Star Wars: Episode I - Racer

aka: Pod Racer, SW E 1 Racer, Star Wars: Episódio I - Racer
Moby ID: 276
Windows Specs
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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.

Spellings

  • スター・ウォーズ エピソード1 レーサー - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

142 People (134 developers, 8 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 79% (based on 62 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 148 ratings with 9 reviews)

A maddening rush of speed--and a maddening control system.

The Good
Speed. There's always a problem in computer games that try to convey a sense of speed when you race, and that's not their fault--you, the player, are doing exactly what you don't do in a race. You're sitting still. And your surroundings are stationary as well. So computer games essentially have to go way over the top in order to convey a rushing sense of speed, and many don't because that takes away from the 'realism'.

Star Wars: Episode I Racer gleefully goes way over the top, because it can. It's set in the Star Wars universe, so piloting a pod racer (two jet engines and a piece of string, essentially) that can reach speeds in excess of 750 MPH is... well, over the top. It definitely gets your adrenaline pumping. (A decent 3D accelerator helps, too.)

The tracks are large and varied. They aren't as large (and sneaky) as the tracks in, say, Carmageddon 2, but they are much nicer in appearance and represent their homeworld well with plenty of detail.

The Bad
Frankly, I'm a bit annoyed at the control system. You'd expect in any racing game that you would need to slow down, speed up, move left and right, brake, and hit the turbo. That conforms very nicely to a two button joystick. But Pod Racer introduces additional elements that I view as 'featureitis' -- hard air braking (why is regular braking and turning not enough?), rolling your craft sideways, moving up and down slightly, and reparing your engines on the fly are features that come to mind. They don't significantly enhance the gameplay, other than the ability to roll sideways allows you to fit through a verticle slot on one level easily (although you can fit through it normally anyway if you go straight through the center).

A two-button joystick doesn't cut it, and it's distracting to keep one finger near the keyboard to perform in-race functions. An obvious criticism of this is "Why don't you use a joystick with more than two buttons?" To that, I answer "Why do I need a joystick with more than two buttons?"

An 'obvious' solution is to use a gamepad or keyboard. But any true racing fan knows that keyboards and gamepads are 'total-on, total-off' devices that make subtle steering adjustments impossible--you're either turning as hard as you can, or you're not turning at all. Another solution, then, is to use a multi-button digital joystick. This reviewer had marginal success using Microsoft's popular force-feedback joystick, except that it didn't feel natural at all, since it's a flight throttle.

I would imagine that a multi-button steering wheel or yoke would be best.

The Bottom Line
If you're looking for a mind-numbing sense of speed, look no further. But be sure you have the right input device for the job!

Windows · by Trixter (8952) · 2023

Fast

The Good
(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.

GAMEPLAY: 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 Bad
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

Best Racing Game Ever!

The Good
25 levels, 23 podracers to choose from, start with 6 and get another one after almost every level you beat. From Sebulba to Anakin, Bullseye Navoir to Slide Paramita, win them all as you race through all the levels, on all the different worlds, until you get to the ultimate challenge - the Boonta Eve Classic. With great graphics even by todays standards and great sound, this game will test your skill, patience and to beat it you must be the best, the elite, and each time you beat a level or improve a time you feel great satisfaction that is indescribable. You won't want to miss this action-packed once in a life time thriller!

The Bad
It gets frustrating at time but if it was easy it wouldn't be fun, right?

The Bottom Line
This game is a must-have.

Nintendo 64 · by darthsith19 (62) · 2006

[ View all 9 player reviews ]

Trivia

Title

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.".

Voices

Some actors from the movie also appear in the game, including Greg Proops (Fode, race commentator) and Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker).

Awards

  • Total! (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2000 – Best N64 Futuristic Racing Game in 1999

Information also contributed by James1 and Johnny Szary

Analytics

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Brian Hirt.

Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 added by Rik Hideto. Nintendo 64, Dreamcast added by Kartanym. Macintosh added by Jason Savage.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Apogee IV, tarmo888, Hawklord, gamewarrior, Patrick Bregger, GenesisBR.

Game added September 16, 1999. Last modified March 15, 2024.