Review by John The Ax

"This game went through development as fast as the gameplay."

Okay, maybe it didn\'t. Maybe it took a long time in development. At first glance at the first menu, it appears to have been a rush job. The lack of options brings this game to a halt, and the speed puns will not stop during this review, guaranteed!

Okay, so, if you don\'t know what F-Zero is, well, welcome back to planet Earth. There\'s no rock big enough to hide under to keep you ignorant of F-Zero, but for the whole one of you who\'s clueless (yes, I know who you are!), I\'ll explain. Imagine NASCAR. Without the wheels. With roller-coaster-like tracks. Where anything goes. Where the cars especially go, around 900 kph (yes, not mph, darn.). In fact, just ignore the whole NASCAR thing. It\'s racing. Hardcore racing. This can be good or bad, but this game is pure skill, and it has a comic-book style theme, so it can\'t be THAT bad, right?

Sound: 6/10. Ugh, if you don\'t think the announcer has problems, you must have problems. Everything sounds the same, and there\'s nothing special about anything. Usually, in racing games, sound gets in the way of your concentration, but it wasn\'t used to help you or hurt you in this game. The cars all sound the same: meh. Arcadey (is that a word? *John the Ax checks dictionary* Hmm. *Grabs pencil* Well, waddya know? It is... Now.) effects that sound like they\'re out of Galaga (which is 10 times 1337\'er than this game, but that\'s another story.) on a late 90\'s system don\'t help much.Basically average, and nothing stands out.

Music: 7/10. The music in this game rocks, literally. It\'s fairly good, and at first you\'ll be rockin\' out to all the tunes, which is where the problem comes in. They\'re often repeated. The music\'s awesome, and the composer had some mad skills, but if only he had written more than 5 tracks...A few of the tracks are fairly memorable, but you\'ll wax tired of the rock/techno/trance stuff quickly.

Levels: 7/10. Most levels are unique, at least a bit, until the Jack cup (not jock cup, stupid!). That\'s the point when you realize that most are the same stupid design over and over, with one or two little gimmicks that make them stand out. One has *I need an Ooooo! here, people* wavy roads! Another\'s skinny! COOL!!! And another folds on itself and looks exactly the same on top as it does on the bottom! WOW!! What ingenuity! If you couldn\'t feel the sarcasm oozing out of the last sentence or two, I truly feel for your abilities in the real world. What annoys the hell out of me is that some of them are truly great, while most become boring rehashes of the others. Sand Ocean is a tube, the only one of its kind. Nice, unique, but it should have been used AGAIN. Then, there\'s the awesome cylinder tracks. It pushes the race to its most versatile and fun, but is only used twice. ARRGH!!! What\'s a nice option is the \'\'X-Cup\'\', with randomly made courses. If they weren\'t all the same and all boring as hell, it\'d boost this score. The developers needed to spend more time in course-creation to make some cooler gimmicks and use the ones they had better.

Graphics: 7/10 This is seriously a hard category to rate. The graphics are definitely sub-par, but the framerate screams by at 60fps. This is necessary for the type of fast-paced extreme racing that is F-Zero, but I can\'t help but feel that they could have been done in greater detail. The out-of-racing graphics are slightly above average, with some cool comic-style heroes and menus. Truth be told, nothing can give you a better sense of vertigo as you scream down a hill at 1000 kph, but if it was more detailed, the experience would just be that much better.

Gameplay: 8/10 The cars are easy to steer, easy to ram into others to knock them out, etc. The leaning system for the turns in INGENIOUS. With practice and skill, you\'ll have no problem controlling your cars, but there is a learning curve, the two hours when you bring your manual-less copy home from Gamestop, trying to figure out why the computers can turn flawlessly, while there appear to be magnets in the wall at turns that attract your car. The 30 (yes, 30!) cars handle differently, and finding one that suits your style is entirely possible, if you feel like trying each one out. The problem is that there\'s not ample opportunity to try them each out on an equal field, because you\'ll get better as you go on, making the later ones seem to handle much better. The fact that you can\'t adjust the amount of cars from 30 on the track and the amount of laps from 3 is also a problem. There\'s too many limitations on what you can do and too many choices to be made.

Multiplayer: 6/10 Once again, LIMITED.
*Captain Falcon, star of F-Zero, pops up*
What the... Hell? What are you doing here?
Limited is today\'s word of the day!
*Captain Falcon blows on kazoo and rings bells*
Alllll-righty, then... There\'s one thing, and that\'s racing. With only four people. No grandprix or tourney options, no battle mode, simply orange - err, racing. Or playing Death Race (which isn\'t as fun or deadly as it sounds) with your friends, passing the controller, trying to beat each other\'s times. Multiplayer is as limited and ding-a-ling-a-ling! Kzuuuu! Kzuuu! Falcon, would you STOP that?, well, as I was saying, Multiplayer is as passive as the rest of the game, needing more options and more types.

Overall: 7/10 A solid racing title, and good fun, but it becomes too limited ding-a-ling-a BLAM! and repeditory to last for all too long. There could have been so much added to this, so much potential, and it failed to deliver.

Rent or buy: This is a SOLID rent title, and, if you can find it cheap, around $10 US, definitely pick it up. Don\'t waste your hard-earned cash on a title that packs punch, but, after it\'s all over, will leave you with severe gastro-intestinal problems.

PS: It has been brought to my attention that I have promised to deliver racing puns throughout the review. Just like the F-Zero crew, I promise but do not deliver. Sue me.

PPS: Would someone help me with the \'\'hide-the-body\'\' game?


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 08/06/03, Updated 08/08/03


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