Gust Blog Post by Todd M @ The Top Loader
A long long time ago in a Kmart not too far away the hot shot young rebel TODD declared civil war upon one of his brother's, AARON. "Todd I am your brother, join me and put our money together to buy Super Castlevania IV" he begged .. "No, I will never you so my money stays" I said, as it was something I had never heard of and yeah sure it's easy to say now "how could I pass it up"?.. but look at it from my point, that of view young Padawan - I was 11 - and I didn't like mythologies or Excalibur type stuff swinging around chain's at Medusa heads with three headed dragons - that was not me - and it still isn't to be honest (Game of Thrones excluded) .. but that is a story for another time, or another blog as at the time I did what I felt was right of course. We were in this battle together going head to head as it had to be a joint decision - my poor mother honestly - we couldn't decide but as I saw Super Star Wars under the shop light at a glance sitting behind the glass I quickly thought to myself, well he loves Star Wars and it has light sabres. Ironically that was the game play element that I liked the least about the game. We took it home and eventually powered up our SNES to play it for the first time.
What type of game is Super Star Wars (released in 1992) anyway? Well our hero Luke hits the ground running N' gunning while platforming but I find it's more start 'N stop because in true male fashion Luke can't do two things at once - where's Rey when you need her? Maybe the force wasn't with him the same way he wasn't at Tosche Station where he was famously supposed to be buying power converters. Well let's not get our right hand all chopped off just yet and get too far ahead of ourselves as it will be fixed in future games to come and as annoying as it is right now - it's not game breaking. Luckily platforming is my strength because I will need to be strong willed if I want to climb all the way up there to the top of the legendary - Sandcrawler - now that sounds like an awesome club name, or a song I could dance and jump around to. Well Luke is a prodigy so lets get the party started because as we enter the Sandcrawler's house of pain the laser beams that kriss-kross will make you jump jump, yes I am a product of my generation - thank god - I'm sure you're thinking the same thing, yes kids that was cool once and it will happen to you one day too - word. But fear not my young apprentice once you get the pattern down you will be swinging a dull disappointing light sabre around in no time trying to take down those Tusken Raiders because this isn't something I can dance with in my hands as this life sized glow stick is not an effective weapon that doesn't even come in the standard blue or green, sometimes red and the once in a life time purple - so don't give your new hopes up.
There was a point in the game where I almost gave up. I remember it vividly. I was standing on the edge of a cliff during the Tusken Raiders level, I had one life left and I wasn't sure if I could finish the game. I wanted to keep going but I didn't know how, I needed to restart and try again while thinking to myself - if you get knocked down - get up again, work out the games ins and outs, train your mind body and soul and come back from the brink of death like a true Jedi would. I hear the words echo .. use the force Luke - my name is Todd - but whatever works old man. Standing there, with nowhere to go I was thinking that nothing can save me now so I jumped off the cliff! Now this may surprise you, but I am not god - shocking I know right - but I took the leap off faith anyway as I hit rock bottom, literally. As I walked forward I saw an opening that lead into a cave of wonders. Was this my fate, my calling? Not really I was down to one life and honestly just too lazy to get up and reset the console, I mean it was all the way over near the TV. This accidental find led me to quickly blast through a room full of secret lives, what were the chances of that? That's how I was able to finish the game the first time round, sure these days I know the game inside and out and I certainly found the ups and down's (by the sound of it) but back then I felt like I got my groove back with the force on my side plus the 98 lives from the cave of wonders.. hey don't you mean 99? No, because you had to sacrifice one life to get back up to the top of the cliff and even though the force was heavily influenced by many different types of religions I do not resurrect in a cave despite the hidden Easter Eggs I just found, plus this is not Actraiser and I am not pretending to be god as that is one of the many talents i do not have.
Growing up I was the youngest of six and certainly was no angel, I wasn't perfect but wasn't spoilt either, I was loud and annoying I'm sure to everybodyand all the forces surrounding me. In all honesty not much has changed, but don't worry that's only if I like you because people usually think I'm quiet at first as there are two sides to me. I only let people see both if I am comfortable enough with them to take my guard down as I take the high ground, just like Obi Wan and Anakin my brother is the complete opposite to me, what he likes I hate and what he knew about I didn't. Many of the games my brother was interested in was foreign to me, Final Fantasy, Earthbound and the fact that many of those RPG's never made it to the PAL region may have scared me away from his point of view . I didn't know what NTSC meant and I didn't know what the Super Famicom was because all our Australian Nintendo products were initially distributed with a branding through - Mattel - a kids play thing, I didn't even know Mario was Japanese - I thought he was American - go figure.. *shakes head* followed directly by a *face palm*. I can't stand idiots and people that say stupid things, but I guess that is subjective to each person because idiots don't know they're idiots, but back when I was stupid I didn't Like Star Wars at all .. but fear not - now that i am smart - I love Star Wars - maybe I'm the idiot and I just didn't know it, you be the judge - how am I doing so far? - Stupid is as stupid does and stupid does what it wants to do .. right ? Well you know what they say - fear leads to hate - and then some suffering or something but if I was to take notice and point out some flaws of this game- and not my own - as much as it pains me there is a few and it has to be done.
