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Star Wars Episode 1 - Pod Racer (PC)

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16 Reviews

Genre: Driving & Racing / Publisher: LucasArts Entertainment Company / Platform(s): Windows / Media: CD-ROM

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    16 Reviews
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      14.10.2013 21:43
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      A very good game

      Star wars pod racer is a pc game based on podracing, a sport first scene in star wars a phantom menace, whereby Anakin Skywalker flies what is essentially a death trap at break neck speeds to win parts to fix a spaceship (its a long story).

      I have to say in my humble opinion, this is the best futuristic racing game to date. The sounds of this game are just like in the film, that sort of dull screeching metal grinding sound as you activate the boost on your podracer, the sounds of the smashing, the feeling that on some of the more tricky levels you really need to have you wits about you, the fact that a few crashes will smash your little racer into oblivion, and the large number of levels just make this game so much fun.

      You can choose to play as a variety of different racers, each with their own handling, speed, boost, hull etc ratings. Note that anakin is a clear winner, with Saboo (not sure how to spell that correctly) a close second. There are however lots of different racers (I assume around 14-16), and during the races it feels so awesome to try and get past all these podracers scraping and crashing into each other to fit down a track barely big enough for one of these things.

      The graphics are not brilliant, and there are times when the game feels like its just too difficult. Also there is no real "unlock" based system, or at least not as far as I could tell. So there is no reason you "have" to play (although I spent most of my time in arcade mode and played it more casually). I actually liked this game as a sort of casual racer, and its very easy to waste hours trying to perfect your times, doing crazy massive jumps with boosts, and just generally feeling like you are one with the force (trust me on this, do a couple of turns at 200-300km an hour, and if you don't feel like a jedi... well... trust me you will).


      The bad things about this game? Well it is a bit old now, and this will show, the graphics are awful if you are not moving (luckily you spend so much of the game moving so fast you don't really have time to notice this at first), and its a bit sad that you cannot customise your racer. Overall then I have to give this 4/5. its a very good futuristic racer with a more casual gameplay style, but its not quite worthy of the 5/5 rating. Overall a very good game.

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      13.12.2009 15:12
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      Fine for a bargain bin find

      Star Wars Pod Racer is, as you can tell from its title, quite a different take on George Lucas's prized Universe. Instead of swinging light sabres around and trying to stop Darth Vader from taking over the world, we have an unpretentious and fairly fluffy little game that sees you taking part in pod races with not really much at stake at all.

      The gameplay has a steep learning curve but it is generally quite well designed; the controls in particular take some getting used to, but soon enough you'll be whizzing around and steamrolling the competition. Well, the computer players are actually quite difficult, and you'll probably get quite frustrated at how they'll somehow trick you and then flip you off as they speed past. There isn't much more to the game than racing, then getting your winnings, spending them on upgrading your ship, and repeating this until you get to race in the Boonta Classic, which appears in the Episode One film.

      Visually, it was pretty good looking for its time and has held up fairly well. The textures are well rendered and the vehicular models in particular look just like their film counterparts. However, the maps clearly haven't had as much attention paid, as they do repeat the same textures a lot, and there is some pop-in, as well as the tendency for the pods to get caught in the scenery, which takes you out of the otherwise exhilarating experience. Aurally, though, you'll get all the same sound effects and tunes from the films, which is nice.

      However, what lets this down is the lack of longevity; the game can be easily beaten in less than two hours, and isn't especially difficult once you learn the method of the AI. Also, there's nothing really enticing you to go back to it.

