The Empire Strikes Back

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The Empire Strikes Back
Titelbild von The Empire Strikes Back
Game No. 376
Voting 5.59 points, 22 votes
Developer Mark Robinson, Ian Martin, Andy Craven
Company Vektor Grafix
Publisher Domark
Musician David Whittaker
Release 1988
Platform Acorn BBC, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple Macintosh, Apple II, Arcade, Atari ST, C64, IBM-PC, ZX Spectrum
Genre Shoot'em Up
Gamemode Single player
Operation Icon Port2.pngJoystick
Media Datassette Diskette
Language Language:english
Information Second part of the Star Wars trilogy

Description[edit | edit source]

The credits

The Empire Strikes Back is the conversion of the Atari arcade machine. This is the second part of the Star Wars trilogy by Domark. The game was programmed by Vektor Grafix in 1988 and released as a diskette version as well as a datasette version.

The game consists of four scenes that are based on the happenings in the movie (Probe Droids, Battle of Hoth, Space Battle, Asteroid Field) and which repeat with rising difficulty until the player has used up his shield energy. The design is done - as in the first part - with coloured (pseudo) vector graphics.

Section 1: Probe Droids[edit | edit source]

Probe Droids

After the destruction of the Death Star the rebels had to flee from Yavin IV and search for a new base. Their choice was the ice planet Hoth. Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, Darth Vader's personal forces find with the help of probe droids the shield generator of the echo basis on Hoth. The first section starts here.

You as Luke Skywalker need to prevent the hostile probe droids that defend themselves with lasers from sending images of the power station of the rebel base to Darth Vader.

Section 2: Battle of Hoth[edit | edit source]

Battle of Hoth

An imperial probe droid has managed to send images to the fleet. Darth Vader's personal forces attack the rebels' base.

In the second section you find yourself in the middle of the Battle of Hoth. There you need to fend of the Walkers' lasers and - if possible - destroy the Walkers. For this you can simply take aim at the Chickenwalker (AT-ST) with the board cannon. The AT-ATs can be destroyed with two different methods. Firstly you have a harpoon with a cable which you can shoot around the feet. Secondly the AT-AT have a vunerable spot at the head.

Section 3: Space Battle[edit | edit source]

Space Battle

The basis gets destroyed and the rebels have to flee. Darth Vader in person lands on the planet and invades the echo basis with his troups. Luke and R2-D2 escape in an X-Wing.

In this section you are in the space battle during the escape from Hoth. You have to defend yourself against the lasers of the TIE Fighters again. To collect bonus points you can shoot the TIE Fighters.

Section 4: Asteroid field[edit | edit source]


Princess Leia Organa escapes with Captain Solo in his Millennium Falcon, but the hyperspace drive is damaged. The Imperial Startroopers chase the Falcon in a nearby asteroid field.

In the final section you only need to avoid the asteroids. They burst apart when touching them and cause a loss of energy.

Design[edit | edit source]

Info in the game

The Empire Strikes Back is the logical sequel to Star Wars (Domark). New enemies and a slightly changed game principle. Concerning the design a difference can hardly be recognized. Many elements were recycled. The speed was raised slightly in comparison to the forerunner. The speech samples and the ingame music of the arcade original did unfortunately not find an entrance to the conversion, in return the ingame manual (wait a bit after the game has loaded) is contained as it is on the machine. If you were content with Star Wars, you are surely not disappointed with The Empire Strikes Back.

Hints[edit | edit source]

Difficulty grade & ingame manual

  • At the start of the game you can choose the level (1-2-3) with the cursor. The bonus points depend on the chosen diffculty level. Beginners are advised to start with level 1.
  • Additionally you can view the ingame manual here which explains alle units and their vulnerable spots.

Controls in the game

  • For the controls the joystick in port 2 is used.
  • The vehicle (or respectively its aiming device) follows the joystick movements.
  • The fire button triggers a shot.
  • With the key Space  the harpoon with the trailing cable is fired.
  • With the key Run/Stop  you can pause the game.
  • With the key J  the horizontal axis of the joystick can be mirrored.


Fireball 3 points TIE Fighter 100 points
Radio transmission 5 points done complete wave 2500 points
Star Shot 7 points Jedi Letter 5000 points
Probot 25 points Flying Bonus 5000 points
AT-ST Walker 50 points Jedi Bonus 20000 points
AT-AT Walker 75 points

Solution[edit | edit source]

  • The first sections are rather easy to do. Shoot the lasers or avoid them. For bonus points shoot vehicles. The success only elongates the time to the unavoidable end. The rebel base will be attacked by the Imperium anyway, because the game follows the story of the movie. In the fourth section you only need to survive the whole thing, which, however, is far more difficult that the previous sections.

Cheats[edit | edit source]

  • POKEs: (not tested):
POKE 10423,165 (unlimited time)
POKE 37048,165 (shields)
POKE 51917,173 (tow cables)
  • Cheats in the game: (not tested):
start machine, Space  + N  + M  + J  + B  + K  + L , then Run/Stop 

Voting[edit | edit source]

Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):
5.59 points at 22 votes (rank 889).
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
C64Games 7 03rd January 2007 - "very good" - 648 downs
Lemon64 6,6 04th January 2011 - 19 votes 6,5 26th June 2011 - 6 votes
ZZap64 74% Issue 9/88
Power Play 48% Issue 10/88

Reviews[edit | edit source]

Spaceball: "This title is much more fun than Star Wars. But it is not a much better game. Simply because it is not balanced. The first 3 sections are easy as a pie while the fourth sections is just unbelievably difficult. No balanced difficulty grade, which simply devalues the title for me."

H.T.W: "Not bad, the game!! The vector routines were reworked and are approx. twice as fast as in the first part. Then this looks very fluent and gets in the design close to the machine. Also the dissolving of the enemies after their destruction was reproduced very well. Very many details as the JEDI bonus, a bonus for flying through the legs of an AT-AT, etc., were taken over. Also the meteorite sequence can be managed after a bit of practice, you get the feeling (the force my be with you ;) ) for which side you have to move to. Even entering the highscore is arcade-like. This is not a top game, but surely the best game of the Star Wars series for the C64 and well worth playing. Now if also the highscore list would be saved ....".

Robotron2084: "Forsooth cruelly takes the Empire revenge on the player, who thinks that he can relive the action from the machine game. Hardened rebel warriors that do not escape into hyperspace by a press on the reset key when seeing the first levels, can let themselves get bored for a quarter of an hour or so with blocky jittery "vector" graphics and unprecise controls, unnerving sounds and monotonuous gamplay. Just really bad. 3 out of 10 points, for Star Wars fanboys maybe more."

TheRyk: "Even hardcore Star Wars fans should admit, this game is really bad. The Parker Brothers Version from 1984 was created at a time when most games were not very polished anyway, the first Domark Star Wars was at least not significantly worse, even playable in spite of not really matching the standards of 1988. But The Empire Strikes Back is a prime example of generating money by attaching the Star Wars brand to a really poor game. No fun at all, just terrible. 2 points."

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]



Highscore[edit | edit source]

Topscore of H.T.W
  1. H.T.W - 464.438 (21.07.2009)
  2. Robotron2084 - 313.222 (30.06.2014)
  3. FXXS - 173.516 (09.11.2013)
  4. TheRyk - 49.106 (25.06.2014)
  5. Equinoxe - 45.733 (03.11.2012)

#2 Robotron2084 #3 FXXS
#2 Robotron2084 #3 FXXS

Links[edit | edit source]

WP-W11.png Wikipedia: Star_Wars
WP-W11.png Wikipedia: The_Empire_Strikes_Back