Key moments of the movie seem to be missing and the later levels seem more repetitive. After reading interviews with the developer it becomes clear that it wasn't so much their fault as they themselves knew this and have pointed out that the limitations of the cartridge was the issue. One level in particular that never made the cut which was missing amongst the action was the Trash Compactor level that was thrown out due to not having enough empty space on the cartridge, ironic. This is where DLC would be beneficial if it existed at the time because contrast that to now in a time of season passes and DLC that is already written to the disc with Street Fighters being shipped with no arcade mode is truly a load of rubbish mixed with a load of space balls. Super Star Wars had levels cut that I would love to play but it also has cut scenes that I always seem to skip with instructions that I never bother to read. I'm just too trigger happy and too much of a straight shooter as I straight up like to keep it simple by skipping over the boring opening crawl dialog jumping right into the action because reading between the lines has never been my strong point which is why I sometimes end up with a missing link when I skip past the cryptic translations lost deep in the woods of Hyrule trying to find a Flute. I mean I only had to go to some guy in the middle of a Haunted Grove while in the Dark World to talk to some guy to get a shovel to dig up most of the area only to take it back to the Light World where you travel to Kakariko Village and - by the way - its the first house on the left - where you talk to some old man before playing the Flute in front of the Weather Vane to get it to work - see - keeping it simple is the way to go as I don't want to go too far off track playing Zelda in this side quest because i'm all too familar with the struggle between the light and the dark side as it's all starting to make me dizzy, can't everybody just get along? Well, I will stick with my guns as it's more straight forward playing Super Star Wars and I need to find some blasted hidden items of my own to help me out that are found in literal thin air if I want to be able to defeat all the dark forces in this game.
Just like Luke I was once the learner and at the time I didn't believe I could finish the game, but after years of experience I am now the master to give out some Yoda type advice because unlike Luke I didn't rush off early before my training was complete. I do have some helpful hints to help you on your journey so let's jump right in - literally - always jump first then use the directional pad to aim your landing on the tricky hard platforms, and pressing Up when jumping will give you the extra height spin jump but only use it on those extra high bits since you cannot control the spin too well as accuracy is the key. But, my most important advice is - keep the Proton Seeker (homing missile) - and don't upgrade, do not sacrifice accuracy for the power because only bad things happen to those looking for more power. The Proton Seeker is a must for the later levels like Mos Eisley and the classic Cantina stagewhich is home to the boss monster Kalhar who is the hardest in the game - or any game - as he is the most heavy handed, and for good reason since they are huge. He also extends his neck but be patient, focus, and if you fail .. well you can always play as the mighty Chewbacca where he automatically has an extended life bar with an instant blaster upgrade. His bigger size does make him a bigger target, but remember it's not about the size - it's how you use it - Han solo then explodes onto the scene in true rogue fashion since he comes equipped with grenades as he rocks n rolls through the stage as you escape Mos Eisley leaving enough destruction in his path to warrant a Wilhelm scream, sorry about the mess. Making your way up the Tractor Beam use the Proton Seeker to find yourself outside flying down that final Trench Run taking your final shot at the dreaded Death Star before it explodes on impact as I hear the sound of victory through that Sony sound chip extracted from my SNES as I was just blown away by the sounds of the Red Five missiles that fires at Tie Fighters surrounding me all to John Williams inspired tunes making me the best star pilot in the galaxy, well I'm certainly not the last star fighter. If you know anything about me you would know how I love to emphasize the greatness of a classic sound track for either a movie or a game so when its bothat the same time , its win win everyone.
This wonderful game seems to get better with time and for me personally Star Wars is light years ahead of where it was since it's initial Kessel Run as it has really kicked back into hyper space for me. I'm not stuck in the past but I sure as hell love talking about it, and it seems everybody else does too but when watching retrospect youtube videos I often see people recommending Super Return of the Jedi to play first in the SNES trilogy - but i completely disagree. Start off with the first one as the new hope brings the most balance to this force trilogy. It is a hard game and will not be easy the first time round but call me - crazy - because I love the challenge this game gives out. I am a little crazy but the key is to be just a little bit more crazy than the rest and if you want to go truly crazy try the next game in the trilogy as the Super Empire really does Strike Back as it has the most challenge in any game I have played on the SNES, and this is coming from someone who recently beat Super Ghouls n Ghosts. I always thought my brother was trying to seduce me to the dark side trying to convert his fandom over to me but he really did show me the light as I was all wrong all along - who's stupid now. Am I under a Jedi mind trick, oram I a weak minded fool - no - I was just plain wrong because Star Wars is awesome as are the SNES games inspired by it and don't let anybody tell you different even by idiots like me, or the old me which was the young me as this is coming from the not so far from middle aged me.. make it stop. In the end we all got our celebratory medals - except Chewy. I even got all the trophies in the PS4 digital version so I guess we all won? I got my way and my brother let me have it graciously. So What happened with Super Castlevania IV? Did I ever play it, or own it? Who was right, who was wrong? .. well remember.. that is another story for another time.
Guest Blog by: Todd M @The Top Loader
Retro Game Reviews. Mega Drive, Super Nintendo, Sega Dreamcast and more
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