You are familiar with the hype and whether it was generated by the media, George Lucas, or the fans themselves, it's helped to sell everything and anything Star Wars. Whether a product was any good was irrelevant, if it was graced with Star Wars, it was a must-have for any "true" fan. So as soon as Nintendo announced that they had a limited exclusivity deal with LucasArts, many in the media saw it as a coup for Nintendo. Others, however, doubted the game's significance because although it carried with it a big-license name, Pod Racer (as it was then called) was still merely a racing game.
Perhaps the best aspect of Racer is that it positively draws from the movie, including a temporary boost and repair feature that Anakin Skywalker clearly utilizes in the movie. These two features add an extra dimension because a level of on-the-fly resource management, not often seen in racing games, is introduced.
Midtown Madness is a good racing game and this comes as a surprise because arcade-racing titles like this don't usually translate well on the PC. In "Cruise" mode, I got to drive anywhere and everywhere in the city of Chicago. Driving through heavy traffic is unlike anything else and the AI (though weak) offers a convincing city-traffic model.
The main sell of Midtown Madness is that it allows you to race through an incredibly accurate recreation of Chicago (complete with landmarks, pedestrians, and rush-hour traffic). Old-school PC gamers (really old!) who remember Spectrum Holobyte's Vette! (circa 1990, the game allowed a spirited drive through the streets of San Francisco), know that Midtown Madness isn't the first of its kind, but compared to many of today's driving games, it's a breath of fresh air.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Mild Animated Violence