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Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer Review

Colin By:
E Contains No Descriptors

What do these ratings mean?

Meesa so happy you read meesa's review.

Hello. Meesa Jar Jar Binks. Meesa no tink there be enough Jar Jar in Menace Phantom movie. Meesa know that youssa love meesa and want meesa around all de time. Who cares that Meesa is offensive to some people? Meesa have a right to be. Meesa even have Jedi friend who kick your assa if hurt meesa. Meesa introduce Star Wars: Episode One Racer to youssa. Meesa no like name of game. Meesa tink that game should be called Jar Jar Racer because meesa so popular. Meesa like to take time to sing song about meesa. You like song. It goes like . . . AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!

(Suddenly, Sebulba jumps from out of nowhere and tears Jar Jar's floppy ears off and drags him away into the darkness . . . And there was much rejoicing.)

Thanks, Sebulba. By now, all of you readers have experienced the new Star Wars movie in some fashion or another. From beach towels to coffee mugs, from toothpaste to Legos, Star Wars is everywhere. So, it comes as little surprise that the movie would spawn not one, but two video games (the other being Star Wars: The Phantom Menace for the PC.)

In Star Wars: Episode One Racer, we see the dark underbelly of the Republic take form in the numerous pod racing leagues around the galaxy. For those of you who haven't seen the movie (all two of you), one of the best scenes involves the nine-year old Anakin in a deadly high speed race, piloting the Star Wars equivalent of a roman chariot. Gee, I didn't get to risk my life like that till I was twelve . . .

As hinted at in the movie, many other planets in the Republic condone pod racing for gambling purposes. It's your job to take on the role of one of the podracers, some of which were in the film. As in any racing game, the goal is to come in first. Placing in the top three gets you money, which can then be used to upgrade your pod. Not surprisingly, the tracks are broken into three groups: amateur, semi-pro, and Galactic. Unfortunately, you never get to race Ben Hur . . .

The graphics in Racer are really neat. After being so disappointed with Wipeout 64, it looked like the N64 couldn't handle the high framerate without a significant amount of pop-up. Well, the folks at Nintendo proved us wrong. As long as you have the RAM expansion pack, the graphics in Racer are great. There are at least 21 racers in the game, each with their own pod. On top of that, there are 25 different tracks, each one different - not just mirrors of each other. Even with all this, the framerate is impressive. You really get the sense of speed with Racer as you zoom through canyons and over volcanoes.

The sound is also fantastic. From the taunts, screams, and mumbles of the other racers to the great rendition of the bar music from the first Star Wars movie sung by Watto (the junkyard dealer), the music is authentic. Since sound quality is a major drawback to the cartridge based system, this is a refreshing change. If it's one thing the folks at LucasArts know how to do, it's sound.

What would a console racing game be without multiplayer? In Racer, you can challenge your best friend to a pod race and see who has the reflexes of a Jedi. Using the traditional split-screen setup, there is little or no framerate loss when racing a friend. In order to maintain the framerate, however, the designers opted to use a little bit of pop-up. Console gamers are used to a small amount of pop-up, so this isn't that much of an issue.

The biggest drawback to Racer is how easily your pod explodes. It's rare to be able to finish a race without crashing at least once. Unfortunately, the crash graphics are some of the worst in the game, and you're forced to watch it over and over again. The result of all this carnage is that the game seems much more arcade-like. You can crash multiple times and still win a race. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, I'd enjoy the game more if I could finish a race without getting destroyed in a cheap-looking blaze of glory.

All in all, Star Wars: Episode One Racer is a pretty good game. With fast action and a good two-player split-screen, it's sure to entertain most Star Wars fans. The constant crashing will frustrate some gamers, but so did Jar Jar. Let's just thank Nintendo for not putting him in the game.

B+ Revolution report card
  • Fast.
  • Good Graphics.
  • Great Sound.
  • Constant Crashing.

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