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Ah Star Wars Episode I - the film that introduced me into the Star Wars Saga. It's safe to say that I have fond memories of this film, despite the criticisms levelled at it. In an effort to cash in on the buzz surrounding the film, Lucasarts made several games to tie in with the film. This one is based on the Podrace scene where Anakin takes on Sebulba. On a side note, this game was also released on the Sega Dreamcast and PC.
Well first I have to say there is a wide range of podracers available. Anakin's is the first and most obvious choice but all the podracers that appear in the film are hear along with some extra designs purely for the game! There are also a diverse range of tracks over several very distinct worlds that are beautifully designed and really show off the capabilities of the N64's graphic prowess. While not a patch on those of today, it still looks great in its own way. While the Boonta Eve race is here (the last one in the game), the planets created for this game are much more fun and imaginative, including one on an abandoned mining platform!
The music for this game does its job, although its usually not the main or best feature of the race noise-wise. That would be the Podracers themselves, which give off loud powerful whines when you boost. The crash noises too are incredibly satisfying; especially if it's not yours!
In terms of gameplay it's your typical racer except in a Star Wars setting. That's no bad thing though - as they say, "If it ain't broke don't fix it." The podracers do have some unique features however. You have boost capabilities which make your podracer go too fast for their own good. There are also damage meters showing where on your craft you've taken damage. You can repair while racing but this will sacrifice your speed so be tactical! Some podracers can also go sideways which is good for navigating tight squeezes. Customising your Pod is also possible via the garage and buying new parts to improve your racing positions.
This is an incredibly solid racing game that is by far one of the better tie-in games for a movie out there. I wouldn't say it's better than Gran Tourismo or Froza Motorsport, but it has its own charm and is more than just a capable racer. It delivers the magic of the Star Wars experience to those who play. And that is an achievement all of its own.
Most games based on films are well c**P, this is not one off them. Not only did they take the best bits from episode one to make a game , they made a damm good game to boot. So on to the game, well you compete in a series of tournaments made up of four or more races each. If you finish in fourth or better, you continue to the next race and earn money to buy upgrades to your Podracer, which you'll need to hold your own against the increasingly tough computer controlled racers. All the guys from the movie are here for you to race as or against. On little tip you really need the N64 RAM pack to get the best out off this game. There is a two player split screen mode that is fun, however I find it better in one player mode. A star wars fans dream game