Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: Rick Casteel

Computer Platform: PC
Produced by: Lucas Arts
Price Range: $15-35
Learning curve time: 15-30 mins.
Age level: 10+
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Patches / Upgrades: No
System Requirements: 200 mhz, 64 RAM, 3D ACCELERATOR

Genre: Arcade/Racing SIM
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 5 of 5
Adult Content: 5 of 5

Screenshot from 'Star Wars Episode 1 Racer'. Illustration copyrighted.
I have always tended to gravitate towards keyboard and mouse based adventure games since the controls were so familiar or at least easy to learn. Diving and flight sims always frustrated me because I never felt I had the kind of control I needed to play them adequately. Well, those days are over. I now have a Wingman Formula Force racing wheel by Logitech. Since purchasing this little device, I have been racing my heart out and having a great time with my kids. Boy am I hooked!

Our current challenge is a great game by Lucas Arts. “Racer” is based on a segment of the Episode 1 film of 1999. In it, young Skywalker enters into a “Pod” race against other racers from different planets. Pods are a sort of souped-up hover-craft; fancy, single seat piloting carts strapped to two huge jet engines. Each comes with differing capabilities such as acceleration, speed, turning, repair, traction and a few others.

The player selects a driver-character complete with Pod at the start of each circuit. As you win or place in races you earn the ability to upgrade your Pod. A player does so at the alien Watto's junkyard. Watto is a creature from the movie and the settings and environments such as his shop are wonderfully rendered. You will race in a variety of settings and worlds and tracks are added as you complete races. Your tracks and opponents are progressively more difficult as the circuits' progress.

One of the elements “Racer” gets dead-on is the sense of speed that is a major part of the game. The Pods travel along at speeds averaging 400-500 MPH and have boosting capabilities upwards to 1000 MPH! Your alien opponents are comical to look at but prove tough competitors in the world of Pod racing. The tracks are easy enough in the early goings but get extremely challenging as you earn the right to race in different circuits. The planets are themed and detailed to perfection. There isn't any extraneous plot or side activities to get in the way of the racing enjoyment except to upgrade your Pod at Watto's shop. This is a minor but sometimes necessary aggravation as you try to keep your winning edge.

“Racer” is free from any violence or adult material (though I have wondered what those other racers were yelling at me in alien language as I passed by?), which is rare in most games these days. Hebrews 12:1 says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." Racer provides the race that will definitely test the patience!

Year of Release—1999

SW Episode 1 Racer is an excellent game. I am a fan of racing games, primarily on the N64 that I use at my friend's house, but Racer is a unique game. It combines my love for the SW universe with a fast paced racing game. I enjoy the various characters and types of terrain used in the game. My favorite terrain is an ice planet. Racer is certainly one-of-a-kind in game play. I wholeheartedly recommend SW Episode 1 Racer to any racing fans and/or to those who enjoy the Star Wars universe. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Nathan Worthington, age 20

…if the game was so good (as I agree) what was "slightly offensive"? The reckless endangerment of the race? The wild gambling on the outcome? The bad jokes made by the commentator whenever somebody crashed? ; ) Just curious… probably the most enjoyable Episode I based game out yet… My Ratings: [5/4]
   —Kurgan, age 22

Comments from Young People…

Positive—This game is great from the Christian standpoint. I suggest anyone to get this game. I got it for 10 dollars… What A SteAl. I suggest any gamer of any age to pick this title up. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Joe Johnsen, age 14

I can't understand why a racing game fan would like this game. I don't call absolute reckless driving, flamejets that burn other opponents, and course design with obstacles such as columns that appear in your way at about 600 MPH “racing.” The game was good for a while, but it got boring very quickly, not to mention annoying and repetitious comments from other aliens. My Ratings: [5/1]
   —Garrett O'Hara, age 16

BOORRRIINNGGGGGG! Boring and easy pretty much explains it all. Even the “hard” tracks are simple. However this game did have good graphics. My Ratings: [5/3]
   —Matt, age 13

At first, I really liked this game. But, after a couple of days, it got really old. There is no violence or adult material. If you like racing games, you'll like this game. My Ratings: [5/2]
   —Kyle, age 12

This game is brilliant. There was absolutely nothing offensive to me as a Christian. I would recommend this game to anyone. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Walt Viviers, age 15

I recently bought this game for the N64 for $10. It is one of the best racing games I have and is very exciting. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Shane, age 14

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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