F-Zero GX Staff Ghost FAQ
by Korgath (kbfaq@hotmail.com)
Version 1.00 24-07-2004

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Introduction
2. Frequently Asked Questions
3. Custom Machine Recommendations
4. Individual Staff Ghost Guide
   4.1 Ruby Cup
   4.2 Sapphire Cup
   4.3 Emerald Cup
   4.4 Diamond Cup
   4.5 AX Cup
5. How to Contact Me
6. Credits & Legal Rubbish


==============================================================================
1. Introduction
==============================================================================

Welcome to my F-Zero GX Staff Ghost FAQ, created by me, Korgath, to help my 
fellow F-Zero GX players beat the staff ghosts once and for all, without 
snaking. That's right, this guide is for people who want to beat the staff 
ghosts more or less fair and square. I'm not going to discuss what snaking is; 
the other FAQs can explain that for you. I would also like you to keep in mind
that this is my first FAQ ever written, so bear with me. Before I start with 
all the details I'd like to clarify one thing: I'm not going to hold your 
hands. I expect you to already be fairly skilled and familiar with F-Zero GX. 
If you are fairly capable against Master Class AI on most tracks you should 
do fine, otherwise I suggest you concentrate on some other stuff before 
bothering with the staff ghosts. 


==============================================================================
2. Frequently Asked Questions
==============================================================================

Q: Why this FAQ?

A: I've decided to create this FAQ, in spite of numerous guides being 
   available on F-Zero GX, because I had been kind of dissapointed on infor-
   mation regarding beating the staff ghosts. Most FAQs tend to say "go ahead
   and snake" or just don't talk about it at all. I don't mean to bash other 
   FAQs, but when I wanted to beat them (without using unfair techniques) I 
   had to figure a lot of stuff out on my own. There are plenty of people 
   who've beaten them by now, but from what I've seen it's definitely not 
   well-known what methods to use when dealing with them. Also, I've always 
   wanted to write a guide, preferably for a somewhat well-known game on a 
   subject that hasn't been covered a million times before. Hopefully this
   FAQ will be useful for a number of people.   

Q: What's a "staff ghost"!?

A: Staff ghosts are transparent vehicles which you can unlock for every track
   that tend to have very fast records. They are always non-custom vehicles 
   and allegedly raced by genuine people (from the staff) and not AI, hence 
   the name. Arguably the hardest challenge of F-Zero GX, they're not for the 
   faint of heart. However, they are far from impossible to beat. As I will 
   show you with this FAQ, if you have the right vehicle and strategy they 
   aren't anything you can't beat with some patience, practice and 
   experience.  

Q: OK, so how do I unlock them?

A: First, you have to unlock it by racing on any track in Time Attack by 
   reaching the staff ghost's record within a 10 second difference. That
   means that if a staff ghost has a record of 3 minutes you'll have to be 
   fast enough to reach 3 minutes and 10 seconds to unlock the staff ghost.
   Naturally you'll also unlock the staff ghost if you manage to beat its
   time right away. If you succeed you'll get a message right after you've
   finished racing and some tickets for your trouble. 

Q: But how can I use the staff ghosts?

A: First you have to go to Customize -> F-Zero Shop -> Items, where you will
   be able to purchase the staff ghost you just unlocked. Then go to Time 
   Attack, select a Cup and then press the Y button. It will then read if 
   your memory card has ghosts on them, but even if it doesn't you still have
   to do this to be able to use the staff ghosts. Then you can select the 
   ghost you want to race against, but don't forget to press the X button to
   actually select it. Then go pick your machine and you're done!    

Q: Do I get some sort of reward for beating them?

A: Aside from some tickets, nothing but an ego boost I'm afraid. I suggest 
   only doing this once you've already unlocked everything else, since you'll
   have to be fairly experienced at the game to beat them, even with this 
   guide. If you've managed to unlock all the character movies and beat all
   Very Hard story chapters you'll probably do fine.  

Q: Anything else I should know before going on?

