Product Type: Nintendo Nintendo 64 games
Newest Review: ... a massive selection, with more to unlock, then are thrown into a lightning fast race against many other opponents. It's hard to convey ... more
Racing for the 25th Century
F Zero X (N64)
Member Name: Midrange
F Zero X (N64)
Advantages: HIgh speed, smooth running racer, great multiplayer (4 player) and lots to unlock
Disadvantages: Graphics aren't great
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.
Summary: Plenty to fuel your enthusiasm, a lasting racing classic for the N64
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