The GameCube's fastest racer is speeding by in F-Zero GX; and it's one of the system's greatest racers as well.

User Rating: 8.5 | F-Zero GX GC
Introduction: There is no doubt that Nintendo's F-Zero franchise started the whole era of futuristic racing games being developed for our entertaining purposes. Well, ever since the first game in the series was released on the Super Nintendo back in the early 90's, gamers everywhere were thrilled to be racing at high speed's incomprehensible to technology available today. Time and technology has advanced and passed thus far, and now the newest F-Zero game for a console hits the Nintendo's GameCube. Sporting a futuristic style that gamers love and remember, and the philosophy of "Zero Friction", F-Zero is all about speed. And now its available on your NIntendo GameCube, as fast and good looking as ever. So how did this version stack up in comparison to the light speeding classic? Well, read on more to find out.

Presentation: I find the presentation for F-Zero GX to be reminiscent and stylized just how you would expect any futuristic racing game to be. The in game menus sport a futuristic, technologically advanced look that gives the players the impression of the right setting of where this game takes place. The game does have some load times however, but that is expected due to the high production values presented in this game (audio, visuals, etc). As well, there are plenty of racers and tracks to choose from in the game, which is great as they all represent the F-Zero Universe very well. The tracks are long, and provide an amazing sense of speed. This overall presentation values of this game are amazing. Story: Ok, there actually is a story in F-Zero GX, but it only relates to one of the games modes, also called Story Mode. See any type of resemblance? Well the story basically is, that a man also referred to as the Black Shadow has yet again lost the Grand Prix against the defending champion, Captain Falcon. The Black Shadow's employer is infuriated with the Black Shadow's failure, and warns the Shadow that he will suffer dire consequences if he fails yet again. Shadow promises that he will not fail again. However, this is just the back story of why Shadow is in pursuit of emerging victorious against Captain Falcon in the F-Zero Grand Prix.

Graphics: After spending some time with F-Zero GX, I can gladly say that this game is the most beautiful racing game on the GameCube. There are plenty of varieties of worlds, each differently represented in their own styles, with each style none other than gorgeous. Looking at still screens of this game does it no justice: you will literally need to see this game in motion to realize how beautiful it really is. There are 30 racers on screen, each speeding at over 2000 Km/Hr and really provide a futuristic racing experience for players. However, when examining these racing machines closely, you will realize that they are not as gorgeous as they are when they are moving by, but they get the job done nothing less. However, probably the greatest aspect of F-Zero GX's graphics, along with the quality of the tracks is the games frame rate; absolutely flawless. This is perfect and exactly what futuristic racers need, as speeding along never felt so fast in any racing game of the future.

Sound: The games sound is top notch as well. There are plenty of futuristic music beats that go along well in the different track representations. Each one of them do the game justice. Each of the games vehicles emit futuristic sound effects as well, and the sound in this game is perfectly represented for a futuristic racer. The games sound is not superb, but it gets the job done and is a great example to set for a game like this.