A: This should be common sense if you've unlocked everything else by now,
   but I'll mention it just in case. When I say that you should boost in this
   guide, I don't mean just once or twice in a while, but all the time with as
   little time in between the subsequent boosts for maximum speed. What's also
   essential is that you know how to quick-turn. Quick-turning means that if 
   you want to go to the left, you should first tap the right shoulder button,
   then go all the way to the left with the stick and the left shoulder 
   button. If done succesfully this should make you turn very sharply with 
   a minimum decrease in speed. Don't forget to do the opposite if you want to 
   go right. Bumping into stuff will usually make you lose lots of speed and 
   generally ruin your attempt at beating a staff ghost, so try to drive as 
   perfectly as possible. Try to hit the sides of a boost pad instead of going
   right over it; if done correctly you'll hear 2 boosts and go a little 
   faster. 


==============================================================================
3. Custom Machine Recommendations
==============================================================================

In order to beat the staff ghosts with your sanity intact you will almost 
always have to use custom machines. However, it can be hard to figure out 
what custom machine is best on which course. Therefore I have decided to
write a little about the custom machines that you're going to use if you 
follow this guide. Note that there may be better custom machines to use than 
the ones I recommend, it's just that I personally found it the easiest using
the ones I'm going to describe. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acro Cannon-G4
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Body:    Sky Horse
Cockpit: Combat Cannon
Booster: Titan-G4

Description: 

You're going to be using this machine a lot, since it's the most 
well-rounded custom machine that I've ever used. Stable, fast and agile,
few staff ghosts can stand up to this vehicle. Very good for basically any 
track that doesn't require near-constant boosting or extreme cornering. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Photon Phantom-G4
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Body:    Optical Wing
Cockpit: Garnet Phantom
Booster: Titan-G4

Description:

This is the machine you'll want to use on tracks that require lots of 
cornering. It's fairly similar to the Acro Cannon-G4, however it's less 
stable but far more agile.  


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cosmic Cannon-G4
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Body:    Giant Planet
Cockpit: Combat Cannon
Booster: Titan-G4

Description:

An extremely stable vehicle with poor cornering, it is to be used on very linear
tracks that require lots of boosting.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Combat Planet-Z
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Body:    Giant Planet
Cockpit: Combat Cannon
Booster: Triple-Z

Description:

Identical to the Cosmic Cannon-G4, but with an engine that is slightly
better at boosting, but worse in other areas.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Frost Lynx-G4
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Body:    Aqua Goose
Cockpit: Super Lynx
Booster: Titan-G4

Description:

I see this vehicle being recommended a lot to people asking for a good 
vehicle to beat Master cups with since it's pretty fast and easy to get the 
parts for, but it really isn't that great for beating staff ghosts IMO. 
The Acro Cannon-G4 is better in almost every way, but there's a reason why 
I'm still mentioning it here. Its Body Part, the Aqua Goose, is very good on
surfaces with lots of roundings, making it perfect for Fire Field - Cylinder
Knot.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hard Banger
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Body:    Megalo Cruiser
Cockpit: Combat Cannon
Booster: Thunderbolt-V2

Description:

An extremely heavy vehicle which only purpose in this guide is to defeat the
staff ghost of Mute City - Sonic Oval. Not good for much else, really.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fat Shark
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is not a custom machine, but I'm going to mention it anyway because it's
still a very useful machine. Fat Shark is pretty heavy and can get a little 
unstable but it has the best booster in the game by far, even when compared to 
custom machines. Therefore it definitely has its uses on some tracks. 


==============================================================================
4. Individual Staff Ghost Guide
==============================================================================

Here I will give you some help on every single staff ghost in order to beat it
as easily as possible. I will mention the staff ghost record, my personal 
record and my personal recommendation on what vehicle to use. Ofcourse, I 
cannot guarantee that this is the absolute best way of beating a staff ghost,
but I can guarantee that this is the way I did it.

IMPORTANT: You should ALWAYS set your machine settings to 100% MAX SPEED 
unless SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED OTHERWISE. 