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      30.07.2001 00:44
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      Like racing games? Got a decent computer? You have to buy this game! Even if you don’t like Star Wars, I promise that you love this game. If you have seen episode one you will already know what a podracer is, but if you haven’t, it’s basically two jet engines strapped to a cockpit! Each pod looks completely different and has its’ own driver. At the beginning of the game you have only a few pods available to use, but as you progress, your collection will grow. Each race has a favourite, and if you win the race you get the pod of the race favourite. Before you race you can select how you want the winnings to be distributed between the 1st 2nd and 3rd players, fair, skilled, or winner takes all, so if you are confident you are going to come first you can set it to winner takes all, but there are no second chances! You can play the race again but you won’t get any money. Your aim is to get to the Boonta Classic race (the last race), and become the galactic podracing champion. There are 25 tracks in all, but you have to do them all in order. There are three circuits- amateur, semi pro and galactic, each of seven tracks and an invitation circuit of four tracks that you get for completing the game. The tracks are set on seven different worlds, each with a video sequence to go with it, that looks totally amazing. The locations range from prisons colonies and spice mines to underwater pipes and volcanoes. The graphics are absolutely amazing – the pods are fully detailed and even the drivers move. You do need a pretty good computer though, and a 3D accelerator card. There is also a free play mode that allows you to play unlocked tracks to try and beat your records. Multiplayer is only available over the internet. The game is quite easy to complete, save for a few levels which require persistence, but it never gets boring. And another thing, the sounds are amazing, and the music is truly pulse punding. You have to hear it to believe it. And,
      at £19.99 it is quite good value.

