The Game: Presumably, you play the part of Lando Calrissian in this game, which seems to follow the events in the latter half of the film Return of the Jedi. Piloting the Millennium Falcon, you dart around the perimeter defense shield of the Empire’s new Death Star, which is still being constructed before your very eyes. You must eliminate a certain number of TIE Interceptors before a hole opens in the shield, allowing you to get close enough to start blowing pieces out of the Death Star itself. But an automatic defense system won’t take long to track you down and eliminate you, so you have to work fast. The sooner you can hit the Death Star power core, the better. And when you accomplish that, you have to worry about dodging the flaming debris of the huge space station… (Parker Brothers, 1983)
Memories: Possibly the best game Parker Brothers released out of its series of four Star Wars titles, Death Star Battle had some truly great graphics considering which machine they were squeezed out of. The vaguely 3-D grid of the Death Star’s defense perimeter would constantly shift colors, and it was actually very pretty. The game play itself was no slouch either – one out of five times is about how often I manage to evade all the Death Star debris without getting creamed.
Another great part of Death Star Battle was its very abstract sound – not really music, and seemingly not really sound effects either, but something in between, both unusual and yet tonal. Very attention-getting sounds, again surprising since they were coming out of the same Atari 2600 engine that seemed to make a big mess out of a simple game like Pac-Man.
Death Star Battle is truly one of the most unique and fun games ever to hit the 2600…and it’s one reason why I’m still glad I have the old machine on hot standby!