Review: F-Zero GX
Posted 19 Sep 2003 at 23:30 by Jeff
Over a year and a half ago, Nintendo shocked the world by appointing Segaas the developer of the successor to the F-Zero franchise. Many people were puzzled by Nintendo's warming up to Sega, a once fierce competitor in the console business. Many questions were in the air but this one stoodout the most; Could Sega really accomplish a Nintendo made masterpiece? As more news unfolded, and screenshots were being released into the public, the people realized that Nintendo made the right decision to choose the arcade verteran Sega to handle the development of the futuristic racer; they were definately up to the job. Fast foreward to August 26, 2003, the best version of the F-Zero franchise had finally arrived...
In a word, gorgeous. The tracks are all extremely detailed, bringing youinto the true F-Zero world. This title definately takes advantage of the power of the Gamecube, and delivers spectacularly. The towers are futuristicand gives a great sense that you are on a circuit in a city in the distantfuture, something F-Zero X failed to deliver. Advertisements lie strewn about the tracks and you can even see ROB, the short lived NES acessory in one of the tracks. Everything runs very smoothly and fluidly, all at 60 frames per secons without slowdown and no hint of jaggies. This is an impressive feat to be sure considering the fact that there are 30 racers on each track at once. The level of detail put into this game is astounding and sometimes even overwhelming, it improves upon the foundation laid out by F-Zero X in the previous generation. The only problem is that much of the graphical details take the backseat to the actual gameplay, as one must concentrate on the race, and not the beauty of the game if they want to win.
The music and sound effects are well done. Although the sound effects might lack a bit, it doesnt hinder the overall experience of F-Zero GX at all. Every crash, every explosion, every boost sounds true to their nature andare always spot on. Although the sound effects leave a tad to be desired,the music never fails to delight. The somewhat corny 80s guitar riffs that are signature in the F-Zero franchise, have been scrapped in favour of a more futuristic soundtrack. It delivers a mix of rock and techno which are beautifully mixed together to create a hybrid style of music; a style in which almost everyone will agree fits the game and will love.
If you thought the graphics and sound were good, the gameplay will definately blow you away. The speeds of the racers can reach up to 2500 Km/h plus. The speed is exhilirating and it really feels like you are going at break neck speeds. Theres definately no lack of modes which include Grand Prix, Vs. Battle, Story, Practice and Time Attack.
Each mode is unique in style. In grand prix, you take control of your favourite racer and race to the finish on 5 tracks on each circuit. The racer with the most points at the end of the circuit is declared the champion. You are also rewarded ticket points if you come in the top 3, as well as a new custom racer part will be unlocked depending on how well you finish. You can spend tickets in the F-Zero shop which you can buy Racers, Parts or Story Mode chapters. This will make players choose between either developing their own racer or conquering story mode. Story Mode follows Captain Falcon through his tests and trials. The story mode is brought together through the excellent use of FMV sequences and really adds a sense of depth to not only story mode, but to the rest of the game.
Story Mode is also insanely difficult, even Chapter 2 will give the most experienced racers some trouble, let alone chapters 8 or 9. This game is not for the weak hearted as you will have to retry races many, many times.Some wont be beaten until you have tried for 2hrs to 3hrs plus! VersusBattle allows you to race against your friends to prove who is the fastest racer in the galaxy, or your living room. This makes F-Zero GX a prime candidate as a party game. Essentially practice mode allows you to get a feel for the tracks before you make the jump to Grand Prix. Time Attackis a race to beat your best times and hone your racing skills and speed.Nintendo and Sega have also put in a special feature into Time Attack. If you beat a certain time, you press a specific series of buttons to unlock a password in which you can use in an online F-Zero GX tournamentso that everyone around the world can post their best time.
The controls themselves are very responsive and intuitive. They are customizable but almost everything is perfectly laid out with the A button to accelerate and B to decelerate. You can also perform SideAttacks, Spin Attacks, Boosts and several different types of turns, most of which are easy enough to execute. The only problem is that it feels a little awkward when you have to take your finger off the R button and press it on the Z button to perform a spin attack. It seems like itsa distraction while you are playing the game.
There is a very high replay value for Grand Prix. Unlocking tickets to buy new machines, parts or story modes will keep you racing from dawn til dusk and sometimes even longer. The story mode will give you a real challenge, one which you most will be determined to beat but could be toodifficult, making the player feeling unfulfilled and just give up in frustration. The customizable nature of the game though will definitely keep you tied up for hours, as you can not only create your own dream racerbut you can also create your own logos, emblems and insignias with the logo editor.
This F-Zero leads the rest of the F-Zero franchise in terms of Graphics, Gameplay, Options, and Lastability, just that alone makes it at the very least a very worthy rental, even if you aren't into racers. There's a lot to love about F-Zero GX, and the thing you will love most is that it will leave you wanting to come back for more. This game will keep you sucked inand wont let go. It would be a crime not to pick up one of the most spectacular racers of the summer and even this generation.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Rather difficult, couldv'e been toned down for better accesibility else this is a gem.
Lots to unlock
Create a racer
Z trigger spin attack feels out of place