Shadows of the Empire is actually a Star Wars novel taking place between The Empire Strikes Back and the Return of the Jedi. The novel also happened to be made into a game.
Now these are the things that Game reviewing sites generally don't appreciate since 1. Apparently everything back then was about jumping into cannons, shooting yourself and picking up oversized bomb characters (Instant 9.0+!) even though the camera is pretty much the same and 2. Was Star Wars really that big back then?
This is before Episode I came out in theaters so I'm sure the idea of Star Wars games was getting stale without a refreshing new introduction to the series.
These graphics at the time were amazing. It was the first game to implement the Battle of Hoth so well and make usage of the Snow Speeder's tow cables (without looking like complete butt). The laser animations were very well done and some of the levels were simply breathtaking. Beggars Canyon was amazing, Hoth was amazing, the modeling of the Outrider and the Skyhook/Star Destroyer battle was amazing.
Story- The story of the Black Sun and the chasing of Han Solo (when Boba captured him) was the most immersive story ever for a Star Wars game. They fully included Dash Rendar in the story without treating him like a piece of trash side character with a striking resemblance to Han. Nope. He was his own pure character who had an excellent artist, because he was a likeable protagonist.
Sound- Wow. I was so tired of terrible music coming from industrial grade Yamaha electronic keyboards that sounded like they were purchased from Toys R Us. This was the first Star Wars game to make use of the soundtrack. The actual music from the Star Wars movies. FUN FACT: The Shadows of the Empire soundtrack was made for the novel. Which doesn't make much sense right? But the novel was done so well they decided to throw in a soundtrack for it. George Lucas greatly liked this novel and regretted not having seen the story for Shadows of the Empire first, otherwise he would have made it a film.
This game also takes tracks from the Shadows of the Empire OST and plays them during the times that correspond to the book. It's flawless and innovative execution that does not deserve a piss poor 5.6 anywhere remotely near it.
Value- Incredible bang for your buck even at the time it was 40+ dollars. You could play this game over and over because of the in-ship and out of ship levels it had. With a great story, fantastic music and great speeder bike chases this is the Star Wars experience you are looking for if you don't want to listen to Factor 5's terrible renditions of Star Wars music in the later Rogue Squadron series.