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F-Zero GX... Don't forget to blink! Tim 
Posted by: Tim at 2:27 PM EST on 8/22/2004
File Under: Games -> GameCube -> Quickview

Yeah, I know, I'm a little behind the curve on this one. In actuality, I've become something of a budget gamer these days. I don't think I've paid full price for a game in nearly two years. As a result, I mostly just buy bargain bin and GBA games. (or occasionally scam myself a free one... Shhhhh!) I have to say, though, I'm having lots of fun with the games I do buy. I'm guessing this is because they don't have to live up to a $50 price tag. Anyway, that's enough rambling from me (hey, this is an E/N site, after all)...

As a fan of the F-Zero series since its original SNES incarnation, I was waiting a long time for this one to come out. But then, as a college student steeped in bills for books and tuition, I decided I could wait a little longer. Now that I've finally picked it up, though, I'm left thinking "Hmm... Maybe this one would have been worth it." That, and "Holy shit, this is fast." Yes, F-Zero GX is fast. Really fucking fast. But then again, I'm sure you knew that. That's the whole point, right? What's so amazing is the obvious amount of attention to detail that Amusement Visions paid to this game, beyond just making it fast.

What F-Zero GX comes down to is that it's really what F-Zero X for the N64 was supposed to be. While F-Zero X is and always will be one of my favorite N64 games, it was obvious that a game as ambitious as it was needed a little extra horsepower behind it. Now that the series has made its way to the GameCube, all is well. The blazing speed, perfect control, and huge number of racers from F-Zero X are still here, but gone are the incredibly bland backgrounds and tracks, the pop-up, and the ship models that awkwardly changed poly-counts as the camera zoomed and panned. In other words, all the sacrifices that had to be made to make the old game as fast and smooth as it needed to be are completely gone. In place are fantastically detailed tracks, environments, ships, and special-effects.

There have been some cool additions outside of the races themselves, too. The Story Mode (which is fairly hard, so I've only played a few chapters of) and Garage are excellent additions. Story Mode adds some very cool depth to the game, and separates it from the host of other racing games that stick with the standard Grand Prix/Time Trial/Vs. formula. (Of course, all those modes are in this game, Story Mode is a nice bonus on top of them) Additionally, the Garage adds some excellent depth, too. If you don't like any of the 30-some-odd default ships, you can earn tickets to buy parts and build your own ship, tailored specifically to your racing style.

At this point, I've nearly completed all the Grand Prix cups on Expert (trying to unlock Master mode), but I've just barely dug into Story Mode, and have yet to beat a single Staff Ghost in Time Attack mode. This game is deep, and since I won't be taking my GameCube with me to school in a few days, it will give me plenty to do when I'm home for breaks and bored off my ass.

Initial Vibe: Excellent. Any fan of F-Zero X, or anyone looking for a deep game to spend $20 on should definitely pick this one up.

P.S.: Don't be like Karyn and forget to blink while you're playing this game. That tends to burn...
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