F-Zero: GP Legend

-Nintendo (2004)





Future racing goes retro.

My Thoughts

I had always been disappointed that there was never a sequel to the original F-Zero on the Super Nintendo. It was an incredible game for the time and justly deserved one. Japan received an upgrade game, but it never made it to our shores. The real sequel game didnít come out until the N64 with F-Zero X, but I still had always wanted on with the same type of graphics and gameplay that the original offered. Maximum Velocity on the GBA had the same style graphics, but it didnít feature any of the regular characters, plus the gameplay felt a little odd with the new blast cornering technique. GX, the Game Cube's outing, was a spectacular showcase of speed and visuals. In GP Legend, however, I finally have the game Iíve been waiting for all these years. To tell the truth though, this game is probably better than that unmade Super NES sequel would ever have been.

F-Zero: GP Legend is actually based on the mediocre cartoon of the same name. The cartoon centers around a brand new character named Rick Wheeler and his bounty hunting adventures in the F-Zero racing circuit. All the other racers make appearances along the course of the show and many of them have personalities on par with the silly and idiotic outfits they wear. Every character featured in the other games is present. Not only that, but there are also a bunch of brand new faces and racing machines. There is a huge selection of thirty-four racing machines to choose from.

The controls are just as tight as the original Super NES game. The altered and fairly useless drift cornering from Maximum Velocity has returned to the normal and very useful drift cornering of all the other F-Zero games. Although blast cornering is still an option should you ever need to actually use it.

GP Legend expands the story mode introduced in GX. Instead of just Captain Falcon taking center stage, now eight racers get to participate in one intertwined, and sometimes strange, story. The downside with this is that you end up seeing many of the same sections of story over and over. Although, since the characters take varied paths throughout the narrative it is different each time you see it, but only slightly. Each characterís story consists of five or six missions. Sometimes the pilots will just need to win a race, beat a certain character, or destroy all other opponents all the while earning credits. For some reason each pilot canít go beyond the magic number of $2,550,000,000, but when you do reach it another machine will be unlocked.

A new mode introduced to the series is the Zero Test. Anyone familiar with Gran Turismoís grueling license tests will know what to expect here. There are four classes of C, B, A, and S, each with twelve increasingly difficult racing tests. Each individual test is a section of track that must be completed under a time limit with a pre-selected machine. Some of these tests are so difficult and unforgiving. I canít fathom how to get the gold or even a silver trophy on some of these tests when winning the bronze was so painful. The Zero Tests will test your skills and patience like nothing else in the game. I will be attempting to complete these test for a very long time.

The tracks are a mix of locales from the original game, GX, and some brand new ones. All of the tracks are original designs, save for the courses in the Platinum Cup. Platinum Cup showcases some of the best and toughest courses from the Super NES original. Mute City I, Big Blue, Silence, Port Town II, Red Canyon, Sand Ocean, White Land II, and Fire Field all return, however now you can race them in the brand new machines against thirty opponents. I was disappointed that Red Canyon was chosen over Red Canyon II, though. Red Canyon II was my favorite track from the first game with its huge arrow jump. The music is still good and features a bunch of remixed and updated versions of the old familiar tunes.

Another reason why this game is so good: it actually got my heart racing. I was amazed when it first happened because the GBA screen is so small. Itís an incredible feat for such a tiny caliber game. The game runs very fast at times and is always a smooth ride. To get a playerís heart to race is the ultimate sign of a damn good racing game, especially on the GBA.

F-Zero: GP Legend may not do a whole lot that is new, but it is a near perfect example of how good an old winning formula can be when updated properly.

Score: 9.0


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