Star Wars Episode I: Racer has been brilliantly remade (kind of) using the stunning Unreal Engine 4. This remake comes from a modder named RobJin, who has released a demo for the project that you can download right here.
There are a few things you need to know about this demo before hitting that download button, though. First off, it’s a little rough around the edges. It’s clear that the game hasn’t been entirely visually refined, and there’s quite a bit of work to do in terms of getting the gameplay just right. There’s also a shortage of available gameplay modes at the moment, as only one level from the original game is available.
That said, this is an impressive early look at what is certainly a welcome endeavor. The original Star Wars Episode I: Racer for the N64 was a breath of fresh air for Star Wars fans everywhere. Considering that it was based on a film that wasn’t exactly beloved, few people expected Racer to be anything more than a cash-in. Instead, it proved to be one of the best (and fastest) racing titles on a console that enjoyed no shortage of great racing games.
Even in this early stage, this project recreates much of what made the original so brilliant. First off, it gets the speed of the original game right, even if it’s a few visual effects away from fully conveying the feel of that speed through gameplay. It’s also easy enough to navigate your way through the demo’s various perils, which is no small feat considering that any game built around the N64’s unique controller tends to be difficult to translate to the modern age.
Honestly, the biggest downside to this demo at the moment is the idea that it might not last very long. While Star Wars fan projects aren’t subjected to the legal scrutiny of Nintendo fan projects, the problem in this instance is that Episode I: Racer is based on an existing game. We’ve seen studios in the past act aggressively towards such remakes seemingly due to the fact that they might one day want to remake those old games themselves. We’ve certainly seen Capcom benefit from that approach.
In any case, it’s nice to have an updated reminder of the glory days of Star Wars games.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.