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In the sixth in a series of Star Wars movies, Return of the Jedi involved a band of rebels that were at war with the evil Galactic Empire. The Empire’s ultimate weapon of the Death Star, with enough power to destroy an entire planet, must be destroyed in hopes of returning peace to the galaxy.
Star Wars Return of the Jedi Death Star Battle is loosely based on one of the final sequences of the film, where the Millennium Falcon spaceship from episodes 4-6 of the series must be piloted to the Death Star in order to destroy it. The game was developed and released by Parker Brothers in 1983.
Players control the Falcon, situated at the bottom part of the screen. Above the Falcon is the Death Star’s energy shield, with the Death Star being constructed in the background past the shield. The player must shoot three TIE Interceptors before openings can start appearing in the shield. A gray outer band also appears in front of the shield, which the player cannot enter an opening in the shield until the band has disappeared. Once the player is able to enter an opening, they will enter hyperspace and confront the Death Star.
If the player takes too long before maneuvering their Falcon through a shield opening, the Death Star’s death ray will activate and start shooting every few seconds. If the Death Star totally completes destruction, the death ray will destroy all remaining Falcons and the game will end.
A bonus Imperial Shuttle can also appear during these rounds, which can only be destroyed with a shot to the upper part of the ship.
After the player reaches a score of 10,000 points or a multiple thereof, the difficulty factor increases, which more TIE Interceptors are needed to be destroyed in order to have access to shield openings, the openings do not appear as often, and the construction rate of the Death Star speeds up.
Once the player makes it to the second round, they must shoot through blocks of the Death Star in order to destroy the core in the middle. Fireballs then start erupting from the Death Star, which the player must avoid for several seconds (while accruing a bonus in the meantime) until the Death Star explodes, which the player will then be taken back to the first round. If the Falcon gets hit by a fireball, then the Death Star will explode, the round will end, and the player will still be taken back to the first round.
Getting shot by a TIE Interceptor or death ray and colliding with the Imperial Shuttle, the gray outer shield band, or fireball from the Death Star will cause the player to lose a Millennium Falcon and the game will end when there are no more Falcons in reserve. A collision with a TIE Interceptor when the Left Difficulty switch is in the A position will also destroy a Falcon. However, an extra Millennium Falcon is awarded if every piece of the Death Star is destroyed except for the core, along with an extra Falcon being awarded with every 10,000 points scored.
Star Wars Return of the Jedi Death Star Battle also comes with two games, which game two is an advanced level, as seven TIE Interceptors are required to be shot before the shield is vulnerable on the first round, along with the rate of the Death Star construction is quicker than on game one.
- This was one of only a few handful of games to have a pause feature, since the Atari 2600 did not have a dedicated pause button.
- A version was also released for the Atari 5200, although with only very minor changes.