I've been shouting on about this game ever since I first heard about it. Originally planned for Playstation 2, Dreamcast, and PC, now only the PS2 version will be available. I saw an almost complete PC version at E3 and it makes me sad to think it will never see the light of day as a finished product. The Dreamcast version was canned in early stages, and the PC version after LucasLearning's company changes last month.
I have both a PC and a Dreamcast, but no PS2. Lucky for me, Blockbuster does, so we rented one from there. I'm damn glad we did!
Super Bombad Racing is always said to be a mixture of kiddie kart racing and Star Wars - and it pretty much is. But it's also far more. The game has 8 playable characters including Darth Maul, Boss Nass and Yoda. Each character has a super-sized head, and flies about in a craft that matches their characterization. Sebulba has his pod racer, while Yoda just flies about on a little chair.
Cheat codes enable you to play as a tank or the popular bounty hunter chap, Boba Fett. You can also play as Darth Vader if you're good enough to complete every race in a row getting 1st place.
The game is largely focused on Episode 1, so the 8 tracks loosely follow the plot of the film. Among the tracks are Tatooine, Theed, the place where Qui Gon dies, and a trade federation base. You start in a swamp, heading through the locations in the same order you visit them in the film. On a few maps, characters other than the racers can interact with you, which leads to occurences of much swearing when Jawas shrink you as you fly around the Dune sea.
Although the tracks appear linear, they are in fact filled with little secret side passages, and alternative routes, going sideways, over and under the other racers and collecting bigger and better power-ups. Yes, as with most kart games, this game has power-ups, and quite a few of them. There is the conventional thrust - five different types infact, which are a great help, plus you have "jam" which makes your opponent's screen go insane but isn't anything to do with raspberries. You're also equipped with a ray which pulls you towards the racer in front, and them toward you. Various methods of slowing other racers down come in handy, too. Each character has a special power up; Darth Maul can hurl his lightsabre, while Sebulba can toss dangerous junk into your engines. The power-ups are collected from around the track, where they lie discarded on the ground.
Each racer has there own taunts which you can hear at the begining of the race, and sometimes throughout. Jake Lloyd very kindly took a day out of his busy schedule to record the voice of Anakin, but as far as I'm aware he is the only voice actor taken from the film. Clint Bajakian, famous for his work with sound production at LucasArts over the years, provides the voices for Darth Maul, while also being the music supervisor. The taunts range from "What a pitiful life form..." from Obi-wan, to "Own you at this game, I will!" from Yoda. (This may or may not be true.) It really does amuse you to hear Jar-Jar getting annoyed at being overtaken, and then shot into oblivion.
So many games just over-use their soundbytes "fire in the hole" shouted into my ears every 3 seconds does nothing but make me want to delete that sound file, so it's refreshing to play Bombad and hear the opponents' insults and jibber jabber only when appropriate.
This game is seriously fun to play; it takes about half an hour to really get used to all the controls and the playing style, but even that is a really enjoyable experience. It can be a tad fustrating at times, as you plunge down dark bottomless pits that you later learn to avoid, but these things happen in Star Wars, so we have to forgive. It's definitely the best Star Wars game thats been released since Jedi Knight, and although it is based mainly during Episode 1, it doesnt feel like it. The oversized heads and comical bouncing characters combined with voices create a fantastic and new Star Wars gaming environment.
What better to add to the comical and lightheartedness of the game than a killer score composed and arranged by Peter McConell. The score is composed of classic trilogy and Episode 1 tracks from the film's respective soundtracks, but mixed into a polka/jazz/blues ensemble and sped up. The soundtrack really rounds the game off nicely, and infact quite brilliantly: check out the media downloads and listen to it yourself; it's fantastic!
I forgot to mention the "arena" mode of play which is some kind of crazy deathmatch mode. You have to fly about maps such as the Great pit of Carkoon, in which lives the mighty Sarlacc, and "use clever flying and gadgets to knock out the other contestants' force fields". We didt get alot of time to play this mode, we were far too adicted to the racing! but it seemed pretty damn amusing, if not a tad confusing.
It was definitely a sad day when we had to return the PS2. (This is the only game that has ever made me consider purchasing a Playstation 2.) If you are a fan of Mario Kart or Star Wars, especially both, then you'll love this game. If you don't like kart games, you should try it out anyway, rent it from Blockbuster; I promise you'll have fun with it.
Excellent musical score and voice acting
refreshing take on the starwars gaming galaxy.
You can be Boba fett and Darth Vader
Clipping is a little insane on some maps
Not enough maps!
possibly my favourite game of the year so far. Definitley my favourite Starwars console game
Review by James Spafford
© The International House of Mojo 2000