One of the best games to come out of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace receives a 2019 makeover
In 1999, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was released into theatres. This was the first Star Wars film for over fifteen years since the release of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in 1983.
Expectation and hype levels were through the roof. Merchandising tying into the new film was everywhere, amongst it all was several video games.
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was a 3D action game that followed the plot of the film, the typical tie-in game of the time. There was also a pinball game, Jedi Power Battles, Star Wars Episode I: Obi-Wan’s Adventures and Star Wars: Obi-Wan.
The problem was that all of these games were distinctly average or worse. The Star Wars licence was being spread too thinly.
Star Wars Episode I: Battle for Naboo for the Nintendo 64 and Windows was a much better game and would become the start of the famous Rogue Squadron series.
There was also one other game that was fun to play and based on one specific sequence of the new film, Star Wars Episode 1: Racer.
Released for the Nintendo 64, Windows, Sega Dreamcast, Macintosh and even the Gameboy Colour, Episode 1: Racer was a fun racing game in its own right.
Expanding upon the film, Episode 1: Racer gave you the ability to race as different characters, each with their own unique pod racing vehicles with unique handling characteristics.
The racing wasn’t just limited to the desert planet of Tatooine either. The championship saw you racing in many different worlds with a variety of environments.
Episode 1: Racer even received an arcade upgrade and appeared with a life-size racing pod for you to sit in with the same dual lever controls as in the film.
If you want to play the game today, it is still available for Windows machines over at Good Old Games.
If you prefer your games to look a little more modern, your in luck. A fan of the game, RobJin, has recreated the game using Unreal 4, a very powerful 3D engine that is free to download.
He spent ten months working on the project and admits there are still animation and optimisation issues but it looks awesome.
The remake recreates the first level of the game, the race on Tatooine, staying true to the original but in much higher detail. The environments look beautiful with a great sense of speed. You can race on your own, in multiplayer with friends or even AI controlled racers.
If you wish to try this for yourself, Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is available as a 3gb download from Google Drive.
However, don’t hang around too long as I’m sure once Disney/EA get wind of this, the cease and desist letters will start flying.
Robjin’s trailer for his Unreal 4 remake
Youtuber Bluedrake42 plays through the remake and offers his thoughts.