==============================================================================
4.1 Ruby Cup
==============================================================================

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mute City - Twist Road
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Death Anchor
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    00'59"964
Personal Time:       00'59"772

Strategy:

The first track of F-Zero GX also happens to have the hardest staff ghost to
beat. If you can beat this you'll probably have done the hardest part of 
F-Zero GX, and if you can't for now, just try it again sometime later. I've
tried lots of vehicles and strategies, but the only one that worked for me was
the Acro Cannon-G4. There's far more to this track than just hitting boost all
the time. Try to mimic the staff ghost as best as you can, since your vehicle
is capable of the same things as the Death Anchor, but is a little faster. 
It's going to be a very close match either way; take the corners as perfectly
as you possibly can and do everything you can to beat him, no matter how
insignificant it may seem. If you stay ahead of him in the first lap you're 
doing okay. In the second and third lap there is a possibility that the staff 
ghost will go a little faster than you, but if you drive well enough you will 
generally stay ahead. All I can say now is don't give up, if you can do this
the rest will probably be a lot easier.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Casino Palace - Split Oval
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Black Bull
Recommended Machine: Fat Shark
Staff Ghost Time:    00'56"691 
Personal Time:       00'56"409

Strategy:

Welcome to the Battle of the Boost! You'll be going very fast on this track,
and there's no machine better for that than Fat Shark. Unfortunately, he's 
kind of unstable, especially when you're almost going 2000 km/h, so you have
to steer carefully. You should almost always be in front of Black Bull, since
it'll probably be impossible to catch up with him if he's in front of you.
Try to follow a linear line as much as possible without losing speed and be
careful of the curve before the finish or you'll fly off. Naturally, take the
right path on the 1st lap and the left path on the 2nd and the 3rd lap.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sand Ocean - Surface Slide
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Big Fang
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    01'56"743 
Personal Time:       01'54"926

Strategy:

This track is pretty straight forward since the Acro Cannon-G4 is better in 
every respect anyway. Just don't bump into things, use all your boosts and
win. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lightning - Loop Cross
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Wild Boar
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    01'59"907
Personal Time:       01'55"275

Strategy: 

Very easy and straight forward. So much so that there's nothing I need to say. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aeropolis - Multiplex
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Fire Stingray
Recommended Machine: Photon Phantom-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'15"297
Personal Time:       02'14"097

Strategy:

As long as you don't underestimate Fire Stingray you'll do fine. He starts
out slowly but becomes fairly competitive throughout the race. Don't forget
to hit some mines in the 1st lap for some extra speed. 


==============================================================================
4.2 Sapphire Cup
==============================================================================

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Big Blue - Drift Highway
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Night Thunder    
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    01'07"331
Personal Time:       01'05"217

Strategy:

Didn't expect Night Thunder to be a staff ghost, huh? Well, I don't know how
they managed to control him the way they do, but he ends up being somewhat
competitive. He'll be in front of you for the duration of the 1st lap since
he starts way faster than you do, but you'll easily surpass him in the 2nd and
3rd lap, provided you drive well. Make sure that you heal up sufficiently at 
the end of the 2nd lap.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Port Town - Aero Dive
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Black Bull
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'25"689
Personal Time:       02'22"872

Strategy:

Pretty easy. The downhill part at the end of the lap is a good place to start
boosting. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Green Plant - Mobius Ring
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Death Anchor
Recommended Machine: Cosmic Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    01'35"169 
Personal Time:       01'33"406

Strategy:

Thankfully not nearly as hard as Twist Road, Death Anchor isn't that great on
this particular track. Hit some mines in the 1st lap for extra speed, and
stop boosting before the healing strips or else it'll be very hard to control
your machine. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Port Town - Long Pipe
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Wild Boar
Recommended Machine: Fat Shark
Staff Ghost Time:    02'26"802
Personal Time:       02'26"321

Strategy:

One of the harder staff ghosts, IMO. Try to hit every boost in the 1st lap,
including the ones at the part with the moving pillars, and if you do it right
you should be ahead of Wild Boar for the entirety of the 1st lap. It might 
take some practice getting all the boost pads with Fat Shark, so take your 
time. I recommend not boosting until the part with the moving pillars. Stop
boosting once you get to the wobbly part and, if you have some energy left,
boost again right before the healing strip (but stop boosting once you are
in the 3rd lap and then repeat your lap 2 strategy).


