"Very Fast for a first-gen game"

Back in the early '90s, Nintendo released their first futuristic racing game called F-Zero. During the beginning of the SNES lifespan, there were many innovative games out there. F-Zero did things that pushed the limits of the SNES.

Story: NA

Basically the story is that you must strive to the top to become a champion. That's about it. Since it is a racing game, don't expect a groundbreaking story.

Graphics: 9/10

For a early '90s game, it looks very good. This was one of the first games to implement mode-7 graphics. Its basically pseudo-3D graphics. The 2D sprites and the background were very colorful and detailed. The only drawback is that some of the background stages are merely a palette swap of the other stages. It's really not a big deal since the game came out during the 16-bit era. Even today, the graphics is very impressive for a first generation SNES game.

Music and Sounds: 8/10

The music have well incorporated to the atmosphere of the stages. There are even some stages such as Death Wind that sets the tone for an adredaline rush. This is also the first game to set a foundation to the memorable music to the rest of the F-zero games. The sound effects on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. For example, when you come contact to the explosive car, it makes a muffled explosive sound. In contrast, when you actually go off-course, it makes a startling sound. Call me weird, but I find the sound effects very inconsistent at times. Other than that the sounds of the game is very solid for its time.

Gameplay: 8/10

First off, the control scheme are really easy master. Also, the controls are very responsive and intuitive. What's so surprising is that, the controls are very fluid even in high speed. There are four cars to choose from; each with distinct traits. There are three cups to choose from. Each cup have a certain degree of difficulty. The stage designs, however, is in the mixed bag. On one hand, there were a lot of interesting concept such as the winds pulling you from the sides. Also, there were a lot of obstructions implemented like adding an explosive car during a heated race. On the other hand, the some of the levels lacked variation. For example, there are some stages that is simply a half-baked version of the full-stage. There are even some that is the same exact track except adding in a few traps. The developers did made some innovative concept. However, it wasn't enough to keep it interesting.

There's only two modes: Grand Prix and Time Trial. Both of them are single player modes. The only difference is that time trial, there are only a handful of stages to choose from. Unfortunately, there is no multi-player mode. So, it maybe hard for some to get some competitive play other than time trial. The challenge isn't so shabby. Initially, there are three difficulties: novice, standard and expert. It gets intense for the harder leagues due to the fact that the AI is surpisingly aggressive. Another notable feature is the scoring system. In order to move on to the next area, you must be placed on the top three. Otherwise, you are disqualified. This also applies to laps. The limit gets smaller for each lap. This is quite a feat for first time players. Overall, the difficulty is surprisingly challenging.

Replay Value: Low

Once you go through all the stages, there's not really much to do other than getting a better time in Time Trial.

Final Word

This game is worth playing. These days, you can find F-Zero on the Wii via the Virtual Console. This game is found in many pawn shops and game stores that still sells used cartridges. If all else fails, there's also the emulator for last resort. Ever since F-Zero was released, many more futuristic racers have popped out. This also is the foundation of the series itself. Because of F-Zero innovations, it set the standards for other racing games.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/29/07, Updated 02/02/07


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