Dash And Leebo's Bogus Journey - Shadows Of The Empire
Welcome to the Shadows Of The Empire (SOTE) Let's Play thread!
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This will be a hybrid LP of the Nintendo 64 release of Shadows Of The Empire.
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Two styles, really. If all you want to do is watch someone play a video game, feel free to just follow the VLPs. Otherwise, Nine-Gear Crow and I want to take a hybrid approach and look at the entire Shadows Of The Empire project as a whole.
Hold on, what is Shadows Of The Empire?
This was an experiment done by Lucasfilm Ltd. in 1996. The challenge was to create a Star Wars property that explored all the commercial possibilities available short of making a brand new film. The story itself, Shadows Of The Empire, was set in the period of time between The Empire Strikes Back (TESB) and The Return Of The Jedi (TROJ)--at this point in time, an area no Expanded Universe property had explored.
Ultimately, the project was very successful. George Lucas was such a fan of it that he reportedly commented that he would have made the story into an actual Star Wars film if he had the time and effort to do so in the early 80s.
Okay, so it's Star Wars. What exactly was the project?
The actual Star Wars: Shadows Of The Empire project consisted of a novel, a comic book, a video game, a sound track, a toy line, and a card game.
The novel was written by Steve Perry, an American sci-fi author who has worked in a number of intellectual properties, including Predator, Alien, and Conan. His novel picks up immediately after TESB and runs right up where TROJ would begin. It introduces a number of characters who would become quite popular in Star Wars fandom, including
The comics were published by Dark Horse and written by John Wagner. Aside from retelling the overarching plot of SOTE, they also add two distinct point-of-views in the story, with Boba Fett and a new character named Jix.
The game was one of the earliest N64 titles (came out four months after the console's release) and was later released for the PC.
It. Was. Awesome.
The N64 version, which we will be playing, and the PC version had a few differences. The PC version looks nicer and plays better, and also has fully voiced 3D cutscenes. The N64 looks all kinds of janky, has "motion comic"-style cutscenes with subtitles, and is awkward to control at times thanks to its awkward-at-times controller--and yet I love it.
The soundtrack was composed by Joel McNeely, at the suggestion of John Williams, and was performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. It's a pretty brilliant soundtrack considering McNeely scored it for an Expanded Universe book.
Also, a number of companies made toys for the series. The Kenner line is perhaps the most prominent. Topps also developed a 100-card set for SOTE. There were even SOTE Micro Machines.
To promote the whole thing, a trailer using clips from TESB and TROJ was released.
And lastly, the 1997 special edition re-release of A New Hope featured all kinds of elements from SOTE. This included swoop bikes, ASP labour droids, Sentinel-class Imperial landing craft, and Rendar's ship, the Outrider.
Oh, wow, okay. That's, uh, a lot of nerd stuff...
I know! Right?
So, what's the plan here, then--LP the N64 game?
Yes, but we're going to more than that. Compared to the other aspects of the SOTE project, the game presents a number of inconsistencies. It remains similar in a broad stroke sense, but there are specific events that are portrayed differently. We're going to journey through the entire SOTE multimedia project in order to reconcile these differences. So, more than a Let's Play, it will also be part Let's Watch, Let's Read, and Let's Listen. In doing so, we will come to reveal the ultimate truth behind Dash Rendar's journey in the Shadows Of The Empire game.
Uh, and what truth is that?
That the SOTE game is full of lies and falsehoods. For every nugget of truth, there is another aspect stretched to the breaking point. Ignoring the whole official "G-canon, C-canon" nonsense, we're going to consider canonicity within the SOTE project. Put simply, some aspects of the project will have a greater precedence than others.
Basically, the breakdown of importance will be as follows:
The Original Film Trilogy
Shadows Of The Empire [Novel]
Shadows Of The Empire [Comic, Game, Soundtrack]
Other Related EU Material [Novels, Cards, Toys]
Given its importance and how every other project was basically borne of it, the Steve Perry novel will take priority with the other major projects following. After that will be the "minor" aspects of the project which will include other related Extended Universe material, such as Shadow Games.
