Review by Dorkmaster Flek
"Buckle up for the most intense racing on the planet..."
For those of you who don't know, F-Zero is about racing hovercars on twisting, turning tracks hanging high in the sky above futuristic cities and planets. The cars are fast, the tracks are intense, and there are NO cheap weapons to blow your enemies away with. This is pure, balls out skill folks.
The menus have a cool comic book-look despite being a little bland. The amazing thing is that Nintendo packed 30 cars and 24 tracks into this cart. Each car looks different (Pico you're driving a lamp!) and while most developers struggle to come up with 5 or 6 original tracks, Nintendo manages to squeeze in 24 of them across four circuits. Add to that the secret X Cup, which is a random track generator, and you've got a fantastic package.
Bland? Yes. Plain? Yes. Fast? HELL yes. Low polygon counts, decent textures, and plain backgrounds with little to no environments going by, save a few tall buildings. But 30 cars on screen all behaving differently at a constant 60 FPS? There's NOTHING like firing up the turbo boost and jetting through a pack of 15 cars to take the lead. Effects may be overly simple, but the game moves like a bat out of hell. For best results, sit in front of a fan on full blast.
The announcer is a little muffled, not to mention strange to begin with, and the effects are crud but effective. Not to mention that the streaming soundtrack is mono, but if this isn't the most kicka$$ racing soundtrack EVER, then I'm Aunt Jemima. Rockin' guitar riffs, fast bass and kickin' drum beats round out a hard rock soundtrack so good you'll get an adrenaline rush listening to the music alone! If it wasn't all in mono, I'd be in heaven, but it's as good as the audio-deficient N64 can muster. Crank the stereo and wake the neighbours, kay?
This undoubtedly proves that nobody does sequels like Nintendo. The cars handle just as you'd expect them to. Sliding into corners if you don't bank your car, and skidding if you bank in the opposite direction of the turn, which is good if you don't want to lose any speed. When you go off a jump, you can tilt your nose forward to go faster and land quicker, or pull it back to stay in the air longer, and you lose speed if you don't pull the nose up when you land. The finely tuned physics and incredible gameplay rivals even Waverace 64, and the sense of speed is incredible. Add the unprecidented number of cars and tracks AND the random track generator, and this is one damn fine gameplay experience.
REPLAY VALUE: 9/10
It's hellafun just to go back and race these amazing tracks over and over again, trying to beat the Joker Cup on expert (good luck!) and zooming by your friends in 4-player racing. If only there was a two-player grand prix mode...sigh. The only thing that could have made this perfect is the inclusion of the track editor found in the F-Zero X Expansion Kit on the 64DD. You'll never find one now, and they could have done it on the cart, but they chose to hold it back so they would have some software for the 64DD. But this game would have been perfection if it had that editor.
BUY OR RENT: BUY
I'm not a huge fan of racing games to begin with, but this game blew me away (quite literally!) so much that I had to have it. Anyone can enjoy this game and have the ride of their life. If you see this game in stores, it's your duty as a gamer to pick it up. If you're not sure still, give it a rent and try it out. It may surprise you.
FINAL WORD: 10/10
While technically not perfect, it's just so damn close I have to give it a 10 because GameFAQs won't allow a 9.5
''Ahh...soon the track will be littered with the remains of my enemies...the though itself is ecstacy!'' -Pico
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/03/01, Updated 03/03/01
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