Saga Star Wars, both in its current canon and the old Expanded Universe, features dark, mysterious, and strange elements. However, few are as extravagant as the confrontation between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Namco’s 1987 NES game, which transformed the iconic villain into a scorpion and even a shark.
Yoshihiro Kishimoto, one of those responsible for the game, explained in an interview that the Japanese version of the 1987 Star Wars NES video game developed by Namco under its Namcot label featured unique quirks that set it apart from what anyone might expect from a Star Wars game. In this platform game side-scroll, the player assumes control of Luke Skywalker in his fight against the Galactic Empire.
The plot moved away from the events of Episode IV, with Luke rescuing key characters from the film such as Princess Leia, Obi-Wan, and Han Solo, who were trapped on various planets. Aboard the Millennium Falcon, Luke embarked on a journey to find them, facing all kinds of dangers, including a duel against Darth Vader in which the villain transforms into a scorpion, shark, pterosaur, and Wampa from the Planet Hoth.
These transformations were introduced due to the technical limitations of the hardware of the time. The team faced the challenge of adapting the Star Wars epic to an 8-bit format, which was impossible to achieve with the desired fidelity. This situation led to unusual creative decisions, such as the transformations of the feared Sith Lord, which Kishimoto described as “illusions representing Luke’s fears” just like the mystical Cave of Evil scene in The Empire Strikes Back.
Despite these quirks, the game featured interesting gameplay elements, such as the use of the lightsaber and the Force, skills that Luke didn’t fully master until The Empire Strikes Back. In addition, the level design and the gallery of extravagant enemies offered an attractive gaming experience for all fans of the franchise of the time, eager for Star Wars news of any kind. Although it must be emphasized that Vader’s transformations were not canonical, they add a certain unique touch to the game experience with these creative licenses.
It seems that Respawn recanonized this curious transformation of Vader like a scorpion in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order in the shape of the golden Skriton. The Star Wars Universe is indeed wonderful.