Console: Super NES Company: Nintendo of America Release Date: September 1991 Genre: Racing Number of Players: 1 Save Feature? Yes
Faster...faster...faster still!! F-Zero may be an oldie but it sure gives you a sense of speed. This game is sensational! It features impressive graphics, groovy music, and near-perfect play control. Most importantly, F-Zero is a blast to play!
Overview: Back in 1991, I got a chance to play F-Zero for the SNES. 10 years later, I still have a great time with F-Zero. The neatest thing about this game might be the fact that your best times are saved. This gives the game a tremendous amount of replay value. I'm always trying to get a better time for each race. In short, F-Zero consists of 15 racing tracks. The object is to win in all three leagues (Knight, Queen, and King). It may sound easy, but try winning at the "Master" level!
Graphics: For one of the earliest SNES games, the graphics in F-Zero are awesome! The game is very colorful with smooth animation. When you win a race (or crash), the Mode 7 technology allows the TV screen (camera) to move around giving you a different view. This gives the game a three-dimensional feel and really brings the game to life. I especially like the graphics when you win on one of the three leagues. While your times from that particular league are displayed, your vehicle goes through the course in a different view. The backgrounds of the futuristic towers of Mute City to the watery surroundings of Big Blue are nicely done. The animation is a rarity for a racing game...smooth. The vehicles turn very well and as the track goes by, upcoming obstacles appear very smoothly.
Music: The soundtrack in F-Zero fits the racing genre nicely. The tracks vary from the energizing beat of Big Blue to the serenity of Silence. Unlike many racing games, the music in F-Zero is very memorable. Listening to this game through a stereo is incredible! It makes you wonder why Nintendo stopped making Super Nintendo games. Not to be outdone by the music, the sound effects are excellent as well! The racing sounds (especially right before the race starts when the engines fire up) sound perfect. You can tell that someone is right on your tail when you hear another engine (besides your own). Little things like this separate F-Zero from the pack.
Play Control: While flashy graphics and symphony music is nice for a racing game, the most important aspect has to be play control. I have played many racing games where the controls just aren't right. They are either too touchy (you barely turn left and the vehicle does a 360) or too stiff (you have to hold the direction you want to go for several seconds). In F-Zero, the controls are very responsive and realistic. At low speeds, you can corner well and have better control than when going careening around a corner at breakneck speed. Once you learn how to slow down slightly when cornering, you'll become an F-Zero Master! Cornering (with the L and R buttons) is very easy as well and the jumps are fun (down to fly farther; up to come down). Like any real race, cornering is easier when staying on the outer edge and moving to the inner edge as a corner appears. Another neat thing about F-Zero is the diversity of the various vehicles. Each of the four vehicles handles differently. Golden Fox has the best acceleration but doesn't corner well. Fire Stingray has the best top speed and corners the best, but has the worst acceleration. You'll learn with experience which courses each vehicle does best in.
Challenge: F-Zero can be extremely challenging to play. The Master level of difficulty is insane. If you dilly-dally for a few seconds, you'll find yourself in 10th place. One thing that I'm not sure I like is that you can't get a lead on your competitors. No matter how well you do, the racer behind you will always be right behind you. This means that you can have a perfect race and still get canned if you make a mistake on the final lap. Still, the challenge that the game gives you (especially on Expert and Master challenge levels) challenges you to perform at your best which results in great times for the strong racer.
Storyline: For a racing game, F-Zero actually has a fairly detailed storyline. The game takes place in the 24th century and each racer has his own reason for racing. Captain Falcon is the hero and a fierce competitor who is challenged by Samurai Goroh (a master thief who supposedly made his vehicle with stolen parts). Dr. Stewart is a racer of finesse who can't stand being knocked around while Pico (the only non-earthling in the circuit) lives to knock some sense into the competition. The races take place on several planets; this gives certain racers an advantage (e.g. the Port Town circuits are in Captain Falcon's hometown). Overall, the storyline works.
Funfactor: Needless to say, F-Zero is a blast to play! The gameplay is exceptional and the lasting value keeps you coming back. It's a lot of fun to try all four vehicles on the different courses. Overall, F-Zero remains the top banana when it comes to serious racing on the Super NES.
Negatives: F-Zero has no two-player mode! This game would have jumped up a notch with two players. It would have been nice to have more race tracks. Although the challenge level is pretty good, it's annoying that you can't get far ahead of the competitors. It's not a huge problem though.
Ratings: Graphics: 4.5 Music: 4.5 Play Control: 4.5 Challenge: 4.5 Storyline: 4.0 Funfactor: 4.5 Overall Score: 26.5 out of 30.0 Overall Rating: Silver Stud!
Back to Super NES SpecialLast Updated: June 2, 2006