Star Wars Trilogy Arcade I Yavin
Star Wars Trilogy Arcade
Title Star Wars Trilogy Arcade
Developer Sega
Publisher Sega
Release Date 1998
Genre 3D Rail Shooter
Platform Arcade
Age Rating NA

A long time ago in arcades far, far away, Star Wars Trilogy Arcade machines appeared across the country. Quarters and tokens were inserted into their slots. Developed and published by Sega, the game was released as two different model cabinets. One was an upright cabinet. The other was a deluxe sit-down arcade cabinet. The deluxe cabinet was the common version in my local area. I got the chance to once again play this classic game at Indy Popcon and relive the days when I played this game often at the local arcade. Does this arcade exclusive Star Wars game still hold up?

Like many arcade games, the game will loop through a continuous demo reel until you start up the game. The machine itself comes in either the upright cabinet or the deluxe sit down arcade cabinet. For the first time ever, I played the stand-up cabinet version for this review. No matter which version you end up using, the game will have a joystick with a trigger in the front and a button top. On both the left and right sides are two red buttons, also known as the event buttons. What’s great with this setup is the game is friendly to both right-handed and left-handed players. One hand handles the joystick while the other hand is near the event button.

Star Wars Trilogy Arcade I Yavin
Take out the turrets guarding the Death Star

Back in 1998, the game was one of the best looking arcade games at the time. The game has graphically aged pretty well. The game’s polygons do stick out from time to time and come off as a bit rough, but was more polished than console games. The character models are well-detailed and the environments are faithful to the films. The game has the iconic Star Wars musical scores. The soundtrack is in MIDI format, but it still sounds impressive for an arcade game that released during the Nintendo 64, PlayStation One, and Dreamcast era. There’s only about 5 or 6 different tracks throughout the game.

Star Wars Trilogy Arcade I Hoth
My favorite level in the game has to be Hoth

Stars War Trilogy Arcade allows players to experience the original trilogy by playing through the most iconic battles in the film. The game starts off with three levels: Yavin, Hoth, and Endor. These three levels have you shooting down enemies that appear on screen before they shoot you down. Star Wars Trilogy Arcade allows players to play these three levels in any order. My favorite path and the path I used for years is Hoth-Endor-Yavin. For the sake of this review I went in chronological order, Yavin-Hoth-Endor. In the bottom right corner, you have a shield. It starts off at 100 and will go down as you take hits, until it reaches zero. Once the shield is down to zero, you will have to insert more quarters, tokens, or money to continue or simply press the button if the machine is set to free play. Each continue grants you a full shield. During each level, there will be certain moments when you can press the event button. The event button calls up the AI for assistance as you take on tougher parts of the level. For example, a group of X-Wing pilots will help destroy a swarm of TIE Fighters. It’s disappointing the event button is limited to certain segments, but some situations would be difficult without it. At the end of the each level, your score is racked for things such as destroyed enemies and accuracy. If you do exceptionally well, the game will grant you a shield repair.

Star Wars Trilogy Arcade I Endor
Save Endor from the grasp of the Empire

There are two bonus levels. One is a one-on-one fight with Boba Fett, the other fight is a one-on-one battle with Darth Vader. These two levels gave players a chance to boost their score. The goal is to move the joystick cursor to certain areas of the screen to reflect shots or lightsaber strikes away from Luke. Line the cursor up with the red arrows to deflect shots. In order to defeat Boba Fett and Darth Vader, you must successfully line up the cursor with green arrows. The green arrows are the only chance to damage them. If you miss one green arrow, you will automatically lose the bonus round. For many years, I always lost both fights. For the first time, I was able to defeat Boba Fett and I celebrated with joy as I was finally able to accomplish a task my 8 to 14 year old self failed to accomplish. Unfortunately, I still lost to Vader.

Star Wars Trilogy Arcade I Luke vs. Darth Vader
The iconic duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader

After all the levels are complete, players must go through one final level: the battle over Endor and inside the second Death Star. Shoot down as many enemies and destroy the core. If you cannot destroy the Death Star core in time, the mission will fail. Once the final level is done, the game ends with a tally of your scores from each level and whether you won or lost in each area. Afterwards, watch the credits roll.

Star Wars Trilogy Arcade I Standard Cabinet
The arcade machine I used for the review

Star Wars Trilogy Arcade is a fun, under-appreciated rail shooter. The game is a bit on the short side and can be difficult at times, but the challenge was never unfair. After all, it was initially created to eat up money just like other games at the arcade at the time. If you have to feed quarters, tokens, or money to continue to play the game, it can eat up quite a bit of money if your skills are not up to par. It’s a shame that one of the best arcade games from Sega and LucasArts never made it onto a home console. With the advancement of technology, I can only hope it gets a digital re-release with joystick support. Until that day comes, the only way to play is at an arcade or at a place with arcade machines. If you stumble across a Star Wars Trilogy Arcade machine, I highly recommend playing it and dropping a few quarters, tokens, or some money on the game.

Review Score

The game took approximately 40 to 45 minutes to finish with unlimited continues.

Jacob’s In-Game Stats: used 5 continues. Accomplished the Yavin, Hoth, and Endor levels. Defeated Boba Fett, failed to defeat Darth Vader and accomplished the final level in the second Death Star. The game was played at Indy Popcon.

Special thanks to Extra Life Indy for having the arcade machine in their Charity Arcade booth at Indy Popcon. I also would like to give a special thanks to Oliver Wojtyna for helping take some of the photographs. For more information on Extra Life, you can visit their website

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