Thursday’s Nintendo Direct revealed that the Switch will feature two new Star Wars games , the previously announced Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy , and Star Wars Episode I: Racer! the popular video game that turned you into a pod race pilot shown in The Phantom Menace .
Star Wars fans may recall that Video Game Episode I: Racer originally came out for Windows and Nintendo 64 in 1999. When the game launched, it was considered at the time to be one of the best Star Wars games ever developed and sold more three million copies for Nintendo 64 alone. This is in stark contrast to the source material in the criticized: Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.
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Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace . It was destined to be a multimedia monster, and in many ways it was. Sure, the music composed by John Williams was spectacular, the pictures were fascinating, and the final duel with Darth Maul remains a legend. However, it brought too much unnecessary baggage into the Star Wars Universe. Fans quickly got bogged down with unnecessary supporting characters, forced dialogues, and terrible attempts to explain the Force, like the Midi-Chlorians.
But the podracing sequence, well-received at the movie’s launch, quickly became an iconic piece of Star Wars history even though it rarely appeared since. The action packed sequence in a movie held back by an overly complicated plot, and even by today’s standards is a visual feast. The action is fast and hectic, and it lent itself well to Episode I: Racer, which quickly became a blockbuster app for the Nintendo 64 in a generation where Sony was hot on their heels.
Episode I: Racer It combined the high-octane thrill of a racing game with the familiar Star Wars iconography. There was something about the way it felt to drive a podracer (pods in Spain) that made it very addictive. Unlike other racing games, a podracer was fragile like your grandmother’s fine china. Hitting an engine too many times or pressing too hard on the accelerator can be a disaster. Before you know it, you are met with the sounds of your pilot screaming as his pod racer explodes into a million pieces, creating real tension that many other racing games couldn’t capture. Hitting another runner or part of the track had other consequences besides slowing him down. The game made you feel like a podracer pilot when you had to monitor your engine levels,
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However, the game was more than just a science fiction racing simulator. It also featured robust auto maintenance mechanics, where players could purchase vehicle upgrades, parts, and droids to improve their performance on the track. Finally, Episode I: Racer remains a bright spot in the Star Wars prequel story. While public opinion on the prequels can vary depending on where the fandom is, the consensus on the excellent Episode I: Racer has remained constant throughout the years.