Review by noj11jon
"Which Way Was Up Again?"
If there is one game that will make you forget which way is up, F-Zero GX is the game. Nintendo and Sega (never thought that would happen did ya?) have teamed up to make one of the best racers of all time, and possibly the best high-speed racer ever. If you thought F-Zero X was good just wait until you have that with better graphics, more speed, and more speed (yes, I know I said more speed twice). If you are a fan of high-speed racers, F-Zero, or just racing games in general this game will not disappoint you.
When you are going over 1000 kilometers per hour it’s hard to notice everything, but what you can see looks great. This is the biggest improvement of F-Zero X, because you now have scenery, not to mention it looks good. Each course is very unique; you will go from the skies of a city, to a giant casino, to the middle of a desert, and many more places. Each place has a lot of detail, and you can tell a lot of time was spent on designing the courses. There are also thirty ships, each one looks completely different and they all look like they have been through a lot. You can even see the pilot in each ship. And even when you are speeding past another ship and can see every little detail on it, as good as you can see your own ship. The game runs at a solid sixty frames per second, and most importantly (especially for a racer) the frame-rate does not drop, ever. Of course maintaining that frame-rate comes at a cost. The textures are a little bland, and if you get close to something it doesn’t look perfect. But I promise you will never notice, since you hardly ever drop below 900 kilometers per hour, and at that speed everything looks great. The other thing that could have been better is the character models. They have a lot of detail but are a little blocky and don’t have that much texture. Of course the FMV’s are a whole other story. Each one looks great, including the characters, very nicely done. Of course the voices are a little cheesy, but it fits everything well. There is loading, but nothing takes more than four seconds. And if you are lucky enough to have an HDTV or wide-screen TV F-Zero GX supports both of those features. So I really have no complaint with the graphics, as they obviously did everything they could with them.
Fast, that is all I have to say. This is the most likely the fastest racer to date, but I’m getting ahead of myself. When first start you are shown a lot of modes on a rather bland menu (though it fits the theme well). The most basic (and most fun) mode is Grand Prix. In Grand Prix you can pick from four difficulty levels, on twenty-six tracks (divided up into 5 cups), with forty-one drivers and vehicles. The whole point of this mode is to get first place on each cup (which has five or six tracks). Before you start the race you get to fine-tune your vehicle between max-speed and acceleration. So the more max-speed you have the less acceleration you have a vice-versa. It is good, because on some tracks you need a lot of speed, while on others you will be slowing down more and hitting things so you need acceleration. When you actually start the race you are generally in a crowd with twenty-nine other vehicles (that’s right, every race has thirty vehicles at once). You are instantly at 300 kilometers per hours, and will get to about 1000 within four seconds. The average racer’s average speed is about 1000 kilometers per hour, but that can change a great deal. When you use a boost you easily shoot to 1300, and in certain areas I have gone up to 2600. Going on these courses you get the biggest sense of speed ever, everything shoots by you like crazy. F-Zero really emphasizes on racing and using boost to get ahead rather than destroying your opponents, but that doesn’t mean you can’t, in fact you will have to.
This isn’t the average game where you are also equipped with missiles, bombs and all that, no sir. You have to rely on bashing into your opponents at just the right time to knock them out (without killing yourself at the same time). And as easy as that may sound, its not. Now mentioning the word easy, that is the last you will be hearing of it, because this game is hard. Not just a couple tries hard, but bite on your tongue, scream and yell, though your WaveBird across the room hard. Now tell me this, what game can you not completely own on in the easiest mode? Well F-Zero GX is the game. It took me a day and a half to beat three cups on Novice. The thing with F-Zero GX is that the racers all want to win, and you have no advantage over them. You have no boost start, you are not faster, if you have a boost, they have a boost. Not to mention, when you get into the later difficulty levels they not only want to win, but also they will take you out to do it. That’s right, they try to kill you. So that’s why you have to eliminate them before they can. Not to mention you will never get first on every race in Master mode, so killing those who oppose you is your only option. I know I have gone on awhile about the actual playing of the game, and that is because despite the graphics, modes, characters, and everything there is nothing better than just racing down one of those roads.