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        02.06.2001 04:06
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        Star Wars - Episode One Racer (to give it the full title) was released back around the same time as the film hit the big screens. Back then I still had a Playstation and alas, it was never released on Sony's grey box. It was one of those games that looked great, just seeing it made you want to play it. But back in those days I didn't have a nice new shiny PC (although it's getting less and less shiny) and I had to wait until now to give it a go. I just happened to be browsing my favoured local games store when I saw a copy of this available second hand for around £10. A bargain I thought to myself, and snapped it up! I had read the reviews of course, all of which said pretty much the same thing; it was Ok, good even, but not brilliant. Star Wars games in general are very much a mixed bag. I loved the X-Wing space shooter series but other games were less favourable (Rebel Assault anyone?). One thing that always amazes me is the way in which a mediocre game can be made better simply because it has a Star Wars license. Having read the reviews that said this game was nothing special I probably should have stayed away. But I didn't, the fact that it was Star Wars got the better of me and I bought it anyway. As it turned out the reviews were right.......it is nothing special. Installation of the game is a breeze. Just pop in the CD and click install and away it goes. It prompts you to install DirectX 6.1 but if you haven't got that yet then where have you been? (saying as version 8 is out now). After installation you choose your graphics options and controller then off you go!! Of course the game introduces you in the normal Star Wars way. 'In a Galaxy far, far away....' complete with music et al. Then you get a nice pod racing video before being taken to the main menu screen. Top marks for presentation!! One problem is that there is no multiplayer option unless you are playing over a LAN, and lets
        face it; how many of us ever do this? The internet would have been a great way to race!!! For the single player there are two main option, either race in the competitions or practise on a track. As you can only practise on the tracks you have unlocked via the competition mode then this will be the main port of call for most players. Playing in the tournament mode you play in one of 3 series of races. You must finish the first series before you can play the next, and to proceed from race to race in each series you must finish third or better. The races take place in a variety of locations, each having their own styles. There are a few different tracks at each location...... Aquilaris - A water world, you race through underwater tunnels, cities, islands and reefs. Ando Prime - Snow covered world. You race through snowy valleys, ice sheets and frosty caverns. Mon Gaza - Industrial polluted planet, in which the races pass through spaceports and mines. Malastare - A dry, dusty and gassy planet - known for it's fast dangerous races. Oovo IV - Racing through prison moon, featuring anti gravity mining tunnels! Tatooine - The home planet of Anakin Skywalker. A dusty, desert world ruled by Jabba the Hutt. Ord I banna - An abandoned world inhabited by scavengers, races take place around abandoned tunnels and tanks. Baroonda - Volcanic swamp world in which you race through ancient statues and marshes. You can choose to play as a massive range of different player each with their own pod. These are rated on various features (acceleration, top speed, turning etc) so you can choose one to suit the track you are playing on. Each race you win allows you to upgrade your pod with the money earned in areas such as brakes and engine cooling. You can either buy new parts from Watto's shop, or get them cheaper second hand from the junk yard! Second hand parts a
        re worn though, and don't perform as well as new ones. This is all a little silly though. Parts of your pod get worn during the race, and you have to buy pit droids to repair them between races. The thing is, during the race you can destroy your pod completely hundreds of times, so the whole 'damage' thing seems a little pointless to me. Anyway, in between all of this fiddling there are the races themselves to contend with. And this is where the whole game falls down a little bit. Not in a big way, but it can't compete up there with the best racing games. Half of the fun in racing games (with cars) is found in pushing the car to the limit, cornering as fast as you can without crashing. So straight away by basing the game on floating 'pods' half of what makes a driving game is removed. Floaty racing games have always struggled against their four wheel cousins, but games like Wipeout made up for it with the inclusion of weapons. With the exception of one secret pod, this game has no weapons - so what does it do instead? The answer is unfortunately not all that much. It is a very fast game and it can be a challenge to get around the course, but the problem is that half of the time whether you crash or not is purely down to luck. A door might close in front of you and you have no where to go, or a rock fall in to your path and you hit it. The tracks do have a lot of interactive features, but these are often as annoying as they are useful. Other features such as anti-gravity tunnels are extremely annoying as you basically lose control of your ship, and steering between a tiny gap on ice can be a little frustrating . On the whole though these incidents are kept to a minimum and the annoying side of the game is thankfully small. The tracks are definitely one of the high points in the game. They aren't just tarmac with a wall round them. They weave all over the place and have multiple routes. There are narrow
        sections, tunnels, basically everything you could ever imagine in a game. Each planet's tracks are very stylised and offer a different challenge, which is quite fortunate really as you don't get much challenge out of the other drivers. The pods are so small in comparison with the track that you rarely interact. There's not as much pushing and barging as featured in the film. They just drive their own race, and if you happen to go faster than they do you win! I may be a little cynical here, but when you've played TOCA 2 this doesn't really compare - or at least it wouldn't, if it weren't for one thing......this is Star Wars remember!!! Without the Star Wars tagged on the front this would be an average game, something that would score 50-60% in a magazine review. But add in Star Wars, with the music and all the recognisable locations and characters from the film and this game becomes good. I can't explain, and sorry all you other average games out there, I know it isn't fair, but having a Star Wars license adds 20% to the score of a game. Star Wars sells!! So, just two things I have forgotten - the graphics and sound. Graphically the game is outstanding. Of course you can dumb down the looks to get better performance, but being a couple of years old any new PC will be able to play it with all the options set on. The graphics are sharp, crisp and detailed. There is no slow down, even on the busy courses with lots going on in the background. Everything looks good, from the other pods to atmosphere on the gaseous moons. Sound is equally nice, all sampled from the film and it sounds just like that scene from Episode 1! If you have a nice 3D soundcard you are in for a treat, with loads of extra effects available - I haven't heard it, but boy I bet it sounds good. Also, should you own a force feedback controller then you're in for another treat. The game goes to town, with loads of option to m
        ake it feel like you're the one steering your pod!! Overall the game is good. Yes, half of that is down to the fact that it is Star Wars but I don't care. If you like Star Wars then get it!! (PS. This happens to be my 300th Dooyoo op, if I had realised I would've done something special - oh well, I can always wait till the 400th!!)

