March 12, 2001
One of the most enjoyable games on the Playstation 2 to date is Star Wars: Starfighter, which is set for release in Australia on March 22. Following close on the heals of that title is this Star Wars based racing game, Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing. This game looks to be a cross between Super Mario Kart on the SNES and Star Wars: Pod Racer on the N64 and PC. Hopefully LucasArts can strike a balance between the two games, and take the best of both worlds. The graphics certainly look exciting and the developers, LucasArts, usually deliver the goods. One can only hope that Jar Jar hits a wall before he starts screaming "Mesa doin nothin" or "Mesa Jar Jar Binks".
To begin with Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing includes eight playable Episode I characters to choose from. These include Anakin Skywalker, Jar Jar Binks, Queen Amidala, Darth Maul, Boss Nass, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Master Yoda and Sebulba. There are also several unlockable secret characters to discover as you complete the game. Three tracks are initially playable including Naboo Swamp, Dune Sea and Theed City although as you win more races more tracks are unlocked with 9 tracks currently listed on the official web site. More tracks can probably to be unlocked while playing the game.
Unlike kart racing games the characters in Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing aren't actually in karts, but in starships. This changes the physics of racing completely. Instead of being stuck on the ground in wheeled karts, players are hovering above the ground in starships. This allows for a much greater range of motion and some tracks are actually positioned in outer space. Each racer has his/her own unique personality, vehicle, racing physics and animation. For example, because Yoda is a relatively small character in a small ship his top speed is one of the highest of all eight characters.
Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing certainly looks the part. Strong characters, varied landscapes and plenty of detail combine to make this a visual tour de force. Hopefully, the frame rate will be rock solid and the sound, well Star Warsish.
Perhaps Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing will be aimed towards the younger market, but then so was Mario Kart and that is still one of the most enjoyable racing games to this date. With some great graphics, exciting gameplay and many familiar settings and sound there is no reason why this game should fail. If LucasArts manage to perfect everything then a lot of people will be heading to the shops this May for yet another Playstation 2 Star Wars title. The mind boggles when you think that we haven't even heard about the inevitable Episode II games yet. Surely they aren't too far off either, but this game should keep me happy enough for now.