CIRCUIT has thrilled citizens of the Outer
Rim Territories with its fast and dangerous
contests of repulsor and turbine-driven
Amid the ruffian and racing elite, one
champion stands above the rest. His name
is Sebulba, a cunning and ruthless pilot
who wins by any means necessary.
To challenge him, all the best Podrace
pilots gather on the desert planet Tatooine
for the legendary BOONTA CLASSIC
determined to claim the title of fastest
podracer in the Galaxy...
Star Wars: Episode I: Racer is a Star Wars Legends Racing Game developped by LucasArts, released originally for the Nintendo 64 and later for PC, Apple Macintosh, Game Boy Color, Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4, 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.
- Adaptation Expansion: From a single scene in The Phantom Menace to a full galaxy-wide 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).
- All or Nothing: One of the prize options available for races is "Winner Takes All," where first place gets the entire pot and everyone else gets nothing.
- 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:
- 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. In this game, he also prefers to race at Inferno, the very last track of the Invitational Podracing Circuit.
- 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 The 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.
- Book Ends: In the first game, the first and final courses (that aren't on the Invitational Circuit, anyways) are set on Tatooine.
- 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.
- Compressed Adaptation:
- The Arcade version of Racer, while having far superior graphical and audio presentation than the original game, is heavily stripped down and simplified in gameplay due to the nature of its arcade format. There are only four race courses (one of which is an extended, harder version of the first course) and only three planets (Tatooine, Malastare and the new planet Etti IV), only four racers to choose from (Anakin, Sebulba, Ben Quadrinaros and Gasgano), and no upgrade or repair system. The boost is also severely nerfed into a limited use power up.
- The Game Boy Color port of the game is also heavily diluted from the console versions of the game, understandably due to the handhelds technical limits forcing the gameplay into being a Micro Machines clone. There are no laps—each race plays out like a drag race—there are only five planets (Tatooine, Ando Prime, Baroonda, Mon Gazza and Malastare) split across 20 tracks and simplied into using colors to distinguish themselves from each other, only two racers on the course at any time, and a few less racers to choose from.
- Continuity Snarl: The first game's placement in the timeline is very confusing in the context of either the movies or Star Wars Legends. Anakin sold his podracer after he won the Boonta Eve (which he took part in as a dangerous gambit to win his freedom), and he had never travelled offworld until leaving with Qui Gon to take part in the Battle of Naboo and then train as a Padawan (and per Legends material, Jedi do not allow podracing), making it utterly implausible that he would have been able to, much less be allowed to, take part in a full podracing tournament. However, it is possible that Anakin only participated in the Tatooine races, since the game randomly decides which racers (a maximum of 12 out of the 20+ characters available) appear in which race. Though it still raises the question of why Anakin would be the track favorite for a course on Baroonda of all places.
- 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. Your engines won't spontaneously burst into flame, either. Flying over lava raises the same temperature gauge that's used while boosting, so overusing your boost will make your engines even more susceptible to fire.
- 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.
- Defeat Means Playable: A few characters are unlocked after the player beats courses where they are the favorites to win. Sebulba in the GBC version takes this to the logical extreme by inverting it, though: if the player loses a race while playing as him, he actually leaves their roster, and the player has to beat him again to regain him.
- 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.
- In the first game, if you hold Z before you start a race, you'll be treated to a brief cutscene of two of the games racers trash talking each other.
- Excuse Plot: 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.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
- Ando Prime, or at least the area in which the podraces take place, bear much resemblance to Tibet, from the snowy mountains to the monks. It's also sparsely populated but with major population centers. The Dai Bendu Monks also wear robes similar to that of said Tibetan monks.
- Baroonda's Majan culture, as might be obvious from its name, is the Star Wars counterpart to the Mayans, with the ruins surrounding the city of Baroo bearing much resemblance to the real-life Mayan ruins. Their capital city, Majaneetza, is a portmanteau of "Maya" and "Chichen Itza" and is what a Mayan city might look like with technology thousands of years beyond that of present-day Earth.
- Final Dungeon Preview: The first track is a shortened version of the Boonta Eve Classic called the Boonta Training Course. You get to race the full course at the end of the game.
- Fragile Speedster:
- "Bullseye" Navior: A very small podracer that has good stats on almost everything, but suffers from poor acceleration and very sensitive steering. Upgrading him eventually elevates his pod to one of the fastest and most maneuverable in the game, making him ideal for time trials. If it weren't for his aforementioned twitchy steering (which is a double edged sword; it can help on very sharp turns, but also make it very easy to buffet his pod into a wall) combined with his high speed and very low durability, he'd be an out and out game breaker.
- 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 frictionless frozen lakes, which is doubly weird since pod racers use anti-gravity to float.
- Funny Background Event: When you buy the Pit Droids in the first game, if you hold Z to look around Watto's shop and watch them, you can see the droids wandering aimlessly around and bumping each other and into the walls as they try to make their way out of the shop. It's oddly fitting considering how clumsy the droids were depicted as in The Phantom Menace.
