For those who have never heard of F-Zero, here’s a little explanation:
In F-Zero’s almost 14 year old existance, hardly anything has changed to the concept; You race on a track in futuristic cars at incredible high speed, while trying to evade mud spots, bombs, lava and more. Also try to take as many boosts as possible, jump through the air, and knock your enemies off the track. Does it sound a little complicated to you??
Well, it certainly isn’t. I don’t want to say they’re easy though, certainly nót…
While you could easily win a race and leave your enemies far behind on the easiest level, one level up is already way more difficult. There really is a noticeable difference in the difficulty levels, but we can only like that, isn’t it?
This is the 6th game in this fantastic serie (not every F-Zero has been released in Europe), but it isn’t just a cheap sequel.
When I put the disc in my Gamecube, and the startscreen appeared, I was overwhelmed by great music, very good music. I’m not exactly thé person who knows everything about music, to be honest, I know nothing of it, but this really was some darn fine music. After pressing the start button, a nicely presented menu was served to me. For those who still have to get used to the speed there is the ‘Practice’ mode, but because i already knew what was coming, i chose the ‘Grand prix’ mode. In this mode your goal is to race against 29 others (the clever people will know there’s a total of 30 racers) in a cup for the first place. In the bginning you can choose out of 3 cups, the Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald cup, each one containing 5 circuits on wich you’ll have to ride. To start, I take the Ruby cup on Novice, set my car to ‘Max Speed’ so I’ll go faster (you can also choose for a bit more ‘Acceleration’ to be able to turn sharper) and I’m ready to race!
When the race starts, you immediately see this game is very very nice when it comes to graphics because they are absolutely amazing. I also noticed that not only the intro song was good, but also the music while racing is cool. From the cars to the track to all the little thingies around, it is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. With a lot of effort I stopped looking at all those nice things and I concentrated on the race. Fascinated by the light the cars produce, I race on. The stripes of licht that flash over your screen towards you give a real sense of speed. A few loopings and twists later (my mom almost got dizzy when she saw it :p) I noticed that my enemies always tried to knock me off the track, though you don’t really notice that very much on Novice. and as an insane, wild animal I also started to knock them off the track.
You do have to practice on this part because it can happen that you react too fast or too slow and slip in front or behínd the enemy and fly off the track yourself. After a while this gets very easy though and we can thank the very good controls for that as they are really easy in use; The A-button is to accelerate, B to brake (but believe me, you don’t need this button in the entire game), and the L- and R-buttons to (in combination with the Control Stick) turn sharper. The X-button is for boosting, The Y- and Z-buttons to attack and the D-pad to change the camera viewpoint.
Your car has a sort of ‘life meter’ that falls when you crash into something or when you drive over a lava stream. It is also your energy meter to boost, and if you boost, you’ll lose energy, so actually also ‘life points’. However, you can’t die by boosting all you energy, but if you then bump against something, even very gently, you’ll die.
Once dead, you can start on the same track so you don’t have to do the previous ones all over again, but the number of times you can do this depends on witch difficulty level you’re playing; the higher the level, the less times you can do this. Your opponents try to ram you too, and you’ll lose enegry/life because of that.
There’s no need to worry though as there are so called ‘recovery strokes’; by using them you can replenish your energy-/life meter. Your opponents also have such an energy-/life meter, and if you ram them they have a lot more damage than when they bump into you. There are boosts spread all over the track, so you don’t always have to lose energy because of boosting.
Of course there also is the Time Attack, wherein your only goal is to drive the fastest time, and you don’t need to worry about opponents, because there aren’t any.
A nice new addition in this game is the Story Mode, in this mode you control Captain Falcon, de previous Grand Prix champion. You may wonder how they can include a class story in a racegame, and I have to be honest that the storyline isn’t magnificent but the mission are fun to do and there’s also a lot of variation. One time you have to complete a circuit with a bomb on your cars and if you drive slower than a certain speed, the bomb explodes. Another time you have to race against a fat guy while avoiding falling rocks.
The difficulty level is high, but not impossible.
What’s also very fun to do, is creating your own car; when you completed a cup or a mission you can buy car parts in the F-Zero Shop. You can also buy new missions for the Story Mode here, but you need to have completed the previous one. You can also get many new cars and since in the beginning you can only choose from 4 cars you’ll definitely appreciate that.
Once you’ve bought new car parts (body-, cockpit and booster parts) you can go to your Garage to make your car there and give it a color. You can even create your own logo and stick it on your car.
VS Battle, the multiplayer mode, is very amusing when you’re playing with your friends. You can play in splitscreen with a maximum of four players. The only disadvantage here (if I really have to mention one) is the LAN-function that’s missing. Also, if you play with more than one person, the environments are less detailed, but that’s not too bad because you’ll never ever have frame drops this way.
I can’t spoil it for you, but there are loads of things to unlock, from carparts to whole cars, to FMVs (Full Motion Videos) and even cups.
In short: F-Zero GX is a game that will give you hours of fun but if you’re not the type of guy/girl that likes to pull through when faced with difficulties, I would suggest to think twice before buying.