Hey everybody, do you like Mario Kart? Do you like Star Wars? What if I told you there was a Star Wars racing game in the style of Mario Kart? Today, we’re talking about Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing.
Let’s take a trip back to 2001. Oh cool, they already did F-Zero mixed with Star Wars to make Episode One Racer. Now they’re doing Mario Kart with Star Wars. I’m on board. Let’s see what they do.
Super Bombad Racing uses the Episode One cast – so that means Jake Lloyd Anakin Skywalker, Queen Amidala instead of Padme, Darth Maul, and Sebulba. Oh, and Jar Jar Binks is playable.
It also adopts a cutesy art style, where the player characters have oversized heads. This isn’t the worst art choice in the world – I like chibi-fied versions of my favorite characters.
But the game looks awful. It’s a PlayStation 2 game, but the graphics are muddy and fuzzy and not very complex. The polygons and textures look like they belong in a Nintendo 64 or PlayStation 1 game.
I’ll cut to the chase. Super Bombad Racing is not a good game. It’s not mediocre. It’s not well-made. It’s dull.
I told my friend Sam that I was about to cover this game, and he told me, “You know how when games have ice levels and the controls feel really loose and slippery? That’s the whole game.” And he’s not wrong. The controls don’t feel very responsive and the characters float all over the place. There’s something happening with the physics where sometimes the kart just keeps bouncing and it’s really hard to control.
I generally try to be very positive on these games. This one tried my patience. Usually, I can get through a mediocre or half-baked game if I enjoy the license, but we’re dealing in Episode One territory. So there’s not much for me to grab onto.
As Super Bombad Racing is a kart racer, it of course has power-ups. Super Bombad Racing has one unique power-up – a tether that brings the opponent and player character together. It acts as a speed boost for the shooter and a projectile hit for the victim by slowing them down. I’d prefer if it was a Force power that brought the cars closer together, but that might be tough to visualize because the Force is invisible.
Otherwise, the power-ups are all Mario Kart mainstays, just with a different gloss of paint. Instead of a banana peel, it’s a jello blob. Instead of mushrooms to provide boosts, it’s a rocket engine, Instead of shells as projectiles, it has these star beams, which strangely aren’t laser beams like those found in the movies.
There is pattern here. None of these powerups have anything to do with Star Wars. They’re just generic powerups.
There is a secret code that turns every weapon into the Death Star. A little Death Star appears in front of the car, charges up its laser, shoots, and the car spins out like it was hit in with a red shell in Mario Kart. More of this, please. It uses the Star Wars license and it’s funny and it’s unique. Why is the one weapon that only a Star Wars kart racer can do buried behind a cheat code?
There are only 9 race courses. And one may think, “That’s way too little.” Here’s the deal. Super Bombad Racing is awful. It’s hard to want to play this for the hour it’d take to play the 9 courses.
There is a battle mode. It’s…fine. After the 4-player mayhem of Mario Kart 64, it can’t help but pale in comparison, especially since the PS2 only supports 2 players.
But Mario Kart 64 was like catching lightning in a bottle. Few games have battle modes as good as that game. The GameCube, Wii, and Wii U Mario Kart games all have weak battle modes compared to Mario Kart 64. Diddy Kong Racing, my personal favorite kart racer, has a battle mode, but even it’s not good as Mario Kart 64.
Super Bombad Racing does at least let the a single player play the battle mode, which is nice. Mario Kart 64 didn’t let that happen.
If I had rented this game, I would have played it for an hour, and then gone back to playing Mario Kart 64.
You’d think a Star Wars kart racer is a no brainer. The series has a bunch of cool vehicles and recognizable characters. Have a level where everybody’s car is replaced by TaunTauns. Or speeder bikes! Maybe a race through an asteroid field. Or through the Death Star trench. This isn’t hard. Graft even a competent race game onto the license and it’s a good game.
But no, Super Bombad Racing is a weak racer that barely uses its license to its advantage.
Oh, and if you lose a race with Yoda, he says, “Try again.” No Yoda, I do or do not. There is no try. And in this case, I do not. We’re done.