Review by Eratticus
"An insanely fast racer you have to play"
I had never been an F-Zero fan. The original was fun but lacked multiplayer and much incentive to play. And F-Zero GX was obscenely difficult. So I was a bit skeptical about purchasing F-Zero X on the Virtual Console, now I'm glad I did and regret passing up this must own Nintendo 64 title. It's got a great balance of realism and fun. So don't expect Mario Kart, but not Forza either.
Being a racing game, that is obviously the gameplay to expect. F-Zero is different from other racers in that one, you have no wheels, the racers float off the ground. Number two, F-Zero racers are insanely fast. Fast enough to break the sound barrier. The high speed and levitation of the racers makes for fun loops, corkscrews, jumps, and terrain that other race games can't have. And the last thing, is energy. Each F-Zero racer has an energy bar that depletes differently depending on the body of the racer you have. The energy meter determines how much damage or how many boosts your racer can take before it blows to pieces. But don't worry, simply fly over an energy strip to refill your meter. This adds more strategy to the races as you now have to decide when you want to use your precious boosts. The learning curve of F-Zero is low on novice mode, you can win the grand prixes on your first try. Then on standard the races get a little more brutal and racers start falling off courses and blowing up on the track. Then by expert you need to practice the races if you want to win. Each grand prix has 6 courses. There's also another grand prix called the 'X' Cup that has randomly generated courses. If you include the course in death race mode, a mode where you must take out 29 of your fellow F-Zero racers as quickly as possible, then you have 25+ courses to race on. There are also 30 racers in the game, 24 of which must be unlocked before they can be used. Grand Prix mode should keep you entertained for a while.
You can play F-Zero X with the Gamecube or classic controller on the Wii. The controls are smooth and are probably better than even the Nintendo 64 version's with it's C buttons and clunky controller. I don't have a classic controller so my score is based entirely on the Cube's controls. The only problem with them is tilting the racer and spinning. You have to push the shoulder buttons all the way in to perform either and this comes off as awkward to me.
Sound & Music 9/10
The music in F-Zero is superb. Tracks like Silence, Mute City, and Big Blue can get stuck in your head. While others aren't as catchy, they're definitely great. Most of the music is rock and sounds like a real band, which is great for an N64 game. The sound effects are what you'd expect from a racer. Engines, boosts, crashes, and the like. There isn't a ton of voice acting, but there is a robot that serves as an announcer and commentator during races. Thankfully he never talks too much to be annoying.
The graphics are decent by N64 standards, but could have definitely been better. The tracks, while fun, lack a lot of detail. As do the F-Zero racers. But the game makes up for the low polygon counts and sprites in the backgrounds with a pure sense of speed and a high frame rate. All in all, the graphics get the job done, but could have been improved on.
Replay Value 7/10
The game has limitless replay value if you count multi player and time trials. But once you beat all of the grand prixes on all difficulties, unlocking everything, you might find little incentive to continue playing. But if beating staff ghosts and your best times in time trial is your thing, F-Zero X can provide limitless fun. And multiplayer is always fun with other people.
F-Zero X is a fun game and has lived up to everything I've heard about it. 10 dollars for a downloadable N64 game is a little steep but it's made up for with hours of racing. So unless you don't already have F-Zero X or you don't like racers, buy it. And this review would not be complete without Captain Falcon's epic cry (which sadly isn't in the game) FALCONE, PAUNCH!!!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/09/07
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