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Review: F-Zero GX

Posted Feb-03 2007 by ron
For Gamecube, runs on Wii, 16:9 (optional), 60Hz (optional)

Always been fast

High-speed racing. Ultra-high-speed even. F-Zero GX doesn't just attempt to be a 1500+ kph racer, it pulls it off with competence. It will make you wonder when you're going to vomit. In a good way.

As its predecessors on the SNES and the N64, the game pits you against a roster of cartoony adversaries in a futuristic racing league that, err, races races on quite elaborate tracks on diverse racing-addicted worlds. F-Zero GX is a game of skill, track memorization and reflex. Not a twitchy kind of reflex, as that will only cause driving errors to land you into a wall or off the track, but a more masterful tamed and exact reflex.

The road takes a sharp turn upwards!

See that wall up ahead? That's not a wall, it's the road.

A race track on the outside of a twisted tube

Err. "Road"?

As the futuristic setting allows for unconventional gravity, limited flight ability of vehicles and all kinds of swirling, twisting and tunneling, track geometries are much harder to memorize than in your usual standard, realistic racing game. Whereas you'll fully expect the track to at times take left or right turns in any racer, in F-Zero GX the track will sometimes take a sharp 90-degree upwards turn. That might surprise you for a short while when you first see it, maybe twenty seconds into your very first cup race, ten seconds after your first jump, but it really is kids' stuff in relation to all the other complications the game will throw at you. A certain track in the shape of a Möbius band is still among the easier ones in F-Zero GX.

Vehicles racing across a tube surface

Racing on tubes. Really basic stuff.

Racing all around the inside of a transparent glass tube

We can also race inside of tubes. When it's a glass tube we also have a chance to notice when we're passing through another part of the track we have been racing on just moments ago.

A field of racers leaving the tube

Just be careful to not fall off where the tube ceases to have a ceiling.

You will race these geometrically extreme tracks in cups, where your performance is ranked across five tracks and should in the optimal case lead to, you know, the cup, or you'll race single tracks in story mode. Of course you can also train your brain out in practice and time trial.

In addition to the numerous opportunities for driving on ceilings, all around the inside (or outside) of a tube and half-pipes, the game adds extra spice with on-track obstacles and hazards, as well as jumps and gaps in the track. Falling off the track means you lose one of your limited lives and have to retry the whole race from the start. You can configure practice mode to drop you back onto the track to continue where you flew off, but for the races that count it's not option.

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