Star Wars: Episode I - Racer

Star Wars: Episode I - Racer

released on May 18, 1999

Star Wars: Episode I - Racer

released on May 18, 1999

Star Wars: Episode 1 - Racer lets you participate in the famous pod race sequence that was the critical highlight of the film Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace back in 1999. Take the controls as Jedi-to-be Anakin Skywalker or any one of over 20 pod racers. These lightning-quick vehicles are capable of reaching simulated speeds of up to 600 miles per hour while skimming a mere 4 feet above the ground. Feel the full-force blast while avoiding hazards such as methane lakes, meteor showers, and the notorious Tusken Raiders. You can race alone or against a friend in split-screen mode on more than 21 courses that span over 8 different worlds. This level of customization adds excellent replay value.

Also in series

Star Wars: Racer Revenge
Star Wars: Racer Revenge
Star Wars: Racer Arcade
Star Wars: Racer Arcade

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Al no ser muy fan de los juegos de carreras, no logre disfrutarlo del todo.

It's the game's 25th birthday today, and I wanted to take the opportunity to write some thoughts about this gem in the N64's library. Episode 1 Racer is exactly what it sounds like- it's the podracing scene in the prequels extended to a full game. However, it's hiding lots of creativity and cool design!

Outside the inclusion of the obvious tatooine track, the developers added a handful of extra tracks on new planets. Many of these are unique to the game while still capturing that Star Wars style, and they all have their own set of challenging corners and jumps.
It may feel a little repetitive going into the third cup, as many planets have reused sections that split off into new paths. It's like how Super Mario Kart has multiple tracks with the same theme. But every track makes up for this with a unique gimmick to call its own!

Another section that required some creative liberties were the characters. There are a good amount of characters here, and most of them (if not all of them) are from the podrace on tatooine. They are all voiced with crunchy N64 sounds and have admittedly poor models, but they all handle pretty uniquely. The stats system makes each character feel diverse in an extreme way, which I can't really say about Mario Kart 64. Some characters have crazy boost, some have a super tight turn radius, some use a strong brake which can be useful in tracks that have shifting walls. No two characters play the same!

And now this is podraci- cough this is where the mechanics get interesting! You can customize all of your stats through Watto's shop. He sells parts to improve your speed, acceleration, handling, cooling and the like. You can buy new parts for a fixed price, OR you can buy used parts for cheaper. See, each part has a damage rating. The newer the part, the better it performs! Parts don't ever get destroyed, but at the weakest rating they are basically useless. Watto also sells pit droids that repair your pod in between races.
With this in mind, we can buy a powerful but damaged part for cheap, play well in a race, and the part gets partially repaired and performs better in the next race. There's a guide online to use this to your advantage and craft the best pod in the game, but it's fun to explore this mechanic yourself!

Because of the customization and strategy involved, I often catch myself playing this much longer than Mario Kart 64 or Diddy Kong Racing. The tracks are difficult and engaging, and the pod itself feels really good to control!
If you enjoy racing games, consider picking this up. It has a port on modern systems, and while it hasn't aged very well graphically, the mechanics are really fun to explore!

And if you find the game too easy like many other reviewers, there is a setting to change the difficulty. I love replaying EP1 racer on winner takes all difficulty!

Makes me feel like Bozzie Baranta!

Fun if not a little too easy. Great to 100%. I am really glad they made a version of this for modern consoles as I would have never had the fortune of playing it.

Just wish Aspyr could chill with the AI and start working on bringing some of their old games back to life properly.

For a 25 year old game, it’s pretty fun. This was my contribution to May the 4. Go in peace.

I grabbed it with a great price tag. But it's almost offensive to not have a HD resolution as BASE for this game nor native controller support.

Menus are painful to navigate.
Anyways, pods go Brrrrrrrrr!

if i played this as a kid it'd probably be one of my favorite games ever made, but discovering this as a 24 year old man sure made me feel like a kid

there is this amazing intersection of amazing controls, satisfying game design, and painstaking attention to detail of the source material that seems almost surreal given what you usually expect from these sorta licensed games and star wars games.

something always has to give somewhere. either is cool but the gameplay is kinda basic or its really fun but very limited or the whole thing is just sorta only good in retrospect. for some reason, this n64 racing game is that perfect intersection.

will gladly play this over mario kart 64 any day