Video Game / Star Wars Episode I: Racer

"The current record holder for this track is..."
—Announcer Fode, before the start of every race.

Star Wars: Episode I: Racer is a Racing Game created by LucasArts, released originally for the Nintendo 64 and later for PC, Apple Macintosh, Game Boy Color and Sega Dreamcast, based on the Podracing scene from The Phantom Menace.

Anakin Skywalker, Sebulba and 21 other Podracers compete on over two dozen different courses in a tournament which culminates in the Boonta Eve Classic race on Tatooine featured in the movie. Racing at speeds in excess of 600 mph can strain a Podracer's engines, but they can be repaired in flight, and pit droids will make repairs between races. Vehicle upgrades can be bought at Watto's parts supply house.

Sega adapted this game for arcades in 2000 as Star Wars: Racer Arcade. A sequel, Star Wars: Racer Revenge, was released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2.

Tropes appearing:

  • Adaptation Expansion: From a single scene in The Phantom Menace to a full intergalactic racing tournament.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Sebulba in Revenge. Not on his own home turf, mind you — he's by no means an Anti-Climax Boss of the Boonta Eve Classic. He'll repair more eagerly than any other racer if you give him the chance, so you have to be relentless to take him down. But otherwise on the Hutt Championship tracks, it's a bit jarring to find that Sebulba consistently falls toward the back of the pack and is surprisingly easy to take down, being only a middleweight Podracer in terms of damage endurance despite his giant engines. Actually, for a knockout completist, dispatching both Anakin and Sebulba in the first minute or two of a Hutt Championships race is pretty commonplace.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Mostly averted, with a few exceptions. The only major characters shown speaking Galactic Basic are Anakin Skywalker, Watto, and announcers Fode and Beed (even though the latter was only shown speaking Huttese in The Phantom Menace).
  • Artistic License Physics: While Podracers could hardly be called realistic in the first place, the idea of vehicles that float off the ground needing traction or losing speed over certain terrain, such as off-road plains, is a bit of a stretch. The game hand-waves it as a side effect of the repulsorlifts that keep the pods aloft, and traction can be upgraded with improved "repulsorgrip" parts.
  • Asteroid Miners: Oovo IV, a penal asteroid mining colony.
  • Adaptational Badass / Lethal Joke Character: Ben Quadinaros, the guy with the four-engine pod that blew up at the beginning of the race in the movie. As might be expected from a pod with four engines, he's one of the fastest racers in the game, though not the most maneuverable.
    • Mawhonic, whose pod was smashed to pieces by Sebulba not even a minute into the movie's race, has a milder example of this, thanks in part to his great speed and good handling.
  • The Alcatraz: Oovo IV is one of these IN SPACE!
  • Announcer Chatter: Courtesy of Fode and Beed.
    Beed: "It's a new lap record!"
  • Ascended Extra: Most of the racers are taken straight from the podracing sequence of Phantom Menace, most of whom only got seconds of screentime at best.
  • Big "NO!": Anakin Skywalker lets out one of these whenever his podracer is destroyed.
  • The Cameo: In the first game, Qui-Gon Jinn, C-3PO, Jar Jar Binks, and R2-D2 will randomly be shown accompanying the player's chosen racer when he goes to purchase items from Watto's Shop.
  • Classic Cheat Code: For the Nintendo 64 version, holding down the Z button and using the L Button to set RRTANGENTABACUS as your file name gave you access to the debug menu when you paused. In this menu you could change things like your acceleration and top speed, invulnerability, enabling zero gravity on the whole track, and enabling an otherwise unavailable control scheme.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Subverted. In a couple of the Baroonda courses, you have to race through an active volcano with lava pools every which way. Fortunately, the anti-gravity engines of the Podracers prevent you from outright falling into and being dissolved by the lava, but if you float on top of the lava for too long, your Podracer's engines will be set on fire and explode within less than a minute unless you get back on the path and make quick repairs.
  • Death from Above: Occurs a couple of times in the first game, namely when Tusken Raiders start sniping at the racers during the Boonta Eve Classic, and during a meteor shower on one of Oovo IV's tracks.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Crashing your podracer in the first game is not uncommon, but the game instantly respawns your pod seconds later, although this may cause some parts to be damaged or set you behind a few racers, not to mention it can hamper a time trial race. Revenge ultimately scrapped this mechanic in favor of an approach that would put more emphasis on racer-to-racer combat: damage is dealt when vehicles smash into each other, and one crash puts any pilot — including you — out of the race. To compensate, your racer takes much less damage from the environment (as opposed to the first game where clipping a corner at the wrong angle can result in an instant crash) — rather, it's in combat with your fellow pilots and especially if you abuse the turbo too much that you'll find yourself struggling to keep it together.
