Review by Djungelurban
"One of best racing games released to SNES."
General game information:
This was the first game released to SNES (together with Super Mario World). It was a groundbreaking back then. It was using a new technique for making games called Mode 7, which made the sprite creation thing, used in games like Afterburner and Out Run, old fashion (correct me if I'm wrong). Basically you where to drive a highly tuned futuristic hovercraft on pole tracks surrounded by energy railings that would keep you on the track, but also drain your energy. Every time the finish line you would get a boost to use at any point during the race and the race was 5 laps long.
The graphics is very basic, it's obvious that the game is a test of the Mode 7 technique. There aren't many effects in the game and the ones that do appear are only there because it would look silly if there wasn't a effect at that time. The animations a few and the backgrounds are sterile. But at the same time, the game is very clean, no messy ''fireworks'' that makes that it hard to see what's really happening. The frame rate is good and it's actually quite nice to look at. The only thing missing is the lack of public. You don't really get the feeling that it's a big sport with millions of followers. But I guess there aren't many games like that to SNES.
The effects are done very much in the same way as the graphics. There are a very limited amount of effects and those who are there, are there because they got to. But that is not a big problem, I believe everyone can agree. The music then is actually quite good. Not as good as the masters of Japanese action music (the Mega Man X series) but atleast well about average. Sometimes the music a bit hollow though.
Game play: (9/10)
The controls of your hovercraft are as easy as 1, 2, 3 to learn. You accelerate, turn, slide and boost (I've heard rumors of a brake button but, nah, I don't believe it :), it's all there is to it. The hovercraft respond in a good way when turning, you'll be used to it from the very beginning. Just remember to press down when jumping because you'll fly longer, make a soft landing and keep the speed gained from the jump (it's crucial on White Land II, just a tip). A common problem in most racing games back then (and now days too in some cases) is that it's doesn't matter how fast you're driving, your competitors are always right in your tail. One mistake and your in third. The AI is not very good either, the opponents are all driving on a ''string'', but it actually doesn't matter. When the game feeling is this good, you don't care that the computer is ''cheating'' all the time because you're busy driving. And it's a real pleasure to drive an F-Zero hovercraft. Also, I really don't miss the weapon. Weapons would only make it more like a battle then a racing game.
Game Modes: (3/10)
This is the biggest set back with F-Zero. Grand Prix, Time Trial and that's it. Grand Prix is basically just 5 races after each other and you have to reach the podium to advance to the next races. But if finish 1st or 3rd, that doesn't really matter, it won't make any difference in the end anyway. It not a real tournament since they don't have any real connection with each other and aren't any way to win the championship, there simply aren't no championship to be won. But the biggest set back is that there are no multi-player mode in F-Zero. If you're more then 1 player, then Nintendo suggests that you play something else it appears. Desired modes besides the two included would have been Single Race, VS mode, Tournament (1 or 2 players) and League (1 or 2 players), atleast. But hey, you can't get what you what all the time.
OK, I know, there is a ''story'' (atleast an introduction). But come on, this is a racing game, who NEEDS a story.
This game isn't very hard on beginner difficulty, everyone can beat it. But the master difficulty might prove a challenge for everyone. So there's something for everyone.
Just the feel of game makes it worth playing over and over again, but at the same time, that all most the only reason why you should play it. Since there almost aren't no modes in the game, there aren't no variation in game play. But you'll still come back to the game over and over, maybe to just race one course. It's a keeper.
This is one of the few SNES game that starts directly when you turn on the power. No ''This game is presented by Nintendo'' and crap like that. Convenient.
F-Zero is one of best racing games released to SNES. Although you can't playing in so many different ways, it's still a nice ride. But you can feel that this was just a test game for the future. Nintendo had something much better in progress, Super Mario Kart.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/07/03, Updated 01/07/03
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