The evolution of the Star Wars Trench Run in video games

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When you think of the most iconic movie scenes of all time, a few images are likely to come to mind; The usual suspects‘ alignment plan, psychologythe shower scene, and The GodfatherThe opening office sequence of are all likely contenders. For star wars fans, there is a sequence that takes the cake: A new hopeThe final Death Star attack scene, often referred to as the Trench Run.

Heavily based on old WWII dogfighting movies, star wars‘Trench Run not only acts as the explosive finale to one of the most influential films of all time, but also acts as the true beginning of Luke Skywalker’s journey to becoming a Jedi Knight. With a barrage of lasers flying towards the screen at all times and a bold goal pushing the action forward, it only makes sense that star wars‘Trench Run has been adapted for video game support several times, evolving with each iteration.

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The Trench Run in Star Wars Arcade (1983)


Star Wars 1983 Arcade Trench Run

The very first instance of the Trench Run in a star wars video game, 1983s star wars The arcade game uses vector graphics to simulate a 3D assault on the Death Star. The X-Wing’s four laser cannons and nose can be seen in first person, as the TIE-Fighters fly towards the player.

The game is divided into three distinct phases. The first phase sees the player take on Darth Vader in his TIE-Advanced X1 Prototype, accompanied by his wingmen. When the player shoots down the TIEs, they are then taken to the Death Star, where the second phase begins.


The second phase of star wars arcade sees the player scour the surface of the Death Star, shooting down as many Turbolaser Turrets as possible before reaching the trench. Once in the trench, the third phase begins, where the player must avoid laser fire on the way to the escape port. Once at the end of the trench, the player can fire their proton torpedoes through the exhaust port, with a successful hit marking the end of the game.

The graphics and gameplay are obviously extremely simple compared to modern iterations of Trench Run, but there’s a distinctive charm about this old arcade game, and despite its simplicity, it’s still fun to play today. The general gameplay and presentation of this game was so successful that it was essentially repurposed 10 years later for the 1993 star wars arcade cabinet. Despite much more advanced visuals, the 1993 star wars The arcade Trench Run mission is virtually the same as the 1983 version.


The Trench Run in Star Wars NES (1991)


Star Wars NES Trench Run

One of the first star wars home console games, star wars for the NES switches between side-scrolling action platforming, air vehicle sections, and turret sequences. star wars NES uses the latter two to simulate the Trench Run.

Starting in the cockpit of the X-Wing, the player moves a crosshair across the screen to shoot down approaching TIE-Fighters. After enough fighters have been downed, a brief cutscene shows the X-Wing approaching the Death Star, where the camera angle then switches to an aerial perspective.

Now using aerial view, the player pilots their X-Wing across the screen until they reach the Death Star’s escape port. The mission is only about two minutes long, but it’s a solid depiction of the footage that doesn’t overstay its welcome.


The Trench Run in Super Star Wars (1992)


Super Star Wars Trench Run

Another classic old living room console star wars Release, Super Star Wars also has a Trench Run level. As is the case with the rest of the game, Super Star WarsThe Trench Run sequence is extremely frustrating, difficult, and frenetic, with TIE-Fighters constantly pelting the player with fire for roughly three minutes.

As the player reaches the end of the trench, they encounter Vader’s TIE-Advanced, which takes an absurd number of shots to defeat. Super Star Wars‘ Trench Run has the opposite problem of star wars NES, in that it takes way too long to beat the scene.

The Trench Run in Star Wars X-Wing (1993)


Star Wars X-Wing Trench Race

The first version of the Trench Run where the player can actually move his ship, Star Wars X-WingThe Death Star attack sequence is just as difficult as storming a moon-sized battle station. The real advantage of X-wingThe level of Trench Run is the freedom it gives the player.

It’s up to the player to decide when and where he enters the trench, and it’s up to the player to decide if he’ll disable the station’s defenses, or just shoot him down in the trench at full speed. There are different ways to approach X-wing‘s Trench Run, making it a hugely impressive iteration of the climactic battle, especially for a 1993 title.

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The Trench Run in LEGO Star Wars (2006-2022)


LEGO Star Wars Skywalker Saga Trench Run

The first LEGO version of the Trench Run dates from 2006 LEGO Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy. Using a slightly overhead camera angle, players will pilot their X-Wing across the surface of the Death Star once again, but instead of carefully flying between station cannons, the player is tasked with blowing up everything in sight, in true LEGO gaming style. . It’s not the most cinematic or fluid interpretation, but LEGO Star Wars 2‘s Trench Run is a pretty fun final level.

The recently published LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the most recent version of the Trench Run, and as such is one of the more cinematic versions, despite being made of construction toys. Here, the camera angle is firmly positioned by the player’s X-Wing as it approaches, blasting turrets and TIEs along the way. It’s not a very difficult level, but it shows how much the graphics have evolved over the last 40 years.

The Trench Run in Rogue Squadron (1998-2003)


Star Wars: Rogue Squadron Nostalgic Feel

One of the most beloved star wars series of flight simulators next door X-wingthe first two games of the Thieves Squadron Series also have their own Trench Run levels. In 1998 Thieves Squadron, the Trench Run really doesn’t offer anything new, with the player having to fly along the surface until they reach the exhaust port and launch a torpedo. The graphics are pretty good for the time and the sound design is definitely a step up from the previous ones. star wars games, but it’s nothing revolutionary.

Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader opens with its Trench Run level, which is significantly more exciting than its predecessor. Crisp sounds of laser fire, screams from fellow pilots and perfectly timed musical cues mimic the film’s tense atmosphere to perfection and breathe new life into this well-rehearsed sequence.

The Trench Run in Star Wars Battlefront (2015)


star-wars-battlefront-death-star-dlc-release-date

Although the content was a little light at launch, EA Star Wars Battlefront added paid DLC to try and expand on the game’s poor selection of maps. The game’s Death Star DLC had a game mode in which players fought their way through the interior of the battle station, escorting R2- D2 as he put together the plans for the station. Once the plans were in the Rebels’ hands, the Trench Run sequence would begin.


Here, Rebel players have been randomly assigned the role of Red-Five and his wingmen. These players had to enter the trench and go through a series of checkpoints, while the rest of the team defended them against the Empire fighters. Once the squadron was close enough to the escape port, the player assuming the role of Red-Five could fire their proton torpedoes and end the match.

The phenomenal presentation of Star Wars Battlefrontwith unprecedented visuals and sound design, makes it one of the best versions of the Trench Run in a star wars video game. And with the addition of real players trying to stop the rebels, the tension level is still extremely high, mimicking the movie very well.

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