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Domark Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

If there's a problem with this game, it's just that The Empire Strikes Back is altogether too similar to its prequel, Star Wars. Like Star Wars, TESB is based on George Lucas' block-busting sci-fi saga, and like Star Wars this is a direct conversion from an Atari coin-op. Also like Star Wars, TESB is a vector graphic game, using wire-frame animation which adapts remarkably well to the Z80-based Spectrum - better, in fact, than it did to other, so called superior computers.

After selecting a difficulty level and watching Darth Vader's starship Executor gliding across the screen, it's straight into the action as you aim the lasers of your snow-speeder to zap wire-frame Probots, AT-AT walkers, AT-ST scout walkers, fireballs and transmission blips. The animation and forward scrolling are remarkably good, though the action does slow down noticeably when several objects are on the screen.

There are four levels of play; in the first you must fire cables at the legs of the AT-ATs, in the third you steer the Millenium Falcon through an asteroid field where there are various bonus scores and tokens to be earned.

A fine bit of programming, featuring a rousing rendition of the Star Wars theme tune, but at full price TESB didn't add enough to Star Wars to make it worth seeking out. On budget, though, it's nearly worth a millenium!

Label: Hit Squad
Price: £2.99
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Unusual but not unique. Deserves a look but not worth fighting a Wookie for.