If you’ve paid attention to the Star Wars fandom over the last 20 years or so, you’ll know that the franchise has had many ups and downs. Specifically, ups and downs regarding the quality of titles and releases. From the infinite number of re-releases done by George Lucas to the divisive prequel trilogy and the just as divisive sequel trilogy, fans have had much to gripe about. But, between key animated series, a particular anthology film, and the TV series on Disney+, they also had much to praise. Unfortunately, with the video games of the property, things have been just as mixed, and that is a feeling that goes well beyond the last two decades. Just ask Darth Vader.
What some don’t realize is that there were Star Wars video games going all the way back to the 1980s. That’s hard to think about because those systems and arcade cabinets couldn’t do anywhere near the number of things the systems of today can do. Due to that, there was a “crash” in those games, and titles stopped being made for a time.
One of the more “unique” titles that came out was one by Namco for Japan back in 1987. The title was for the Famicom, and it had one of the more infamous Star Wars gaming moments. In it, you’d fight Darth Vader multiple times. On the surface, that would be fine. But instead of acting like the Dark Lord of the Sith, he transformed into various creatures. That included a scorpion, a pterodactyl, and, to keep it in canon with the universe, a Wampa.
It was weird, and over the years, people have wondered what happened with the team to create such an inaccurate depiction of a classic villain. Finally, the answer came from Yoshihiro Kishimoto, who, in an interview, noted that the problem was the hardware.
The Famicom wasn’t powerful enough to make things work like they wanted to, so they got “creative”:
“There was nothing else that could be done, so we came up with this idea of Darth Vader turning into a scorpion. Looking back, it’s a mystery why the licensor allowed us to get away with that!”
A mystery indeed, possibly, due to the time; they likely thought no one would care that Vader became those things. Plus, it was only for Japan, which would limit any backlash from it.
Thankfully, since that point in time, things did get better, with titles like KOTOR and Jedi Fallen Order being a shining beacon of what can happen when you have the proper hardware.
Source: Time Extension