As a huge Star Wars fan back in 1983, like many other fans of the movies I got hooked on Atari’s Star Wars arcade game. If you are a fan of the movies and around the same age, you will know the game I mean. The graphics were of the vector type, lines making up geometrical shapes, it was and still is a great game.
But now this new game on the iPhone revisits the same gameplay, with updated graphics of course. The game centres around the last scenes of Star Wars: A New Hope, as you take control of Luke and his X-Wing as the rebels mount their attack on the Death Star. The game has both a mission mode which follows the story of the movie pretty accurately, or arcade mode which has you playing a progressively tougher version of the game in search of a high score.
The story mode begins with a small stage of the turret scene on board the Millennium Falcon as our heroes escape the Death Star which, upon completion, leads directly to Luke making his attack run on the battle station itself, with dogfights and of course the trench run as you blast TIE Fighters and turrets before switching up to the Falcon once again to provide cover for a flight of Y-Wings. You then switch back and battle to save the rebellion and planet Yavin from being destroyed.
The arcade mode is just as much fun as you try to build up a high score with gameplay that is more of the same. You engage in dogfights with waves of shapes against the clock to get your name as high up the online scoreboards as possible. One nice feature of the arcade mode is the fact that you are not limited to the X-Wing or the Falcon. Along with those you are also given the chance to fly the Y-wing, TIE Fighter and Darth Vader’s Advanced TIE. Although your ship choice doesÂ not really have an effect on the game play, it is nice, especially for fans like myself, to have that choice.
The game can be played from one of two views, either from the cockpit of the ships or, as I prefer, a chase view from a few feet behind your ship. The controls are an easy to use combination of the tilt feature and touch screen. Acceleration is constant in whichever ship you are controlling, leaving you to concentrate on direction and combat itself. You tilt the phone left and right for steering and forward and back for climbing and diving. With your cross-hairs locked in the centre of the screen, these tilting controls also serve as your aiming with smaller movements required for lining up your shots. The tilt function works surprisingly well in this game, more so than any other game I have played on the phone to date. The touch screen handles the rest of the controls with the screen being separated into four with each corner of the screen having its own function. Top right being pause for your options menus and such, top left switching between cockpit and chase cameras, bottom left activates a bullet time of sorts, slowing the action down for a few seconds allowing the player to line up their shots with more accuracy, and bottom right being the most important of all – your fire control. All these controls work perfectly together and are actually reminiscent of the arcade machines, if you can imagine your iPhone as the flight yoke that was used to control the game.
But where everything is changed from the old 1983 arcade version is in the form of both the looks and sound. The arcade game was made up of vector graphics, in laymen’s terms created using lines with no textures involved. You used your imagination. Although it was pretty well done – a TIE fighter looked like a TIE fighter and so on. But with this version the ships are properly done models with the proper textures and they all look surprisingly good for an iPhone game. It still surprises me that nowadays a phone is capable of graphics as good as these. Good old technology. The explosions when you destroy enemy ships and turrets are well done, looking and sounding exactly as you would expect them to.
The sound again has been vastly improved over the years, with both ship engines, blasters and music all taken directly from the movies, giving it a much more up to date feel and, lets be honest, who does not want to hear Star Wars music blasting in their ears as they shoot down TIE Fighters? Maybe that’s just me, although somehow I doubt it. Something else that makes it feel more like the movies is the inclusion of movie cut scenes – the rebel fleet moving in to attack the station and upon failing the mission the Death star Gunner firing the super laser.
All in all what you get here is a basic but fun space based dogfighting game. But when you add the whole Star Wars thing into the mix, like many things, it becomes infinitely more enjoyable, at least to fans of the movies and of the old arcade game around which this was obviously based. If you are in ether of those two groups of people, you should definitely check this out. Even if you are not, it is still well worth checking out as it’s a fun time filler.
Giving this one a score is difficult. If I were scoring it as a non Star Wars fan, I would probably go with six and a half out of ten. But as a star wars fan I will give it an extra full mark meaning it gets…
Star Wars: Trench Run, from THQ, is available here on the App Store for just Â£2.99