Gameplay: Now for F-Zero GX's gameplay. So how does this game stack up? Well, I can gladly say that this game is fun, and a wickedly fast racer. There has never been a faster racing game available in the history of video games, and this game really gets the formula right. F-Zero GX is entirely focused on speed, and not generally combat. The concept behind this is great, because it really does give some players a sense of improving their general racing abilities and not continually boasting over combat. So how does racing in this game take part? Well, there are different modes in F-Zero GX, but in the next few sections I will be referring to the main mode, also known as Grand Prix Mode. But let me first explain that there are four cups altogether in F-Zero GX, with five races in each cup. This is to give you a basis of the number of races, and to remember that each race should not be taken lightly. Finishing as high as you can is the main aspect to winning each cup, each with three different difficult levels (Novice, Standard, Expert). So remember, that once you are finished with one cup, you will still have another difficulty level to conquer. So here are the basic rundowns of racing in F-Zero GX. Well, F-Zero is different from other racing games, particularly based on the number of racers you are competing against. In any set Grand Prix mode, you are pitting against 29 other racers, with you being racer number 30. So as you can see, there are plenty of racers for you to work against so you can take the title of first place. Basically, the formula is similar to other racing games. There are three laps on each track, and the first person to cross the finish line on the third lap is declared the winner of that track. With thirty different racers, there is also a different scoring system for the players. Generally, the first place finisher receives 100 points, the second place finisher receiving 93, and continually a descending amount of points until the last racer. Its that simple. But is that all there is to F-Zero GX? Racing as quickly as you can until you cross the finish line. Well the answer is both yes, and no. The main concept of any race IS to cross the finish line first, but there are different ways to do it, and this is great as it makes each race less linear than the last. Well first, let me quickly explain that each racer in F-Zero GX is different; with plenty of racers available. Each racer is ranked in different categories of their racer. They are Boost, Weight, and Control. The Boost category determines how much of a boost your F-Zero vehicle will obtain by itself or on a trackset speed boost (explained more later). Weight determines how much your vehicles weighs, and is also a basis for the vehicles acceleration. The less is weighs, the quicker it will recover and accelerate, but it will be much easier for the vehicle to be knocked around by an attack (explained later). And lastly, is the Control, which determines how easily you can control your F-Zero racer. Easier controlled F-Zero racers are generally slower and more suited for beginners, whilst more difficultly controlled racers are a stronger basis for more experienced racers. Each of these three categories is represented by a letter, with the highest letter being a strong point. The letters range from A-E. There isn't a single machine in F-Zero GX that is alike, and this is great as it truly adds to the games replay value. Well as I stated earlier, F-Zero racers can attack each other, but it is not in the basic forms of indirect ammunition, or direct defense mechanisms. You only have two attacks available at your disposal in F-Zero: one of them is a horizontal spin out move, that slows you down, but it does cause other racers interacting to do the same. Next, you have a basic side bump, which is a quick smack against a racer on your left or right side. This can easily be done with the X Button, and it is a nice technique that can help lead you to victory. However, each of the vehicles Weights is taken into account when racing, so logically the heavier vehicle will push the smaller vehicle aside alot easier. Another aspect that makes F-Zero GX different than other racing games, is because of the games Turbo Boosts. Without these, F-Zero GX literally wouldn't be: F-Zero GX. With these sweet mechanisms, your racers will usually speed up to twice as fast as their normal set speed. They can be performed in two different ways. The first way is by running over a Turbo Boost Track, which will make your F-Zero racer appear quite faster. The other way of using a Turbo Boost is quite general. Every F-Zero racer is equipped with one. They are available at your disposal with the Y Button. However, they can only be used after the second lap of the race, and in general, is a good call because using Turbos throughout the entire race will likely cause the Turbo Boosts to lose their flare. Turbo Boosts are extremely critical in the final lap of the races, and should not be taken for granted. Another extremely important aspect of F-Zero GX is your vehicles Energy Span. Your F-Zero vehicle will not remain spotless and without any type of damage throughout the races: what were you thinking? When these machines are constantly being battered by others, it slightly decreases the vehicles Energy Span. When the Energy Span completely decimates, you vehicle does as well; completely destroyed, and you will be retired from the race. Using your Turbo Boosts manually (with the Y Button) also consumes portions of your Energy Span, so Turbo Boosts are not unlimited as you possibly may have thought. However, there are portions of the tracks in F-Zero that your vehicle can travel over, and you Energy Span will began to refuel. Its an important