Dash Rendar may be a minor character in the Star Wars universe, but he sure seems to get up to an awful lot on his adventures. As a result, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, the N64 game in which he stars, delivers the sort of variety and action you’d expect from a Star Wars film.
Here are some of the exciting things you get to experience first-hand in Shadows of the Empire (warning: stop reading now if you want to avoid any spoilers):
Taking part in the Battle of Hoth
Shadows of the Empire begins with Dash Rendar delivering supplies to the Rebel base on Hoth. As luck would have it, it’s around the same time as the Empire discovers the base and sends a massive invasion force to wipe it out.
Dash is, of course, more than happy to offer his services. He decides to help out Rogue Squadron: the elite group of Rebel fighter pilots headed up by none other than Luke Skywalker himself. The fact that Dash was able to just show up and join in is perhaps a worrying sign of the quality of Rebel pilots, but we’re happy to let it slide as it means we get to experience taking down AT-ATs using tow cables.
Everything goes to Bantha poodoo after the Imperials wipe out the shield generator on Hoth, and Dash has to single-handedly fight his way through the base to reach his ship, the Outrider. Traversing treacherous canyons and battling Stormtroopers are the least of his problems though; there are captive Wampas looking to pick a fight with Dash (Admittedly, you actually have to set free for them to be a threat).
Dash doesn’t have the luxury of being able to slice off a Wampa’s arm with a lightsaber, which is a shame given that these creatures seem almost impervious to blaster fire. Our advice: just leave them be.
Going toe-to-toe with Imperial AT-STs
Dash Rendar is so badass that he can take on an Imperial assault vehicle with just his blaster pistol.
Fighting an AT-ST is a fiddly affair, as you really want to shoot its head (and aiming in Shadows of the Empire is anything but easy a lot of the time). Thankfully, Dash can equip his blaster with special ammo types, which makes taking down these metallic monstrosities a little bit easier.
Shooting TIE Fighters in the asteroid field
Whereas Han, Chewie and Leia used the asteroid belt to hide from the pursuing Imperials in The Empire Strikes Back, Dash Rendar isn’t a wimp, and instead he chooses to shoot his way out.
This part of the game feels very reminiscent of the TIE Fighter attack that Luke and Han fend off in A New Hope. Using the Outrider’s trusty blaster cannons, you have to mow down as many TIEs as you can, while also looking out for special red asteroids that contain hidden Challenge Points.
Train-hopping on Ord Mantell
Despite having a ship that could fly him directly to where he needs to be, Dash Rendar would much rather jump between high-speed hover trains while dodging obstacles and blaster fire along the way.
It’s a risky approach to take, especially when there are many sharp turns that can result in instant death if you mistime a jump. Not only that, but this is a rail network that makes absolutely no sense; perfectly functioning trains are set up to run into pits of acid. Ord Mantell may be a junkyard planet, but it strikes us as being a bit too wasteful.
Flying around with a jetpack
Dash’s insistence on always landing in possibly the worst location on the planet usually means he ends up having to traverse some very dangerous chasms. And while he may have the natural ability of an Olympic long jumper, there are some gaps even he can’t make without a jetpack.
Racing through Mos Eisley on a Speeder Bike
The Speeder Bike chase on Endor from Return of the Jedi is a classic Star Wars moment. So being able to experience something very similar in Shadows of the Empire is a real treat for fans of the saga.
Dash must zip through Tatooine’s Mos Eisley at high speeds while barging enemy Speeder Bikes into walls and obstacles along the way.
What makes this part of the game so good is that it feels really fast. Dash’s Speeder Bike seems to jump from 0 to 300 mph just by tapping the acceleration button – which is great until you realise you’re racing through a heavily built-up area.
Blowing up a space station
Not to be outdone by Luke Skywalker, Dash Rendar is also fully competent at single-handedly wiping out large space stations. As with all space structures in Star Wars, the Skyhook installation in Shadows of the Empire can only be destroyed by shooting the reactor core inside it, which means some fancy flying is required.
Want to know more about Shadows of the Empire?
Check out our Shadows of the Empire retrospective.