F-Zero Hands-On

We sat down with a final Japanese copy of Nintendo's update to the classic hover racing game and got a good impression of what we can expect from the US version.

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F-Zero is Nintendo's high-speed hovership racing series. The series started on the SNES, then moved to the N64, and now it's available for the Game Boy Advance. While one would think that some sacrifices would have to be made to accommodate the smaller platform, Nintendo's new portable powerhouse delivers the same feeling of speed with some additional control tweaks.

The game looks much like the SNES original, though the ships look a little more detailed. Once players have reached top speed, they're absolutely screaming around corners. That's where the powerslides come in. Players can use the top triggers on the GBA to lean left or right, which lets them corner a bit tighter. Also, players are given a little more control over their slides, as they can let off on the throttle and punch it again to reduce excess sliding.

The game has a main-cup mode, where players can race against a field of computer-controlled racers through a series of tracks. As players move from lap to lap, the place required to stay in the race becomes higher and higher, until the final lap, where they are required to place in the top three to proceed. There is also a time-attack mode, which lets players race alone or against one CPU opponent. Finally, there's the versus mode, which can be played with four players using only one copy of the cartridge. This, of course, brings a touch of load time into the equation, but the delay is minimal, around 10 to 15 seconds.

F-Zero is scheduled to be one of Nintendo's US launch games when the GBA hits North American store shelves on June 11.

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