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Video game review

The GameCube finally received a racing game in F-Zero GX, the anticipated high-speed racer developed by Sega and Amusement Vision. With 30 racers on one track reaching speeds up to and exceeding 2,000 kilometers per second, F-Zero is an adrenaline rush packed into a convenient minidisk.

Sega and AV have done some nice things with the graphics in this game. The cut scenes they put together to move the plot along in “Story” mode are very well done and the textures of each race track are adequate. The backgrounds of each course are drawn with care, though you might not notice it considering your eyes will be glued to the track all the time. The thing that shines in F-Zero is the frame rate — despite how insanely fast you’re going, the frames never stutter once.

Gameplay-wise, F-Zero is fun but very difficult. A first-time player is likely to bounce back and forth between guardrails on the game’s first track as it takes about an hour to get a good handle on how to race properly. The Grand Prix mode is a series of five races, during which points are tallied to award first place at the end of it all. The Story mode is a collection of contrived racing situations linked together through a somewhat interesting plot. Both of which can be set to whichever difficulty setting you want, but secret racers and courses can only be unlocked at the hardest difficulties.

There is a Garage mode that allows players to custom build their own machines, plus a little Emblem making option that resembles a simplified version of Microsoft Paint.

Multiplayer gaming is mildly lacking in F-Zero GX simply because there aren’t many things to do. Up to four people can race against each other on any of the game’s courses that have been unlocked.

While still fun, it doesn’t have much staying power with a group of people who want to play games for longer than ten minutes.

Worth mentioning is the ability to transfer a memory card with F-Zero data on it to an F-Zero AX arcade machine and load a custom racer and unlock secret tracks to race on back home.

While an interesting innovation, I challenge readers to find an arcade with F-Zero AX within twenty miles of Bowling Green.

F-Zero GX is very fun to play, though usually by yourself. Friends can enjoy it as well but only to an extent before it gets boring. If a player can get past the big learning curve and sometimes frustratingly difficult single-player missions, a fun time can be had with this racer. It’s probably worth it for GameCube owners to buy this game, though probably not worth it to buy a GameCube just to get this game.

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