Review by smashbrother641

"*Jaw hits floor*"

I'm going to open my review with one simple interjection that does more justice to F-Zero GX than anything else one could possibly write.

WOW.

Nintendo and Amusement Vision have created what is quite possibly the most intense racing game I have ever played. Not just because of the stunningly beautiful visuals, but also the track design, tight controls, and positively insane levels of speed.

Before you start playing this game, just remember this important warning... cram it deep into your mind case and let it soak in for a while. Blinking, although it is a natural reflex, can sometimes be hindered by such intense gaming experiences. Try pausing the game once in a while to take a ''blinking break'' so your eyes don't fall out.

Graphics

If you've seen videos or played demos, you probably don't need much more convincing in regards to the visuals, so I won't waste too much time here.

Saying that the visuals are great would be an extreme understatement. Don't be fooled by still screenshots. Things might not appear very detailed when you get a chance to look at them, but that is an extremely rare occurence in the actual game. This stuff blazes past you, and you don't usually get much more than a split-second glance. While moving at those speeds, these textures, car models, and background pieces become some of the most pleasing eye-candy available on the Gamecube.

Often times the prettiness can get in the way of your driving. As you slam on the booster through the ''Lightning: Half Pipe'' course, for example, watching the scenery can cause your eyes to roll into the back of your head. Often times you won't notice until you hear the announcer yell ''OFF TRACK,'' and even then you'll be half hypnotized trying to wipe the drool off your face. It's happened to me more times than I'd like to recall.

Control

This is one thing about the F-Zero series that no other futuristic racer has touched, and GX makes sure to live up to the name. It is even better than its predecessor on the N64- Tighter, more comfortable, and and more strategic.

It is, however, in essence the same setup that F-Zero X had, just with some major improvements. You still have the boosting mechanic, the slide turns using the shoulder buttons, and other such things.

The side and spin attacks are back, too, but they are executed in a different manner. Pressing the Z button once in combo with a direction on the control stick will perform the spin attack, and the side attacks are done the same way, except using the X button instead. Veterans of F-Zero X might find this difficult to adjust to at first, but once they get it down, it becomes obvious that this method is much simpler, and therefore superior.

One new (and VERY useful) mechanic is the Drift turn. Pressing both shoulder buttons together will cause your craft to loose much of it's grip so you can purposely slide around sharp corners. This will allow you to get safely around those tricky right-angle turns without losing much speed... and NOTHING is more satisfying than that, believe me.

Story

Yes, unlike most racing games (and all other F-Zero games), GX has a story mode... and it is surprisingly well done. I haven't finished all of the missions yet (some are VERY tough), but I think I've seen enough of the cutscenes to understand the style and quality of the storyline.

I'll say that what I've seen so far is a bit cheesy, but cool nonetheless. The reason I enjoy the story mode isn't because of the cutscenes and such, though... but mostly because of the missions themselves. They are a unique addition that give you more to do than simply race in Grand Prix mode and such. Anyone who bored themselves to death with Grand Prix-like modes in previous titles will enjoy this refreshing alternative.

Overall

In case you're wondering why I took off a point, it's just a few minor gripes that I've run into so far.

There is no track editor... After reading about just such a feature in the F-Zero X expansion (which those of us outside of Japan were not blessed with the privilege to own), I kind of expected it in this one.

There also certain issues with the custom car builder. You don't have much control over the parts and stats. Each car consists of only 3 parts (Body, Cockpit, Booster). The stats (Body, Boost, Grip) are controlled by the parts you choose. So if you finally find a part combination that you like, there is a chance that it's stats will suck so bad that you'll never want to use he car anyway. And if you build a car with great stats, it could be hideous. These kind of things you have NO control over, so the entire thing just seems very limiting. But, it is better than nothing, so I won't complain about it anymore.

Overall, though, F-Zero GX is a great, great game. Worth every penny. Do yourself a big 'ol favor and pick it up as soon as possible.

If you're still unsure though, give it a rental first. But don't be fooled by the initially bland track designs. The game starts out slow because you need to adjust before you tackle the truly scary courses. If you can finish first out of 30 on Novice mode in Aeropolis: Multiplex, the last track in the Emerald Cup, and you still don't enjoy this game, then unfortunately I guess it just isn't your cup of tea.

I'm not going to lie and try to tell you that you will like this game no matter what. We all know that no game can please absolutely everybody.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/28/03


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