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          23.12.2000 19:14

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          First, see the movie! Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is a brilliant re-creation of the pod race in the movie. When I first saw the game come across my desk I thought it looked pretty, but didn’t expect too much from it—I was wrong. This is a great example of design elegance: it’s an arcade-style racing game, a very, very good arcade style racing game. It has a few extra features, but everything in the game is subordinated to making a good racing game. I’m going to start with the eye-candy. This game is stunning, with crisp clear and fast visuals that make it a delight to watch. The opening follows the traditional marching paragraphs familiar to anyone who’s seen the movies, and then goes into an opening movie that puts you back in the theatre. That leads me to the first of the two weaknesses I found with the game. Some of the movie sequences are too long. There’s one before you start the first race that is great, but hard to sit through because you want to race, not watch. Once you get to the racing, the game looks and runs well on most 3D accelerators—and yes, you need one to run the game. The controls are nice too—joystick, keyboard or gamepad. All of the options work well, though I found the joystick to be the best and easiest to play on. Unfortunately I had a minor quibble with the between-race menu system. It is not as simple as the flight controls, though since you use it when you're not under the time constraints of racing, it is a lot more forgiving. I found it cumbersome to need to move the mouse and hit the OK button, rather than just double-click on the option I wanted. But that’s a minor quibble with a great game. Yes, it gives you lots of options, a score of racers, and almost two dozen different tracks. You can try free racing to polish your skills then move on to tournament mode to win money and upgrade your pod racer. This game has everything you want in a racing game
          , and it’s a lot of fun. It will run on a P166 with 32MB and a 3D card, and it just screams at 300mhz with 64MB on a Voodoo2.

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          14.12.2000 23:13
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          POD is the worst racing game ever. You can not get any worse racing game on the PC today. The graphics are appalling and the 'high speed' crashes are very unrealistic as there the damage is barely viewable. The gameplay is not very slick and the game is very unimpressive. POD came free with my new computer and I doubt I will ever play it again. Probably the only good thing about it is that there are twenty tracks to mess around in. Or maybe not! It is very difficult even to mess around in a poor game like this as the crashes are NOT very realistic. The twenty tracks that are avaliable, are extremely poor and the tracks are not like real tracks that you race on, they are poorly made 'fake' tracks. If you are looking for a decent racing game, pop down to your local computer store and purchase something like Need For Speed: Porsche Unleashed.

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            08.12.2000 17:57
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            All Star Wars games on the PC have been amazing, its a fact. Dark Forces, Xwing VS Tie Fighter nd the simply amazing Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight, simply the best Star Wars game ever. Unfortunately, consoles have not had as much luck with Episode 1 and Jedi Power Battles on the playstation. Actually, its only Playstation Star Wars games that have been a mager flop as the two N64 games, Rogue Squadron and the mighty Racer were 2 of the best games ever created. This is probably why Lucasarts cose to move Racer over to the Dreamcast platform, because it is their only decent game based on Episode 1. There are so many options to chose from such as ur vehicle and driver, the upgrades and over 20 tracks. The graphics have been improved over the N64 and PC versions slightly but as they were stunning in the first place, they arent that muchg of a leap. The playability is still exilerating and you feel like you are driving a pod.

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            06.11.2000 03:15
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            i think that this game is over rated! i think it only did as well as it didbecause of the success of the film!! the film created so much buzz i think that the producers were rushed in making it and so causeing it to be bad!! the game is way way too fast and i could hardley keep up! although the graphics could be better i think the sounds are good! the game play is bad, very bad! if u have spare money, dont waste it on this game!! trust me!its over rated completly!!

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              17.10.2000 22:52
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              The problem with this game is that on my first go i finished 1st. Eh hang on a minute are games supposed to be a new challenge, a new adventure, a light at the end of a dark tunnel. This game presents no challenge what so ever and anyway hasn't starwars been done to death? The game does have great graphics and the gameplay is smart and easy to handle and multiplayer is really good but overall this game doesn't present anythig what-so-ever as a challenge. another thing to consider about this game is the age range. Its ok if you are about 6 because it is quite a challange and if you are a parent willing to buy a game for a child then you should buy this for them. It is a good begginer and introduces young people to the concepts of games and gives them a really good introduction. 3/5 then!

