F-Zero GX is a futuristic, high-octane racing game which continues the series begun on the Super Nintendo back in 1990 and developed upon in the fantastic F-Zero X on the Nintendo 64. Having been addicted to the 64 version in years past, I sought to find this game second hand. However, when I got hold of a copy I was disappointed.
The graphics are brilliant and the game as a whole looks great. Colourful worlds rush past whilst travelling at thousands of miles per hour. The tracks are numerous, interesting and varied, complete with tunnels, tubes, jumps and banks. There is also a wide selection of vehicles and a choice of the ratio between acceleration and top speed in the car you choose (this adds a level of customisability and tactics).
Despite this I have found the game play fairly mundane and unrewarding. The camera angle feels awkward and while I understand that travelling in space at 2000mph is not going to replicate the driving we know now, F Zero GX seems unrealistic. IGN assert that one either "gets" this game or does not, unfortunately I don't. While "track memorisation" may be essential in order to conquer this title, I have no desire to go through such a process, and i doubt that most will either. Unlike F-Zero X (N64), I have never become hooked.
A final, but minor, blow is the removal of the slot-machine gamble when you lose a life, a feature which added a certain amusement and humour to the 64 version.
Despite my general dislike of this game, 3 stars seems appropriate. The graphics are superb (surpassing much else that i have seen on the Gamecube) and I suspect that IGN may be right, I just didn't get it. However, "GX" is just nothing compared to what I remember.
The Fzero series is all about futuristic racing at break neck speeds which started life on the SNES. As one can imagine, at the time this broke new ground and spawned imitation games such as wipeout and Extreme G racing. However Fzero is still the daddy in this genre.
The main prequels as such were on the SNES and N64. Fzero X on the N64 was a truly excellent game, a game with a soul. It was and is still one of the fastest games ever with no hint of slowdown.
Step in FZERO GC, which was made by Sega. There was absolutely no way that Sega could outdo FzeroX, hence the attempt to bring something different to the table... a story mode.
As one would expect the graphics have undergone a major overhaul and so has the music. The level of detail is amazing, more so as it all runs aat 60fps with no slowdown.
Some of the levels are drop dead gorgeous. However this game is NOT for the faint hearted, expect a big difficulty curve that would separate the newcomers to the veterans, and is rewarding.
However there are some disappointments:
1. no death race mode
2. some of the track designs are typical sega and lack inspiration e.g. too wide/flat
3. the multiplayer option on the N64 was a blast purely because if a player was knocked out or 'flew off the track', a bingo option would appear where the player could affect the course of the game. For example reduce the energy of all cars, or of the leader. This added alot of tension and excitement which is sorely missing from the Gamecube incarnation
4. The lack of inspiring music like in FzeroX. e.g. whiteland, port-town? even the Theme song for Fzero GX could have been used in game.
In all this is an enjoyable game even if it does not surpass the mark of Fzero X. Here is hoping that Nintendo develop the Wii version themselves.
But before you decide to buy this game; be warned, it is extremely difficult, but hugely rewarding.
Why do so many people play racing game? Obviously its to go fast and do something they can't do in real life. well this game is FAST. REALLY FAST. So fast in fact that it'll make your eyes bleed! The first time you'll pay this it will give you an adrenaline rush like no other game before it. And then after that you'll be hooked - hooked deep. Well let's break it down. What makes this game so good? The controls for one thing - which can only be described as perfect. Even when you're going warpspeed you always feel in control of your craft. And it can't be easier to control, with the L+R triggers helping you turn corners and the face buttons controlling brake and acceleration. Sounds simple? Don't let it fool you. There's an unbeleivable amount of strategy involved from spinning your opponents off the track (using Z) to using your boost sparingly because of your depleting shield. ITS DEEP. Sounds good so far but how does it look? No-one wants to play a game that looks like it was designed by 2 year olds. The only way to decribe this game is beautiful. Its art. A masterpiece. Moves at 60fps, high resolution textures, massive architecture zooming by and staying silky smooth every second of the way. It just keeps getting more gorgeous the further you get into it. Its like waking up with Halle Berry one one side of your bed and Liz Hurley on the other. It really is that good looking. But the only problem is its difficulty. It will get frustrating. You will want to smash your controller. You will curse. But you will love every minute of it. No matter how hard it gets you know that you're not being cheated, you're just not skilled enough. YET. And when you are theres so much satisfaction that hours will pass and you'll still be gled to your screens. Bottom line is if you enjoy a challenge you'll love this games. For all the rest of you - give it a go, rent it. If you do find i
ts too hard then what can i say?? YOU'RE WEAK. And you're gonna miss out on one of the best games around while the rest of us will be enjoying ourselves immensely....