There are different versions of the first Star Wars game for the third generation of consoles, based on the first movie of the franchise, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The first version is a game released for the Japanese market exclusively, while the second one was released in the North American and PAL territories.

Japanese version

The Japanese version of Star Wars released in 1988 by Namco, released for the Famicom. This version is a common side-scrolling platformer in which the player controls Luke, as he travels in order to join the Rebellion against the Empire. It is considered to be superior to the North American/PAL version.

Story inconsistencies

While the game is based on Episode IV, Namco took several liberties with the storyline. For instance, Luke must rescue some of the main characters from the movie (R2-D2, C-3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Han Solo), who are trapped on distinct planets. In order to move between planets, Luke travels using the Millennium Falcon (which in the movie was piloted only by Chewbacca and Han Solo), in order to find them. Additionally, some of the planets in the game do not actually exist in the franchise's universe (one of these planets contain ruins that appear Egyptian in origin), while others had simply not appeared in the movie series yet (such as an icy planet, which is most likely the planet Hoth).

Another difference includes the use of the lightsaber and the Force, neither of which Luke had learned with any degree of proficiency at this point in the series until Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.


For the most part, the game is a typical side-scrolling platformer. Luke uses the lightsaber as his primary attack, and he can also use the Force to execute special maneuvers like floating, speeding and stopping time, among others. When the characters are rescued, they will help Luke by providing hints and other actions that are important to progress through the game. Between planets, the Millennium Falcon is forced to fight a wave of Tie Fighters that prevent the Falcon's entrance to the next planet. The games switches to a first-person shooter perspective in which the player moves the crosshairs. The final level involves using the X-Wing against the Death Star. The X-Wing travels through a long corridor in a limited time. At the end, there is the reactor's duct where the proton torpedoes will be shot automatically in order to destroy the station. If the player fails to get to the end at the end of the time, the Death Star will destroy Yavin IV and the game will be over. The game is particularly difficult, since the game gives 3 lives and two continues, and Luke dies upon any contact. The Millennium Falcon can sustain three hits before being destroyed.

American & PAL version

This version was released by JVC for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Master System in 1991 and was ported for Game Boy a year later. The object is to pilot a landspeeder around Tatooine, explore caves, assemble all the necessary characters, gather a lightsaber and shields for the Millennium Falcon, navigate through a meteor shower to the Death Star, battle storm troopers, and destroy the Death Star.

Each character has different attributes. Obi-Wan Kenobi can resurrect Han Solo or Princess Leia five times. R2-D2 can display a map of Death Star hallways.

Strangely, neither Chewbacca nor Darth Vader make any appearances.

Enemies include:

  • Jawas
  • Banthas
  • Sandpeople
  • Flying Insectoids
  • Womp Rats
  • Giant Slugs
  • Bounty Hunters
  • Boba Fett
  • Imperial Stormtroopers
  • Various Droids
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