Review by PsiStorm

Reviewed: 07/13/01 | Updated: 07/13/01

A great break from all those kart games

I didn't like F-Zero when I first played it on the SNES. I thought it was too fast to control and I preferred Mario Kart, although I suck at that. So with the release of F-Zero on the GBA I decided to try it out and find out exactly why I hated it. If you didn't know already, F-Zero is a futuristic racing game and that's it. There's no battle mode like the kart games, it's pure racing.

Graphics: 10/10
The graphics were done well in the game. The cars are detailed, the drivers, track everything except the bleak view in the horizon. But that's how F-Zero is supposed to be, with barren views of the city. The track is easily seen and you shouldn't have any problem navigating through it as the game gives you plenty of time to see and react to the oncoming obstacles. There's also a handy little mini map that you can take a quick glance at before the track starts to see what you're in for.

Sound: 9/10
I'm sure the background music is nice from what I can hear now and then. The problem is I never hear it well enough with the sound effects that constantly occur in the game. The background music sounds great when I do hear it but it'll never stick to your mind, you'll be to busy with other things. The sound effects are great and match the game itself. Don't get me wrong about the sound in general, this is one game where you want to play with the sound up.

Controls: 7/10
To the inexperienced driver the controls are very tricky. If you've had previous experience with F-Zero you'll just pick it up and be able to play in a few minutes. The controls are pretty standard, L for drift left, R for drift right and you can mix and match the controls for Accelerate, Brake and Boost between B, A and L+R. One thing drivers need to know is the blast turn that is mentioned in the instruction booklet. Unless you know how to blast turn you'll be crashing into walls which will turn off any inexperienced driver.

Gameplay: 8/10
It's a standard racing game with a few twists and turns. You get to pick from 4 different cars in the beginning and 10 in the end. These cars are very different from one another. It isn't like the Mario Kart fare where there's light racers that accelerate fast but lose control, run of the mill characters that are average at both and those that won't get knocked down but accelerate slow. Each car has it's own top speed, top boost speed, boost time and handling capabilities. The the obstacles, there's mines that blow up which knock you out of the way but boost your speed, ramps that allow you to jump and pick up some speed, speed arrows that boost your speed, dirt that slows you down, ice that makes you lose control, conveyor belts that push you around, and the obstacle I hate the most, the turn circles. Once you hit it you'll be turned in a random direction, most of the time it's the opposite which can cause you to lose a lot of ranks. Did I mention that the track itself is an obstacle? There's guard rails that keep you from falling off the track but also hurt you. And if you actually do jump off the track via jump plates, you just die, that's it. On every F-Zero hovercraft there's health and armor. Unlike other racing games that I've played, you can blow up, so tone down on the reckless driving. The only thing I hate about this game is the obvious cheating and aggressive driving of the computer. Hey, it's a challenge, you upto it?

Replay: 8/10
You have 10 cars to pick your favorite from and 20 courses to race in. As cool as the game sounds and is played it will get old after awhile. But it's not that bad, you can pick up the game anytime and try to beat your time in the practice mode or you can link up with one F-Zero gamepack with your friends. The downside is you only have one vehicle and track available. Link up with people that have the game and you'll have everything that you've unlocked between yourselves available. If that's not enough you can always just stop racing and try to ram your friends off the track and let the computer win. It makes up for the lack of battle mode when you know you can blow up your friends.

Buy or Rent? Rent then Buy

Averaged score: 8.4
Overall score: 9

It's a good game. Some people may not like it at first because they don't know the controls and there's little learning curve. Try it out first at one of those GBA displays at a store, rent it or borrow it from a friend. If you find that you like the game you really should buy it. Just make sure you don't hate it just because you can't control the cars or you can't stand the way the computer plays. It's all part of the challenge.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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