Star Wars: The Arcade Game


Star Wars: The Arcade Game

Company: Parker Brothers
Model #:
Year: 1984
Port of the 1983 Atari coin-op


Star Wars was one of the most popular arcade games of all times.  With its sleek vector graphics, voice synthesis, and awesome gameplay, Star Wars was a mainstay in arcade for many many years.  Since Parker Brothers owned the rights to Star Wars games on home systems, Atari licensed the home port of the game to them.  Thankfully this is one of the few arcade translations that PB got right.  Incidentally in case your wondering about the name, "The Arcade Game" was added to the title so people wouldn't confuse it with Parker Brothers other two Star Wars games: Jedi Arena and The Empire Strikes Back.


Star Wars: TAG consists of three screens of nonstop action which follow the adventures of Luke Skywalker as he attempts to destroy the Death Star.  While the arcade game was done entirely in vector graphics, the 5200 version has some rastar graphics mixed in (like the Tie Fighters).  The arcade game also had a specialized flight yoke which obviously couldn't be duplicated at home, but the non-centering analog 5200 joystick actually mimics the flight yoke quite well.  Unfortunately the arcade game also had cool triggers for the fire buttons which couldn't be duplicated by the 5200's mushy fire buttons.


The first scene starts with your X-Wing, which represented by four guns and the nose of your ship, blasting Tie-Fighters into pieces.  The Tie Fighters are armed with a kind of energy fireball, which will slowly approach your ship from a distance.  You have a few seconds to shoot down a fireball before it hits your ship and take out one of your shield units.  Occasionally Darth Vader will appear in his custom Tie Fighter and launch a barrage of fireballs at you.  If you can shoot him a few times you'll score some bonus points and he'll go flying off somewhere.  After some fighting the computer will take control of your ship, and you'll make your approach on the Death Star.


The second scene involves blasting the towers on the Death Stars surface.  These towers look like giant obelisks, and will shoot fire balls at you (instead of the vents like in the arcade game).  You can blow off the tops of the towers for points, but it's not necessary to do so.  If you destroy all the towers you will get a hefty bonus and be taken to the next scene.  If you choose not to shoot the towers you will have to dodge fireballs and the towers themselves for a few minutes until the next scene starts.


The final scene take place in the Death Star trench, here you must shoot fireballs while avoiding walls and barriers.  The first time through the trench there are no barriers, but each successive time through the barriers become larger and more numerous. I n later levels barriers only have small holes in them to fly through making this level extra tough.  Once you pass all the barriers you'll see the exhaust port, shoot it before you fly over it and you're off to the next level.  If you can complete this level without shooting at anything (except the exhaust port), you will get a bonus for "Using The Force".


While it may not be arcade perfect (few home ports are), the 5200 version of Star Wars: TAG is an excellent port.  All the scenes are present and reproduced reasonably well with little or no flicker.  While they may have had to resort to rastar graphics in a few places, the game still retains that "vector charm".  Unfortunately quality arcade ports like this came too late to ultimately save the 5200 from the big crash, but at least some companies were trying all the way until the end.


Version Cart Text Description
4/9/84 Atari 5200 STARWARS 16K.WIP.2 4/9/82 Almost complete


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