Monday, October 3, 2022

Star Wars on the Sega CD

Sega CD Summer is out! This is the third entry in the Sega Tote Series

The Super Nintendo had the Super Star Wars series.

I was so jealous! I distinctly remember seeing blurbs in '90s video game magazines saying the games were in development for the Genesis. 

They never came out. A prototype of the Genesis/Mega Drive version of Super Star Wars surfaced a couple years ago (here's Pat the NES Punk talking about it on the CU Podcast and more about it from Hidden Palace).

Rebel Assault for the Sega CD

I had a pair of Star Wars games for the Game Gear: a U.S. Gold port of the NES Star Wars game and a Super Return of the Jedi port published by Black Pearl Software. Apparently, no one wanted a game based on The Empire Strikes Back. The poor 32X received a port of Star Wars Arcade.

The Sega Master System, a dismal failure in the U.S. and far more successful in overseas markets, received a port of the Star Wars game for the Nintendo (it's similar to the Game Gear version). It did not see a North American release because no one cared about Sega before the Genesis.

One reason I wanted the Sega CD in the first place was the upcoming release of Rebel Assault. The game came out on PC, but I didn't have a computer capable of playing it at the time. I saved up paper route money for the Sega CD and ordered Rebel Assault from a mail-order company called Jack of All Games. It took forever for the game to show up, but once it did, I loved it.

I certainly understand the limitations of both Rebel Assault and the Sega CD. The graphics are so noisy and pixelated on the system that you can't play the hardest mode because you can't make out any targets without the reticle that shows up on the easier levels. The video compression, as it always did on the Sega CD, looked awful.

I had a blast playing as Rookie One in the Sam's Choice version of the Star Wars trilogy. There were some great levels and visuals here, especially for the mid-1990s. Standouts included the Hoth level (every game has a Hoth level, it seems like), an attack on a Star Destroyer, and, of course, the famous Death Star trench run.

I didn't learn until years later that the Sega CD version was missing a level from the PC version. I maintain that this game was fun for its era.

The Software Toolworks Star Wars Chess

The only other Star Wars release on the Sega CD was Star Wars Chess by Software Toolworks. It's pretty much what it sounds like: video game chess with characters from the Star Wars movies. There really isn't much to it.

You will find some fun "victory" animations that play each time a piece gets taken from the board.

Two simple reasons I bought it: 1) it had Star Wars on the cover and 2) Sears put it in the discount bin. That's right, kids: don't pay full price for a Star Wars chess game.