Why am I giving them this importance? The films should be self-evident. With regards to the SOTE project, the book is really the crux it all; everything else is secondary. Thus, that narrative takes precedence. In the novel, we are given four point-of-views to tell us the story: Darth Vader, Prince Xizor, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia. These are the main characters--three of which are main characters from the films. This is their story. Everyone else is a background aspect. The comic gets a bump up because though the narrative jumps around a bit, introducing POVs such as Jix and Boba Fett, it still takes place primarily from Luke, Xizor, Leia, and Vader's perspectives. The problem with the game is that it takes place entirely from Dash Rendar's perspective.
Why is that a problem?
Well, it's not really. But for the sake of this LP, it is. Dash Rendar is a known braggart and mercenary. He works for the highest bidder, destroying property or smuggling contraband. He is not to be trusted. Certainly not in a story told from his point-of-view. He's liable to "embellish" certain aspects of the story. As several points between the three main SOTE projects do not nicely line up, in doing an LP where we consider all of them, we're going to try and find a way to reconcile these differences. The simplest and most obvious answer for most of these is that Dash Rendar has over-exaggerated his importance in events. Sure, he plays an important role, but he conveniently finds himself against incredible odds and always comes out on top. Tell me, if some guy came up to you and told you he shot down Boba Fett's Slave 1 while on foot with a blaster pistol, would you believe him?
Anyways, that's how the LP is going to play out.
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We're going to work our hardest to ensure there is at least a video being posted once every 1-2 week(s).
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Feedback is great! For Nine-Gear Crow and I, this is our first VLP. Anything that will help us improve would be hot. As for participation, I know goons love Star Wars, so feel free to chime in with stuff so long as it doesn't interfere with the spoiler policy.
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Don't want'em. We're going to go through SOTE together. Crow and I have some things planned, so if you have an idea please check with us first.
Also, I don't want the thread to become bogged down in EU silliness. If it comes up organically that Han Solo punched a giant space otter, sure, but otherwise let's keep it to a minimum. There is an exception: if the EU material you want to talk about specifically relates to SOTE, it is probably fine. Crow and I are going to try and address that sort of thing, though, so please check if you're not sure.
No prequel talk!
I call that rule Order 66.
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Shadows Of The Empire has, unfortunately, not been re-released on any digital platforms, such as GoG.com, Steam, or the Wii Virtual Store. If you want to play along you'll need to snag an old PC disc or N64 cartridge from a pawn shop or Amazon.
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Want more Dash Rendar? It's very likely you're ill, but he's a recurring character in
Comrade Question proves Prince Xizor is an anime, thereby winning the art contest!:
Blind Sally enters his own art contest:
nine-gear crow wants Dash Rendar to become a staple of
Psion shows concern over Dash's obsession with Han:
BMS pays tribute to our lord and saviour, Dash Rendar:
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These are the characters that are given point-of-views throughout the SOTE multimedia project. For the iconic characters you should know rather well, I won't bother explaining who they are. Instead, I'll give a brief rundown on where they're currently at.
Jedi Knight in training, Luke Skywalker
Recently had his hand cut off and replaced with a robot hand. Also, had his best friend frozen in carbonite. Also, found out Darth Vader is his dad. Is currently going through a number of issues. All these revelations, combined with the incident in the tree at Dagobah, have left him feeling confused and vulnerable; the Dark Side has never been a greater fear or concern for him.
Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan
Survived the ambush at Cloud City, at the cost of losing Han, the man she loves. Or thinks she loves. She's pretty sure she loves him. She's also pretty sure he loves her--but he didn't say it, did he? No, he just said, "I know." That's frustrating. Really frustrating. Regardless of her conflicted feelings, she desperately wants to rescue Han.
Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader
Has convinced the Emperor to let him try and convert Luke to the Dark Side. Also, swelling with pride that his son is Force sensitive and is rapidly improving in his skills. However, he is being consistently annoyed with the Emperor's close relationship to Prince Xizor. Vader hates Xizor and his stupid smug face. He would kill him if it weren't for the fact that it would displease the Emperor.
Dark Prince, Underlord of the Black Sun, Prince Xizor of the House Sizhran
A Falleen, a humanoid reptile race. Head of the largest galactic criminal organization, known as the Black Sun. Has a spy network that rivals the Emperor's. Is owner of Xizor Transport Systems (XTS), the largest merchant fleet in the galaxy, which he uses as a legal front. Has a close working relationship with the Emperor, much to Vader's chagrin. There's a lot more to be said about Xizor, oh yes, but we'll save that for following updates. Xizor seems to be attempting to supplant Vader as the Emperor's most favoured second, and as he is wont to do, the Emperor is encouraging it because he is a dick and thinks it's hilarious seeing Vader and Xizor constantly try to one-up one another.
Mandalorian warrior and bounty hunter, Boba Fett
Is currently in possession of Han Solo. Is attempting to reach Tatooine in order to deliver the package to Jabba the Hutt, but is encountering all sorts of problems. Tracking devices, other bounty hunters, and Rebel Alliance soldiers--Boba Fett is getting frustrated with how difficult this mark is becoming.
Imperial agent under Darth Vader, Wrenga Jixton
I give Dash a hard time (only because I love him), but really, "Jix" here is the least important pov. He only appears in the comic, but allows for some interesting glimpses into the world as he has access to Vader, Jabba, and Jabba's swoop gang.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Dash Rendar
Sorry, Dash, you're so insignificant you don't even get to have a full-frame character portrait.
Human male Corellian. Though on track to having a respectable career in the Imperial Academy at Caridia, an altercation had him kicked out. Along with his trusty co-pilot, he flies in his Corellian YT-class light freighter in order to take illicit work smuggling or doing mercenary work. Has developed a reputation as a hot-shot pilot. Has a dislike for the Imperial Empire, but has yet to give up his independence to side with the Rebel Alliance.
Yeah, Dash Rendar is basically Han Solo. They're so similar it's actually easier to point out their differences: instead of a Wookie co-pilot, Dash flies with a LE-series repair droid; instead of a YT-1300 freighter, Dash flies a YT-2400 freighter, the Outrider; and rather than getting kicked out of the Imperial Academy for saving a Wookie, he is kicked out because his brother dies in a shuttle accident--that happened to collide into the Emperor's personal museum.
Basically, Steve Perry wanted to use Han Solo but couldn't due to the whole carbonite thing, so he created his own. The idea was, what would it look like if Han had a younger, brasher brother? Also, what if he was kind of a muscle-bound, tending to overweight kind of guy, who could take an immense pummelling and keep on going?
No seriously. Early concept art for Dash had him looking like an absolute thug:
Also, no two properties seem to be able to agree on what Dash Rendar looks like.
Is he svelte and athletic, or muscular and slightly-overweight? Is he, as his name implies, dashing, or is he a brutish looking thug? Is his hair red or black? His eyes green or brown? Is he tall? Short? Is he balding?
I don't know.
No one does.
We're going to settle on the dashing Dash Rendar as depicted in the N64 game; the best Dash Rendar:
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Click on a character's name to go to their featured post.
Characters with a * before their names appear in Extended SOTE Universe materials only.
*Director Ysanne Isaard
*LIN-2 aka "Lintu"
*The Pike Sisters
*The Pikkel Sisters
*A-OIC aka "Doc"
Jabba The Hutt
Click on a ship's name to go to its featured post.
Imperial Command Tower
Imperial Probe Droid
Imperial Star Destroyer
Sentinel-Class Landing Craft
Victory-Class Star Destroyer
Xizor's Gladiator Droid
ASP-19 Battle Droid
Diamond Boron Missile