F Zero X is a futuristic racer for Nintendo's 64 console, bringing with it the blistering speeds and chaotic tracks that the series is known for. You start by picking a car (if they can be called cars) from a massive selection, with more to unlock, then are thrown into a lightning fast race against many other opponents.
It's hard to convey the sense of speed that this game gives you - suffice to say some of the tracks make you feel like your eyes are bleeding, you go that fast! The tracks are a mixture of standard race tracks, to tunnels, tubes, and jumps, each with different feels and tactics to use. There are GP modes, single races and multiplayer modes to get stuck into.
There's an excellent deathmatch mode, where you are pitted against every other vehicle and have to knock each other off or otherwise disable them. Unfortunately, this mode is only single player, but it's brilliant for passing the time.
Whilst not as much of a multiplayer experience as Mario Kart, I'd say this has a greater single player experience. It's more of a serious racer too, which may well appeal to you more.
F-Zero X is a great game, a large variety of characters and ships to play as, and exhilerating tracks to drive on. Single player mode features races of enormous proportions, and 2 and 3 player mode also features ai to make the number up to 4.
Drive on the most interesting of tracks, including extreme jumps and driving on the inside roof of pipes. Including the Rainbow Road track from Mario Kart 64.
One of my 2 complaints is the lack of drivers in the multiplayer mode, a maximum of 4 with a combination of human and ai drivers. F-zero-x's fast paced races mean that players often get seperated and you'll find yourself driving on your own.
My second complaint is the repetitiveness, you'll find that in order to complete the game, you'll need to play each championship several times over. (Complete the game with each character) This can make the game wear thin after a while. The multiplayer mode also gets repetitive, although the game features a nice variety of tracks.
F-Zero X is, in my opinion, one of the finest racing games ever conceived for the Nintendo. In 1993 "F Zero" hit the SNES and wowed the critics with it's (relatively) neat graphics, high speed racing and intriguing concept.
Before I continue writing, please note that at the end of this review I have included information for the experienced player - new tips and tricks I've picked up that keep the game "alive", so to speak.
F-Zero X was released in 1999 and has had me hooked ever since - no joking. The premise for the game is that alien races from across the galaxy meet and compete on some of the most twisted and sadistic race courses ever devised. Putting their very lives at stake, 30 drivers tear around tracks at break-neck speeds (often in excess of 700km/h) to win various Cups. Each driver (or "pilot" if you will) races in his or her own machine - many look like rocket ships, slim, sleak and perfectly streamlined. Each vehicle has its own strengths and weaknesses (quantified in "Boost", "Grip" and "Body") and the acceleration/top-speed balance can be customised in each race.
The main appeal of this game for me is the astonishing array of tracks to choose from. "Jack Cup" starts off quite tame - with simple figures of eight, or loop-the-loop tracks. Every track is built in the sky above a different planet - so there's a reasonable variety of environments to race in (though to be fair, the graphics for the backgrounds are very, very basic as so much processing power is needed to control 30 independent racers). The Cups steadily get more challenging, with increasingly complex and bizarre tracks. The unlockable "Joker Cup" features the formidable "Big Hand" (a track with few guard rails on it's edges) to the psychedelic "Rainbow Road" (lifted directly from Mario Kart 64). There's also an unlockable "X Cup" where tracks a randomly generated.
There are four difficulty setting (including the hidden "Master" level). In Master level, players must really know what they're doing - they must be excellent drivers AND excellent at killing other players. Two attack moves are available (though can be tricky to execute) and, if you hope to beat the Master setting, you must be ruthless with the other racers. Kill kill kill, basically!
Another strong point of the game is the multiplayer mode - up to four players at once can race for victory across all 24 tracks (plus the unlimited supply of X tracks). Other modes of play include a typical "Time Trial" mode and a "Death Race" - where you must kill all 29 other racers as quickly as possible.
Poor features of the game:
The animation of the cars is good and the illusion of high speed is fantastic. However, the tracks lack details and the backgrounds even more so. There's much more of a focus on the driving itself and running the game smoothly than enjoying the scenery whilst you drive.
FOR THE F-ZERO ADDICT
I rediscovered F-Zero just 2 years ago. The wonders of YouTube (and the internet in general) opened up a whole new "style" of racing. Search for terms such as "sliding" or "DTT" along with "F-Zero X" in google. You'll be amazed at what you find.
