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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Sega

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

August 2003

 

 

- Speed!

- Some insane tracks

- Build your own ride

- Good racing modes

- Snappy control

- AI provides a great challenge

 

 

- Dry eyeballs

 

 

Review: Tube Slider (GC)

Review: Burnout 2 - Point of Impact (GC)

 

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F-Zero GX

Score: 9.3 / 10

 

If ever there was a game that didn’t encourage blinking, it’s F-Zero GX (FZ).  Mark my words, when you buy (or rent) FZ grab some eye-drops too, because you can’t afford to have your eyeballs dry out.  Why this concern?  The answer: speed!

 

FZ is the fastest racing game I’ve ever played.  When you hit 1,500 km/h it feels like you’re going that fast.  So one misstep – one moment of sloppiness or blinking – and you get to watch the AI competition scream ahead of you (which doesn’t necessarily put you out of the race).  Inseparable from the speed is the track design, which is generally insane.

 

f-zero gx gamecube review          f-zero gx gamecube review

 

The designers must have had a lot of fun creating these things, because after a few run-throughs on some tracks I couldn’t stop giggling.  Forget F-Zero on the SNES (the last time I played a console version of F-Zero), which featured some neat graphics for the time but completely flat tracks.  FZ goes bananas with twists, 

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turns, spirals, loops, inverted straight-aways, and jumps.  Yes, jumps.  On several of the tracks, jumps and gaps in the track are the order of the day, which opens up all sorts of possibilities to screw up or send your opponents off the track.  Some of the gaps are great, long distances where you suddenly think, “I’m not going to make it!” or “Where’d the track go?” just before you slam back to the track.  In aid of clearing these gaps you have the ability to activate a boost (at the expense of your overall energy) or hit strategically placed boost pads on the track.

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eBoost pads aren’t the only track features that return from the original game.  Pit stops are still nergized strips positioned on specific parts of the track – taking damage or using your boost knocks your energy down – so you can avoid a premature exit from the race by blowing up but still maintain an insane level of speed.

 

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to suck up that speed with FZ’s many different racing modes such as Grand Prix, Time Attack, Battle (up to four simultaneous players), and Story (for Captain Falcon).  However, I also spent an inordinate amount of time tooling around in the Customize option.

 

f-zero gx gamecube review          f-zero gx gamecube review

 

Winning during Time Attack, Grand Prix, and Story modes earn you F-Zero Tickets, which come into play when you enter the Customize option where you can spend those tickets buying parts, etc.  FZ gives you a free hand in making your own vehicle, right down to emblem.  I spent almost 3 hours at a stretch trying different configurations and generally futzing around.  This is more than I’ve ever spent on a racing game configuring my ride – even rally games.  The only downside is the amount of memory blocks it sucks up to store your designs. (It was time for a new memory card anyway, right?)  But it just feels good to show up your friends with your creations. (As if performing perfect drift turns wasn’t enough!  Not enough can be said about FZ’s great control.)

 

Graphics?  I’m still trying to moisten my eyeballs enough to get a really good look at them.  In actuality, FZ is smoothly presented and great-looking game without being overwhelming. (I think I’ve harped on that whole “speed” thing enough.)  The sound is great.  If you’ve got a sound system hooked-up to your Cube you’ll notice more of the subtleties (like the “fwoomp!” of the boost kicking the bass) but even without a sound system, this is still a fine sounding game.

 

At the end of the day, F-Zero GX is a speed-freaks dream come true.  On top of being fast, Fast, FAST, FZ has great racing options, insane tracks, snappy control, a brilliant customize feature, and the ever-important fun factor.

 

- Omni

(September 7, 2003)

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