Star Wars: Racer Revenge Review
There's no doubt about it, the pod-race in Star Wars Episode One was one of the most memorable moments in the movie or in any Star Wars title. It was pretty evident that there would eventually be videogames based off of the scene. Obviously enough, came Star Wars Episode One Racer for the Nintendo 64. The game was well received for the most part and was a good entertaining title with strong sales as well. The game would be released on the PC, later rumored, announced, and cancelled for the PSX, and lastly, released on the Dreamcast. Sony fans have waited for quite some time, but months after announcement, ATV: Offroad Fury developer, Rainbow Studios, has completed Star Wars: Racer Revenge. The result? A pretty good game with some definitely noticeable attractions.
Granted, few Star Wars games will even achieve the level of detail that the GameCube's Rogue Squadron displays, but Racer Revenge's ambitions are not to push millions of polygons at once. Instead, Rainbow Studios (the wonderful developers that they are) crafted a very nice game-engine that renders the locales of the Star Wars universe in nice detail, and at the same time keeps the game on pace at a blistering 60 frames per second. The pod crafts are nicely detailed, but aren't overwhelmingly beautiful, at least not to any GT3-esque extent. Everything on screen looks pretty good. The courses have some nice designs to them, as the track detail is well done. The textures are very nice as well; certainly nothing to complain about. The environments range from deserts to jungles, and every track sports some very nice touches. Overall, the visuals don't leave too much to be desired. Seeing as how they are focused on speed, they look really good for the most part.
Following ATV: Offroad Fury, I've become a huge Rainbow Studios fan! Not only was it one of the best racers of 2001, but also it was a fantastic multi-player party game. ATV: Offroad Fury means a lot in my gaming heart. Even our very own Executive-Editor, Matthew, will agree -- ATV kicked serious ass. Now that the rant has concluded, allow me to describe Racer Revenge. After years of seclusion, Sebulba has finally peaked his head and come back into public. Vowing for revenge, Sebulba has assimilated a group of pod racers, and has built the ultimate pod racer himself. His target is, of course, young Anakin Skywalker, who isn't as young anymore because Racer Revenge revolves around the Episode 2 timeline. Thanks to the frame rate, Racer Revenge's gameplay is intact and fun. The speeds reach 600MPH, not quite Extreme G3, but the sense of speed is somewhat present. The game features 18 different racers, roughly half of which are secret and need to be won in the tournament mode. There are 13 tracks, spanning 5 Star Wars worlds. Aggressive racing should both be used and avoided. Excessive damage to a pod would cause it to explode, therefore plastering your race with a DNF status. There are no weapon pick-ups, and the game is only for 2 players. But for what it's worth, the replay is attractive. There are many tracks and additional racers to unlock, so if you become engrossed, you'll surely enjoy the game. There isn't too much in terms of innovation. The game's core gameplay elements are too different than the first Star Wars Racer title. That said, Rainbow Studio still put together a fine show. It's nowhere near being a disappointing Star Wars title, despite the game being somewhat generic. Racer Revenge plays well, and is very worthy of at least a rental. Episode One Racer fans will surely want to purchase this game.
For the most part, Racer Revenge sounds nice. The game is Dolby Surround compatible, and for those with Dolby receivers, I suggest hooking your PS2 up and turning up the volume; you might just feel as if you're actually a pod-pilot. The sound effects are very nice, the engines and the crashes sound admirable, and the soundtrack is typical orchestrated Star Wars material - but I'm not complaining. Aurally, the game is fine. There aren't many flaws to even bother pointing out.
The controls are a mixed bag. On one hand, you can control your vehicles via standard and default settings. Then there is the true control set up where you use the analog sticks to maneuver the craft, but there's a twist. Each analog stick represents an engine of the pod. By pushing on both, you will put the pod in motion. If you let go of the left stick the pod will begin turning only in left direction. If you pull back on the left stick, while still pushing on the right, the pod will sharply turn left, and vice versa. This control will take a lot of time to get used to, roughly an hour. Unfortunately though, no where in between the two controller settings is there a setting where I can accelerate/brake the pod with the right stick, and turn with the left. Surely the second set up is intuitive, but it will take a lot of time.
To conclude, Star Wars: Racer Revenge is a good arcade racer from the fine people of Rainbow Studios. It may not be the deepest racing entry, but it sure can be fun and enjoyable. With pretty visuals, very noteworthy replay value, and amusing gameplay, Racer Revenge is definitely a purchase for fans of the original racer, and is rent worthy for fans of the futuristic racing genre.
3/22/2002 Arnold Katayev