The Game Slush Pile

F-Zero X N64 Retro Game Review

Release Date9/30/1998

F-Zero, the futuristic racing franchise from Nintendo, is dead and buried. It’s not coming back with a new entry. We need to accept it and move on. I’d love to be wrong, of course, but as the Switch’s lifespan draws to a close, I don’t think we’re going to see a new one released. Still, F-Zero had a great run, reaching its zenith with the phenomenal F-Zero GX for the GameCube, and then petered out and was never seen again. F-Zero X, the N64 entry was released for Switch Online, so we can still play that. Today we’re going to take a look at that entry using the original hardware and cartridge.

F-Zero X

The first F-Zero for the SNES was a great game, but it was single player only and features four vehicles only. F-Zero X, took the formula and ran with it. There are now 30 varied vehicles and drivers, multiplayer, and is full 3D.

Some vehicles are better than others.

First things first, you pick the car you want to drive, each with their own stats. I tend to better in the lighter cars with good boost and grip, but you are free to choose among those you have(you start with top row and get more rows as game progresses). Then you pick whether the car has better acceleration or top speed on a slider. This will have a direct effect on whether you will win or lose. In my experience, top speed works on courses with long straightaways, acceleration works better on courses with lots of turns. But you fiddle with things to your preferred racing style.

F-Zero X n64
Nothing out there, except great racing action.

Then you start racing and notice how barren and spartan everything looks. It’s like they took the SNES version, made the track 3D and most everything else 2D. I distinctly remember the being a complaint in the reviews at the time. But there’s is an important reason for that: The game has a steady frame rate and all 30 cars can be on screen at once with no slowdown. Honestly, it was a technical achievement given the limitations of the N64 hardware.

F-Zero X N64
The Cylinder level was great, still is!

While the graphics are middling today, the racing is still awesome. It is now time for the video, featuring me getting second on Silence on Novice. But still, it will illustrate the silky smooth racing action the game has. Notice how the great the game runs and plays. Honestly, I stink because I hadn’t played the game in several years prior to filming F-Zero X, still you’ll get the gist.

Come Back, F-Zero!

We want a new F-Zero. Everyone wants a new F-Zero, but as I said at the start, there will be no new F-Zero. The Switch prints money, but obviously Nintendo doesn’t want to take the risk. Instead, not only do we only have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, we’re getting the course booster pack, doubling the game’s size. There are F-Zero Pretenders, but they are not F-Zero. The best we can do is F-Zero X on Nintendo Online, which is great, but not the same as a new entry. If you’re looking for the original cartridge, it’ll put you back about $35 for the NA cart.

Still, I have hope that one day, Nintendo will see the light…

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