  • Disney Villain Death: The floating courses on gas giant Ord Ibanna include some wide-open curves where if you don't hold to the track, your Podracer will veer off and fall... forever! Or at least that's what the conceptual flavor is supposed to be. In the game you'll respawn, of course, but the racer will be suspended in the clouds for an unusually long time before exploding and respawning, making it very prudent to avoid this if you're trying to place first.
  • Easter Egg: The Hidden control scheme mentioned above uses two joysticks to simulate the arcade version's control scheme, which mimicked Anakin's double-lever set up from the film.
  • Excuse Plot: The first game doesn't even have a story, but the sequel has this, in that Sebulba is back after eight years for revenge, and Anakin of course has to take up his old pod again to beat him in a tournament; but other than the intro, it has no impact on the rest of the game.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Occo Ninebar from Revenge. Absolutely the easiest pilot to take out as an opponent, but he's very fast.
    • Tzidik Wrantojo from Revenge is very much on the fragile end of the spectrum, but with the maneuverability to compensate.
  • Frictionless Ice: Ando Prime has a frictionless frozen lake, which is doubly weird since pod racers use anti-gravity to float.
  • Glass Cannon: Occo Ninebar from Revenge. Absolutely the easiest pilot to take out as an opponent, but can be quite lethal if you know how to handle him as your own vehicle.
  • Gravity Screw: Even though this is already a zero-g racer game, you'll feel it especially in the Oovo IV antigravity tunnels, where your vehicle will attain jaw-dropping speeds while trying to dodge floating boulders.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Baroonda includes a palmtree beach, a jungle swamp, and volcanoes that are raced through.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Several racers have either entirely balanced / average stats, or mostly average stats with one stat slightly ahead of the rest:
    • Ebe Endocott: Average speed, but excellent handling.
    • Ody Mandrell: A good "beginner" racer with generally average stats, but great acceleration. Returns in Revenge.
    • Teemto Pagalies: A "Jack of all trades" Pod with all around average stats. Returns in Revenge.
    • Fud Sang: Also a pod with all around average stats.
    • Shrivel Braittrand from Revenge is the definitive example. All of his stats begin and max out as entirely equal except for one stat (repair) being a single point behind! His gameplay does bear this out, too, being an all-around solid craft that's not the most exciting to fly, but won't let you down.
  • Joke Character:
    • Kraid Nemmeso from Revenge has such piss-poor speed and handling that he's incredibly hard to rack up knockouts with.
    • Knire Dark from Revenge, meanwhile, is weirdly drifty in terms of handling and doesn't have the speed or endurance to make his campaign much fun.
  • Laughing Mad: Some of the racers display a habit of laughing maniacally as their own podracers crash and explode into a burning heap.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Mon Gazza is a barren red hot planet full of spice mines, tunnels overlooking pools of molten lead, and giant digging machinery, but surprisingly little in the way of actual fire and lava. Some of the Baroonda courses ironically has more of this, most notably Fire Mountain Rally and The Inferno, all with the usual Convection Schmonvection.
  • Legacy Character: The Wan Sandage in Revenge is actually the original's son, as their species' lifespan is fairly short compared to humans. They use the same pod, however, so for all intents and purposes, they're the same character.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Sebulba: Has the highest top speed of all the racers, with above-average handling, steering and acceleration. Also has a "Flame Thrower" function which can be activated by tapping the R button twice. Likewise, both Episode 1 Sebulba and revamped Sebulba in Revenge have similar stats, but with the flamethrower function removed.
  • Logo Joke: In Revenge, a podracer breaks the LucasArts Gold Man, who is then repaired by some pit droids.
  • Made of Iron / Made of Plasticine: Zig-Zagged in the first game. The game calculates damage to your pod's engines by how fast you're going when you hit something. The thing is, while your top speed and acceleration can be upgraded, your durability can't, so there are situations where an un-upgraded pod can plow through, say, the rocks of the Boonta Training Course and take nothing but Scratch Damage, while a faster pod (or the same pod with speed upgrades) will end up taking noticeably more punishment through the same sequence.
  • Marathon Level: Several of the race courses are quite long, most notably Fire Mountain Rally.
  • The Maze: Ando Prime Centrum offers many divergent paths which can make it quite confusing on the first few races. The sequel's Badlands would qualify as well, although since the opponents only ever take one path, you can stick to that for competitive runs and just explore the rest of the track at your leisure.