Now as great as Grand Prix is, there is also a Story Mode. Yes, a racing game with a story mode. As weird as it may sound it is great, because each level offers something new to do, from collecting things on a racetrack to a one-on-one race, and everything teaches you some new skill in the game, and its as hard as the rest of the game. Not to mention you learn a lot about this new world, the F-Zero tournaments, and the racers in them. Another nice feature is that they allow you to make your own vehicle to use in Grand Prix, Practice or Multiplayer. It is really deep and they allow you to do a lot with it, but I won’t get into all of that. There is also the traditional Time Trials, Multi-player (with up to four people), and Practice mode. But of course with all this there are a few flaws, but they are really just little picky things that I think should have been done differently. For starters, in multiplayer you can only have four vehicles racing at the same time, so you can’t have up to thirty players with CPU’s. This is kind of disappointing since a lot of the fun is racing with thirty other people. Another thing is that when designing your custom vehicle you cannot name it, or make a custom driver, but most people won’t worry about that. The last thing is the difficulty I talked about earlier. I am serious when I say this game is really hard. Little kids will never be able to get past Novice, newbie’s and casual gamers will give up after a few cups. But if you are willing to stick it out and master the game, you will love it even more. So those things are nothing to deduct points for, and overall this game is a masterpiece.
How about that, a racing game with a story, and not only a story, but also a story mode. In story mode you assume the role of Captain Falcon, the best F-Zero racer ever. You follow him through his training, to taking on challenges. You also learn a lot about Captain Falcon, the world of F-Zero, and a little about other racers. I won’t give away the story because I don’t want to spoil it, and I don’t know much of it (Story mode is really, hard too). But overall the story is a nice twist to a racing game, especially as something extra.
The control in this game is perfect. Why do I say that, because you can make it however you want! The default settings are good enough for the most of us, with everything easy to reach, but if you don’t like it you can change it. You can do everything from change the acceleration from ‘A’ to ‘B’, to controlling the vehicle with the C-Stick, anything you want. When I first played the game, I complained that the control was to lose, and it was too easy to move. And while that was true for a while, once I got used to it I realized it was for the better. And even if I still didn’t like it… you guessed it, I can change it. All I have to go is make calibrations to the joystick to make vehicle control lose or tight. So I have absolutely no complaints with the controls since as good as they are you can change them all.
There are many mixed opinions on the music in this game, but I love it. I haven’t heard better video game music in a long time (I’m actually listening to the MP3’s of the music now). They say that it doesn’t quite compare to F-Zero X, but it is still great. Most of the music is techno, and all the songs are well done, more than just beeps and such. And the music also goes with everything; you can guess what the level will be like just based on the music. As for the sound it is also great. You hear the engine of the vehicle, to another person swooping past you, and this nice little buzz when you are drifting. Everything fits in perfectly, and I can’t think of how it could be better. But there is an annoying announcer who counts down to the start, says “You got boost power!”, and what place you got. It sounds like a mix of something from Super Monkey Ball and 1080 (hmm, I wonder why…). But overall the sound and music in this game is great, couldn’t have asked for better.
Replay Value- 10/10
Well to start out with, it will take you a long, long time to finish the game, IF you ever finish the game. Like I said it is hard, it will take you a long time to complete everything with one racer, and even longer if you want to do it with multiple people. And with the story mode, custom vehicles, and multiplayer you will find yourself playing for a long time. And something I never mention earlier, starting late September you can take you memory cards (with the F-Zero file on them) to an arcade and like it to the arcade version of F-Zero, F-Zero AX. Doing this you can use the custom racer you designed in GX in the arcade. You can also unlock a whole new cup, and a whole new set of racers from the arcade to take home with you. And what is even better, if you don’t have an arcade near you, you can still unlock it without linking to the arcade version (though it is very, very, difficult). So like I said, this game will last you a long time if you want to master it and do everything it has to offer.
Replay Value- 10/10
Final Score- 10/10
Buy, Rent, Or Not Bother-
Buy, buy, buy. This game is a definite buy on GameCube, and sits up there with Wind Waker, Super Smash Bros, Metroid, and all the rest (personally my third-favorite GameCube game). Now I will admit for the first half an hour of play I was a little disappointed with it, but after I got used to the control and really started to play, it got better and better. You will not be disappointed with this game. Especially if you liked and of the past F-Zero games, this is the perfect sequel. They have really just taken everything that was good about the last games and added more. The only reason I would not recommend buying this is if you don’t like any sort of racing games at all, or absolutely hated F-Zero X. But apart from that it is a definite buy, and really one of the best games of all time.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/28/03, Updated 08/30/03
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