There was a time when porting a P.C. game to the consoles would be a daunting task, for instance, while the P.C. had over 100 keys and an omnidirectional mouse to help look, move, and interact, whereas the consoles were usually a lot more limited. Portable ones more so, as they had to rely on sacrifices to make the system run on batteries. However, it is not impossible to make a more-than faithful port with these circumstances. In 1999, the cableless freedom of the Game Boy Colour gave a P.C. adventure game some capabilities to take advantage of, in the port of Star Wars: Yoda Stories.
The missions start similarly with Yoda giving Luke the heads up about, nefarious doings of the Empire, and sends him on his way. With the technical limitations of a portable console, the game has made some small sacrifices. For instance, the whole sequence of travelling to Dagobah and receiving your objective has been omitted, replaced with a simple semi-static scene. A more obvious substitution is there are just 15 levels, a slight step down from the potentially infinite possibilities of the P.C. version but still enough to be thoroughly entertained. These are accessed by passwords as portable saving was still in its infancy.
Surprisingly, most of the P.C. version’s mechanics made it to the console release. The maps are slightly smaller but still efficiently utilised as in the original. It was interesting to see how well the eight-button controller emulated the controls of the mouse and keyboard, and the transition between the control schemes feels intuitive. Selecting and using items is not as painful as you might imagine, as you are given more freedom to select exactly where on the area, and combat and interact remains virtually unchanged.
It is not all sacrifices and trade-offs, as the port is filled with tweaks and additions. The Star Wars theme now plays constantly throughout your adventure, as opposed to playing the opening salvo as you start a level. The visuals, while rendered on a rudimentary display, still retains a lot of the cartoonish charm that was found in the P.C. version. With the highly stylised look and the Game Boy Colour’s luminosity helps points of interest stand out. A new inventory screen has been designed, and I think it has a nice look to it, it is clear to see what each item is, especially if you cannot judge from the icon.
Considering the hardware, it is impressive how much of Yoda Stories made it to the Game Boy unchanged. With the game in a more portable format, that makes a fine home for the quick burst of gameplay Yoda’s Stories was designed for. Even more suited to rapid sessions of gameplay as the levels have been designed for portability, yet still retaining that simple, yet enjoyable, puzzling experience. If you have an extended trip and are equipped with Star Wars: Yoda’s Stories, you will have a galaxy of adventure fitting inside your pocket.
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