  • Mordor: Malastare; in this game, it's represented as a barren, rocky wasteland with lots of toxic swamps and flying creatures.
  • Mythology Gag: The introductory music for Oovo IV sounds like an original sound cue, but it's actually a scrapped music cue from the intro of The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Near Victory Fanfare / Songs in the Key of Panic: In the N64 version, music doesn't even play during a race until you reach the final lap.
  • Nintendo Hard: Racing any of the later races without upgrading your podracer will turn the game into this—especially in the Invitation Circuit. Let's just say if you don't learn how to get a good head start, spam the boost, or avoid crashing even once later on, the other racers will mop the floor with you.
    • A number of reviews online dismiss Revenge as being easier than its predecessor, but that's only if you're the type to speed through the game in a few hours with Anakin, snagging one or two knockouts per track, and then call that your due diligence. For the Nintendo Hard mode, try knocking out all seven opponents on every track. And then, once you've accomplished that with one pilot and gotten used to their Podracer's strengths and weaknesses, go do it with every other pilot. This approach makes the game every bit as difficult, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding as its predecessor.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Neva Kee's podracer, which has its cockpit mounted on the front of the engines, with no cables or energy binders.
  • Noob Cave: Boonta Training Course and Mon Gazza Speedway, especially the latter track—it's so short and flat, you can beat it in well under a minute, and easily overlap other racers!
  • Overdrive: The engines overheat and burst into flames if Boost Mode is not turned off before too long, which can result in your engines deteriorating. And unless you pay for the rather expensive repairs, you'll start the next race with a half-broken engine.
  • Put on a Bus: A good chunk of the cast from Episode 1 Racer is absent from Revenge, though some of them are justified: they died during the Boonta Eve Race in the film.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: All of the music is taken from previous Star Wars movies.
  • Role Reprisal: Jake Lloydnote , Andrew Secombenote , Lewis Macleodnote , Greg Proopsnote , and Scott Capurronote  reprise their roles from the movie.
    • For Racer Revenge, Lloyd, Secombe, and Macleod return once again, along with all the voice actors for the pilots returning from the original. Lloyd even records some new lines even though his character is purely an anachronistic secret unlockable! (Hayden Christensen doesn't voice the Clones-aged Anakin, though — that's Scott Lawrence, Lucasarts' go-to Vader voice.)
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: A good chunk of the Aquilaris tracks take you through a rotting, sunken city that has a makeshift racetrack built into it.
    • From Racer Revenge, the Ruins of Carnuss Gorguul (on the planet Gamorr) obviously qualify as well.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Beating the original game without upgrading your podracer at all. While it's definetely possible, it makes the game a lot more difficult, especially in the Invitation Circuit courses.
    • Revenge has the optional side challenge of crashing your rival racers so you can earn extra truguts for Watto's junk shop. Demolishing one or two of them isn't particularly tough, but trying to destroy all of them in each three lap race in the game, even in the easier courses, will really push your skills to their limits.
  • Shadowland: From Racer Revenge, Ryloth actually serve as its own Shadowland, with the earlier Brightlands contrasted against the later Nightlands. Ironically, though, the Brightlands actually appear as the less pleasant area, a stark, sun-blasted waste, whereas the dark Nightlands are lit up by gorgeous luminescent fungi.
  • Shark Tunnel: All of the Aquilaris tracks have these linking the various floating cities. Also present in the Ballast Complex on Mon Calamari in the sequel.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Tatooine, where both the beginning and climatic race of the game takes place on.
  • Shout-Out: Malastare 100 and Dug Derby's track layouts look a bit too much like Sonoma Raceway and Laguna Seca.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Ando Prime, as mentioned above.
  • Taunt Button: Most of the racers taunt in alien languages, except for the Basic-speaking Anakin Skywalker.
  • Time Trial: Time Attack mode lets you race against the clock instead of other podracers.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Sebulba's Weaponized Exhaust works against you, but not against the other racers when you use it on them.'
  • Weaponized Exhaust: A unique feature of Sebulba's vehicle, just like in the movie.
  • Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon!: Toy Dampner, a character exclusive to the original game, boasts of all things a distinct Jamaican accent in his Huttese lines. It's actually one of the cooler voice parts in the game, thanks to Dave Fennoy, who, though not Jamaican, is an African-American actor with a great Badass Baritone.

Alternative Title(s): Star Wars Racer