30 Years, Almost, Of Video Game Hoth Levels

On the 30th anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back, let's take a look at video games' favourite scene from that movie: the battle of Hoth. Developers have been trying for almost a full 30 years to get it right.

Which is your favourite?

1982: The Atari 2600 presents The Empire Strikes Back with the abstract-painting level of technology gamers were stuck with back then.

*** 1985: Atari's follow-up to the 1983 Star Wars Arcade Game, The Empire Strikes Back, used vector graphics to recreate the epic battle.

*** 1992: The Empire Strikes Back for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Hoth's looking good here. Impressive snow-speeder turning radius!

*** 1993: What a difference a year makes. Let's take it to the Super Nintendo for some Super Empire Strikes Back. This is, I believe, the least-authentic Hoth level we've seen in a game. Or were there actually floating hearts in the movie and I missed them? (Warning: NSFW language in this clip.)

*** 1993: This year also saw the release of Star Wars: Rebel Assault for the PC, Sega CD, Mac, and 3DO, the first CD-only game published by LucasArts, with one of the best looking on-rails Hoth battles to date.

*** 1996: Here we see Snow Speeders battling AT-ATs in one of the first Nintendo 64 games, Star Wars: Shadow of the Empire. Note the verrry simple radar. But I remember this level blowing my mind. It was like I was playing the movie!

*** 1997: And then there was Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi, a fighting game that featured a Hoth stage. Be warned, this video is a bit raunchy, and not just because it shows footage of this PlayStation stinker.

*** 1998: Sega's Star Wars Trilogy Arcade marks Hoth's return to the arcade, keeping the action on rails but filling in the wire frames.

*** 1999: Back to the Nintendo 64, three years later. This is Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. The AT-ATs look better. The radar is way better. And we've got some voice acting.

*** 2000: Luxoflux of Vigilante 8 fame developed Star Wars: Demolition, a vehicular combat game that featured the Hoth battle as a backdrop to fights between "vehicles" like Boba Fett and the Rancor.

*** 2001: New console. Nintendo GameCube. But same development studio as the previous one, the now-defunct Factor 5. This is video game Hoth and this is a leap up.

*** 2001: And who can forget the real-time strategy take on Hoth from Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds?

*** 2003: Factor 5 does Hoth again, and does it with Luke on foot and on Tauntaun. Madness.

*** 2004: First Star Wars Battlefront. Hoth on foot. On Xbox, PS2, PC

*** 2006: But what if Hoth was a Lego playland? What if the battle there was just a tad more cheerful? Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy answers those questions.

*** 2006: In the same year, we had Star Wars Battlefront II doing Hoth on foot.

2008: The Battle of Echo Base went massively multiplayer as an instance in Sony Online Entertainment's Star Wars Galaxies.

*** 2009: The Hoth expansion for Star Wars: Force Unleashed takes the battle to a more personal level.



    galactic battlegrounds is a sick game

    what about the new hoth or old hoth


      oh yeah that lol

    Rogue Leader probably came closest to the movie. I remember being blown away by the graphics on the GameCube (even now they aren't too bad) and the surround sound which was brilliant through the Dolby Pro Logic II system I somehow afforded at the time.

    Poor Factor 5 :(

    I quite enjoyed the DLC to force unleashed except they were a bit short and i think that if i'd bought them seperately i would have felt ripped off (especially in the jedi temple level).

    Why oh why did you drop Star Wars Galaxy into this palace. Pretty much any Factor 5 game nails the Hoth level.

    I too, remembered playing Shadows of The Empire for the first time on N64 and was amazed at how realistic the graphics were and how it could seemlessly transition chapters between on-foot, targetting, Snowspeeder, the dogfighing, Swoop Bike racing etc.

    It was the first game I played where it didn't just stick to one 'thing' and adapted the game to the various events of the storyline. Nowaways, every game does it, but back then you truly felt like it was a Star Wars movie itself except you could control bizarro-Han Solo.

    And now The Old Republic has announced Hoth is a planet ingame.

    The absolute best level - closest to the movie - was a mod someone made for SWBF1. The scale was huge, it'd actually take about 10 minutes to run from one side to the other.

    Missed one. What about the Game Boy version? I actually didn't hate that level.

    Is there no screen shots? Or is my browser playing up??

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