Star Wars: Episode I - Racer
- Star Wars: Episode I - Racer (1999 on Game Boy Color)
Description official descriptions
Based upon the Pod Racing scenes of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, your mission as young Anakin Skywalker or as one of a collection of strange characters from around the Galaxy is to compete, survive and win in the high speed challenge of Pod Racing.
Each character has a unique Pod that can be upgraded with the credits you win after each race. Finish first to gain the most prestige and compete in greater and more challenging tracks, including the now famous race along the sand dunes of Tatooine that determined the destiny of many lives.
- スター・ウォーズ エピソード１ レーサー - Japanese spelling
Credits (Windows version)
142 People (134 developers, 8 thanks) · View all
|Real-Time 3D Artists/Animators|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 79% (based on 62 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 147 ratings with 9 reviews)
I have a confession to make. I have a tiny, just sitting there in the corner appreciation for Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. It isn't the best Star Wars movie, that's a given, but you can't say no to the cool stylings of Liam (fellow Irishman) Neeson, the horned devil Darth Maul and, of course, pod racing.
Many fans argue that the racing sequence half way through the film should have been its own movie, being as long as it is (the extended footage adds even more), and I do tend to agree with that statement, the pacing of the movie changes completely once that race gets under way. What you can't argue, however, is that Episode 1: Racer will forever stand as the one true game that defined that generation of Star Wars gamers. There were others, platform and puzzle among them, but Racer was the only one you could clearly say was beyond 'average.' Way beyond average, actually.
What sticks out the most in terms of its gameplay is how well it evolves the movie's concept, adding a good assortment of tracks with massive loops, long straights and tight turns mixed in with a story not unlike F-Zero in that sense. Unusual characters within a sense of history of a racing circuit that everyone wants to put a bet on. It's no work of art, but it makes sense.
Even compared to the standards set by today's racing games, the visuals hold up remarkably well. You could argue that LucasArts didn't go over the top graphics wise, but there's a decent amount of detail amongst each track and racer. What works better, however, is the sound. Much like the movie itself, the first two laps of each race builds on the momentum and soundscape of the race itself, crashing pods, screaming engines and the like, until the last lap when the musical score kicks in to ramp up the tempo and remind you you're close to home.
Unfortunately when I wrote this review, MobyGames was still in its infancy, yet to include the console platforms in its database. If it had been there at the time, I would have reviewed this on the N64, a console with a respectable thumb stick and trigger system that is built for this kind of game. In this case, being a PC title, you've got two choices to make. You can stick with the keyboard (which I did) or use another form of input such as a 3rd party control pad.
For my method, the keyboard is hit and miss. You probably shouldn't play a racing game with a keyboard anyway, you have no real sense of direction with the four way arrow keys compared to a 360 degree stick. I did, being me, and found it .. well, not too bad I guess. Timing is everything in this game, especially at the speed you play at, and for the most part it worked well enough. But there are maps in this game that require an even higher level of accuracy with turning, braking and acceleration out of corners, and the keyboard just can't handle that.
The truth is, the PC platform isn't the best for racing, and the N64 edition of the title had a better overall appearance and the advantage of a quality control pad compared to this PC edition. To be fair though, with the right setup you can certainly improve that side of the game. Just trust me, control pad all the way on this one.
The Bottom Line
So let's backtrack a little. Episode 1 was an average movie with one key, dominant scene. The fact that the only good game to come from that movie stems from that very scene just goes to show you how effective that sequence was. The advantage, however, that Episode 1: Racer had at the time was a lack of competition. The hasn't been that many sci-fi styled racers in the past, and only a minor number of them have been effective enough to make a name for themselves (the previously mentioned F-Zero and the other key franchise, Wipeout).
It's a shame, then, that Racer didn't become a bigger franchise. There was only one sequel, the PS2's Star Wars: Racer Revenge and something about a grown-up soon to be Jedi Anakin Skywalker taking on Sebulba once more. They missed the boat though, I feel, with what could have been a far more entertaining and enjoyable series, especially on the bigger and brighter consoles with online multiplayer. Perhaps in the not too distant future, LucasArts may revisit the franchise once more, but I won't hold my breath for it.
So for the moment at least, Episode 1 will be fondly remembered for this reviewer by delivering a fast paced and entertaining racing title that served up plenty of enjoyable moments and fun characters ... even with keyboard in tow.
Windows · by Kartanym (12382) · 2011
I'm not really a fan of racing games, but this one I must say I rather like. :) It has many downfalls, but you just can't beat the thrill of racing at 700kph across the 21 different tracks offered by this game. The pod racing scene in the Phantom Menace was one of my favorite parts of that movie, and this game does a decent job of recreating the excitment. You can use all the pod racers from the movie (and more, I think), and buy parts to upgrade them. I ran this on a Pentium 233 with a Voodoo3 2000, and it ran at great frame rates.
A few things: The graphics really aren't that good. This is most likely because the game developers didn't expect you to slow down and examine the scenery closely. Another thing was upgrading your pod racer... At the end of each race you get an amount of money corresponding to what you placed, and how much you bet. You use this money to buy parts to upgrade your racer. But, annoyingly enough, it seems these parts will disappear after your racer gets destroyed enough times (I think... it's hard to tell why or when it happens). This means that you have to spend even more money just to get back the parts you lost.
The Bottom Line
Episode One Racer isn't a revolutionary racing game or anything, but if you have time to kill, it's a heck of a lot of fun! :)
Windows · by Null McNull (25) · 2000
(mini review) PLOT: Race on several planets and become the master Pod-Racer...or something like that.
MENU: Rather granulated and misplaced buttons that try to reflect an alien style but does not quite get the leg over.
GRAPHICS: Good (for 1999). Lighting is well done and the levels are interesting enough to look at. The pod racers are well detailed, though the drivers are a bit lacking and the purple binder rays overlap sprites, such as signs.
SOUND: It's there but lacking. Music is pretty out of the game so the pilot is suffering from engine whinies and humms. All of the opposing racers have their own voices but the bangs and scrapes when you hit somthing are dull.
Fast, almost uncontrolable fast. Often you will find yourself lagging behind the racers after one slip up, with the tracks being hard to navigate and offer some pathways that slow you down. The tracks themselves have lots of spills to offer with ramps, flying and landing craft as well as rock slides there is never a dull moment. One of the great things though is buying upgrades for your racer. This has often been missed out on in other games but in SW:PR it is well done with each element of the racer avalible for upgrade with many different parts, you earn money from each race and you can spend it on upgrades. The AI is pretty marginal, they don't do much like in the movie, you don't get jostled around or bumped, just yelled at. Also there are lots of Racers to choose from.
The graphics and sound were lacking, the A.I was boring and Sebula's flame weapon was of no use to the AI players who are invincible.
The Bottom Line
A good game for a rainy day or a LAN party.
Windows · by Sam Hardy (80) · 2001
Lucas Arts wanted to call this game Pod Racer, but an older game already existed with that name and legal stupidity prevailed. According to Racer project lead Jon Knoles, the other game was Ubisoft's 1997 futuristic racer POD, "Planet of Death.".
- Total! (Germany)
- Issue 01/2000 – Best N64 Futuristic Racing Game in 1999
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Brian Hirt.
Game added September 16th, 1999. Last modified August 27th, 2023.