Impressions: Episode 1 Racer Arcade

Sega shows off its upcoming arcade Episode I Racer to Londoners.

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The central feature of Sega's booth at London's ATEI 2000 show was a large television running a tape of Star Wars Racer Arcade. Not to be confused with the LucasArts pod-racing games for the N64, PC, and GBC, this game was developed by the same team that developed the Star Wars Trilogy Arcade game.

Using the same Hikaru board that powers Brave Fire Fighters, the game will feature four tracks (including the infamous Tatooine race from the movie - complete with recognizable landmarks) and all 18 pod racers and pilots from the movie. Gameplay occurs either against the computer or against friends with four linked machines, and racing follows the standard formula of passing through checkpoints within set time limits. The game looks quite impressive, though.

Sega claims that it skimped on graphical quality to provide a smooth and ultrafast experience, and if the video is any judge, then at this stage it would appear that Sega has pulled it off. Although, due in part to the sheer scale of the environments, at times the speed doesn't seem to be exceptional - however when you hit boost, your pod rockets to speeds above 1200 kilometers per hour, and the landscape flies by at tremendous speeds. Sega also promises the arcade cabinet will be a deluxe model, with a large screen and powerful sound system like the ones seen in Ferrari F355 Challenge and 18 Wheeler American Pro Trucker.

The game is scheduled to be officially unveiled at the AOU show at the end of February, and we'll have more information for you then.

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