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mute City - Serial Gaps
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Night Thunder
Recommended Machine: Photon Phantom-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    01'26"549
Personal Time:       01'25"533

Strategy:

Be thankful that the staff ghost isn't godly on this hellish track. You'll
probably have more problems being fast and not bumping/falling than worrying
about Night Thunder, though he's no slouch on this track. I tried mapping out
some sort of a boost strategy but I really can't think of a sure-win strategy
on this track. Night Thunder is going to be ahead of you in the 1st lap,
unless you get favorable results from the mines. Don't forget to cut off as
much ground as you can from the jump pads without flying off the course. 
Boost wherever you think it will be most useful, since it's hard to keep your
energy levels predictable (at least, that's been my personal experience).
Basically, you need to drive without screwing up too badly, which can be 
pretty hard on this track, and you'll probably win.


==============================================================================
4.3 Emerald Cup
==============================================================================

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fire Field - Cylinder Knot
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Black Bull
Recommended Machine: Frost Lynx-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'40"909
Personal Time:       02'39"864

Strategy:

This staff ghost is pretty hard to beat. The Frost Lynx-G4 isn't as good at
boosting as Black Bull, but it's probably best to use it anyway since it 
handles wobbly ground very well. He will probably be ahead of you for the 
duration of the 1st lap. Try to mimic the staff ghost as best as you can while 
not missing any boost pads. Try to find a spot where you can boost a lot 
without losing too much speed, like the end and the beginning of this track. 
You'll probably find it pretty tough to beat anyway, so good luck.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Green Plant - Intersection
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Mighty Hurricane
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost time:    02'24"897
Personal Time:       02'21"053

Strategy:

Easy. Once you start boosting he'll be no nowhere.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Casino Palace - Double Branches
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Fire Stingray  
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'59"117
Personal Time:       02'56"939

Strategy:

This won't be very hard, as long as you don't screw up too much. Make sure 
that you don't go too fast; at some parts of this track it's very easy to fly
off. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lightning - Half Pipe
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Sonic Phantom
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'50"296
Personal Time:       02'46"087

Strategy:

Another easy one. Make good use of your superior machine and win.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Big Blue - Ordeal
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Fire Stingray
Recommended Machine: Photon Phantom-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'50"808
Personal Time:       02'49"303

Strategy:

Even though my personal record isn't that much better than the staff ghost one
it's still not very hard. Even if he ends up being in front of you it's still
fairly easy to catch up with him, since he slows down a lot at the sharp 
corners in the tunnel. Use your boosts effectively and you should be able to
win.


==============================================================================
4.4 Diamond Cup
==============================================================================

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cosmo Terminal - Trident
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Black Bull
Recommended Machine: Combat Planet-Z
Staff Ghost Time:    02'58"650
Personal Time:       02'56"354

Strategy:

This track is pretty easy with Combat Planet-Z. Black Bull will probably be
in front of you for the duration of the 1st lap, but try to follow his path.
Once you're in the 2nd lap just boost, boost, boost and you should gain in
on him. It doesn't really matter which path you take once you start boosting,
but try to maximize your speed when you're falling by pointing your machine
downwards and flattening it right before you land.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sand Ocean - Lateral Shift
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Hyper Speeder
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'09"849
Personal Time:       02'09"496

Strategy:

This is an interesting challenge. You see, the staff ghost uses a technique
called Shift Boosting. Basically, you can gain a speed increase from leaving
the surface temporarily, like cutting the corners on this lap whilst 
temporarily being off the track. Normally, you'd have to spend quite some 
time mastering this technique, but luckily he can still be beaten without 
having to use this technique. He will have quite a lead on you at the start
of the 2nd lap, but that's ok, since you're going to boost like crazy. If 
done succesfully, you'll catch up on him somewhere in the 3rd lap.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fire Field - Undulation
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Twin Noritta
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'06"916
Personal Time:       02'03"826

