Star Wars: Racer Revenge
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
LucasArts
Developer
Rainbow Studios
Genre
Racing
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Mild Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Great track design
• Really captures Star Wars feel
• Excellent sound effects and soundtrack

The Bad

• Serious pop-up in the long straight-aways
• Commentary gets old quick

 
Grade
B+

Racer Revenge is the "unofficial" sequel to the popular Podracing game that came out for the N64 when Star Wars Episode One hit the theaters. This game takes place 8 years after Anakin Skywalker wins the race at Boonta Eve. While the traditional Star Wars intro states that Sebulba is out for revenge, there really seems to be little to no story in the actual game. Players get to select one of a handful of racers to fight and race their way through either single player races, two-player or a tournament mode, which is useful in unlocking tracks, artwork and hidden racers.

The tournament mode is by far the strength of the game. In it, you take one racer and work your way through each of the 13 tracks, earning money for winning or knocking opponents out of the race. This money can be used to improve the stats of your podracer, which allows a certain level of customization for the player. Since most of the racers start off fairly similar in base stats, the customization gives a wide range to how the player likes to race. You can make your podracer quick and agile or rough and sturdy for knocking your opponents around.

This time around, the gameplay is as much about bumping and grinding with opponents as it is about speedy racing. While most of the early tracks are fairly clear and straightforward, a lot of the later tracks have numerous tight places and rocky outcroppings by which the player can ram enemies into. But, be forewarned, the enemies love to do the same to you. In fact, you may be spending some time memorizing track layouts so as best to avoid being plowed into a wall by a vicious sideswipe. Along with the basic driving commands, the player can powerslide (which takes some getting used to because only the engines turn hard), turbo (which is based on an overheat gauge and has a nice "Matrix"-like effect) and even repair damage (which is done by holding down the repair button, causing the podracer to drive at a more cautious speed). Using a mixture of these skills will help in finishing and winning most races.

Visually, this game looks really good. The track and podracer design is excellently done and there is a huge variety in both. The menus and HUD are displayed well and help get into the game without much intrusion. Visual effects and high-quality texture maps really give the race tracks a level of convincing detail (the water effects on Mon Calamari are quite well done). There is the occasional rough edge here and there, but it's nothing noticeable unless you're looking for it. The biggest flaw in the graphics is the noticeable pop-up on the long straight-aways. When barreling through tight turns or loops, everything looks great, but when you hit a flat, open area, racers and buildings in the distance "pop-up" as you get nearer to them. Luckily, they're far enough away that they don't effect the racing. The only other thing that happens to be annoying is the occasional "invisible" polygon in the course, which reaches up to stop your progress. It's one thing to be rammed into a barrier by an enemy. It's another thing to have the course stop you because you took a corner too close.

Audio-wise, the sound effects, voice-overs and John Williams soundtrack are dead-on and really seal the package. This game sounds and feels like Star Wars. But, I will have to say the the voice commentary by the racers and announcer get old quick. By the third race, you will have heard everything that the announcer and your racer has in their verbal repertoire. By the fifth race, you'll turn down the voice-overs just so you have the sound effects (which are good for hearing racers coming up behind you) and music to hold you over.

While the early races start off in a fairly moderately paced action, the later tracks go by with such a speed that you'll have to remember to blink on occasion. The two-player mode, while not too deep, is still fun because of the twofold focus on combat and racing. The racing is challenging without being too hard (you may have to race certain tracks a few times to win) and there are a lot of things to unlock and records to set. The only drawback may be that finishing the tournament with different players really doesn't add much more to the game. Star Wars Racer Revenge is a great racer for Star Wars fans and for those who enjoy futuristic racing games.

- - Vane

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