The Moldy Crow

TheCrow’s Nest

The Emperor's Gambit

Author(s): Kevin M. Rusnak


Years after the destruction of the first Death Star the Rebels have learned of the creation of a second of the terrible weapons. Her Bothan spies having failed her, Mon Mothma calls again upon Kyle Katarn to locate the plans for the Death Star. Kyle needs to find an entrance to the base, find the plans and then pirate a ship to get out of there.

  • This scene is cool, but totally unnecessary, and it tends to blow what was looking really promising.


Reviewed by: Geoff Elliott | April 14, 1997

gambit(gam'bit) n. || 1 Chess an opening in which a pawn or other piece is sacrificed to get an advantage in position 2 an opening maneuver, action, or remark intended to gain an advantage

Why am I giving the definition? It could be because I'm starting a new trend in the way I open my reviews, but really I just think everyone should understand the basic premise behind the level; and plus I think it's cool. We all know how the Emperor allowed the plans for the second Death Star to fall into Rebel hands: now we get to play the part.

The story is changed from what we know. The Bothan spies here have failed to do their part and thus Kyle is brought to the forefront. This could be just a way to let the author put you in this position, or it could also be explained that in ROTJ Mon Mothma was reluctant to admit to having hired Katarn again(I seem to remember hearing someone at LA say she had gone behind Leia's back on the previous mission) with his checkered background and refusal to commit to the Rebellion. Either way the story works and lets us have a good time.

The level is technically very well done. I didn't see any problems with texture choice or fitting that made for a glaring oversight. Most of the level is done in characteristic Imperial style, with a couple areas that look pretty cool. Most of the level centers around a specific area which branches out to other parts. You run through those parts to find what you need. The real problem with this idea is that each of the branches tends to form something of a maze. I can't imagine any base being set up like this, nor can I believe that it was something specifically set up for your arrival. You're supposed to be able to get the plans out; it shouldn't be too tough.

After running through maze after maze the level was still running pretty good. There were one or two Dark Troopers but they didn't hamper the mission too much. Then I got to the end. The hangar bay just blows the level all to pieces. By itself the hangar is more difficult than the rest of the level combined. A Phase III and other toys just don't make any sense. The Emperor knows you're coming so he could have prepared. But he wants the entire fleet, not one paltry commando. Here there's a REALLY cool scene that I shouldn't spoil too much, but it also tends to ruin the whole effect. I would have enjoyed the Imperials putting on a good show but getting to the end and having Kyle say "This was too easy..." to foreshadow the approaching battle. This is supposed to be the Emperor's ploy to catch the entire fleet, not an attempt to catch a single commando. Vader going behind the Emperor's back? Perhaps. But if so it feels like an idea that couldn't be pulled off. By exercising just a little more creativity and by following along the path he'd begun, the author could have changed this from a decent level into a spectacular one.


A pretty good level. The setup gets a little boring after a while and the Dark Troopers are a bit of a pain to deal with years after they were supposed to be leveled. But even with the ending, I found this to be a fairly enjoyable level. If nothing else the author shows off what he is technically capable of; not one to grab right away, but maybe when you have nothing better to do.

Download The Emperor's Gambit(, 446 kB)