- 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.
- Game-Breaking Bug: On Oovo IV, during the zero-gravity tube sections, there are a number of floating rocks to avoid. Some of them can be busted apart by ramming them at a high enough speed, but most of them are too big to break. As well, most of them are placed on the "sides" of the tube section (i.e., away from the center), but there's one that is placed in the direct center of the tube that you can crash into. In the N64 version, this isn't a problem, as you will be able to simply continue as before, but the PC/Dreamcast release (and the Switch/PS4 re-release, which is sourced from this version) respawns you inside the boulder, rendering you completely stuck and needing to restart the race.
- 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:
- Jack of All Stats: Several racers have either entirely balanced / average stats, or mostly average stats with one stat slightly ahead of the rest:
- Anakin Skywalker: One of the fastest racers in the game, and has great handling turning response; his only significant handicap is his average acceleration.
- Ebe Endocott: Average speed, but excellent handling.
- Ody Mandrell: A good "beginner" racer with generally average stats, but great acceleration. His only handicap is his abysmal default speed—unless you boost a lot and/or upgrade him, he's the slowest racer in the game. 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.
- Slide Paramita. His top speed is a little under "Bullseye"'s, along with great cooling and repair.
- 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:
- Elan Mak: While he has great acceleration, he is lacking in all other stats.
- Dud Bolt: Has great acceleration, but his unremarkable speed and poor steering make him a liability to use. Returns in Revenge.
- Bozzie Baranta: Passable acceleration and handling, an all around average pod. Ironic, considering the very hard course you race to unlock him.
- Cy Yunga: Hidden racer, unlockable with a code. Handles well, but has unremarkable speed.
- Kraid Nemmeso from Revenge has the durability of a Mighty Glacier, but 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 her campaign much fun.
- Laughing Mad: Almost all of the racers display a habit of laughing maniacally as their own podracers crash and explode into a burning heap.
- Lethal Joke Character:
- Ben Quadinaros: A four engine pod, notable for being one of the fastest podracers in the game, but is handicapped by its poor maneuverability. Returns in Revenge with better handling, but his very frail machine takes a lot of skill to use in combat.
- Jinn Resso: Hidden racer, unlockable with a code. Average stats, but has high top speed.
- Watto: Hidden racer in Revenge. All stats maxed out.
- Darth Maul: Hidden racer in Revenge. All stats maxed out.
- Darth Vader: Hidden racer in Revenge. ALL STATS MAXED OUT.
- 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:
- Clegg Holdfast: A fast podracer with all around decent stats. Returns in Revenge.
- Mawhonic: One of the faster pods in the game (ironic for a pod of its size), which combined with good handling makes him a very adept racer. Returns in Revenge.
- Aldar Beedo: A four engine pod with superb top speed, and great turning capabilities. Returns in Revenge.
- Scorch Zanales from Revenge is appreciably fast and can really take a hit. He and Aldar Beedo are the bulkiest characters in the game — it takes a lot of persistence to bring them down.
- Sebulba: Has the highest top speed of all the racers without modification (although his defalt boost, which adds 185 to his speed, is the second weakest boost of 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: 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.
- Mighty Glacier:
- Gasgano: Has good speed, but very poor turn response and weak acceleration. Returns in Revenge.
- Ratts Tyerell: The largest pod in the entire game; has great acceleration, but otherwise unremarkable stats.
- Boles Roor: Has average default speed and the maneuverability of a drunk hutt, but when upgraded he becomes one of the fastest racers in the game.
- Neva Kee: A pod notable for having its cockpit in front of the engines, with no cables or energy binders. Probably the slowest of all the podracers next to Ody Mandrell, but maneuverable enough to get the job done.
- Mars Guo: A large podracer with slow speed, but great handling and steering, with a hidden bonus of having the longest turbo boost of the entire game. Returns in Revenge, though strangely with his stats inverted: he's got jaw-dropping speed right out of the box and can upgrade to one of the best top speeds in the game, but his steering is painfully bad.
- Wan Sandage: Good steering and handling, but weak top speed. Returns in Revenge with a major upgrade: he has an excellent defense stat and can really dish out the damage on his opponents.
- Ark "Bumpy" Roose: Very bulky podracer with all around mediocre stats. Also qualifies as a Joke Character.
- Mordor: Malastare; in this game, it's represented as a barren, rocky wasteland with lots of toxic swamps and flying creatures.
- My Future Self and Me: In Racer Revenge, Anakin can race alongside his future self, hidden character Darth Vader.
- Mythology Gag
- Following each race, Watto can be heard humming the iconic cantina bar theme from A New Hope over the results screen.
- 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.
- Likewise, the introductory music for Ord Ibanna, the World in the Sky level, is the music that plays in Empire when the Millennium Falcon is flying through Cloud City.