Strategy:

Pretty easy.. It's probably best to jump off the sides at the drop-off rather 
than going over it normally.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aeropolis - Dragon Slope
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Death Anchor
Recommended Machine: Cosmic Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'59"076
Personal Time:       02'53"872

Strategy:

Very easy if you properly utilize the drops in the 2nd and 3rd lap. Remember
to point your machine downwards and to flatten it right before you land for
maximum speed when falling. I prefer to boost once I land for even more speed.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Phantom Road - Slim-line Slits
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Queen Meteor
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'03"268
Personal Time:       02'00"710

Strategy:

Hard track, easy ghost. Try to drive safely and only boost at the end and 
beginning part of the lap where it's relatively wide. Don't worry too much if 
you bump a little here and there; Queen Meteor's so easy that you can afford 
that. 


==============================================================================
4.5 AX Cup
==============================================================================

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aeropolis - Screw Drive
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Rolling Turtle
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    01'06"690
Personal Time:       01'06"340

Strategy:

Drive well and try to hit the healing strips sufficiently. Should be doable.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outer Space - Meteor Stream
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Wild Goose
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    01'38"178
Personal Time:       01'36"932

Strategy:

For some reason Wild Goose gains lots of speed when he starts skating around.
You'll know what I mean once you race him... anyway, it might take some 
practice, but try to hit all the boost pads. At the end of the 1st lap you 
should take the right path, then take the left path, then the right path again
in the 3rd lap. It's not that hard with some practice. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Port Town - Cylinder Wave
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Fat Shark
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    02'06"837
Personal Time:       02'04"133

Strategy:

Easy, just boost whenever you can. 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lightning - Thunder Road
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Fire Stingray
Recommended Machine: Acro Cannon-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    03'18"272
Personal Time:       03'15"265

Strategy:

My personal favorite track of F-Zero GX is also pretty straight forward to 
beat. It's not always that easy to not screw up when you go really fast on 
this track but with some practice this should be fairly doable.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Green Plant - Spiral
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Rainbow Phoenix
Recommended Machine: Photon Phantom-G4
Staff Ghost Time:    03'50"740
Personal Time:       03'46"463

Strategy:

Similar in difficulty as Thunder Road, Spiral is another one of those tracks
that just require some good practice. It's a fairly long track so it might be
hard to keep yourself from screwing up, but if you drive good enough you 
should be able to keep a +/- 4 second lead that you get from the 1st lap.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mute City - Sonic Oval
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Staff Ghost:         Fat Shark
Recommended Machine: Hard Banger
Staff Ghost Time:    00'46"893
Personal Time:       00'46"659

Strategy:

Impossible without the right set-up, make sure to set your engine at 30%.
Also, you MUST quick-turn on this track or you'll never win (see FAQ if you
don't know how). Watch the staff ghost carefully and try to mimic him as best 
as you can. If done correctly you'll probably catch up with him in the 3rd 
lap. It takes some practice to do this correctly, so don't give up. 
 

==============================================================================
5. How to Contact Me
==============================================================================

You can contact me at kbfaq@hotmail.com for pointing out general mistakes in
my guide or to give your own suggestions on how to beat a particular staff 
ghost (and I will, ofcourse, give credit where it's due). Please read this 
guide carefully before e-mailing me, especially if it's a question. If it's 
already answered in this guide or it has nothing to do with staff ghosts I 
will most probably delete it.



==============================================================================
6. Credits & Legal Rubbish
==============================================================================

Thanks go to: 

- Nintendo and Sega for making this awesome game. 

- MFO's F-Zero GX section for giving me some ideas on what custom machines 
  would be effective. 

- GameFAQs for hosting my guide.


All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their 
respective trademark and copyright holders.

This FAQ is copyright 2004 to Dennis Gieze. Redistribution of this file is
allowed as long as no money AT ALL is made off of it and the contents of 
this guide have not been altered in ANY WAY.

The newest version will always be available at www.gamefaqs.com