Star Wars Episode I: Racer Review – Definitive 50 N64 Game #41

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

In the lead up to 1999’s Star Wars Episode I, one thing was clear: this was destined to be the greatest movie of all time. How could it not be? This was the return to Star Wars we had all been waiting for. Collective excitement had made the jump to hyperspace.

To go along with the film release, merchandise was available in every permutation imaginable, from collectible Pepsi cups to video games.

Okay, so it turned out that Episode I wasn’t exactly the movie we were hoping it would be. It was a better indicator of George Lucas’ masterful marketing skills than directorial prowess, but it did inspire a pretty cool racing game.

Star Wars Episode I: Racer is, of course, based on the lengthy pod racing scene from Episode I, in which Anakin Skywalker’s strength in the force leads him to victory and freedom to train as a Jedi.

The game expands on Tatooine’s podracing pastime, recasting it as one race in a circuit which takes the player to sprawling courses found throughout the galaxy. And thanks to the game’s crisp and vivid graphics, those courses appear beautiful and terrifying.

The Star Wars license is also used to great effect to fill the roles of the game’s many racers. Such memorable film characters as Mars Guo, Aldar Beedo, and Ody Mandrell are all featured. Oh yeah… you can also play as Sebulba and Anakin Skywalker.

Working your way through the game’s impressively numerous 25 tracks in Tournament mode will net you additional racers. You can also win money that you can exchange for parts at Watto’s shop and junkyard to upgrade your pod.

If I have any complaints its that Episode I Racer might be a little too fast… I find myself yearning for a few extra midichlorians when confronted with threading its needle eye bottlenecks.

In addition to N64 and PC versions, a variation of Star Wars Episode I: Racer appeared in arcades. There, you could play in a set-up which resembled Anakin’s pod and even use lever controls just like in the movie. Although the N64 version couldn’t quite recreate this experience, you can enter a code to play with two controllers and experience a taste of Anakin’s glory.

Star Wars Episode I: Racer combines two of the biggest themes in N64 gaming: super-fast futuristic racing, and Star Wars. We’ve still got more of both to go on this list.

Let me know what you think of Star Wars Episode I and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below, don’t forget to rate and subscribe.

Check back next week for entry #40 on the Definitive 50 N64 games.