F-Zero X (N64)
Release Date: October 26th, 1998
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Genre: Racing - Futuristic
Posted: March 21st, 2007
Last Updated: March 21st, 2007
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I remember playing F-Zero X for the Nintendo 64 back in 1998, a little while after it was released. I was amazed at the graphics when I started my first GP race. It wasn't that the textures or the cars were really great looking, in fact, they were fairly terrible looking. It was the all about the tracks. I was amazed to see there was total freedom in tunnels, you could race on the sides or on the top of the tunnel (or hold left/right and watch yourself getting nauseous from the screen spinning). There was even some tracks that had jumps that made you momentarily able to fly in the air and you had to navigate yourself back to the race track below. I had never seen such dynamic play in a racing game before. So at least it had the really cool tracks going for it.
There isn't any weapons in the F-Zero series. F-Zero has always been about the speed, the boosts, and the racing itself; however, this concept may hurt the replay value. This game does get boring, and quickly. Sure, they throw in a couple surprises in some of the tracks, and unlocking all those extra characters can be fun, but there's not much to come back for in this game. There is a couple secrets awaiting you once you get through the final secret cup including a random track generator which gives you a new track every race. I found this to be at least be semi-inspiring for a little bit, but in the end, it really is just a gimmick.
With 30 racers onscreen at any given time you know Nintendo had to make some cut-backs in the polygon department. The vehicles look great at the selection screen, but once you get into the game it is a different story. You basically end up racing a shaped block of color against other, more different shaped blocks of color. I guess it isn't too much of a draw back considering the amazing frame rate Nintendo achieved by doing this. There is almost no slow downs whatsoever. This was and is the fastest Nintendo 64 racing game in terms of framerate.
There was definitely an emphasis on trying to make this game "cooler". Look at the name for example: F-Zero "X". Why is there an "X"? It makes it sound so bad-ass, that's why! Further proof of this can be found in the game music. What does all the game music have in common? Huge cheesy synthesized guitar solos. I think most of the songs are just one huge guitar solo. This was definitely the racing game for the new generation! Note my sarcasm. I will admit though, that I am a sucker for this music, because it goes with this game so perfectly and is reminiscent of the later Mega Man games. I think with Nintendo trying to cool-ify this game so much, they forgot some important things, because, there is definitely something that lacks in this game. A heart.
To Nintendo: is it necessary that we watch the three minute long trophy ceremony every single race every single race, even if we don't make first? I don't think so. And what's with the Nintendo logo flashes and fading off the screen every menu switch. We get it, you made the game, good job, now stop bombarding me with Nintendo advertisements on a Nintendo game. Maybe I am not giving this game enough credit. This game is in fact very solid and still enjoy it every now and then, although I have never been very good at it.