Review by myforwik

Reviewed: 06/26/01 | Updated: 06/26/01

Very intense racing game, great demonstration of GBA's Power.

F Zero uses the GameBoy Advance's rotation and scaling abilities to create a perspective illusion giving the impression of a 3D racer. As a launch game for the system it's very impressive and surpasses the only SNES version made a decade ago in basically every way possible.

The Frame rate is very fast and is obviously at the full 60FPS that the GBA is capable of. Multiple backgrounds above the horizon are used to good effect, but since turning is so sharp and quick you really don't get to see how the backgrounds move individually. The same goes for the ground that you are racing above, it's a separate background, but simply doesn't move as it should to create a good effect of being well above the surface.
The tracks seem a bit plain graphics wise but at the speed your racing you hardly even get to look at the scenery. The cars look very good and slick. Sprite scaling is used to move the cars a lot than on the SNES version. When racers are behind you they do become blocky, but its hardly noticeable and not hindering. One thing also missing is the beam down energy like on the SNES; in this version of F-Zero you just drive over green ground to refill your power. Overall the graphics are very fast and very slick but dull in some areas.

The sound effects are pretty much as expected and suit the game well. The bang, knocks and explosions all sound great, even through the crappy GBA speaker. The music is OK but nothing special. I wish they had of included the original and more famous tunes from mute city and big blue, since none of the new tunes really seem to stand out much. Overall the sound is well done but nothing really special.

This is where it all counts in a game of course, and F zero delivers very well. The game features 4 series of 5 tracks each as well as at least 10 cars. The race's themselves are extremely intense. You have 5 laps and each lap you must finish under a certain position (15th for the first lap, then 10th, 7th, 5th and finally 3rd). If you do manage to finish in the top 3 you will be allowed on to the next race. If you fail or crash out you can retry the race at the cost of one machine, you start with 5 machines and if you run out the game is over and you will have to restart the whole series. The AI is fairly smart, as the difficulty level progresses they seem to turn better and bump you a lot more. Of course there speed is also boosted. Since F zero has no weapons its purely about driving skill, which can also make the game a tad boring in placing. Also the extra slow vehicles that litter the track seem a bit cheap and are very annoying but it all adds to the game when you have 6 cars trying to fit down a tight passage. Overall a very intense racing game, especially on expert and master difficulties! It makes you want to try a race again and again until you manage to win.

A lot of people say this game is hard and will take a long time to beat. Personally I think they can't race very well. It took me only 3 days to beat all 4 series on master difficulty, but it would be extremely challenging for younger players and people who have not played 'Mode7' style racers before. So just be warned that if you've been playing from the days of the SNES version that this version is won't provide as much a challenge.
If you manage to beat all the series on master there is always the challenge of doing it for all the different cars, although this would be pretty boring. F Zero is a very fun racing game though and is extremely intense on tougher difficulty levels. It certainly won't be something you will get tired of quickly. The game also features multiplayer racing and a kind of thrown-together-in-the-last-minute championship mode were you try and get the best time on a course and your ghost is saved.

This is a very fun and intense game. An absolute must buy if your any type of racing fan, and you should really consider it even if your not. The game demonstrates the power of the GBA very well, but, there is no doubt at all that Mario Kart will be better, so If you can only afford to get one racing game you'd be better off holding onto your money for a few months.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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