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F-Zero: GP Legend Review

Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: September 20, 2004 Also On: None

During the SNES’ lifetime, Nintendo decided to release a superb racing game that is now called F-Zero. Nintendo decided to make a sequel to that game for the N64 called F-Zero X. When the GBA was first released, Nintendo decided to create a remake of the original F-Zero, just without Captain Falcon and friends. A couple years later, Nintendo decided to make another F-Zero sequel called F-Zero GX. Now that we have our hands on F-Zero GP, we can conclude one simple fact. All were great games, but F-Zero GP Legend is the most unique out of the series. Unlike all the other games that are based on the original F-Zero game for the SNES, F-Zero GP is based on the Japanese anime called F-Zero: Legend of the Falcon.

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If you liked F-Zero Maximum Velocity for the GBA, then you’re in luck. GP plays like the original, but only better. If you had ever played an F-Zero game, you know how to control a vehicle in GP. A is to accelerate, B is to brake, L is to make a sharp left turn, and R is to make a sharp right turn. Pressing L and R together gives you a boost (every time you use a boost, part of your health is depleted), while double tapping either L or R will allow you to perform your spin attack (to attack a nearby racer).

Like F-Zero GX, each racer has a health bar. Every time the racer gets hurt (i.e. getting hurt by someone’s spin attack), they lose health. If your entire bar is depleted, you automatically die and lose the race. Like in previous F-Zero games, each vehicle is unique. The three main features of a vehicle are their body (how much damage they can take without dying), boost (how many times they can perform their boost without dying), and grip (their control). There is no ‘perfect’? racer, because each racer is equally matched. There are 34 racers you can play as, so the player doesn’t have to resort to a racer he/she doesn’t like.

Another interesting feature (which is also seen in F-Zero GX) is the ability to change your acceleration rate. If you increase your acceleration rate, your top speed is decreased. A novice at the series and crash a lot? Increase your acceleration rate so you don’t get that far behind when you crash. Are you a veteran at the series and never crash? Decrease your acceleration rate, and eventually you’ll be the fastest racer on the track.

GP has 3 real modes of play. They are the story mode, the grand prix mode, and the link vs. mode. F-Zero GP is the first game of the series to have a story mode. The story isn’t actually good, but it’s rather nice to see something that connects this game together. There are 8 characters you can control in the story mode. By beating each character’s story, you unlock another character’s story. Each character has about 5 missions (not including some characters’ extra missions). Each mission ranges in difficulty, from easy to extremely hard.

The grand prix mode is where you compete with computer-controlled opponents and have to get the best score in a number of tracks. There is also an expert grand prix mode to please those veterans of the series. Like the story mode, each track ranges in difficulty. Some can get very tough.

The link verse mode is by far my favorite mode. Get together with some friends and have a fun time. Because your friends need their own copy to play with you, the link verse mode doesn’t increase this review’s replay value score.

F-Zero GP’s graphics are top notch. The tracks are detailed and because of that are easy to drive through. This game really does take advantage of the GBA’s hardware. As far as sound goes, I think it’s pretty good. It gives you the feeling that you’re playing F-Zero on the SNES. The sound usually gets pushed into the background because the game is unforgiving of a couple of seconds of carelessness.

Unlocking all the characters in this game can be called an addiction. By beating the story mode for a character or winning a grand prix mode might result into unlocking another character. Considering that a lot of these levels are hard and take a ton of practice to beat, it can take a long time to accomplish everything in this game.

This game was fun, probably the best racing game for the GBA this year. This is one great turn for the F-Zero series. If you’re a newcomer to racing games, try to find another game. Why? Because it can be extremely hard. I suggest you get a game like Mario Kart Super Circuit. If you’re a newcomer to the series (if you were introduced to the F-Zero series by F-Zero GX), I suggest you get F-Zero Maximum Velocity. Why? Because if you play this game before MV, you’ll be ruining a perfectly good gaming experience. If you did play a good amount of MV before, but don’t have friends to play it with, I suggest you find another game to play. Why? Because you won’t get the full experience out of GP (and if you didn’t play anyone you know in MV, I suggest you do that first). If you aren’t really new to the series and have friends to play it with, expect one heck of a speedfest.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.2
Written by Simon Review Guide