Review by Fastkilr

Reviewed: 07/23/04

The speed, the angst, and the lack of Jar Jar.

Star Wars isn’t quite synonyms with the label of being a great game. It has had its ups, and has had terrible lows as a franchise as well. To many of us Jedi is a religion just like Harry Potter, LotR, and that Jesus guy. Lucas Arts has put an extra amount of effort into their games lately, which is an effort as genuine as the scaly likeness of Sebulba. Although Locus Arts was censured by old fans for their mistakes in the movie Episode I, Racer doesn’t have Jar Jar Binks which we all know is a very good thing. While the culturally inept will only find the bare bones of a racer, Star Wars fans will find a video-game recreation from the best part of Episode I.

Racer is not anything special. Sure, you’re racing high speed pods that break speeds that we’d never dream of reaching, and you get to perform as a few of your favorite characters from the movies, but other than that it is just another high-speed Wipeout-esque racer based in the future. While the N64 hadn’t experienced the plethora of racers that some had hoped for, it had its silly Mario Karts, Crusin’ games, F-zero, Diddy Kong, and enough racers over-all to keep a fan buzzed.

Although Lucas Arts held nary a string of dignity after the whole Jar Jar upset, fans were ready for more, and fortunately they were willing to forget the downs of the movie, and create a game solely on the amazing Pod Racing scene. While another space-shooter would have done just fine (that Naboo game sucked) Racer delivers with authenticity, and a true passion for the Star Wars universe. The provenance of Star Wars video games traces back to the Retro days, and for whatever reason I’ve been addicted since I played Star Wars on the original game boy.

While I’ve never personally visited a liberal Star Wars convention (although I’ve thought about it) there’s something about the series that illuminates it above all else. Whether it’s the rabid fans, or the many fools who log onto gaming websites to write mediocre reviews for its racing games, the world will never know. But the world has taken not of the pandemic series and its ability to capture the hearts of millions. In Pod Racer you’ll have the choice of pilot with the ugly Sebulba, and Akin as highlights, and a cast of socially inept aliens on the side-lines.

To complete a race at the beginning of Racer doesn’t even require the tiniest bit of force power, and you’ll feel like a true Jedi once you’ve gotten up to some higher levels, but then you’ll realize that your fate is as predictable as Darth Vader’s and all I can ask is “Who’s your daddy?” Hovering above ground throughout the whole game the objectives are simply the conventional racing experience (Do laps faster than the competition!) Although all the pods have varying status, and as many pointless statistical numbers as an EA game, there’s no real difference in the Pod you pilot until the extremely challenging course, when you’ll want a top of the line roadster!

Wipeout was a crazy game, it required an understanding for its physics system, and the ability to properly use its turbos before you could even win a race. Here you’ll power through many of the beginning races without the need to turbo at all. Until you get into the game a bit more, it will be all too easy, and its unfortunate that it had to end, as I enjoyed it immensely from the beginning to the very last lap.
The visuals are shockingly satisfying, and all around beautiful for an N64 game. Every Pod looks stunning down to every drop of paint. While there are no Rice-Burners available, the Junkers, and the speed demons are easily identifiable. Every rock, piece of flying dust, and mark on your vehicle will be top notch, especially if you throw in an expansion pack. While the sound isn’t exactly re-mastered by THX, and isn’t mind-blowing it certainly delivers with unforgiving riffs, and crashes exploding throughout the races.

Once it’s all said and done you’ll realize that your time spent with Star Wars Racer was worthwhile and there is no way I couldn’t suggest it at its current price. So the only smart move you could make right now, is one down to your local game retailer.

9/10

Rating: 9

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