Review by SCCAN85

"Where it's at!! I got two speed boosters and a microphone ..."

It took me being contained by a humongous fire to finally get up and write this, but I've decided to write about F-zero. F-zero is a well established name in the Nintendo franchise but is often shunned by other great Nintendo titles. F-zero has had its fair share of games and systems and this man here has never really played any of them. I played a bit of the Super Nintendo titles but not that much. F-zero GX is the first F-zero game that I have played for more than a minute and quite frankly, I love it! That's not to say that it's perfect, but it's definitely a great title. Here's why.

The game itself man! The game itself is where it's at! High speed racing is just awesome, let alone racing against thirty other opponents in tough courses where you can take pleasure in destroying other racers while going over 1000 km/h. There are a lot of game modes and different characters that will keep you very busy. First off, there is the Grand Prix which essentially is the heart and soul of the game. This is where you enter a cup (four possible) each with five stages to race and here is where the high speed competition occurs. Points are accumulated at the end of each race and they are distributed based on the position you finish in. At the end of this if you win you get to be interviewed, which I will get to later. This mode is very fun and with four different levels of difficulty it keeps you coming back and taking on the challenge. Other than that there is Story mode. In Story mode, you take control of Captain Falcon and complete missions set up in chapters. There are nine chapters total but three levels of difficulty for each chapter which awards you with prizes.

Prizes? What could they be? Well, they are tickets and/or custom parts. These tickets and custom parts are used in the customization menu. Here you can create your own F-zero vehicle using custom parts. You can also create your own emblem in a simple ''paint'' menu similar to any windows program. The tickets are used to purchase either other F-zero machines (over thirty), custom parts, Chapters and staff ghosts. Staff ghosts adds more depth to this game through the time attack mode. When you get ten seconds within the staff ghosts time on a track then you'll be awarded ten tickets and that staff ghost. If you have truly mastered F-zero, you can defeat these staff ghosts' time, but it's not easy. Other than all that there is also a VS mode where is where the multi-player comes alive, but in all honesty I have yet to try that. I'm not sure if you race against just your friends or with your friends against the computer. Even without experience the multi-player in this game, I've been hooked. This game is a lot of fun and there are so many racers to choose from, so unlocking there endings will definitely take some time. Other than that, I'm working on creating a ''beast'' of a machine. This game has plenty for you to do whether you play with friends or not.

The course lay outs are diverse. Some are easy courses that are simply circles, while many others have crazy turns and even huge drops. There's a lot of different terrain also, such as ice and dirt which can sometimes be hard to avoid as you desperately try to knock out the opponent tailing you. The two types of attacks are spin attacks that involve the whole vehicle spinning and another attack where a red orb spins around the vehicle and attacks any car nearby your vehicle. The races don't usually last too long because you are going so fast but that also varies depending on the courses. What I find annoying is that your turbo is part of your energy also and can't be used until the second lap *three total*. ''SCCAN!? You dumb ass! That's how F-ZERO is!''
Well, no **** sherlock, but for anybody new to F-zero that may be an annoying aspect of the game. Hell, I find it annoying. It adds to the difficulty though, that's for sure.

Despite being a very fun game, it's also gorgeous in many aspects. These graphics are so detailed and crisp, it's really stunning. Before the race actually begins, the developers decide to give you some eye candy before you actually gear it up. The water effects are beautiful and personally my favorite aspects of the graphics. Everything is very clear on the main courses and just above and beyond in the graphics department. These graphics really show off the Gamecube's power and even at such a high speed the game looks great. My only minor annoyance is that many of the backgrounds, where normally no one would bother looking at, look like crap. It's obvious that the developers didn't focus on that area too much, which is understandable, but it just looks so weird in contrast to the main course. Other than that minor annoyance, the graphics are amazing.

Controls are well rounded considering the intense speed conditions that should be occurring. As with other racing games with multiple racers, each racer handles differently. Blue Falcon, for example, is a lot easier to control than Blood Falcon. There are techniques from what I hear around this to easily control anyone and exceed normal speeding, but I am unaware of that technique. Controlling the cars are fairly simple even with most of the buttons being used. The standard controls have A accelerate, B to brake and Y for turbo boosting. The attacks lie in the X and Z button while tight turns occur due to pressing the L and R buttons. It's actually very easy and comfortable to play this game and I have no complaints with the controls.

The audio, however, is where I have a few complaints. Not that it's bad, but the music is not as good as the music in the Super Nintendo. Strange that even though the music quality is way better, Nintendo and Sega decide to remix the original songs. There not that bad, but it's not something I remember. I do like a majority of the music, but that's because a lot of it is electronica and rock. The sounds are fine, engines going nuts and the sound of hitting the walls, etc. are all well done. No complaints there. However, the voices are disgusting. Every character sounds pretty damn bad. I especially hate the interviewer at the end of the Grand Prix: ''Champion, I'm going to interview you!'' Huhhh, this is just inexcusable and there really is no one that sounds good or even normal for that matter.

Maybe the reason for the bad voices are due to the two dimensional characters. Though each character has a pretty good story and the game gives a great description of each racer, the characters are really bland. Captain Falcon is a basic, terribly over-exaggerated, good guy, while Black Bull is the complete opposite. This hurts the story of the game tremendously, but then you must ask yourself: Do you play the game for the story or the game? This is no action title or an RPG so the story doesn't matter as much. It's basically an icing on the cake matter, but obviously this cake has no icing. Just a lot of delicious layers with cream in the middle ... not really.

Though this cake is very tasty even without icing, it's definitely hard to bite into. The difficulty in this game is quite high and it is very common to die and be tested by the computer. Especially in Story mode. The higher difficulties in both Story mode and Grand Prix mode can be overwhelming. The great thing is that this game is not too easy and not too hard. Though it is way hard and can definitely turn some people off, people who enjoy the challenge will find much joy practicing and getting better at the game. The difficulty in F-zero GX is more of a reward than a drawback.

Another reward in this game is the replay value. It's up there with having over thirty different racers to ''beat the game'' with. I say it like that, because even though you get every character's endings, there is still much to be done after that. Beating all the staff ghosts will take up time and should have you coming back for high speed racing as well as completing story mode on all difficulties. If that isn't enough to warrant you to come back and play, there is always the concept of creating a great machine that you can use to tear up either your friends or the computer. If you don't tear up your friends, you could still have a lot of fun playing with them so this game definitely has a lot that would make you crawling back for more.

With all that being said and done, I'm fine over here *even though I'm sure no one cares* and this smoke is quite unbearable. F-zero right now, along with many other games, are helping me and my friends deal with the ''what to do'' question during this terrible time. You don't need half of your county to be in blazes to play this game. Atleast I hope not, but this is a very fun game which I have enjoyed immensely. I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys racing games or even action games because this game has that too. The story or the audio may not be the best, but the game is definitely good enough and I salute Nintendo and Sega for making a great game that I am proud to keep in my collection. Give this game a rent atleast if you're unsure. More than likely, this game will blow you away.

Here's the rundown for you lazy bums:

Gameplay - 10/10
Graphics - 10/10
Controls - 9.4/10
Audio - 5.8/10
Story - 6/10
Challenge - VERY HIGH
Replay Value - VERY HIGH
My enjoyment - *****

Overall rating - 9.1/10 (9)

Thanks for reading and have a nice day!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/29/03

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