I generally avoided a lot of racing games on the SNES. They seemed to serious for me when I was young gamer (apart from Mario Kart). When I was in high school, I rediscovered SNES games through emulation, and quickly became enthralled with F-Zero! I would play the game over and over on harder difficulties and would try to get perfect play throughs! It was also the first game that I played when I first had a little too much to drink – the speed of F-Zero didn’t help my rumbling stomach! Apart from that nauseating experience, I really like this game, and am going to review it today!
I terms of story, there isn’t really isn’t one, but the game does a good job creating a world where futuristic racing can take place! The game takes place in the future – the 26th century to be precise. The look of the game (including all the tracks and racers) really help the gamer believes that this is how racing might be in the future!
This is a one-player only racing game! Your goal is to race one of four vehicles through a number of races. Each vehicle has different top speeds and acceleration, but not much else differentiates them. The controls of the game are tight and responsive. Once button is your accelerator, one is your break, and the top buttons allow you to take tight turns. As you complete laps in the races, you also get a limited number of boosts that you can use to jet yourself forward. I particularly enjoyed saving them for the last lap and shooting by everyone! The game is also very challenging (and engaging) because as you drive and run into the walls of the courses (or other racers) you take damage and can blow up after taking enough! Many of the tracks have repair strips you can access (sometimes in difficult to reach areas) that makes getting to those areas a gamble but rewarding if you pull it off!
The game has two modes – practice and Grand Prix. Practice is self-explanatory, but Grand Prix is the primary mode where the payer selected between three major circuits composed of a number of tracks. The player can also select difficult – and this has a significant effect on how hard the game actually is! As you progress in the races, you must obtain higher ranks to proceed to further races.
There are many different tracks in this game, with tons of obstacle variety. Initially it is almost impossible to fall of the edge, but as you progress into game, new challenges are introduced such as blowing winds, magnetic sides, and even pathways ladened with bombs. Jumps are also introduced relatively early that give players the choice of trying to jump portions of the course for the risk of actually falling off the edge and blowing up! There was some repetition with similarly themed courses, but there was such a diversity even in those (track layouts, challenges) that it never effected my enjoyment of the game.
For a game that released with the SNES, F-Zero still looks great. Mode 7 is classically SNES and still runs silky smooth and really helps capture the speed the game intents to player to experience. The colour pallets for many levels really pop and are pleasing to the eye. I particularly enjoyed the last stage in the Knight Circuit with sunset purple skies and oceans. The music is awesome and captures a mix of high-octane tracks with music that you can just chill too. I remember being mesmerized by some of the tracks as I became so focused on pushing into the higher difficulties. The sound effects do the job but are nothing special.
Overall, F-Zero is a classic SNES game that kick started the system. This racer is fast-paced, skill-based, has great music and is still fun to play today. The only bad part is that there is no multiplayer, but other than this, I have had a blast with it. It if quite common and not expensive, so I encourage any retro gamers to pick this one up. Now if only we got a new entry into the series on the Switch. I give this game a final score of 8/10.
Final Score: 8/10