F-Zero GX Review

Developer: Amusement Vision Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: August 25, 2003 Also On: None

F-Zero has been an established Nintendo series since the SNES days, better known as the “Golden Years� for Nintendo fans. F-Zero ushered high-speed, futuristic racing and truly showed the power of the SNES. With the rise of the PS One, Nintendo’s beloved series was overshadowed in the dark days of the N64. Today, a new game to the series has awakened, possibly the best one yet. While F-Zero (SNES) was used to compete with Sega, today Sega’s Amusement Vision is actually developing games for Nintendo in the form of F-Zero GX and Super Monkey Ball. While GX stays close to its roots, it feels like a new game both visually and in game play.

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Of course, F-Zero is a racing game in which you control a hovercraft on various tracks. Altogether, GX has 15 tracks, along with a total of 30 different racers, some of which you must unlock. While playing Grand Prix, you will race against 29 other racers all on-screen and all experienced. Before starting Grand Prix, you will choose a difficulty level; novice, standard, or expert. Next, you will select a cup; Ruby Cup, Sapphire Cup, or Emerald Cup. During Grand Prix, you must complete all 5 races in the best time and rank, the higher you rank, the more points you receive. The racer with the most points at the end wins the cup. Story Mode challenges players through nine different chapters, complete with visually spectacular in-game movies. Clear a chapter in Story Mode and you can purchase another chapter in the F-Zero Shop.

F-Zero GX is one of the most unconventional console racing titles in existence. It is a perfect blend between arcade racing and Gran Turismo-like racing. GX is not for wimps, but rather for people with fast reflexes, good memory, control, and patience. Video game die-hards will find GX as one of the most challenging racing games ever, yes, even harder than Midnight Club 2 (although they have two different racing concepts). While some racers force you to find short cuts to defeat your opponents, GX forces you to use unsurpassable speed and finesse.

Those of you who had the patience to beat Ruby Cup on novice (which, by the way is a relatively simple task), the rest of the game’s difficulty levels and cups will require absolute concentration in order to complete. While Grand Prix is all fine and dandy, never before has a Story Mode been offered in an F-Zero title. In fact, the Story Mode is the deepest part about F-Zero (although admittedly Grand Prix is too). Amusement Vision did an excellent job in crafting the Story Mode. Not only does it keep the gamer immersed in the story itself, but players do not ask themselves, “Why am I racing without a purpose?� AV didn’t stop there, they made sure to add beautiful FMV sequences to the mix in order to link tracks to the challenges themselves. I truly love how AV forces gamers to play both the Grand Prix in order to unlock chapters in the Story Mode. This forces the gamer to get a full sense of what F-Zero is all about and at the same time adds a ton of reply value that might not have been used otherwise.

Controls are near perfect. Press and hold A to accelerate your vehicle, Y to use a nitro boost (a gauge at the top of the screen will decrease the more you use the boost; running over pink zones will refill the gauge), R and L to make sharp turns, and X + left or right to side attack. Although F-Zero GX looks purely like an arcade racer, it has more strategy to it than nearly any racing game that I have ever played. The only way that you can find out what I mean is by playing it.

Let me describe the graphics in a short and sweet manner, gorgeous. AV has done an absolutely amazing job turning an out-dated franchise into the best looking game ever. AV not only made the race cars unique from each other and fitting for the character that drives it, but they also put great detail into each character, including Captain Falcon, in which they all seem to naturally fit inside the game. Some people may dismiss GX by saying that the FMV scenes are the true beauty, but the one problem with that is, it is false. The in-game graphics are the best that I have ever seen before, with the extensive cities, nighttime backdrops with bolts of lightning, corkscrewing race tracks that loop each other in a barren wasteland-type setting of sand and desert creatures. Can you imagine what all of that look like with crisp, detailed textures, along with amazing particle effects? Oh I forgot to mention a second time that all of that takes place with 29 other cars on screen at once with absolutely no lag.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 9.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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