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              10.10.2000 09:12
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              Hold on to yo Hatz – This is a Racer Like No Other!! This is Star Wars Episode 1 Racer. A high-speed futuristic racer that was borne from THAT single scene in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. The concept required, and has aptly delivered, various other backdrops and courses aside from the desert landscape portrayed in the movie, making it live up to the standards of previous racing games. Underwater, ice, swamp jungle, mountainous and space worlds to name a few have been represented. Most of which refer to locales and worlds in the movie. As became the standard following Street Fighter 2, there are many characters you can choose from, though the number is limited initially and further characters are released upon your progression. Overall the character you choose doesn’t make a great deal of difference – something I’ll come back to later. To appreciate this game fully, you need a good machine, or failing that, an even better accelerator card. And if you’re lucky enough to have both, then you’re in for a real treat. From one of the most exciting parts of the film is borne an entire game, and what a game. It IS SPEED!! I’ve played a fair few racers, but this is easily the fastest. And, what’s more, the controls (albeit very simplistic) do seem apt for the speed. The sound and music serve to capture the experience of the pod race in exactly the way the film did – perhaps even more so with the game as you yourself are experiencing the thrills and spills of the race rather than just a minute and a half segment of film. The graphics are outstanding, and for sure you’ll be addicted to this game as I was – for at least a week or two. And herein lies some of the problems. It seems a shame to call them problems, as it is a fine game, but here goes anyway. The game IS exciting, but as I alluded to earl
              ier, only for a fortnight – max. That’s because the AI for opponents is rather weak. With your inevitable wins come credits to buy custom components. You’ll eventually get increased acceleration and top speed, and a few minor mods will see you get to the top of the pile really quite easily. The opponents often have better stats, but you generally leave them for dead if you get near enough maxed acceleration. This means that the only way you’ll lose places is if you crash, and they overtake you – which isn’t that likely if you build up a big lead, and also no fun. I’d much prefer a tougher time in someone’s wake. Outside the concept of a single race there is little else. If you come first in the one-player tournament then the next track is released. You can take as many ‘lives’ to get through all the tracks – indeed; you can take as many lives as you want to complete a SINGLE track or EVEN a single LAP. So there’s no ‘risk’ of losing – which takes away from any sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, if you so fancy, you can change your character between races, taking any enhancements automatically with you – what’s the point in that? Just makes things even easier, as if things were not easy enough already! The overall motivation to continue to play the game is to get access to a measly one hidden league a few new characters with big (over-inflated is perhaps more appropriate) turbines and the mirror mode option – not really enough by today’s standards. How about multi-player? Well, the potential is there for some fun. However in reality, there’s often one person, generally the one who owns the game or has had t the longest that beats the rest pretty convincingly. If you’re lucky enough to compete in a circle of experts, then lucky you. There’s no split-screen mode in the PC version, which is a
              darn tootin’ shame. It’s also a shame that there isn’t a way (at least not to my knowledge) where you can activate the N64 cheat where you can use two controllers to control each of your turbines independently – that would make the game hugely more challenging (and perhaps a little more realistic, dare I say about fantasy-sci-fi). I don’t want to detract from it too much, but I have to put it in some perspective. I would love all of you reading this to experience the thrills and addiction that is Ep1 Racer for the first two weeks. And I still do play it every now and again for the pure buzz of it. Certainly there may be people out there that read this and reckon that it’s not warranting of a purchase – and I think you’re probably right. But put it on your system and compare it with what’s out there: WipeArse [:-)] 2097 – Ok it has weapons, but it’s backdrops pale into comparative monotony and monochrome when compared with Racer. Also, Racer licks it for speed (depending on the system you’re using). You certainly get a good buzz with either, but I’d give lastability to WA 2097, though. I wouldn’t say one game is better than the other – it’s like comparing classical music (which features dramatically in Racer) with heavy techno (which features .. um .. heavily in 2097). Both are good to look at, but are a bit shallow in terms of repeated long-term play. It used to be the case that when a mate came over to my place, that WA 2097 was one of the first games executed on my system to demonstrate it’s power and capability. Well, now there’s a new king in town – albeit a king for whom looks and style win out over substance (beyond a one night stand – by about 14 days).

