Review: F-Zero X (N64)

In this review, we get boost power in the N64 game F-Zero X. We find out how well this racing game plays.

This game was released in 1998.

In this game, you get a number of race modes to choose from. This includes practice, Death Race, and, of Course, Grand Prix.

In Grand Prix mode, you have a choice between the Novice, Intermediate, and Expert difficulties. From there, you can play either the Jack, Queen, or King cups.

After this, you can choose one of the characters in the first row. While there are various statistics on their racing capabilities, the differences are so small, it’s not that noticeable on the track itself in the end. What is noticeable, however, is the speed/acceleration curve. You can adjust between whether or not you want more speed or more acceleration. This can be adjusted between races.

On the track itself, you start in the last position. You’ll race against the full 29 opponent field for racing supremacy for each race (you count as the 30th racer). On the race tracks themselves, you’ll notice a number of small features. One feature is the arrow zipper. This gives you a boost in speed. The walls prevent you from falling off (note that they won’t always be there!). Finally, the pink strips on both left and right hand sides of the track restore your energy.

On the second lap, you’ll obtain boost power. Your energy meter will turn green. With this, you can use your own machines boost. Be warned, because this will use some of your energy for every additional boost. If at any time you run out of energy, your machine will self destruct and you’ll be forced to retire.

If your machine runs out of energy or you fall off the track, you’ll lose your machine. This forces you to use up a free life. How many you start with depends on the difficulty you have selected. run out of lives, and you’ll be forced to start the cup all over again.

There is, however, a way you can gain free lives. If you manage to destroy 5 opponents during the race, you’ll gain a free life. For every 5 kills during the race, you’ll gain additional an life. For every kill you get, you’ll earn a star.

There are a number of ways you can defeat your opponents. One way is to bump into opponents when they are flashing red. Eventually, you’ll wear out what little energy they have left and kill them off. A second method is to push them off the track. You’ll get the star when their machine explodes on the ground below.

The most often used method of killing opponents is tapping your “R” or “Z” button twice. One will give you a temporary shield on the left hand side while the other gives you the same shield on the right hand side. Smash into an opponent with this shield and you’ll do a lot of damage – often destroying them in a single solid hit.

A final method is to use the spin attack. Alternate between tapping “R” and “Z” and your machine will spin for a moment. Smash into opponents and you can earn a kill or two. Great for when you have a lot of opponents on a slim line track.

While on easier difficulties, this is just an added bonus, in later difficulties, this can be a great way to prevent rivals from earning a bunch of points at the end of the race. This gives you a better chance at winning the whole thing in the long run.

If you manage to get first place, you’ll be awarded 100 championship points. For every place you win after, you’ll get progressively fewer points. After the first race, the leader board will indicate who gained or lost positions.

In total, there are six races for each cup. Whoever earns the most championship points by the end of the sixth race wins.

You’ll get a ceremony wherever you race, but place in first and you’ll get the best possible ending. The harder the difficulty, the better the ending. In novice, you’ll only get a fireworks display that makes your character. Win in expert and you’ll get a single frame comic drawing of your character as well as a small sprite of your character standing next to your machine added.

If you complete all cups in a single difficulty, a new row of players will be unlocked. Complete the game on the second difficulty and a third row will be unlocked.

Also unlockable are the Joker and X Cups. The Joker cup opens up an additional set of races while the X-Cup features randomly generated tracks (sometimes with jumps that are so difficult, they eliminate the entire field).

A lot of people out there often refer to this as a classic game. It’s easy to see why. Unlike numerous other games, this game features a large number of opponents that are fully 3D. In addition to this, you are racing at speeds that easily reach 4 digit values. Another draw is the comic book-like art that accompanies the game. These features really give this game its own personality that is very distinguishable.

Another great feature is the large number of races available to the player. Not only this, but there are a lot of distinguishing features between each track. There’s the crazy fast loop, Silence. Another track allows you to race through a tube. You’ll also have a chance to race on the outside of a pipe. There is a track that features an annoying half pipe with no barriers. Some tracks feature a “slim line” while others feature massive (or small) jumps. Suffice to say, there is a lot of variety to be found in this game.

In addition to this, there are other options like the Death Race which allow players to practice their offensive racing tactics. Sometimes, it’s just plain fun to race on this single loop track.

One drawback to this game is that it features an elastic opponent feature. If you boost yourself to crazy speeds, you’ll often see opponents simply match your speed without any effort. This may be mildly annoying at first, but it can get exceedingly annoying in the harder difficulties. On easy setting, opponents will often slow down right before the final straight away, allowing you to win close races. It gives the game a seemingly artificial difficulty.

Other then that, it’s hard to really think of anything that holds this game back. The variety in tracks are there. The difficulty curve is there. The quantity of races are there. There are plenty of features to encounter while on the track. Other race modes give players even more way to enjoy the game. While the elastic speeds can be annoying, this game is a very solid game.

The weakest part about this game is what others have pointed out: low graphical detail on the track. There really isn’t very much in the way of track features. In fact, it’s just a track suspended in the air. The machines themselves are somewhat simplistic. Still, the game handles high speeds nicely and the effects work quite well. The quantity of racers really puts a lot on the screen anyway. The comic drawing style also works in this games favor.

The audio is an extremely strong feature. The rock music that is laid out in each race is impressive. Most tracks are very memorable. It’s hard to choose just one track, but I really do like the track that plays on Silence. The sound effects are also well done. The only nitpick I would have is that it’s often hard to understand the announcer. I don’t know what there is with the voice, but half of what the announcer says can be borderline unintelligible. The only reason this game gets the perfect score on this front is because the music is so phenomenal.

Overall, this is a highly enjoyable game. It’s got great features and massive variety in the tracks. The quantity is there and the difficulty curve works well. The elastic racing isn’t the greatest feature, but that is about the only thing I can really complain about in this game. The other racing modes also help gives players more to tinker with. The graphics are great, though not perfect. The audio, meanwhile, is top of the line. So, this game is still a highly recommended game to play.

Overall
Furthest point in game: Beat the Jack Cup on Expert difficulty. All cups completed on the beginner and intermediate difficulties.

General gameplay: 22/25
Replay value: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 5/5

Overall rating: 88%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.



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