PERSEVERANCE. Sure the famous difficulty is there but there's more than just stupid-hard enemies; it's rewarding.
Responsive controls like Mega Man, so the developers KNOW they programmed it nice and tight, it's now no-holds-barred on the swarms of endless spawning enemies and relentless bosses that don't seem to flinch when you get a good shot in.
Acrobatic jumping, platforming and precise shooting and spray-pray's are the name of the game here, again like Mega Man but really borrowing from Super Metroid when you play as Luke, thanks to the Schwartz, I mean the Force.
Speaking of which, first game in my memory to implement the force as super power-ups in Star Wars-licensed gameplay and it is pretty fun but most importantly, crucial to the gameplay as a strong utility to killing enemies. Just as the hero Luke Skywalker underwent Jedi training with Yoda in Dagobah, the corresponding stage actually FEELS like an exercise in your new powers and abilities in the platformer sense. You know, like the new abilities learned throughout the story in Donkey Kong, Banjo-Kazooie, Castlevania and Metroid.
With all of that objective, game-critic analysis what-not out of the way, on a personal note, I strongly advise any gamer or especially fan of the genre to power through the tough assignments of the first half or so to reach the beautifully-crafted, super-challenging and memorable last third of the game. I don't know if the it was the intent of the developers to mirror the film's pacing and climatic build toward the emotional ending but the game somehow does it.
You seem more desperate to survive, your 16-bit character seems more desperate and on edge. The stakes seem to rise when you put your guard down for just one-moment and the odds of survival seem to be of 3720 to 1 (heh, nerd joke). Everything seems to be against you finishing the damn game. At this point, the kitchen sink has now flown by you by Darth Vader's twisted force powers and there's even more carnage to come.
Those bounty hunters Vader sends for Han, yeah they show up all at once trying to kill just you know, in the middle of the hallways of Cloud City. Sure it's not canon but it adds to the, "WTF, Lucasarts, are kids supposed to be playing this?! Because at this point, I'm beginning to cut my wrists just to see if I can still feel; and I'm a grown man, you sick bastards!"
Then the Home Depot/Ace/Lowe's fire sale to beat all fire sales of flying furniture and appliances from the aforementioned sadistic force powers of Vader start randomly flying at your Luke character as he makes his down a dark wind-tunnel pushing him backwards while attempting to deflect the Dark Lord's spiraling red lightsaber in an epic three part(?) final boss before of course losing his hand and recklessly jumping down the vacuum air shaft of a fatherless childhood (single tear) . . . Yeah, let's catch our breath here; it really is that chaotic AND EFFING AWESOME!
So pick it up at your local used games store, download it on Wii if it's available, borrow it from a friend or I'm sure you can find it at a local BDSM club! And persevere through it, my friends.
PS. Also it's worth noting that I'd recommend Return of the Jedi maybe as a precursor to this game, since it's not as difficult, just as epic and the aesthetics are even crisper and force abilities varied.