Review by darthjulian
"On the same high level as its predecessor and by far one of the best racing games on the N64"
History repeats itself - as far as games for the Nintendo 64 go, this saying can be considered to be true when you look at titles like Wave Race, Pilotwings or Super Mario having gotten their glorious revival on Nintendo´s 64-Bit machine after their successful SNES and Game Boy predecessors, and it was perfectly clear right from the beginning of the console´s life cycle that F-Zero would definitely make a return in 3D, too, and just as it was the case with the aforementioned titles, Nintendo did a great job with living up to the high expectations after the impressive original for the Super Nintendo.
Gameplay-wise, "F-Zero X" plays a lot like its predecessor, picking up the same concept of futuristic vehicles driving at incredible speed over all kinds of interesting and unique race tracks, adding some new aspects and far more options to the tried and true formula. This time around, you have to face more than 20 opponents during each race (in general 26 more than in the original "F-Zero"), making the game an even more intense and challenging experience than its predecessor due to the good A.I. of the enemy pilots. The race tracks themselves have also seen a complete makeover, even if some of them resemble their counterparts from the first part. There are now some new treats such as loops, slopes or tunnels, making the tracks more demanding at times and more fascinating to drive on. The amount of different game modes for you to choose from has also been increased since part 1: now you have the familiar Grand Prix race, the Death Race, where you have to destroy your 29 rivals as quick as possible, the Time Attack mode, the Practice mode and of course the awesome multiplayer mode. In Grand Prix mode, you can choose from 3 different cups - the "Jack Cup", the "Queen Cup" and the "King Cup" - with 6 courses to be found in each of them. There are also two unlockable cups, as well as tons of vehicles (30 in general, with 6 being available right from the start), and unlocking each of these secrets and trying to break your own records (for example in Time Attack) will keep you busy for weeks, serving for a great replay value of this title. As for the controls, I can only say that they are nearly perfect, but we are used to that kind of perfection and care by Nintendo, anyway, so it´s not really a surprise, but still a pleasant aspect compared to several wanna-be future-racers that tried to copy the concept of "F-Zero" in vain. What remains for me to be said is that "F-Zero X" is an awesome racing experience that offers enough for you to find, so this game won´t get too boring anytime after you start playing.
Graphically, "F-Zero X" might seem rather underwhelming and not really spectacular at first with its mediocre backgrounds and the so-so vehicle models, not exactly making use of the full power of the Nintendo 64. But you will notice quickly that it made perfect sense for Nintendo to stay away from all too fancy 3D visuals: by keeping the race tracks rather simplistic in terms of visuals, Nintendo was able to maintain the incredible sense of speed in "F-Zero X", with virtually no slowdowns to be found in the entire game whatsoever. Even there are up to 30 vehicles on the same race track, the frame rate always remains constant and high, and considering how fast this title is, that´s really an accomplishment by Nintendo, making me forget completely the unspectacular polygonal graphics, but then again, it´s not really that tragic that there aren´t that many details on the tracks or the vehicles: you wouldn´t care to notice them, anyway, since you have to focus on the speed and the controls instead.
The music in this game does not disappoint, either. In terms of style, it remains largely true to its predecessor, even featuring some remixes of well known tracks like in the first level, and the new tracks have the same futuristic, electronic style approach, being simply perfect for the setting of "F-Zero X" and bringing you in the right mood for an intense racing game such as this one. This time around, there´s also a commentator, even though he does not really have a lot to say, honestly, except for phrases like "You got boost-power!" or "Yeah, the final lap!". He sounds kinda cheesy with his robotic voice, but it´s strangely fitting for this game, and I didn´t mind hearing him every now and then. The sound effects are also very appropriate, so in the end, the game does a good job in the audio department.
"F-Zero X" is just as good as the original game on the SNES has been, using the same successful formula that made it a racing game classic and perfecting it with more race tracks, vehicles/pilots and options. Fans of the original definitely need this title in their collection, and everyone else who have at least a slight interest in futuristic racing games should bother to take a look at this one, even in the days of its successor "F-Zero GX" - it´s still that good.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/18/06
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