factor in the game, and it should be watched closely at all times. So there are your basics of racing in F-Zero GX, and if that does not sound fast and frenzied enough, then I don't know what other game will. The game is extremely quick and versatile, and each moment of speed literally gives you the feeling that blinking will be the moment of life and death. Speaking of life and death, can you "die" in F-Zero? Well the answer is yes. One of way of course was explained earlier, and is by your Energy Span completely running out. The other way is for your vehicle to fly off the track. Yes, your racer can fly off the track. Racing at 2000 Km/Hr does have its setbacks, and flying off the track is one of them. That is also why keeping a close eye on the game screen is an extremeyl important factor in the game, and this should not be taken lightly. Another thing to remember, is that in the games Grand Prix mode, you only have 5 lives in each cup*. The decimation of all of your lives results in you having to start the entire race over, and that is one setback of the game. Some of the games races are harder than the other, and it will have you trying the same race over and over. But once you become experienced enough with the game, you will soon come to realize all of the important aspects of the races, and have you practice which things you best need to work on. So what happens when win a F-Zero Grand Prix Cup? Well, basically you get 15 Tickets, which are currencies that can be used in the Shop. Inside of the F-Zero Shop, you can do things from purchase vehicle parts, vehicles/characters, and different items. Note that when starting the game for the first time, you will only have four racers at your disposal to choose from in the games modes, and that you will need to gain tickets so you can purchase new characters in the shop. So why do we need to buy vehicular parts? Well, this a great addition to the F-Zero game, and it is because of the Garage Editor. In the Garage Editor, you can combine different parts that you purchased to create your own F-Zero racer. Yes, you can create your own F-Zero racer, and that really adds to the replay value of the game. In the Items category of the Shop, you mainly purchase new chapters for the Story Mode, which I will now explain. Another Mode available to you in F-Zero GX is the Story Mode, and is the games second heart, so to speak. In this mode, you will follow the adventures of the bounty hunter Captain Falcon, and play as him through the entire story mode. Completing each story mode chapter unlocks tickets, as well as the option for you to purchase the next chapter in the Shop. So now you have your two heart modes of F-Zero GX, so what other modes are there? Well first off, you have a Practice Mode, which can be manipulated in different ways for you to hone your skills in whatever way you like. Next is Time Trial Mode, which you race against the clock, and even your replay ghosts. The last mode is V.S. mode, which pits your against your own friends. You don't have the option of racing against 26+ other racers however, so it is kind of a letdown, but the games VS mode is excellent nothing less. So now you have learned about all of the basic modes, racing tips, and everything else you need to know about F-Zero GX. Well, there is one last thing I want to explain to you in this section, and this is the games difficulty. Some of you may have heard that this game is hard; and from whomever that was, I can concur. I must strongly advise you that this is the hardest GameCube game that I own, and it is not a game to be taken lightly. Sure, the first levels of Grand Prix and Story Mode may turn out easy, but everything in this game is dead on hard. I have honeslty never played a harder game, and let me say, that this games difficulty may turn off a few gamers. But for those of you looking for a challenging racer, then this game is perfect for you to get your hands on. Connectivity: There is another feature in F-Zero GX that differentiates it from other racers, and this is the connectivity with its Aracde counterpart, F-Zero AX. They are somewhat the same game, however they are (obviously) controlled differently. So what can you do with this Connectivity feature? Basically, with this, you can update your Replay Ghosts, and your Time Trials scores on the machine, with your GCN Memory Card. But best of all, is that if you race on F-Zero AX and conquer that game, then you can transfer an entirely new Cup to your Grand Prix mode in F-Zero GX. This adds to the games Replay Value incredibly. But due to the increasing lack of Arcade machines, and their decreasing popularity, this Connectivity feature is somewhat represented as a gimmick. However, it is a great addition nothing less, and it is a nice feature that will gladly be open to different gaming connectivity.

Value: Let me say this game has a nearly flawless amount of value. The game has plenty of Grand Prix races, plenty of modes, and a Story Mode which will really increase the prospect of the games Replay Value. The Multiplayer addition in the game, as well as the Arcade connectivity adds to the games features as well. It is unfortunate that the GameCube is not much of a system for online compatibility, because this game could really set an example for online play. Lastly, the games difficulty, as I will reiterate, is extremely tense. The difficulty is not something that will appeal to younger and unexperienced gamers, and believe me when I say not to take this game's difficulty lightly. So if you are a gamer looking for a thrilling, high speed racer that is plenty difficult, then you really need to get your hands on the futuristic racing style of F-Zero GX.
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