PC gamers looking to spend May the 4th dipping into some nostalgia will be well served by a visit to GOG today, as the cult classic Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire has been re-released on the digital download service.

Today has become known as Star Wars Day among fans of the saga, and in the past we’ve seen various sectors of the video game industry celebrate the holiday. This year also marks the twentieth anniversary of Shadows of the Empire, so digital game storefront GOG has chosen to re-release the game to mark both occasions.

Twenty years ago, things were quite different for Star Wars fans — for all intents and purposes, the saga had been completed a decade earlier, and there was some doubt that the rumoured prequel trilogy would ever come to pass. To test the waters, Lucasfilm set about a multimedia project known as Shadows of the Empire.

Shadows of the Empire would tell an original story in the Star Wars universe, set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. This period, never before explored by the expanded universe, would act as the backdrop for a novel, a comic book series, a fully orchestrated soundtrack and various toys and pieces of memorabilia — and, of course, a video game.

Released early in the lifespan of the Nintendo 64, as well as on the PC, Shadows of the Empire was one of the first 3D adventures to be set in the Star Wars universe. Players were put in the shoes of smuggler Dash Rendar, but would cross paths with familiar characters from the movies like Boba Fett.

shadows of the empire

The game might not hold up completely today — but it’s long been a title that PC gamers have struggled to run on modern hardware, something that the GOG release fixes, and it’s high points are fondly remembered. There’s still plenty of debate as to whether any game since has managed to produce a Hoth level that matches the one in Shadows of the Empire.

Shadows of the Empire occupies an interesting position with regards to the ever-divisive topic of the Star Wars canon. Like most expanded universe content, it was stripped from the canon when Disney bought Lucasfilm — but since Rendar’s ship was digitally inserted into the 1997 special edition of A New Hope, at least the craft itself is part of the universe as it stands.

Fans can download Shadows of the Empire from GOG right now. The game’s regular price is $6, but the site is offering a 20% discount on the new release if you act fast.

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun