Star Wars: Episode I Racer Review
I’ve always had fond memories of Episode I, which remains consistently the butt of many Star Wars jokes. The Prequel trilogy, however, is undergoing a sort of reappraisal given the mixed reaction of the Disney Sequel trilogy, and Racer is back on Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch. And damnit, it just feels right.
Star Wars: Episode I Racer on the Nintendo 64 was one of the highlights of the Episode I era, ranking right up there with Taco Bell collector’s cups and Pepsi cans. If you’re like me and a Star Wars fan, you probably LOVED Racer.
This updated port is an exact replica of the 1999 game. All of the tracks, characters, sounds (YES, JOHN WILLIAMS!) and gameplay are nearly (but not quite) the same as the original.
If you’ve never played Racer before, it’s a racing game featuring the podracers from Episode I (all of them) speeding across different circuits featuring planets/tracks from Star Wars lore. The game is FAST…and that’s the drawing point.
This is not a remake like we’ve seen recently with the Resident Evil franchise, among others. The game was not build from the ground-up. However, I’ve played and owned every version of racer on console, PC, including the Sega Dreamcast port, and this version is the best looking port to date. Models are crisp and tracks blaze by at 60 FPS (docked or not on Switch). .Controls are tight and responsive, and I can tell that Aspyr (developer) spent time fine-tuning controls for the current generation.
As for the sound, all of the Episode I soundtrack goodness is still here. The soundtrack is dynamic and adjusts to the mood of the race. The sound effects in terms of character voices, engines roaring are all straight from the film. The one thing I noticed, however, is that the sound was fuzzy or murky. Kind of like it was being funneled through blown-out speakers. I made sure to play the game on headphones to double check the sound, and the muffled sound was still there. It wasn’t terrible, but it was noticeable. Overall, however, it doesn’t detract from the experience.
The question I would have is long-term playability for those not caught up in the ‘Membah Berries. There are three total circuits and no online play (there is two-player split screen, however). So if you’re just looking for a racing game that’s going to last you hours, this may not be your joint.
If you’re a Star Wars fan this game is an easily justifiable purchase at $14.99. It’s a great, fast-paced game that is the best version ever produced of a fan-favorite.
REVIEW COPY PROVIDED BY ASYPR