Review by Spark Moon

"Falcon Densetsu > Maximum Velocity"

'F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu' is the newest F-Zero game for the Game Boy Advance, and while many are pleased to see it return to the good ol' 'Falcon/Stewart/Goroh/Pico' roots after the brief jaunt with 'Megan/Nichi/Jane/Mickey'; it has also been met with much controversy.

This game takes place in an alternate timeline than the one in 'F-Zero GX', and it also based on the new 'F-Zero' anime which is running in Japan right now. Granted, the show itself isn't exactly top-quality, but this game certainly is.

Gameplay: 8/10
If you're familiar with the original 'F-Zero' for SNES, then this game will be a treat. It has the same viewpoint as 'MV', but the gameplay is quite similar to the original, with some of the newer things thrown in; like a health bar, boosts and such.

28 pilots from the days of 'F-Zero X/GX' return for this game, including two new characters from the anime: Ryu Suzaku and Lisa Brilliant. The old characters have also been aestheticly updated to reflect their anime counterparts, and quite frankly: some of them benefit from it. (Look at James McCloud, Super Arrow, GomarShioh and Dr. Stewart for some examples) But the additions of Ryu and Lisa have brought much heated controversy, as they have bumped off series stalwarts Silver Neelsen and Arbin 'The Skull' Gordon. Ryu's car is all 'B' stats, and drives like a total brick and is an overall piece of crap car. Lisa's car is much better, giving it a nice overall balance. For those who are worried about Neelsen and Arbin: Fear not, they are unlocked using eReader, including 2 other cars: Moon Shadow and Elegance Liberty.

The tracks are suprisingly well done, especially for a GBA game. If you're familiar with the layouts for the first 'F-Zero' game, then these new tracks should be a piece of cake.

Story: 7/10
Let's face it: F-Zero GX's story mode lacked variety.

This story mode though, offers up the chance to see the 'Falcon Densetsu' world through the eyes of various characters: Captain Falcon, Jody Summer, Jack Levin, Ryu Suzaku, Samurai Goroh, Lisa Brilliant, Zoda and Black Shadow. Each has their own story, and some even intertwine plots. Nice move, Nintendo.

Story progression goes as follows: You beat a level to gain access to another level, and cash. Maxing out the greenbacks unlocks new vehicles... though if you have specific eReader cards, they can be unlocked. (Thus defeating the purpose of maxing out the money) And similar to 'Sonic Adventure', once you encounter a character who has a place in the story mode, you are then allowed to play as them. Pretty nifty, huh?

The only downside with this import copy is that I cannot understand what they are saying. I reccomend holding off until the European/American release to play story mode.

Sound/Music: 8/10
The sound is great, no questions. For a 32-bit game, it certainly has good sound quality. Familiar music tracks like 'Endless Challenge' and 'Decide in the Eyes' make their return, and are hummable. I don't really care for the music of the newer tracks from 'Illusion' and 'Mist Flow', but your milage may vary.

There is no speech in the game, save for the announcer... who sounds better than the one in GX and X.

Controls: 7/10
Pretty similar to 'Maximum Velocity', when you take the time to think about it. My only gripe is that you have to press 'L' and 'R' at the same time to get a booster. Meh.

Graphics: 9/10
'Falcon Densetsu' is filled with vibrant colors, to say the least. Every track has lush backdrops, and the cars are rendered well. Shame you're spending most of the time going 1000+kmh. ^^; The driver portraits are crisp and easy on the eyes to look at. If only 'Maximum Velocity' were this good looking...

Replay Value: 9/10
With cars and tracks to unlock, not to mention eReader support in the future... this game is good to anyone looking for some time to kill.

Overall: 8/10
If you were dissapointed by 'MV', give this game a shot. If you're planning on passing on this game simply because certain characters are missing/replaced (you KNOW who you are), shame on you! This game is certainly worth a try. The only things bogging down the score is the forthcoming eReader support and the fact I can't understand story mode yet. -_-;

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/17/04

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