A scintillating successor to a Super Nintendo classic, F-Zero X is one of the fastest racers you'll ever clap eyes on. If you were one of the wimps who got queasy from playing the original F-Zero (now updated for Game Boy Advance in F-Zero: Maximum Velocity), wait until you play F-Zero X! Part of the reason F-Zero X plays so well is the game's consistently fast frame rate. Even with 30 hover cars jostling for the pole on-screen, there's never a hint of slow-down. Four-player split screen is perhaps the most addictive multiplayer race ever, again with no sign of syrupy frame rates.
Suspended high above an abstract representation of a planet's surface, the tracks twist, turn and roll into infinity with no fogging effects necessary to obscure pop-up. Like in the original F-Zero, the edges of the tracks are rigged to damage your vehicle if you run into them, encouraging you to run as clean a race as possible. Speed boosts are situated at strategic locations around the track, but you're also able to turbo by pressing the B Button once you've completed a lap - at the cost of some of your shield energy. The R and Z Buttons help to corner your car more sharply, allowing you to drift through turns. This play control feels natural and gives you very precise control over your car, which is essential when one wrong move could send you careering off the edge of the track into oblivion.
Players can choose from 30 different hovercar racers, including updated representations of Captain Falcon's Blue Falcon and other vehicles from the original F-Zero. Each car features significantly different handling characteristics - some feel lightweight and agile, others are heavy and ponderous - but it's possible to win with any of them. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a faster car is always best - the heavier cars are armoured and better able to withstand the damage-inducing side rails of the courses. On some of the more treacherous and twisting courses, it's possible to win simply by being the last hover car floating!
F-Zero X allows you to adjust the camera view during the race, allowing you to swivel the camera around to see behind your car or raise it up for an aerial view of the race. It's also possible to zoom in on your steed, where you'll notice that it's composed of simple and starkly beautiful flat-shaded shapes. The backgrounds are similarly free of needless detail - not that you'll even notice the scenery when it's flying by at 1,000 MPH.Besides the new vehicles, tracks and characters, F-Zero X also provides a strong incentive to replay the game. To earn the right to drive all 30 vehicles and visit all of the tracks, you need to prove yourself by performing well in each of the various circuit modes. Who needs weapons or bizarre power-ups - what you have here is simply one of the fastest racing games ever.
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