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Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
Star Wars - Shadows of the Empire Coverart.png
Developer(s) LucasArts
Publisher(s) Nintendo (N64)
LucasArts (PC)
Platform(s) Nintendo 64, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) Nintendo 64
NA December 3, 1996[1]
PAL March 1, 1997
JP June 14, 1997

Microsoft Windows
NA September 17, 1997[1]

Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: Teen (T)
Input methods Controller, Mouse, Keyboard

Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire is a 1996 video game, developed by LucasArts. It was one of the first games made available for Nintendo's 64-bit system, Nintendo 64. A version for Windows 95 was released nearly a year later.

In the game, the player controls the mercenary Dash Rendar in his efforts to help Luke Skywalker and rescue Princess Leia from Prince Xizor's hands. It is part of the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire multimedia project and takes place as a backstory between Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.



The story begins shortly before the battle of Hoth, as Dash Rendar and Leebo arrive in Echo Base to deliver supplies. He briefly talks with Han Solo, who gets him a position in Rogue Squadron. Dash flies in the battle, but returns to Echo Base when the shield generator is destroyed (Just as the Millennium Falcon leaves). He makes his way through the base, attempting to return to The Outrider. Dash encounters several wampas on the way, and has to fight an AT-ST, but eventually makes it back to Leebo and The Outrider, and escape through an asteroid field.

Part 2 begins after the end of The Empire Strikes Back, as Dash searches for Boba Fett, so he can rescue Han Solo. He hunts down and battles IG-88 (Attempting to repair his ship on Ord Mantell), who tells him that Fett is hiding on a moon of the planet Gall. Dash finds Boba Fett, and damages his ship, Slave I, but Fett manages to escape.

Meanwhile, Prince Xizor orders Jabba the Hutt to kill Luke Skywalker (Believing that The Emperor will let him take Darth Vader's place if Skywalker is killed). Jabba sends a group of swoop bikers to Obi-Wan Kenobi's home (Where Luke is practicing his Jedi skills). Dash races them, and ends up eliminating all members of the gang. Luke informs Dash of a secret imperial supercomputer aboard the Imperial Freighter Suprosa. Dash steals the computer, and battles with a cargo droid in a hangar.

The final chapter begins with Luke, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and Dash infiltrating Xizor's palace on Coruscant to save Princess Leia, (Who Xizor has taken captive). Dash enters the palace through the sewers, and battles a beast in the sewer, before entering the palace itself, where he does battle with Xizor's Gladiator Droid. After defeating the droid, Xizor escapes to his Skyhook. In space, Xizor battles the Rebellion, before a Star Destroyer arrives. Dash then proceeds to fly into the Skyhook, and destroys it from the inside. Dash is presumably killed in the ensuing blast, along with Xizor.

A short scene before the credits show Luke and Leia on Tatooine, mourning Dash's death. If the game is beaten on the Medium, Hard, or Jedi difficulty levels, this is followed by one more scene of Dash and Leebo, who had managed to escape the blast, discussing how they plan on hiding from their enemies, with Dash saying, "It's better to be remembered as a martyr and still be alive."

Development and production

The work on Shadows of the Empire project started in late 1994 with the idea of making a side story to the movies, after dismissing the use of the main characters of the movies as the star of the new game, which gave the developers more freedom with the game and story[2], they built on the minor character from the book, Dash Rendar, who is nearly a copy of Han Solo, including a half sized, "later model" of the Millennium Falcon known as the Outrider. Jon Knoles, who was the game's Senior Artist and Animator and previously worked on other LucasArts games for PC and Super NES, is credited with bringing the idea of "Shadows" and placing it between the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi films.[3]. While in production Shigeru Miyamoto, Senior Marketing Director of Nintendo, and creator of Mario and other famous Nintendo games, suggested while viewing the early game, that the character of Dash be animated more, such as becoming restless at waiting around and how he holds his weapons.[4] A prototype Nintendo 64 was not yet available when the work began on Shadows and as a result the developers used a Silicon Graphics Onyx[5] and as for a controller to test the game they were required to use a modified SNES controller designed by Konami, which was placed in a sealed box that the designers had to place their hands into. Originally the game was planned to have 19 levels, which by 1996 and its write up in Nintendo Power #83 it was down to 12 levels, and when finally release it was at a total of 10 levels. This game was unique among other Nintendo 64 titles for using a "real" orchestral soundtrack instead of synthesized music like that in Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.


  1. ^ a b "Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire on IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-18.  
  2. ^ Shadows of the Empire Strategy Guide by Crispin Boyer from Electronic Gaming Monthly, pages 6-7
  3. ^ Shadows of the Empire Guide by Crispin Boyer, page 13
  4. ^ Shadows of the Empire Guide by Crispin Boyer, page 50
  5. ^ Nintendo Power, volume number 83

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