You can say what you will about the new Star Wars trilogy, but I’ll stick up for it when it comes to two subjects; Natalie Portman and Star Wars Episode I Racer for the Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, and PC. Notice the absence of the Game Boy Color version? That’s because it was complete garbage, unlike its non-portable brethren. Episode I Racer took one of the most memorable scenes from The Phantom Menace and turned it into a video game that was far better than it had any business being.
Since it had been quite a while since the last time I had played Star Wars: Episode I Racer, I was a little rusty. Because of this rustiness, I hit a wall pretty soon after completing the first circuit. When you hit this wall, which could be sooner or later than me, you’ll need to start experimenting with different podracers. Most of these other podracers are unlocked by taking first place on various tracks. Each one boasts unique stats for traction, turning, acceleration, top speed, air brakes, cooling, and repair. Buying upgraded parts from Watto will boost whatever the default stats are. When you buy new parts for one of your podracers, it carries over to all of them. Don’t bother trying to farm money to buy these parts, though, since you cannot earn any extra money on a track where you finished on the podium.
Make no mistake about it, Star Wars: Episode I Racer isn’t the most challenging game in the galaxy. Once you get a feel for the gameplay, you’ll be able to clear the game in a matter of hours. Taking first place in all races will add a little more time to your play-through, but, ultimately, this is a relatively short game. That said, Episode I Racer is still enjoyable while it lasts. The memories I have of this game are fond for good reason. Even if it hasn’t aged as gracefully as I had hoped it would, it is still worth revisiting. If you have a choice, the Dreamcast has the best console version thanks to FMV cutscenes, crystal-clear music, and the ability to delete your save data, a feature the Nintendo 64 version lacks.