Suddenly there's a whole new way to approach racing. The once, seemingly useless, "maximum acceleration" setting takes on a whole new significance. Driving with max. acceleration in a car with "E grade" grip is tricky at first, but once you get the hang of sliding, railsliding and double-tapping then, man, you can achieve some incredible speeds.
Another great thing to try is obviously beating Master Cup. The easiest way I find is to just destroy the competition. Watch during the award ceremony for the number of yellow stars you can win for dispatching the other drivers.
Finally, try unlocking (and then beating) the "Staff Ghost" in the time trial mode. Using the Advanced Driving Techniques described above, you may find it easy in some cases.
F Zero X is a futuristic racing game for the Nintendo 64 games console.
F Zero X
Upon loading up F Zero X you will be greeted by a rocking guitar riff which sets the tone nicely for the game, it rocks! There is an excellent selection of great modes for you to choose from, GP Race, Time Attack, Death Race, VS battle and of course practice mode.
In GP or Grand Prix mode you will compete in a series of races, first of all you must select your difficulty from novice, standard or expert. I warn you now this game is pretty hard so don't feel ashamed if you pick the novice option! You will then pick from a selection of 3 cups Jacks, Queen or King. Jack is the easiest and King is the hardest. Then choose your driver, at first only a handful of drivers will be available to you but as you progress more will become unlocked. Each vehicle has ratings from A-E for Body, Boost and Grip, more on those aspects later. Once you have settled on a certain driver you will be whisked into your race!
Before your race starts you get an interesting tuning option, here you can choose performance bias to faster acceleration or maximum speed. It's usually best to leave this somewhere in the middle as both are equally important! Now finally you can get down to business, for some reason you always start at the back of the field and on the harder difficulties making up position can be very tricky! The races and tracks are fantastically fun, the tracks are amazing and have lots of massive jumps and loops and tunnels which you can drive upside down in which will make you feel dizzy. You also have pads on the track which you can use to give you speed boosts. Beware though it is very easy to fall off the tracks and that will force you to retire from the race!
Your racing style will depend heavily on what ratings your vehicle has, if you have a good body rating you will not lose as much energy when you hit the walls or opponents, if you have a good boost rating you will gain much more speed with your boost and if you have a good grip rating you will be able to take the corners easily. Energy is another critical component, you have an energy meter which starts full but when you collide with another vehicle or wall you will lose some, you can also use some energy to give your vehicle a speed boost. Once your energy is depleted one touch of the barriers will have your vehicle explode so you will have to use boost in a tactical way, just enough so that you won't blow up but enough so that you keep the lead.
Time attack mode is your standard, race around any track you like and try and set the fastest time, not great fun and probably the most yawn inducing mode that the game has to offer. Death race is a really interesting concept, here you must drive around and keep from dying, as soon as you lose your energy or fall off the road you lose. You must keep going and outlast all the other drivers! It's quite fun but as you have a full field of 30 vehicles a Death Race can last a while! VS battle is a splitscreen mode which can be enjoyed by upto four players, this is great fun but unfortunately you cannot race with a full field, just 2-4 players and if you don't have the full four players the remaining vehicles will be driven by the computer. Practice mode is where you can train driving around every track in the game, this is vital if you want to master some of the more difficult tracks and win the Kings cup!
Graphics & Sound
Graphically for a Nintendo 64 game this is stunning, one of the best looking games on the system. The car models are great and detailed, by N64 standards obviously. The fact that they were able to render 30 cars simultaneously is fantastic. The sense of speed is amazing as the scenery warps by you at 1000 kmph. The menus all have a really nice comic book hand drawn art style which really gives the game a great overall look. The soundtrack is also excellent, fantastic tunes each different depending on the stage you are racing on. Some standout tracks include the Mute City race and Big Blue race.
Price & Conclusion
If you were to purchase F Zero X back in the day it would have set you back from £30-50! Now head to eBay or amazon.co.uk and you can pick up this gem of a game for as little as £5. The soundtrack was available but it is very rare and can cost you upwards of £300, so the game is definitely worth the price for its music alone. You may find it in GameStation stores as they stock some older games. Overall if you are an N64 fan and want a great fast paced racing game you should definitely pick this one up. 4/5