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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
GameCube
PUBLISHER:
Nintendo
DEVELOPER:
Amusement Vision
GENRE: Racing
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
August 25, 2003
ESRB RATING:
Teen
IN THE SERIES
F-Zero X

F-Zero GP Legend

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity

 Written by Jeff Milligan  on January 22, 2003

First Impressions: Now where did I park that hover craft...


Futuristic themes, high speed crashes, turbo boosts, sharp-cornered turns and gigantic jumps. These are all features that the games of today can produce with ease. However, back in the days of the Super Nintendo, these things weren't so easy to come by. Early on in the console's life, Nintendo published a game called F-Zero and it included all of the above features. This type of game had never been seen before, and quickly joined the long list of Nintendo classics. A few years later Nintendo published F-Zero X for the Nintendo 64 which left most fans feeling a bit discouraged over some minor flaws and one or two larger let downs. More recently, the original F-Zero was ported to the Game Boy Advance and it came as a great gift for GBA owners, but it still was not the new game we had been hoping for. Finally, Nintendo has announced a whole new F-Zero for the GameCube and to this point it is looking nothing short of extraordinary.

What could be defined as the forefather of today's extreme racing genre, F-Zero combines three main features to make it the awesome game it is; futuristic hover vehicles, extreme speeds, and big-ass jumps. There's no weapons to blow your opponents away, no way to sabotage your opponents, and no way to cheat your way to victory. F-Zero depends on fast reflexes, lots of speed, and plain old skill behind the wheel.

The basis of F-Zero is quite simple to understand, you pilot a hover vehicle, and your main goal is to win races.The complexity comes from roller coaster-like levels, Shaq-sized jumps, tight corners, turbo boosted speeds, and of course 27 other racers who want you to eat their exhaust fumes. It's all of these aspects thrown into futuristic environments which makes F-Zero one of the best games the genre has to offer.

If there was one main area where F-Zero X fell short, it was the games graphics. It made the jump from 2D to 3D, but unfortunately didn't provide what the fans were looking for. While not being totally intolerable, F-Zero X lacked the detail that the N64 was able to provide and it often blurred beyond recognition during high-speed scenes. However, from what we've seen from the released screens and movies of F-Zero GC, it appears that this fault will not be repeated. The environments and craft are crisp and call upon a deep color palette, making the futuristic theme much more believable. Running at sixty frames per second doesn't hurt either.

The game will have some affiliation with its N64 predecessor however. As mentioned, up to 28 racers will be striving for the win in any single race, the same as in Zero X. Players will also be able to choose from numerous characters to pilot their craft, including everyone's favorite pilot, Captain Falcon himself. One updated item however is the available modes of view. Players can now choose between the original 3rd person view , and the new first-person cockpit view, whichever suits the player better.

Besides the GameCube version, Amusement Vision and Nintendo are also developing an arcade version of the new F-Zero. The shocking part about this is the inclusion of a data transfer technology between the two versions. Dubbed "Home and Away", players will be able to exchange data between the GC version and the arcade version via the GC memory card. What will be able to be transferred still remains a mystery however.

There are a few more mysteries for F-Zero GC as well. A multiplayer mode should definitely be counted on, but whether or not the 4-player split screen will be available is still not confirmed. Also, there is no word yet on the addition of a track editing mode, but if Nintendo has learned from their mistakes with Zero X, it will be included. The last unconfirmed detail is the possibility of F-Zero going online via the GameCube broadband adapter, an addition which would boost the gameplay to new heights. All of these features are very much possibilities and would give F-Zero GC unprecedented depth. We'll keep you updated as to where the development goes from here.

Final Thoughts
What started off as nothing more than a simple racing game on the SNES has now exploded into one of Nintendo's most beloved series. The release date is currently set for the end of June, so be prepared for some fast-speed, futuristic racing when F-Zero makes its way to store shelves.


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