ddensel's F-Zero GX (GameCube) review

Doesn't Disappoint

The Gamecube was disappointing not just to me, who once considered  himself a hardcore Nintendo fan, but for many people. All throughout the GCN's life, it seemed as if Nintendo just didn't get it. People didn't want a water pack strapped to Mario, a vacuum on Luigi or Cel-shading on Link. People didn't want to buy cables and connect their Gameboys to their Gamecubes, they didn't want two characters on one Mario Kart either. People didn't want Fox McCloud to leave his Arwing and going out on adventures and they sure as Hell didn't want to play Kirby's Air Ride. Why was Nintendo doing this?! It was like Nintendo was screaming "Go get an Xbox, because you don't want to play any of this crap!"

There were a select few games however, that Nintendo did well, really well, like F-Zero GX for instance. It didn't have any of that extra stuff Nintendo tacked on to the rest of their games, it was just hard, fast, futuristic racing, just the way I like it. Ironically, the game wasn't made by Nintendo at all, but by the AV development team at Sega. Oh Well.

F-Zero GX is a futuristic racing game in the same vein as Wipeout and Extreme-G. There are 30 characters and each have their own machine with different stats like grip, boost and body, as well as weight. These stats affect how the machine handles. For example, a machine might have really good boost, but the grip might be bad causing you to fly all over the place if you're not careful. Weight can also affect Acceleration and Max Speed, but these can be adjusted.

On the tracks there are pink energy areas that replentish your driver's health bar. The health bar also doubles as the boost bar, so the player must always juggle between going fast and keeping enough health on hand to safely pass tricky parts of the track. The tracks are wild, including whole and half-pipes, loops and many narrow areas without guard rails. It makes for a heart pounding experience!

In Grand Prix mode there are 20 tracks split up into 4 cups, futher split up into 4 difficulty levels so there is a ridiculous amount of replay value. Adjusting the difficulty level sets the number of lives you have and the aggressiveness of the other drivers. The tracks are set in various places such as a forest, lava world and futuristic city so there's plenty of variety. After winning in a certain cup, the racer wins tickets that can unlock other drivers and Story Mode chapters

The Story Mode is the other main area of play, it has Captain Falcon racing in various capacities either against the clock or against a team of racers, even going up against an unruly track itself. Other modes include a standard Practice mode, Time Trials where you race against the clock, a place to view Replays and a place to make custom machines that you can race in all the other modes (except Story) A gameplay omission from F-Zero X is the Death Race mode that had the player destroying the other racers on a simplistic loop. It won't be missed.

On the Audio/Visual side of things, F-Zero GX is fantastic and still holds up today 5 years after it's been released. The game runs at 60 fps without a hiccup and looks fantastic on a 480p TV. The techno music is much different than the hard rock of it's prequel, F-Zero X, but is more fitting if a little less memorable.

Multi-player is solid, there is a versus mode for up to 4 players (split screen). In multi-player the tracks are a little less detailed and the framerate takes a dip, but nothing too noticeable.

F-Zero GX is HARD. Not the hardest game ever mind you, but definitely one of most difficult games of the last generation of consoles. There are many frustrating parts and many times where you'll say "how can they go so fast!!" but if you stick to it, you'll definitely get better at the game and beat the game on Master difficulty in no time. So when you hear that the game is hard, its not inaccessible hard, just really difficult in the later stages in Hard and Master mode.

Don't hesitate to pick this up for your GCN or your Wii (we all know you're all starving for something to play) F-Zero GX is a great game with replayability, good graphics and sound and solid multiplayer. Get It, unlike most games on Gamecube, it will not disappoint!

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