In Super Empire Strikes Back, you can only use Force powers after finding them on Dagobah. Not only is Dagobah very annoying, but it’s easy to overlook important powers.
Finally, using the powers is clunky and non-intuitive. Most of the time, it’s easier to shoot yourself out of a sticky situation than trying to use the Force.
12. The Mass Murder Thing
Look: I get that it's a video game. And taking out legions of pixilated enemies is just part of the territory.
But in the first game, pretty much every driving level involves Luke Skywalker mass murdering the hell out of some Jawas. In addition to these levels being boring as hell, it makes Luke Skywalker into a genocidal maniac that makes Anakin look like a hero by comparison!