- The music that plays during the final lap on the Tatooine courses was unused in The Phantom Menace, but was later recycled for Attack of the Clones.
- Near Victory Fanfare: In the N64 version, music only plays during the final lap. It mimics Phantom Menace where the first two laps in the film's race were without music, while also having a practical use in not driving players crazy with short compressed clips of music (due to the cartridge format) over 3-lap races that could go seven-plus minutes.
- 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.
- No OSHA Compliance: If the OSHA even existed in the Star Wars galaxy, it would have a fit if it saw some of the courses featured in the first game, and that's not counting how dangerous podracing is by itself. And the racing hazards vary by planet. Some of the organizers deliberately make the courses more dangerous to increase the entertainment value.
- Tatooine: Aside from the hazards that were already featured in The Phantom Menace, The Boonta Classic also features segments where you fly over a Sarlacc and racing on the path of a Jawa sandcrawler.
- Mon Gazza: While Mon Gazza Speedway is relatively sane by the sport's standards, the other two tracks on that planet involve racing through spice mining sites complete with active mining equipment and over industrial waste dumps (and one of those two tracks was apparently commissioned by Groff Zugga, the boss of the Galactic Spice Mining Guild).
- Ando Prime: The only track on the planet that seems to have been deliberately made for podracing is Ando Prime Centrum. The other three tracks have you going through cold, snowy mountains, with hazards such as caves with giant icicles, giant frozen lakes (that somehow apply Frictionless Ice even to repulsorlift vehicles), giant leaps over gorges, and the occasional avalanche.
- Aquilaris: The underwater tunnels on all three tracks have a set of security doors (presumably in case of flooding) that randomly open or close at a moments notice, increasing the risk of crashes. Sunken City and Bumpy's Breakers have segments that take you into an abandoned city littered with giant pieces of debris to go around or crash into.
- Malastare: Most of the tracks on this planet have you racing over methane lakes.
- Oovo IV: All of the tracks in this asteroid penal colony have you go through anti-gravity tubes littered with asteroids of varying size and that can propel you to speeds of 1000 mph while causing you to spin. Said rocks, by the way, were placed into those anti-gravity tubes just for the races. Vengeance has a part where racers go through the facility's reactor. Executioner has a part where you pass by the gaping mouth of a juvenile exogorth (note that this is merely a baby; the adults are big enough to swallow the Millennium Falcon whole). The Gauntlet is the only track on the moon that extends outside of the prison and onto the surface, which is frequently hit by meteor showers.
- Ord Ibanna: This planet's tracks take place on a series of abandoned Tibanna gas mining platforms. Ord Ibanna is a gas giant, and the platforms aren't all physically connected. So if you mishandle a jump, it's going to be a long fall until you die from asphyxiation in the not-so-breathable parts of the planet. The good news is that the platform is no longer used for mining Tibanna gas (which should be noted, is used in blasters among other things), so no one has to worry about any crashes causing the platforms to blow up. Note that the organizer for the Ord Ibanna races, Dethro Glok, purposely makes the courses extra-dangerous because he takes a sick pleasure in seeing racers fall to their deaths.
- Baroonda: While the swamp in Grabvine Gateway is dangerous enough with a lot of sharp turns and vision obscuring vines, among the most ludicrously dangerous of the tracks on the planet are Fire Mountain Rally and The Inferno, both of which have you fly inside of an active volcano!
- No Plot? No Problem!: The first game doesn't even attempt to have a story. Its just an excuse for you to go podracing.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Neva Kee's podracer, which looks like a standard single-piece jet ship with 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.
- Prequel: Given that the game takes place in 32 BBY (the same year as the events of The Phantom Menace), it can be assumed that the first three circuits take place between Anakin's first race against Sebulba (The Boonta Training Course) and the Boonta Eve Classic.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: Dug Derby's track layout looks a bit too much like Laguna Seca; if you're just jumping into that game, you'll probably crash a lot into the first corner and the mid-course chicane, but if you've played racing simulation games, you'll have an easy time mastering the Andretti Hairpin and the Corkscrew. Malastare 100 also has a track layout suspiciously similar to Sonoma Raceway.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Ando Prime, as mentioned above.
- The Smurfette Principle: Knire Dark from Racer Revenge is the only female racer in both games.
- Starfish Aliens: Tzidik Wrantojo from Racer Revenge is one of the stranger-looking alien pilots in both games, basically being a nautilus that uses four of his tentacles as arms and legs.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ord Ibanna, which is a gas giant planet with a race course built into an abandoned flying gas mine located on it, is basically Bespin without Cloud City. The centerpiece of one of the tracks, Dethro's Revenge, is even a Tibanna Gas platform that could be seen near Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back.
- 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.
- Token Human: Anakin is the only playable human character in the game. Qui-Gon Jinn does make the occasional, but very easy to miss cameo appearance, in Watto's shop now and then.
- 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.