Review by LCartwright

Reviewed: 08/28/01 | Updated: 08/28/01

The Original fast and furious racer doesn't dissapoint

As I've always said about F-Zero games when telling a friend how to play - ''You don't use the brakes - only accelerate, boost and steer - there is a brake button, but I can't quite remember what it is.'' F-Zero: Maximum Velocity is no different. While the speeds are slightly lower than F-Zero X, the smooth framerate and addictive
gameplay remain.

Actually, Maximum Velocity is more like the SNES version, F-Zero Racing (but not a port as a rumour claimed – some fools had tried to circulate some incorrect information and gameshark.com, for one, believed it at first). As the Game Boy Advance is only a 32-bit system and the cartridges are much smaller in capacity than the N64's, features had to go. Unfortunately the Death Race went. That is just wrong. The time trial/time attack mode has been renamed Practice - sounds wrong, but don't worry - it's ok.

The story is very similar though: the game is set in the F-Zero world 25 years after the original SNES game. However, the time difference has enabled a new breed of machines and drivers. The machine and driver names have that F-Zero ring to it - Lord Cyber, Falcon MkII, Silver Thunder, Hot Violet and Fighting Comet - and when you get up over 400km/h, even the most ignorant of gamers should recognise the unmistakable look of an F-Zero game. The only weird thing is that F-Zero: Maximum Velocity seems to ignore the very existence of F-Zero X, the previous F-Zero release.

In the field of gameplay, the reason behind the purchase of games, those possessing a GBA and the cartridge containing Maximum Velocity are in for a treat. Four cups, twenty-one tracks, ten machines (the tenth is very hard to get without cheating), high speed, four difficulty levels, gameplay ... you know - the usual F-Zero ride. Over at Nintendo, they've done well again.

What makes the gameplay of Maximum Velocity so addictive is that you must keep on winning to go anywhere in the game - and not just overall. Each course consists of five laps - You must finish at or above a certain position to continue each lap. This position increases with each lap:

15th after one lap
10th after two laps
7th after three laps
5th after four laps
Top three to finish the course

Failure to finish a lap at the required position or higher ends the race. You can retry the track until all spare machines have been exhausted, however at that point, the grand prix is over. Also as you win Grand Prix races, you unlock machines, a difficulty level and a cup, plus a championship course.

The multiplayer mode made F-Zero X for me. Split-screen, fast and furious, four players - to use an idiom - it was the icing on the game's cake. And thankfully, this has continued on. Using a link up cable, you can play multiplayer with just one cartridge, however, multiple cartridges are recommended. Note that this is the right time to think of the fun and enjoyment one can have upon hearing an insulting exclamation from your friend after you have just speed past up the inside and then slammed him into the wall.

To graphics, and this has been a cause of great debate in previous versions of F-Zero - was the high framerate worth the loss of texture and detail. I believe so, and I'm glad to see Nintendo have retained this high framerate. There is a course map in the bottom - left of the 240x160 pixel screen showing where you are. Considering the detail in graphics seen in F-Zero X, and Game Boy Color (Colour for us Aussies), Tomohito Ito (Lead Programmer), Takashi Kouyama
(Lead Artist) and Isshin Shimizu (Lead Designer) have done well all-round. The SNES influence is continued with Mode 7, the 'fake 3D' which was used to such great effect in F-Zero Racing.

The sound effects are good and the music is superb. The sole problem with the sound in this game is that the quality, however, may be a little lower due to the GBA's sound capabilities and small speakers. But you can counteract this - use headphones.

RATINGS AND SCORES
Graphics: 7.5
Gameplay: 10
Sound: 9
Enjoyment: 10
Lastability: 10
Overall: 9.5

POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES
+ Great conversion from SNES and N64, allowing for capabilities.
+ Enough challenges to keep you going for a long time.
+ The story and controls have continued on.
+ Great value for money, as the cheapest launch title.
- Where's the Death Race and side/spin attacks?

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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