|Review by 2fast4u|
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Betcha didn't expect me to turn up with a review but well .. it's a Saturday morning and I've got some time on my hands so I thought I'd give it a shot. Yep. So what game do you write a review for? The infamous Wind Waker comes to mind but trying to review that game and cover everything accordingly is kinda like trying to poke a rhino to death with a toothpick. So, to take something easier for starters i chose F-Zero GX, the latest successor in Big-N's famous legacy of kickass, futuristic and nerve-rattling racing games. So let's get started...
Side Note: Following the tradition of great reviewers like Jaz (*suckup*) I put the rating in x/5 stars so to get a picture of the game you just have to look at the final scores without having to read all my ranting :P
FOR F-ZERO VETERANS
If you are a die-hard F-Zero fan as I am you probably bought this game without a second thought. Still I wanted to take some time to low down the relation between the 3 games.
F-Zero GX, as the 3rd son in a legendary series of games is tendencially more "X" than "Zero". The classic N64 game clearly was the base for most of the tracks which becomes clear by looking at the huge amount of half pipes and killer loops, which of course wasn't possible in the first F-zero on the ol' SNES. I noticed the pesky electrified crash barriers are partially back, but not as intense as in the grandfather game. The original F-Zero characters are also back, meaning Cpt. Falcon, Pico, Samurai Goro and Dr. Stewart plus a shitload of new characters which is positive and shows Nintendo put a lot of effort in game design.
GAMEPLAY - 5/5
When you first launch F-Zero GX you are blown away by the intense speed. It comes back to mind that Nintendo wasn't kidding when they announced that "blinking was a waste of time" in this game. Personally it took me about 3-4 races to get used to it, but then you should do fine. First positive aspect was that the different vehicles (well, gliders..whatever) actually handle completely different from each other. So is Falcon's Blue Falcon (duh) is a nice allround glider suitable in the beginning. As usual, Golden Fox is a bitch to handle and doesn't stand alot of hostile impacts with competitors. Nintendo actually took their time and wrote a little story about every pilot that you can read once you have unlocked them (or, you could just take a peek in the manual if you are hasty).
As we are used from F-Zero X on N64, the game is split in 3 cups and 3 skill levels in the beginning. By beating cups earns you credits that you can use to buy new pre-defined gliders (with their characters) or even buy raw material parts that enables you to stick together your very own glider. The great thing about this is that you can not only build your own glider, you can also color it yourself and put (self-designed or preset) decals on them. Make sure you have access to a large memory card, the standard 59 probably won't do if you spend a lot of time creating new stuff. Unfortunately you can seek for a track editor all you like – there ain't none which is understandable if you look at the huge complexity of the tracks' scenery (more on that in graphics). The complexity of such a tool would probably be beyond most gamers.
Another new invention in GX is the story mode. Story items can also be unlocked by spending your hard earned credits on them. You follow a story revolving around Cpt. Falcon getting in some trouble with his old chap Samurai Goro which is not exactly ingenious but the cutscenes in slick rendered 3D are worth playing it.
In terms of track design, GX is rather unsteady. Some tracks, like Big Blue (Ordeal), Lightning and Aeropolis are plain ingenious, while some like Sand Ocean or Green Plant are just boring tho the character of the game makes up for a lot of that. The AI is very aggressive in higher difficulty levels and you will probably spend quite a lot of time worrying if you'll make it to the next energy charger lane.
Now here comes the part which costed the 5th star in terms of gameplay - F-Zero GX tends to be rock hard especially when you move on to higher skill levels the game spanks your ass multiple times. Since GX is based on the arcade version - F-Zero AX (now you know what Sega's part was), from an economical point of view, it may make sense to milk more dimes out of customers by raising the difficulty level to insane heights but for home consoles certain adjustments should have been made. High frustration ahead.
GRAPHICS - 5/5
F-Zero GX baits you with dark, futuristic ambience put into beautiful and complex 3D tracks with very complex scenery so unlike in its "dad" F-Zero X you won't feel like you are trapped between the crash barriers. It seems the Big-N tried to push the little purple/black one to it's current limits here in which they succeeded amazingly. Your eyes are blessed with slick designed gliders, animated environments and the best light effects ever known to man on a home console. You don't notice slowdowns at any time either. Alone the menus don't exactly win a miss universe award.
SOUND - 3/5
Ok, now how do I put this ..? Did I ever mention I hate electronical sounds? Well if you like trance or techno music read no further, but go straight to writing me nasty emails. Granted, the futuristic theme and graphics set seems suggest highly electronical techno-ish music and definitly is supportive of the atomosphere. The problem is it gets old very soon mainly because its the same damn music on every track. Personally after an hour of playing i put my TV on mute and popped in a CD by American Hi-Fi or Linkin Park. The sound effects aren't worth mentioning.
MULTIPLAYER - 4/5
F-Zero GX offers the good ol' splitscreen feature for multiplayer games, yet saldy no LAN netplay is supported which disqualifies the game to be used for WarpPipe. Too bad, because the multiplayer mode doesn't quite stack up to pearls like Mario Kart Double Dash in terms of addicting gameplay. You cannot race against the full field while playing against a human opponent probably due to speed reasons. At least you can still punch your friend if he/she kicks you off the track with a spin attack. Also I'm missing special multiplayer modes. Surely there would have been some room for improvement here.
ADDICTION - 4/5
The credits based system is very well balanced and you get the chance to buy quite a bunch of gliders and lots of parts very soon. Also, the customizing features keep you going for a long time as new parts become available as you win more races. Expect frustration with the high difficulty level. I'm told Gamecube pads tossed in the corner are not covered by insurance.
F-Zero GX is a superb piece of software that you don't want to miss as a sophisticated racing
gamer this year. Unfortunately it is shadowed by (excellent) Mario Kart Double Dash which was released a few days later (personally I didn't go back to F-Zero GX until there was nothing left to beat in MKDD). Nintendo probably wanted to drop both of those bombs this holiday season for the upcoming X-Mas sales marathon. F-Zero's loss. Don't get scared by the pointed out high difficulty level, it's well worth putting in the effort and the game rewards you with hours and hours of fun with this awesome futuristic racer.
Insanely hard at times
No LAN play
Credits system ensures long playability
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