F-Zero: GP Legend (known in Japan as F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu, the sub-title loosely translated to "Legend of Falcon") is a futuristic behind-the-back sci-fi racing game developed by Suzak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance in Japan on November 28, 2003, in Europe on June 4, 2004, and in North America on September 20, 2004.
The second handheld installment of the F-Zero series, GP Legend is based on the 2003-2004 anime of the same name, itself an adaptation of the game series. Along with characters and art from the series, the game includes a dedicated Story mode involving multiple characters from the series (including anime protagonist Rick Wheeler, a police detective from the past who is hunting down convict Zoda).
While much of the gameplay is similar to F-Zero: Maximum Velocity, the game includes some gameplay elements from F-Zero X, including the updated power-based boost mechanic, the removal of per-lap disqualification, car combat using side-attacks, and a full 30-machine roster in each race.
The Japanese version is notable for including support for the Card-e-Reader+ peripheral, allowing players to unlock new machines, vehicles, and ghost racers by scanning special cards found in card vending machine packs.
It later received a direct Japanese-only sequel, known as F-Zero Climax, and was also digitally re-released as a Virtual Console title for the Wii U in 2014-2015.
Gameplay and Game Modes
F-Zero GP Legend retains the gameplay mechanics of the F-Zero franchise. The player can maneuver, accelerate, brake, boost, and attack with their vehicle while racing on course.
The game's story mode features eight characters that recounts their account of events of the F-Zero GP Legend story. Each character has five total missions that the player must accomplish in order to advance the character's story. GP Legend's missions offers different challenges for the player to complete outside of finishing first in a race, such as following a machine to a destination or destroy a specific machine within a number of laps in a race.
Grand Prix mode is F-Zero's classic race mode that pits the player against 29 other racers over five race courses in a cup (Platinum Cup has eight races). GP Legend features three difficulty levels (novice, standard, expert) and four cups (bronze, silver, gold, platinum). Platinum cup is unlocked once the player completes all cups on novice and standard difficulties.
Expert difficulty presents the "second" versions of each track for bronze, silver, and gold cups. Each track under those three cups feature course changes that provide a tougher challenge.
Time Attack gives the player five laps to post the fastest lap and total times on a race course.
Training mode allows the player to simulate racing conditions by choosing the number of computer racers and their difficulty level over a desired number of laps on a race course.
Zero Test mode challenges the player's skill by having the player complete a section of a race course with a designated machine under a targeted time. Players can earn a gold, silver, or bronze trophies if they complete the challenge under the trophy's target time.
All 30 machines (and their corresponding drivers) from F-Zero X are included, along with 4 new machines from the anime (Dragon Bird, Elegance Liberty, Moon Shadow, and Panzer Emerald).
Like in F-Zero X, each machine can be tuned between Acceleration and Top Speed and have their own unique rating, using a letter grade from E (weakest) to A (strongest), in three categories:
- Body, which rates the machine's strength in terms to the damage it can withstand from collisions against both the wall and other racers.
- Boost, which rates the machine's boost power in terms of speed increase and duration.
- Grip, which rates machine's track "grip" in terms of maintaining control while turning corners.
In Single Pak multiplayer, the game only uses different-colored copies of the Dragon Bird (Green Bird, Yellow Bird, Red Bird, and Blue Bird). In the Japanese version, the Elegance Liberty, Moon Shadow, Night Thunder, and Sonic Phantom machines can only be unlocked through the Card-e-Reader+ peripheral.
The following are unlocked from the start:
The following can be unlocked in Story mode:
The following can be unlocked in Grand Prix mode:
The following can be unlocked in Zero Test mode:
In Grand Prix, Time Attack, Training, and Link modes, players initially have access to 15 courses, split into three Cups (Bronze, Silver, and Gold). By completing these Cups in Standard mode, players gain access to both a hidden final Gold Cup course (Illusion: Abyss Drop), a new unique circuit for Time Attack (Mute City: Championship), and a Platinum Cup (which contains eight circuits from the original F-Zero).
One of the unique features of this game are Expert course variations, where playing the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Cups on Expert difficulty modifies each circuit to be harder.
In Single Pak multiplayer, the game only uses one unique circuit (Big Blue: Calm Sea).
- Mute City: Tradition Park
- Red Canyon: Junction
- Mist Flow: Clip Oval
- Lightning: Volute
- Fire Field: Blast Track
- Silence: Box Rink
- Sand Ocean: Caterpillar
- Mute City: Expansion Park
- Big Blue: Slip Highway
- Mist Flow: Front & Back
- Port Town: Forked Road
- Silence: Honeycomb Rink
- White Land: Flower
- Fire Field: Wreckage Circuit
- Red Canyon: Peak Jump (can be replaced randomly with Illusion: Abyss Drop after playing through the Cup multiple times)
Unlocked by clearing all three other Cups. Each of the eight circuits are based on circuits from the original F-Zero and do not have separate Expert variants.
- Mute City: Mute City I
- Big Blue: Big Blue
- Silence: Silence
- Port Town: Port Town II
- Red Canyon: Red Canyon
- Sand Ocean: Sand Ocean
- White Land: White Land II
- Fire Field: Fire Field
Card e-Reader+ Cup
In the Japanese version, players can scan special cards using the Card-e-Reader+ peripheral to unlock courses for a unique Cup. As the data was encoded in the cards themselves, they are not included in the game files.
Only five cards can be scanned into the Cup at one time. These circuits are only available in the Time Attack and Training modes.
- Mute City: Tiles Square
- Red Canyon: Dorakon
- Sand Ocean: Undulation Wave
- White Land: Vingt-Cinq Rink
- Fire Field: Rumble Grand
- Illusion: Death Hand
- Red Canyon: Best Choice
- Mist Flow: Flower 3
- Red Canyon: Dirt Dart
- Port Town: Dukedom Circuit
- Mute City: Counter
- Lightning: Grid Maze
- Big Blue: Pigeon
- Sand Ocean: Make or Break
- Lightning: Light Bulb
- Port Town: Falcon
- Illusion: Ace of Hearts
- Silence: Kamitoba
- Mist Flow: Screw
- White Land: Yeti Foot