Before there was Episode I, there was Star Wars on video games -- a lucrative franchise since the first Star Wars for the original Nintendo system in 1991. And the LucasArts empire promises only to expand with the latest games based on The Phantom Menace, as well as other cutting-edge titles. The PC strategy game Star Wars: Force Commander is due this summer, and following in the fall is Episode I: Obi-Wan. Until then, here's a look at the latest titles -- all winners:
Star Wars, Episode I: Racer ( * * * * out of four, LucasArts, all ages, for Nintendo 64, $59.99; also for Windows 95/98 PCs, about $50). Based on the key action sequence from The Phantom Menace, Racer puts players in the role of Anakin Skywalker in thrilling podracers reaching speeds of 700 mph-plus.
Graphically, Star Wars, Episode I: Racer is truly wondrous -- from the brilliant textures to gorgeous environments and the detail in the podracers. Racer is the fastest racing game for the N64, and its sensation of speed is overwhelming. Even more astounding are the graphics on the 3-D-acceleration-required PC game.
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