F-Zero GX

-Nintendo (2003)

 

 

 

Summary

The lamest racing pilots of the future race at eye-bleeding speeds to prove theyíre not as inept as their competitors.

My Thoughts

This is the fastest racing game on any system. The sense of speed experienced while cruising these tracks is just phenomenal. Distraction by the beautiful graphics GX offers is common though, and distractions can always lead to crashing. The backgrounds, tracks, and the detailed cars look gorgeous when youíre flying by at such incredible speeds, making for some truly great visuals youíll see on the Gamecube. The tracks are wickedly crafted. There are twists, jumps, loops, upside-down stuff, and cylinders that give you a real sense of danger while you speed along. This is all accompanied by some excellent fast paced music.

The usual grand prix and time trial modes are here, but Nintendo also added a story mode, which is a first for the series. The story focuses solely on Captain Falcon, though. It would have been nice to have a story for each character, but since most of the characters seem like they're morons itís probably a good thing that we donít hear any more than their ending comments. I don't have a problem with the original four pilots; Captain Falcon, Pico, Samurai Goroh, and Dr. Stewart, because they were the original hovercraft racers. However, some the other pilots, most of which were introduced in F-Zero X, are some pretty terrible character designs for any game. There are a few exceptions, such as James McCloud (an obvious homage to Fox McCloud from Star Fox), Jodi Summer, and a couple of the AX pilots. Just try to forget about the pilots and focus on the much cooler vehicles.  

New to the series is a build-your-own-machine mode, where parts won from various races are constructed to build your own odd looking craft.  Choose a cockpit, body, booster, give it the colors you want, and even design your own logo. The customizable ship mode is cool, and you can make machines that are even faster than the character-specific models. Prepare your reflexes for some truly insane speed.

Another new feature is the connectivity the game has with F-Zero AX, its arcade counterpart. Taking your memory card to the arcade and racing as the arcade-exclusive racers lets you unlock them for use in GX. But, since arcades are pretty much dead in the U.S., youíll have to work your butt off to unlock the AX racers. Theyíre in there, so are the tracks and the custom parts from AX, but you need to beat each chapter in story mode on very hard, and finish each grand prix on master difficulty. So, if you havenít figured it out from the last sentence, this game is hard. Story mode is difficult enough on normal mode, but very hard is just ridiculous. Races get frustratingly harder on master when opponents seem to have unlimited boosts. Beating a grand prix on master is also the only way youíll ever see a characterís amusing ending animation. Still, having the arcade racers at your disposal is pretty cool, so quicken your reflexes as best you can.

One little thing that disappointed me was the absence of a new Red Canyon course. The Red Canyon 2 track, along with its music, was my favorite race in the original F-Zero on the SNES. In story mode you do get to race against Goroh through Red Canyon, weaving around boulders that tumble down from the cliffs above. It is pretty sweet, but I would liked to have seen an actual race course.

If the difficulty would have been toned down just a little, this game would be perfect, but as it is, itís still the best and fastest future racing game out there.

Score: 9.0 

-Shawn     

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