Review by tambok0599
My first Nintendo 64 game played from the Philippines
Back in 2006-2007, I was still a child that was looking for more opportunities in terms of such enjoyment and much required knowledge on how to play the Nintendo 64 games. And I was the luckiest to have and own it with granted permission from my parents (that came from a good Filipino relative from United States; I saw the console from a large garage house or flat to call it, in Manila) and I was extremely happy to own, especially if that's very rare and having authenticity to sell Nintendo 64. Along the console (and its controllers and Rumble Paks) is the Star Wars Episode I: Racer, which is pretty cool and classic to see them nowadays (and throughout my younger time).
And yes, after that, the console was brought into my home far from Manila, and tried out various games (too many to mention here, aside from this game) that I was very excited and hoping along the way finding out its contents. Surely, I was expected to do much more things when I was a child, and so this was (and currently is) my hobby in my whole life, aside from being an arcade game reviewer (formerly, so it's been a long time to come back, to share again on my experiences) here on GameFAQs.
Well, time flies so fast, but I can still remember how to play this game for good, without any doubts to go back again - but this time in another console, which is the PC version of this game (currently playing; review to be displayed soon). The reason: "In an unexpected event in 2013 or 2014, the console broke out due to improper connection and lost its own sights to boot properly (still in my home country), but the plus sign is that the console is in perfect shape - no internal damages and any pop-up explosions found, just only the connection (it did not boot). And it was returned to the original box for good without any attempts to resurrect in the future." Yes, whoever asks who did that thing - is because of my own little stupidity (without parental consent, just only to carry out for myself to do it), tried for just less than 5 hours on how to connect through the power supply properly, but finally failed to do so.
Shame on myself. But enough of that, I just moved on in life still with positive attitude and with God every single day.
Anyways so, let's get straight into action, of one of my most favorite Nintendo 64 game of all time.
=== The Main Review ===
Basically, this is a sci-fi racing game based from the movie, where you control the podracer with the driver.
3 modes can be selected: Tournament, Free Play and Time Attack.
For the first time in the game, there are just few drivers to be chosen, aside from Anakin Skywalker as the only human podracer to exist in this game (and in the Star Wars franchise), which they have different advantages and its disadvantages for real.
There are 4 known events to participate (and to beat the game):
- Amateur - basic tracks for beginners
- Semi-Pro - requires some skill and "racing tactics"
- Galactic - much harder than ever
- Invitational - after completing all tracks in any events, a track for this will be unlocked
So as, there are 7 in those 3 events, yet only 4 of the track in 1 event - total of 25 tracks to play.
And there are podracers that needs to beat in 1st place, so playing in Tournament Mode is a must. Not only that, but consider yourself "a working class man", since the podracer needs to be upgraded at all times by your own choice.
Speaking of "by your own choice", this is meant to be buying important parts for the podracer to enhance more than anyone else, especially in much longer and deadlier tracks ahead, and as the AI progresses. It's either in Watto's shop or through Watto's junkyard, and in the junkyard, you'll see random parts, for better or for worse - so make sure to check the stats of the podracer before purchasing any parts.
There are 3 earning chances: Skilled (default), Winner Takes All (1st place - biggest bet to claim) and Fair (lower amount). So, better choose wisely for your earnings.
Also, there's a multiplayer one that can only play up to 2 players only (again to mention - limited capabilities); and one time with my older relative played this game with me, and it was so much fun! I remember those days, yes, even now.
But, I still don't beat the track Abyss, but until the PC version finally beaten once and for all to complete it. So, I'm better done with this Nintendo 64 version.
And I don't want to spoil more of the info., since this is enough.
Its graphics were decent and good, but oftenly suffers framerate drops randomly due to the console's limitations on some areas on all tracks, probably hitting from 17 to somewhere 50 frames per second. Surely, this is pretty normal to appear in any Nintendo 64 games, but I guess that's also due to their game engine. For me, that's pretty fine as I don't upset nor angry of slow-downs since I don't even care (and good thing the game didn't crash for a long while, since it's also stable) in the long run (and that's because I have no idea how to "debug" the game to be honest).
Another thing is, after booting up the game - if you don't have the Expansion Pak, then it would show on the screen right before the Nintendo 64 logo and LucasArts fastly short animated logo (Only glowing), plus the quick yet brilliant intro. Although it's optional to do that - for enhancing the video resolution and crispier quality yet much more bloody framerate drops than either with Jumper Pak or just nothing, I don't have those extra devices to attach, except Rumble Paks and a Transfer Pak, and that's not too important. And so I'm fine without any extra ones, except Rumble Paks.
Not to mention here the arcade version of this game, so it's different from the consoles and its game play mechanics (although I play the arcade version so good that the controls are pretty hard to manoeuvre properly, but much greater graphics and it's basically Sega Hikaru, of course).
Until I've returned playing this game in this year 2020, I won't be truly disappointed when I'm starting to play the PC version for good.
The music is very familiar; it's none other than the Original Soundtrack of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace from the movie itself, although all of the musical elements were edited just for the sake to pass Nintendo 64's capabilities (file size limits and the sound compression, which is a bit bad). Not-so complete music (again, limited file size that lacked between the Dreamcast and PC versions), but has still realistic sound effects plus the voice bits are badass but repetitive and oftenly annoying (there's the settings for that, but didn't also care) during the race.
Still enough, the sounds are very good and you can enjoy even without music.
Yeah, this game can give you limitless and addictive replays since this game is 2 decades old (20 years) and not missing out the nostalgia, this is even true to me and for those who played this game with much opportunities or chances. Even you're not playing on Nintendo 64 version, you can still play on Dreamcast or PC for sure it is. So to make things short - replay value is "Very High to 101%".
Yes - "Fun and Extreme". Especially the track "Abyss" that caught me impatient and off-guard at all times, due to its unfair yet rarely "buggy" design (one mention for the very small podracer who is so much sensitive, not Anakin). Not only that, but even on some tracks that some players might be not familiar yet on braking and using the turbo boosters in such time.
Plus, to mention here, is during Tournament Mode, if you have much lower specs of the chosen podracer than the rest (which after every races, the AI would speculate the upgrades of all podracers), the chances are to be much more challenging than what you've expected.
Unlike the past years of my reviews (that are so exaggerated and too much colorful), today's even toned down and pretty normally expected, so as this ending. To sum up in this review, Star Wars Episode I: Racer on Nintendo 64 is absolutely great and loving, only to be noted with playing on an emulator since they are really valuable and being "free-to-use" nowadays and reliable to any computers (and even on Android phones and such).
Remembering those old but gold days are still present in our minds and our hearts, yet if anyone did not embrace and enjoy their meaningful childhood, then they miss something in their lives, as we grow old to tell to our generations to come.
Next review would be the PC version soon of this game.
Thanks for reading.
Product Release: Star Wars Episode I: Racer (US, 05/18/99)
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