Welcome to Box Art Brawl, the series where regional box art variants battle against one another to find out which has the highest midi-chlorian count.

Last week Kirby returned to Dream Land for an Adventure on Wii and it was decided that the angry North American cover was best, with Japan coming in second and the very slightly different European version bringing up the rear.

This week, to coincide with the release of Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker in cinemas, we're going back to Episode I with one of the finest Star Wars games ever made, Star Wars Episode I: Racer for the Nintendo 64. It already made the podium in our round up of every Star Wars game released on Nintendo consoles, but does it have the strength to venture into the cave and confront itself and the Dark Side of the Force?

Let's relive the highlights of the Boonta Eve Classic and take a look at the starting lineup...



What we love about this cover is just how understated it is. The classic Drew Struzan Star Wars ensemble posters are wonderful (although let's not talk about how the covers for each new round of home format releases manage to look more and more like an amateurish photo collage), but this cover takes a totally different route and goes for something else entirely. It works because it's so different from the normal Star Wars game box art.

Other than the title, Watto is probably the most noticeable figure, faded into the black background behind the logo, but positioned prominently. On the left is the face and helmet of little Anakin Skywalker, with his main rival Sebulba on the right, partially obscured by accessory symbols. Along the bottom are a trio of podracers speeding from left to right.

We admire when box art subverts our expectations, and we expected more bombast here.

North America


The North American variant uses the same basic elements, but slaps a big red strip down the right side of the cover, separating out the accessory symbols. You also get a photo of the Expansion Pak rather than an icon.

The title logo size has been increased and little Ani and Sebulba have been cropped leaving just Watto - or perhaps his Force ghost? - in the middle. The pods are still present and are a bit more prominent at the bottom.

Obviously, it's very similar, but there's a number of subtle differences. That intrusive red strip puts a splash of colour on the cover, although we're not convinced it was needed.



The Japanese version goes for the opposite, more traditional approach. You've got Anakin up top flanked by flags and a dynamic, explosive bit of pod action below. It's a rainbow-coloured cover and sure is eye-catching, although we probably prefer the subtlety of the others. There's nothing to ‘discover’ here - it's just a pods-out, in-your-face, brains-at-the-door STAR WARS VIDEO GAME cover.

Which is fine! We don't dislike it, but it's certainly less interesting than the alternatives. But what we think matters not a jot.

Which of these three pilots sets your pulse a-racing, then? Click the one that fires up your engines and hit the 'Vote' button below to get your pick promptly off the starting line and, hopefully, onto the podium:

Which region got the best Star Wars Episode I: Racer box art?

That's all from the Boonta Eve Classic - we're off to clean up Quadinaros' wreck. We'll catch you next time for another round of Box Art Brawl.