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                05.10.2000 05:12

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                If you have to buy a Star Wars game this year, make it this one. OK, so it's nothing new - fly a ship around a beautifully rendered landscape a la Wipeout, and make sure that you don't crash. It's a racing game, darn it, so what more is there to say? It's beautifully rendered, and moves fast on most computers, which is great. It's a good racing game with the Star Wars theme stuck onto it... So it's well worth playing, it's well worthy buying, but it's nothing new really.

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                11.07.2000 21:56

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                If you have to buy a Star Wars game this year, make it this one. OK, so it's nothing new - fly a ship around a beautifully rendered landscape a la Wipeout, and make sure that you don't crash. It's a racing game, darn it, so what more is there to say? It's beautifully rendered, and moves fast on most computers, which is great. It's a good racing game with the Star Wars theme stuck onto it... So it's well worth playing, it's well worthy buying, but it's nothing new really.

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                08.07.2000 17:25

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                One aspect of filmmaking that George Lucas has always kept to in regards to the Star Wars series is that they are a lot of fun to watch. Perhaps they don't pose deep, thoughtful questions about our society, or offer insights into the human psyche (although some hard-core fans would argue the series does in fact do all of the above.) but regardless, the series is an exciting and enjoyable experience. In much the same way, The Phantom Menace is a roller coaster of action and excitement, combining a fast-paced story with aesthetically polished combat sequences, and other scenes that will literally make you drop your jaw in awe. Don't expect too much in the way of complex, brain twisting puzzles however, as they are nowhere to be found. Due to the flexibility of the PC gaming format individual tastes can cater for. I recommend anyone who enjoyed the film, but wanted to see more lightsabre dueling, or battle droid dismemberment to go out and buy the game, because on PC you can choose to spend more time fighting and less time talking, or vice versa. And anyone else who simply likes an enjoyable action adventure with the added benefit of the Star Wars background should give it a try too, because, just like the movies, it really is a heck of a lot of fun.

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                06.07.2000 04:02

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                I don't own many games, but from the games I do own, Pod Racer is my favourite. The computer graphics are good if your have a decent computer that appreciates them. With my 2 year old computer, it always runs slow if I'd been doing other things before-hand. It is simply a racing game but with the advantage of being able to fly at occasions and upgrade etc. You can get the usual engine faliures when you crash into things. There are circuits for both beginners and experts.

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                05.07.2000 03:19

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                Racer is based around, undoubtedly the second best scene in Episode 1, the pod race. Although I am not a big driving games fan, this is oh so cool! It’s FAST! You can go up to around 700miles per hour. The developers had a way of doing this though; they sneakily applied a stretch effect to the textures making it look like you are actually going 700Mph! The game has many different settings, ranging from the deserts of Totoine to tracks high above the clouds and cities to remote mining facilities! It also has a vast number of pods, which you can buy parts for and get pit druids to repair. You are not a star wars fan without this game.

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            • Product Details

              Let's just for a second forget that Star Wars: Episode I, Racer has anything at all to do with the film on which it's based. Would it still have any appeal if you take away the movie license? The answer, almost surprisingly, is yes. This sci-fi arcade racing game is packed with high-speed thrills and a unique style of track-circling action that should get any racing fan's adrenaline pumping. The game is based on the pod-racing scene from Episode I, which was arguably the best and most exciting segment of the film. Players enter a series of pod races as either Anakin Skywalker or one of his 20 different alien rivals--including Sebulba, once you get far enough into the game to unlock this bonus character. Races are linked in four different circuits, each more difficult than the last. The highest circuit, in fact, can be extremely tough. Each race is a white-knuckled ride on the wild side, as the game does an excellent job of conveying a feeling of ferocious speed.